In arguably the biggest dual meet win in program history, Christian Brothers Academy wrestling defeated Shore Conference No. 1 Howell, 28-27, on Thursday, ending the Rebels' impressive 73-match win streak against Shore opponents.
The streak dated back to 2005 and Howell has won the last 10 Shore A-North titles. The Rebels had been cruising through the start of this season coming into the match against CBA.
As imagined, the meet was tense, with a packed gym at Howell High and the Rebels' signature "spotlight" mat (Howell darkens all but the mat in their gym).
The meet was so close that senior Dylan VanSickell, the Colts' final wrestler, thought CBA lost when he did not get a major decision. Much to his surprise, the 132-pound VanSickell just needed to beat his opponent to win the meet for CBA.
"Obviously, it's a huge win," VanSickell told the Asbury Park Press after the meet. " We got destroyed [by Howell] last year, our expectations were crushed. To bounce back as a team is huge. I think that comes from the brotherhood. That comes from the fact that I'm going to put my best effort out there for the guy standing next to me in the room."
The only way VanSickell got the opportunity to win the meet was thanks to his teammates who wrestled before him, as CBA trailed in the meet 27-17 heading into the final three bouts.
A big 5-0 decision by freshman Sam LaCorte pulled CBA within seven points, which was followed by an 8-0 major decision by standout senior Sebastian Rivera, who was wrestling up six pounds at 126. Rivera's major decision allowed some breathing room for VanSickell's bout.
CBA won eight of the 14 bouts on the night, including Ben Kuhn (152 lbs.), Chris Koutzen (170 lbs.), Jack LaCorte (195 lbs.), Will Oxlet (HWT) and Richie Koehler (113 lbs.).
The Colts, who are now 3-2 and had been ranked No. 5 in the Shore poll, have the advantage in the division with the win, giving CBA a chance at their first-ever division title.