Barnegat Leader Winter Sports Previews

Barnegat Wrestling Squad May Rise in Division This Winter

By David Biggy | Dec 16, 2019
Photo by: David Biggy Barnegat senior Griffin Jackstadt has his sights set on returning to Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall this winter.

Barnegat, NJ — The Barnegat wrestling team has been moving in a fairly good direction the past couple of seasons, as more younger wrestlers enter the program and stick around for a bunch of years. And this winter, coach Ken MacIver’s Bengals have quite a bit of depth and bring more experience to the mat, as they look to improve on the 15-12 campaign of 2018-19.

How that translates into team victories remains to be seen, but it’s safe to say Barnegat will be a competitive squad within the Shore Conference Class B South division – notwithstanding Lacey, which should be a powerhouse this year, and perennial frontrunner Point Pleasant Borough.

Still, the key to any of the Bengals’ success is reliant on a lot of things, namely how well their younger wrestlers fill roles and perform and whether the more experienced guys can score bigger points in critical matches this winter.

Leading the way, of course, is senior Griffin Jackstadt, the Bengals’ heavyweight who last year emerged as one of the team’s top wrestlers, going 29-7 en route to an NJSIAA District 29 title and Region VIII fourth-place finish, before winning several bouts in Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall during the individual state tourney.

Behind Jackstadt will be a pair of classmates – Mike DiPianta and Dante Powell – who should be in better position to compete among the upper echelon of the district later this season. At 132 a year ago, DiPianta went 29-7 but fell short of the district-tournament medals podium, while Powell finished 21-12 at 106 pounds.

Among the lowerweights, MacIver expects Anthony Cogliano, Jorge Ramos and Alizer Ruiz will see a lot of mat time, and freshmen Anthony Ryan, Matt Fronzack and Christian Baccigalupi will fill out the 113 through 120 weight classes.

In the middle  of the lineup between 138 and 160, the strength of the Bengals hinges on T.J. Crudup (16-9 in 2019), James Circle (17-17), Matt Giarratano, Mason Bayer (14-17), Jared Schworn, Kevin Fazio (2-5) and newcomer Joe DiFrancesco.

Up top, Lou Salto, Rashidi Alleyne (10-22) and Ryan Buckley will have big shoes to fill for the graduated Charlie Cotton, who went 35-5 and ended up a third-place finisher in the district.

The Bengals open the season on Thursday, Dec. 19, at home against Overbrook.

Boys Basketball Squad
Seeking Improvement

The Barnegat boys basketball team went through a bit of a rebuilding season last year as many players among Mike Puorro’s crew tried to find their comfort zone in a tough Shore Conference Class B South division. The fruits of their experience from last winter should benefit the Bengals this season, especially since most of the squad is back on the hardwood.

Leading the way will be senior guards Nick and Brendan Revello, who last season combined for 442 points and Brendan led the team with 35 three-point field goals, as well as junior guard Jaxon Baker, who buried 7 treys and tallied 145 points.

The problem the Bengals may face rests on the interior guys, as they aim to fill the big role left behind by the graduated Sean Morris. To that end, Puorro may look to senior forward Shane Savastano, senior guard/forward Ty’zon Jackson, junior guard/forward Jared Krey or sophomore forward Keean Paul.

Senior guard Chris Revello and junior guards Logan Amrstrong, Tyler Quinn and Andrew Vernieri, as well as sophomore guard John Hudak, also may called upon to fill roles throughout games this season. Senior forward Isaiah Gerena, a transfer from Holy Spirit High School, and junior guard Laurence Davis, returning from a knee injury last winter, could add valuable contributions.

— David Biggy

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