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Kingsway wrestling makes statement in comeback win over Camden Catholic

CHERRY HILL (N.J.) - Kingsway Regional High School's wrestling team concluded its week with another victory.

Kingsway's Jason Meola, pictured, is awarded the victory after his 8-5 win at 106 pounds at Camden Catholic High School in Cherry Hill, New Jersey on Friday, January 27, 2023. Collin Conway/D2 Sports Network

The Dragons' week of matches started with a dominating 51-18 victory over Gloucester County rival Williamstown.

The Dragons followed up the performance with a gutsy 33-31 win over Camden Catholic on Friday night.

Kingsway's Nate Lubonski won the first match of the night with a pin at 126 pounds. Camden Catholic shot out to a 19-9 lead despite losing the opening bout, but Kingsway's fight and resiliency was the difference maker.

The Irish earned wins by decision from Kage Jones (138), Wayne Rold (144, major decision), Michael Craft (150), and Austin Craft (165). Camden Catholic also captured wins from Dom DiGiacomo (113), Sammy Spaulding (120), and Jackson Young (132) via forfeit.

Wins for Kingsway came abundantly from the bonus point winning matches. Jack Gelato (175), Ross Hare (190), and Luke Van Brill (215) each earned forfeit victories, while Sean Kirwin (157), Christopher San Paolo (285), and Jason Meola (106) all won by decisions. Meola's come-from-behind 8-5 decision for the Dragons clinched the tilt for his squad making it 33-19 with only two bouts left on the slate.

Injuries and slow starts have been the identity of Kingsway wrestling so far this season.

"We have quite a bit of holes in our lineup," Kingsway coach Mike Barikian said. "We've got guys out with illnesses, injuries, or we're resting guys because we need them close to or at 100% before the playoffs start.

"Slow starts have been kind of our thing this year. It doesn't get me too worried because of my faith in our wrestlers but we know what we have to work on."

Meola was a victim of the slow starts, but has won four out of his last five bouts in the 106-pound class.

"After the Escape the Rock tournament, I've really started to pick up in areas of slacked in and I feel like that's been my biggest factor to my recent triumphs," Meola said.

Down 4-1 late in the third period, Meola earned seven straight points before conceding an escape point to secure an 8-5 decision and also clinch the match for his team.

"I just knew I needed to score," Meola said. "I wanted to win that match for the team. I wasn't worried about a win or loss in the moment, I just knew that I had to score because once I execute moves that I need to, I know I can take control and do what I need to do to in for my team."

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