MAPLEWOOD – The 2015-16 Columbia High School wrestling team 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 past 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 with medals.
At 126, Rocha, in his first varsity competition, finished third with two pins; Jackson, wrestling up a weight class, finished third with one pin; and Bent, at 285, placed second with one pin.
Other winners were 138-pounder Bonhomme and 160-pounder Debruhl, who were both 1-1.
The Cougars then defeated Belleville, 51-27, on Monday, Dec. 21, in Belleville in the first dual-meet of the season.
CHS was scheduled to visit Livingston on Dec. 23.
The Cougars will compete at the annual Rahway Holiday Tournament on Dec. 30 and then visit Chatham on Jan. 2 at 9 a.m.