SCOTT SHOULD HAVE A BOBCHIN PHOTO
By Bob Nuse
Alec Bobchin has taken gradual steps forward when it comes to the state wrestling tournament.
As a sophomore, Bobchin was happy to make it to Atlantic City and be a part of the atmosphere that surrounds New Jersey’s top wrestling event. Last year, Bobchin went to Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City with the goal of making it to the podium, which he did when he finished in eighth place at 138 pounds in the state tournament.
This year, the Princeton High senior is heading to Atlantic City with one goal in mind – making it not just to the podium, but to the top of the podium.
“It is definitely a different feeling this year,” said Bobchin, who won the Region 5 championship when he defeated Manalapan’s Alax Baran, 5-0, in the final last Saturday at Franklin High School. “I expected to get back here and my goals are different. Last year the goal was to get on the podium. This year the goal is to not only get to the podium but to get on top of the podium.”
Bobchin enters the state tournament as the No. 4 seed at 138 pounds. He took a 35-2 record into his opening match against Cole Carroll of Seton Hall Prep. The tournament was scheduled to begin Thursday with the opening round and the round of 16. Wrestlebacks and the quarterfinals and semifinals are scheduled for Friday, with the consolations and finals slated for this Saturday.
“Heading into it I know that I have the talent and with the work that I have done I have the skill to get where I want to be,” Bobchin said. “I worked so hard in the offseason to reach my goals that I want to achieve. I took a week or two off after states last year and then was right back on the mat. Last year I finished eighth and I wasn’t satisfied. I wanted to see myself on the top of the podium. It feels so much better than being down there on the podium.”
Bobchin became the first Princeton wrestler to repeats as a region champion. He was also named the Most Outstanding Wrestler at the Region 5 tournament.
Bobchin will not be the only Princeton High wrestler in Atlantic City this weekend.
Sophomore Chloe Ayers advanced to the states tournament in the first Girls Wrestling State Championships, which will also be contested at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City. All 60 of the qualifiers will wrestle on the first day. As a region champion at 105 pounds, Ayres received a first-round bye and will face the winner of the match between Ilsabel Saire of Rahway and Julia Manolas of Manalapan in the semifinals. The finals and consolation finals are set for 11:30 a.m. this Saturday.
Bobchin entered the state tournament focused on the task at hand.
“I just take it one match at a time and focus on the match ahead of me,” Bobchin said. “I try to focus on getting my offense going and my feet moving. I know I have to wrestle my match. During the offseason I just continued to build on what I was doing. I tried to keep up the pace at practice and doing my private practices.”
At the Region 5 tournament, Princeton put four wrestlers into the quarterfinals. Senior Daniel Monahan finished fifth at 126 pounds, while sophomore James Romaine and junior Dominic Riendeau-Krause both placed in the top eight. Only the top four finishers in each weight class from each of the eight regions advanced to the state tournament in Atlantic City.
After a good weekend at regions, two wrestlers are still standing for Princeton.
“It will be great to have someone down there with me,” Bobchin said. “The goal is two state championships.”