Youthful Columbia HS wrestling team hopes to surprise foes; Devin Rocha, Emmanuel Jackson, and Kevhan Bent lead way with medals at Irvington Tourney to start season

MAPLEWOOD – The Columbia High School wrestling team for the 2015-16 season is a very young and inexperienced group of wrestlers. The Cougars’ small team of about 21 wrestlers has 10 freshmen and only three seniors. Additionally there are only five returning varsity wrestlers.

However, with a few wrestlers moving up from the youth team , the Cougars hope to surprise teams as the season progresses.

The varsity squad, under head coach Hal Garwin, is shaping up to have Joaquin Tianga, ninth grade at 106 pounds, Mekhi Jones, ninth grade at 113, Devin Rocha, ninth grade at 126, Sam wren-Harden, 11th grade at 132, Aamier Bonhomme, ninth grade at 138, Zafar Cantine, 11th grade at 145, Blake McGowan, ninth grade at 152, Hunter Dallison, 10th grade at 160, Akil DeBruhl, 10th grade, or Abuka Egwuonwu, ninth grade, at 170, Anayo Egwuonwu, 12th grade at 182, Emannuel Jackson, 11th grade, or Ralph Ravix, 11th grade, at 195,  Mansky Charles, 12th grade at 220, and Kevhan Bent, 12th grade at 285.

Also competing for positions are ninth-graders Ishan Cantine, Roan Pric, and Tristan Rocke, sophomores Charles Byrd and Galileo Hetherington, and junior Jabreil Salaam.

The season started this weekend for the Cougars as they brought their young team to the eight-team Blue Knights Tourney at Irvington on Saturday, Dec. 19. Wrestling without starters McGowan,Dallison, Ravix ,and Charles, the team did have wrestlers finish in the medals.

Freshman 126-pound Devin Rocha, in his first varsity competition, finished third with two pins, Emannuel Jackson, wrestling up a weight class, finished third with one pin, and 285-pounder Kevhan Bent placed second with one pin.

Other winners were 138-pounder Bonhomme and 160-pounder Debruhl, who were both 1-1.

The team faces Belleville in an away meet on Monday, Dec. 21, and Livingston away on Wednesday, Dec. 23. The team will compete at the annual Rahway Holiday Tournament on Dec. 30.