Despite a heartbreaking loss to one of the top teams in the country, Bergen Catholic is still the best team in New Jersey.
The Crusaders are the unanimous No. 1 team for the second straight week in the New Jersey Wrestling Writers Association's Top 20 poll. The Crusaders collected all 13 first-place votes in the poll that was released Monday night.
The Crusaders, who have been ranked No. 1 in the poll every week since the 2013-14 season, beat Passaic Tech 59-4 last Wednesday, but dropped a 30-29 contest to Clovis High School, a California team that is ranked sixth in the country by InterMat Wrestling, on Friday.
In their home match against Clovis, the Crusaders, ranked ninth nationally, built a 28-6 lead through nine bouts, only to see it erased by the Cougars after they won the final five matches at 182, 195, 220, 285 and 106 pounds, including three by pin from 195-285.
Bergen Catholic, which beat No. 10 Pope John, 50-13, and Holy Spirit, 54-15, to improve to 4-1 on the year on Monday, will look to stay atop the rankings and improve its national standing this week when they take on DePaul on Wednesday and compete in the Who's No. 1 duals on Saturday. For the Who's No. 1 duals, the Crusaders are in a field that features defending national champ Blair Academy, Lake Highland Prep (FL), Bethlehem Catholic (PA), Malvern Prep (PA), Mount St. Joseph (MD), McDonough School (MD) and St. Augustine Prep.
Following Bergen Catholic are the same teams that were ranked second through eighth in the first poll.
Delbarton, which lost a 40-15 match to Clovis on Thursday, is ranked second; Cranford comes in ranked third again, South Plainfield sits in fourth and Phillipsburg is fifth. Bound Brook, Hunterdon Central and Howell remained in the sixth, seventh and eighth spots.
Pope John jumped into the top 10 for the first time in the poll's five-year history by moving up to ninth from 12th after winning the team championship at the Hunterdon Warren Sussex Tournament for the first time in program history. In the tri-county tournament, the Lions edged Hunterdon Central, 195-192, for the team crown, beat out Phillipsburg by 25 points and beat 10th-ranked Delaware Valley by 49 1/2 points.
1. Bergen Catholic (4-1), 260
2. Delbarton (7-1), 247
3. Cranford (6-0), 227
4. South Plainfield (18-1), 225
5. Phillipsburg (5-1), 209
6. Bound Brook (5-3), 194
7. Hunterdon Central (6-2), 176
8. Howell (15-1), 163
9. Pope John (7-1), 160
10. Delaware Valley (8-2), 142
11. Hanover Park (8-1), 135
12. Paulsboro (7-0), 120
13. Delsea (9-3), 95
14. Queen of Peace (4-0), 88
15. Raritan (14-1), 60
16. Seton Hall Prep (19-0), 49
17. High Point (8-1), 44
18. Don Bosco Prep (5-4), 42
19. Monroe (11-1), 36
20. Southern (5-1), 29
Others receiving votes: Collingswood (11-1), 9, DePaul (4-2), 8, Middletown North (12-0), 8, North Hunterdon (9-2), 4
NJWWA voting members (in alphabetical order): Donald J. Brower (MorrisCountyHSWrestling.com); Frank D'Esposito (TheShoreConference.com); Steve Falk (Asbury Park Press and app.com); Josh Friedman (Courier Post of Cherry Hill, Daily Journal of Vineland); Screwy Louie Lazzari (New Jersey historian); John Lewis (Burlington County Times); Ron Mazzola (NJWWA president, Region 5 ranking chairman); Tom McGurk (Courier Post of Cherry Hill); Anthony Spaulding (New Jersey Herald); Mark Trible (Courier Post of Cherry Hill); Greg Tufaro (Home News Tribune of East Brunswick); Mike Weilamann (Open Mike/Mugs Media); Brad Wilson (Express-Times).
NJSIAA Region 6 Wrestling - Shore Conference Wrestling - Shore Conference New Jersey Wrestling - Wrestling Rankings