It is time to take a look at how the Lenape Regional High School District wrestling teams had faired thus far this season.
Cherokee fell to 10-5 with a two-point loss to visiting Delsea last Friday.
“I think my team has been wrestling pretty well so far this year,” said Cherokee coach Mike Booth. “We have a solid lineup down low and through the middleweights, but some inexperienced wrestlers up at 195 and 220. Aiden Geisenheimer has done a nice job anchoring the 285 spot as well.”
The Chiefs are 4-0 in the Olympic Conference American Division.
“We had a nice win on criteria against Monroe in December and followed it up with some quality wins against conference opponents Wash Township and Eastern,” said Booth.
“Our top wrestlers have been Cooper Pontelandolfo, Andrew Aromando and Natty Lapinski. Some underclassmen have been impressive as well, including Evan Brown, Brady Bimmer and Nick Aromando.
As for the remainder of the season, Booth had this to say:
“We look to improve at all weights, but especially those ones where we lack experience. We need to win close matches and capitalize on earning/giving up bonus points in order to beat good teams.”
Lenape is 11-6 overall and 2-1 in the Olympic Conference American Division.
“I am pleased with how the season is going thus far,” said Lenape coach Chris Easlick. “I think the program as a whole is moving in the right direction.”
One of the team’s highlights of the season was a 49-16 victory at Lenape-district rival Shawnee Jan. 10.
“Our Shawnee win has been the highlight of the season thus far. It's always a great feeling beating a sister school,” said Easlick. “Moreover, I thought we wrestled really well and aggressive that night.”
Which wrestlers have been excelling thus far this season?
“Calculating team points for, minus team points against, our top four leaders are Ian Camerato (72), Matt Still (55), Ricky Snyder (54) and Mark Loveland 48,” said Easlick.
Easlick would like to see his team improve in one particular area.
“Our confidence,” he said. “Our wrestlers have a tendency to allow their opponent set the tone and pace of the match. I would like to see them dictate the match.”
Despite losing to both Camden Catholic and Washington Township in last Saturday’s home tri-match, Seneca still has a respectable 11-5 record.
“We are off to a solid start this year with a record of 10-3 so far,” said Seneca coach Greg Bauer last Thursday. “The team is training hard every day to get better. We have had a couple tough losses, but some great wins as well. As a whole, we have been doing a great job of bringing positive energy and high paced wrestling to each and every match. We are looking forward to continuing this success in the coming weeks.”
There have been some gems among Seneca’s 11 wins this winter.
“We have had a few key wins thus far this season,” said Bauer. “In early, January, we were down 33-22 to Delran with matches to go, and pinned out to win 40-33 - great match. Last Friday night, we knew we would be in a battle with sister school Lenape, and we were able to win 39-19 on our military appreciation night and youth night. In that match, we won several key close ones and got some key pins as well. The very next day, we defeated sister-school Shawnee by criteria 40-39, and right after that defeated Cherry Hill East, 36-32, in a match that came down to last bout - all great wins!”
Ryan Eisenhower is off to a 17-2 start with 11 pins for the Golden Eagles.
“Ryan is one of only two seniors on our team this year, and is working hard to continue his success,” said Bauer.
Other Seneca wrestlers who “are off to great starts,” according to their coach are juniors Nico Bogardus (14-5, 7 pins), Zach Borton (15-4, 12 pins), Will Decker (15-4), Brandon Flory (13-5, 6 pins), and Kory Seidle (15-4, 8 pins).
As for what’s ahead for his team this season, Bauer said:
“We need to continue to work on doing all of the little things right, pushing each other to work harder in practice, and focusing on getting bonus points and staying off our backs.”
Shawnee is 4-10 after going 1-2 in a quad match at Burlington Township last Saturday.
“We have been building and growing as a team throughout the season,” said Shawnee coach Kyle Packer. “Taking steps in the right direction. Hopefully we are able to put all the little things together and make a final push during the second half of the season.”
Junior Isaac Dean has been one of Shawnee’s top wrestlers this season.
“Isaac has stepped his role up this season,” said Shawnee coach Kyle Packer. “And really emulating what the team is trying to do. He is consistently improving throughout the season. Taking fourth in the prestigious Sam Cali Invitational is hopefully a sign of things to come.”
Packer hopes success will come as his team gains more experience this winter.
“We are focusing right now on finishing matches and positions,” said Packer. “All the while having a positive mindset on and off the mat. If we can battle for six, seven, eight-and-a-half minutes then as a team we will be in good shape looking to make a deep run when it matters.”