South Brunswick High School is 2-1 in the new wrestling season.
The Vikings beat Linden High School, 48-34, on Dec. 15, lost to Hillsborough High School, 43-42, on the same day and then topped Old Bridge High School, 51-24, on Dec. 19 at home.
South Brunswick’s victory over Old Bridge was decisive.
Matthew Klimkiewicz (120 pounds), Aybars Tabur (126), Sahaj Singh (132), C.J. Smith (138), Armaan Khatri (152), A.J. Anderson-Thomas (195), Giuseppe Favaloro (220) and Elijah McGill (heavyweight) all won by a fall. Fred Offenburger (160) won by decision.
The Vikings looked like a team that can win dual meets with a balanced lineup.
“They performed well. We were disappointed in our loss because it was close. So we came out tonight and had a mindset to score first, and we scored first and were aggressive,” said South Brunswick coach Robert Januska. “We definitely learned from last weekend.”
Januska was happy with most of his wrestlers for winning on Dec. 19, but the first kid he mentioned was actually 106-pound Zain Ahmad, who was pinned at 3:09.
“He’s a brand new wrestler, and although it didn’t turn out well on the scoreboard, he fought his tail off,” Januska said.
So, Januska was elated by the effort and development of his young, inexperienced squad. He was especially pleased with the young wrestler who pulled off South Brunswick’s biggest victory of the night, Khatri, a freshman.
“We had that (152 pound) bout as a toss up, going either way,” Januska said. “And he came through with a huge victory.”
“When the young ones are learning as fast as they are, that’s a great sign,” Januska added. “If we continue to grow, we’re certainly hopeful we can compete in the (Greater Middlesex Conference’s) Red Division.”
The coach thinks his team is talented, but he is not sure what it can accomplish.
“We don’t put a ceiling on it,” he said. “We go one day at a time, take the mistakes we made and try to improve. The sky is the limit but it depends on these guys to take responsibility.”
The Vikings are not the most experienced team. But they do have upperclassmen, like Khatri’s older brother, Arjun Khatri. The 126-pound wrestler provides leadership off the mat and consistent points on the mat.
In the Linden match, he pinned his opponent in 1:24. In the Hillsborough defeat, the older Khatri pinned his adversary in 2:14.
“I wanted to go out there and dominate, set a good example for the rest of the team,” Khatri said. “Overall I think I did well.”
Arjun Khatri, like his coach, is confident in his young teammates.
“We lost six seniors last year and we were expected to be rebuilding this year,” Khatri said. “But we have a lot of new guys coming up with a lot of potential, and we’ve been instilling a nice work ethic in the room, and it’s really been translating to the mat.”
“We’re just trying to do our best,” Armaan Khatri said. “But I think we’ll do great this year.”
South Brunswick will get back on the mat on Dec. 27 at Collingswood High School.