MAPLEWOOD – The Columbia High School wrestling team traveled to the tough Rahway Holiday tournament on Dec. 30 and came away with some successes.
Although entering only 10 of the 14 weight classes, Columbia had five placewinners. Senior captain Kevhan Bent placed second at the 285-pound weight class; junior captain Ralph Ravix placed second at 195 and fellow junior Emanuel Jackson also placed second at 220.
Freshman Devin Rocha placed second at 126, improving on his third-place finish at the Blue Knights tourney in the season opener; and freshman Joaquin Tianga placed third at 106. Other match winners for the Cougars were Aamier Bonhomme (138), Zafar Cantine (145), and Akil DeBruhl (160).
The Cougars then traveled to Chatham for a New Year’s quad. Unfortunately, Columbia dropped all three meets.
Vernon defeated the Cougars, 42-30. Winners for Columbia were Bent (285), DeBruhl (160) and Jackson (195) each by a fall. Other winners were Tianga (106) and Sam Wren-Harden (132).
Butler defeated Columbia, 60-24. Bent and DeBruhl each won by fall. Other winners were Devin Rocha, Zafar Cantine and Mansky Charles (220).
Chatham defeated Columbia, 42-33. Winners for the Cougars were Tianga (106), Rocha (126), Wren-Harden (132), Roan Price (152), Hunter Dalison (170), and Jackson.
The Cougars are now 1-4. They were scheduled to wrestle Super Essex Conference foe Barringer on Jan. 6 and a have a SEC tri meet with Newark Academy and Christ the King Prep on Jan. 8 at 4:30 p.m. Both days will be the first home meets for the Cougars.
In earlier action, the Cougar traveled to face two SEC squads, Belleville and Livingston. The Cougars came away with a split, defeating Belleville, 51-27, Dec. 21, and losing to Livingston, 49-21, Dec. 23.
At Belleville, the Cougar upperweights won six of the seven bouts. Blake McGowan (152), Dallison (160), Tristan Rocke (182), Jackson, Ravix (220) and Jabreil Salaam (285) won by pins. Rocha and Wren-Harden won by decisions and Tianga won by a forfeit.
“This was quite a successful first dual meet for the team with no seniors wrestling and four freshmen and one sophomore winning,” said CHS head coach Hal Garwin.
At Livingston, Columbia’s youth and inexperience were evident as the more veteran opponents took advantage of Cougar mistakes. Three wrestlers lost close matches that could have easily have been wins, and two lost after having leads in the match.
Bonhomme (138), Bent (285), and Rocha (126) won by a pins, and Jackson (195) won by a 7-2 decision.
Cantine (145) lost a heartbreaker, 7-6, as did Ravix (220), 5-4, and Abuka Egwuonwu (195), 8-6.