Manville High School’s wrestling team captured the Skyland Conference Delaware Division title Wednesday night, Jan. 28, by beating Belvidere, 36-30, in front of a standing-room-only crowd. It is the first title since 1994 for the Mustangs (9-1) and the excitement packed the gym and gave pride to the high school.
The students packed the gym wearing white for a "white out" and cheered and supported the grapplers from the corner.
This is the first title for Patrick Gorbatuk, a head coach former Manville High wrestler himself.
"We are going to enjoy it for the night and then back in the room and work our butts off," he said. "In eight years of being head coach, we obviously have come a long way. I am happy for the kids. I had wresting environments like this when I was young and the environment has disappeared."
Going into the final match of the evening with a tie score of 30-30, the Mustangs’ fate was left up to the 106-pounder Jonathan Ahorrio. He came through with the clutch fall. The crowd went wild as Ahorrio jumped into Coach Gorbatuk’s arms.
"Well before the match I was very nervous but very determined. Getting ready before the match was very heart pumping," he said. "Hearing the team clap for me and me running out got my heart pumping. After hearing the whistle blow for that winning pin, my body just got so amped and I was so proud of myself. I looked at my family, team, coaches, and the big crowd of classmates cheering for me."
Heavyweight Michael Tyle (285) set up the final drama in the penultimate match of the night in a 3-2 decision to tie the score.
The gym was filled with many former MHS wrestlers, like Frank Passe Jr and Brett Stibitz, who came out to support their alma mater and coach Gorbatuk.
"It’s awesome. It is like a reunion in here is it not?" said Coach Gorbatuk.
Assistant Coach David Markowitch, also a former MHS wrestler, was happy to be a part of the team.
"It’s a lot of hard its paid off. These kids bust their butts 12 months out of the year. It’s great for them and it shows how hard they work," he said.
MHS Principal Jim Brunn watched his students take the title. "This was a terrific moment for the students, our school and our town and I am so proud of everyone," he said.
The seniors on the team said they hoped this would happen before they graduated.
"It is a dream come true," said Milton Teixeria. "It has been a long time since ’94 and we have been waiting for this for a long time. I am trying to take it all in. It is amazing and something that I have wanted since freshman year."
Fellow wrestler Kevin Murillo was overwhelmed.
"I can’t even explain it. I am trying to take it in right now. It is too much," he said. "It is something that I have always wanted since freshmen year and it is something that we’ve always dreamed of and we’ve accomplished. It is just an amazing feeling."
Junior Jeremy Nurnberger, who won his match said, "It feels great I just can’t believe it since 1994 was our last banner and now we finally got one. It is a stress reliever. We just had the right team. We knew we were tough against the upper weights but the lower weights came and pulled it through."
Nate Bott, also a former MHS wrestler, was happy seeing the team and his younger brother Nurnberger win the title.
"They went out there and gave it 110 percent," he said. "That is the only thing we can do in a match like this — give it 110 percent."
"I am happy for the kids I had the wresting environments like this when I was young and the environment has disappeared," Coach Gorbatuk said.
The match began with 113-pounder Brian Kuhlman gaining a forfeit victory. Bobby Demeter (120) lost his bout, but Shane Demeter (126) won, 8-4. Kevin Murillo (132) and Milton Teixeira (138) both pinned their opponents.
TJ Caswell (145) won, 6-3, and Jeremy Nurnberger (152) also won, 4-2.
Going into the upper weights the Mustangs ran into trouble. Giorgio Gvaramadze (160), Albert Rager (170) and Matt Rogalski (182) were all pinned by their opponents. Senior Kyle Puza (195) lost, 3-0, at 195 pounds. Josh Vargas (220) also was pinned to give Belvidere the slight edge over the Mustangs, 30-27, at that point.