Columbia HS wrestling team features solid returning group

MAPLEWOOD/SOUTH ORANGE, NJ — The Columbia High School wrestling team, under head coach Mike Freedman, features strong wrestlers in the lower weights this season.

The Cougars return junior Reid Ordower, who will wrestle at 113 or 120 pounds. Last year, he won 37 matches and will look to build on that success.

In the season opener on Dec. 16, Ordower advanced to the finals in the Mountain Lakes tournament, taking second place. In the semifinals, he pinned an opponent who just missed the state tournament last season. 

Junior Jared Van Allen is another returning wrestler, who will wrestle at 106 or 113 this season. He took third place at the Mountain Lakes tournament, which featured 16 teams. Last year, Van Allen won 36 matches and will look to build on that success.

August Katz, a sophomore, is coming off a strong freshman year after winning 33 matches. He will compete at 132 or 138. He also took third place at Mountain Lakes.

Other key returners are junior 132-pound Kenji Shimizu, junior 126-pound Christian Venescar and senior 165-pound Henry Freese. 

Freshman Oliver Kreizman, one of the best recreation wrestlers in recent memory, also will be a wrestler to watch. He is a two-time recreation county champion from the Maplewood/South Orange recreation team and will wrestle at 106 or 113.

Freedman said the team has many new wrestlers who will contribute. 

“This team is very much like last year’s team, when half of our lineup was first-year wrestlers and we won 17 matches as a team and qualified for the state sectionals,” Freedman said. 

On the girls side, the Cougars return state tournament qualifier Blair Rodriguez, a senior who took fourth place in the Bloomfield girls tournament on Dec. 17, competing in a 64-wrestler bracket.