UPDATED: Columbia HS wrestling team seeks district success

MAPLEWOOD, NJ – The Columbia High School wrestling team hopes to have a strong showing at the NJSIAA District 10 tournament at Randolph, Saturday, Feb. 16.

Columbia finished the dual-meet season at 10-11.

Devin Rocha, who recently tore his meniscus, finished his career as the winningest wrestler in CHS history with 102 wins. The previous record was 101 set by Paulo Custodio and Andrew Adams.

Rocha, who competed at the 138-pound class, finished 25-5 on the season and 102-31 for his career. Among his accomplishments, he won the Belleville Tournament as well as the Kearny Tournament and finished runner-up in both the John Goles Tournament at Warren Hills and the Essex County Tournament.

At 106/113, senior  Naquan Tory has a 29-5 record and is expected to be the No. 1 seed in the district, said Freedman. Tory recently defeated Kearny’s  Stephen Silva, who was 24-1 going into the match. “Naquan is wrestling very well of late and looks to continue that moment in the post-season where he will compete at 106,” said CHS head coach Mike Freedman. “Naquan was named the Outstanding Wrestler at both the Garwin  Quad, named after legendary Columbia wrestling coach Hal Garwin, and the Gray Cup at Bloomfield.

CJ Love Jr. has a 26-6 and had won eight in a row since taking third at the Essex County Tournament.  He will be wrestling at either 132 or 138 for the post-season and is likely to be a No. 3 seed in the district.

At 170 pounds, senior Blake McGowan is 30-4 and will have an excellent shot at making the state tournament in Atlantic City.  “We anticipate Blake to either be the third or fourth seed in the region pending a strong district tournament.

Also having strong seasons are  120-pound freshman Lucas Barriger, 11-14 record; 145-pound senior Amiri Greene, 13-15; 160-pound junior Bernie Mercier, 12-12; 182-pound freshman Tyson Carroll, 19-9; 195-pound junior Max Moore, 13-13; 220-pound junior Jethro Pierre-Paul, 14-14.