Columbia HS wrestling coach gains 200th career win

The Columbia wrestling team celebrates head coach Mike Freedman’s 200th career coaching victory on Friday, Jan. 5, at home.
From left, Columbia’s Jared Van Allen, Reid Ordower, Kenji Shimizu and August Katz are all smiles after winning their respective weight classes at the Buccaneer Classic in Belleville on Saturday, Jan. 6.

MAPLEWOOD, NJ — Columbia High School head wrestling coach Mike Freedman gained his 200th career victory as a head coach when the Cougars defeated Orange, 52-30, at home on Friday, Jan. 5. 

“A bunch of new wrestlers and incoming freshmen got their first varsity win,” Freedman said.  Oliver Kreizman, at 106 pounds, who won two recreational league titles for Maplewood/South Orange, had the fastest pin of the night at 10 seconds.

Milan Connolly, a freshman and another former M/SO recreational wrestler, won an 11-3 major decision in his first varsity action at 132. At 175, Sam Memo was impressive in his first varsity action as he secured a pin.

The next day, the Cougars enjoyed a stellar showing at the fifth annual Belleville High School Buccaneer Classic, crowning four champions. Columbia, which finished in fourth place overall, had the most champions in the tournament. It was also the most champions the team has ever had at this tournament, Freedman said. 

Jared Van Allen, a junior, won the 106-pound title. “He really dedicated himself to getting down in weight and he punished the field, pinning all of his opponents.”

At 120, junior Reid Ordower pinned through the tournament. He was very dominant in the final against Jacob Orlando of Secaucus, leading by 15 points before recording a pin in 2 minutes, 22 seconds. 

At 132, junior Kenji Shimizu also was dominant, as he pinned through the tournament. In the final, he pinned Jayden Lee, a returning district finalist from Montclair. “Kenji pinned him in just over 30 seconds with a move that current assistant coach CJ Love used to hit many times when he wrestled for Columbia High,” Freedman said.

August Katz, a sophomore, followed at 138 by pinning through the tournament, hitting the same move in the final that Shimizu hit, Freedman said. 

Katz pinned Brandon Dimase of Becton/Wood-Ridge in the final in 37 seconds. 

“August was so dominant in this tournament that all of his opponents were pretty much overwhelmed with the pace that August put on them,” Freedman said. 

In addition to the four champions, Kreizman took third place at 106 and Connolly took fourth place at 126.

Added Freedman: “I was also proud of Montrell Lawson (285) and John Parker (190), who earned their first varsity wins.”

Photos Courtesy of Mike Freedman