COLLINGSWOOD - Down 6-3 after two matches, the West Deptford wrestling needed someone to step up and set the tone.
West Deptford coach James Shields called on senior heavyweight Van Galbraith to swing the momentum.
The senior answered the call.
Galbraith delivered a second period pin that gave West Deptford a 9-6 lead that eventually turned into a 51-22 victory over Collingswood. The original slate did not feature Galbraith in either the 215-pound or heavyweight spot, but the senior was unfazed by the late decision.
"I was prepared unless I heard my name called," Galbraith said. "I'm always ready for any situation. I like to think I perform better in tough situations."
West Deptford's Van Galbraith celebrates after winning his bout in the 285-pound match during the wrestling match at Collingswood High School in Collingswood, New Jersey on Wednesday, January 17, 2024. Collin Conway/D2 Sports Network
The first three bouts went back and forth. West Deptford's Marcus Carter opened the match with a 4-2 decision over Geremia VanZandt. Omarion Hollinsworth answered back for Collingswood with a second period pin to give the Panthers their first and only lead.
Galbraith's pin started a streak of four straight wins. Each triumph included bonus points. Ryan McConaghy earned a 13-0 major decision at 106 pounds, Talen Terrinoni recorded a pin at 113 pounds, and Anthony Catando received a victory via forfeit at 120 pounds before the streak was snapped.
Collingswood's Lino Bataloni earned a first period pin at 126 pounds before West Deptford rattled off four straight wins again from 132 pounds to 150 pounds. All but one bout included bonus points in the second four-bout win streak for the Eagles. Owen Entrekin and James Lorman stuck pins, Trevor Lundfelt picked up a 16-0 technical fall, and Ayden Tighe won via a 3-1 decision.
Matt Malinowski won via pin (157) and Roman Florio (165) recorded a 13-2 major decision to help Collingswood pick up back-to-back wins later in the match.
There were a few matches that slipped away from the Panthers that could've swung the momentum into their favor.
"We were right there in a few big bouts," Collingswood coach Dechlin Moody said. "We probably should've won at certain weight classes, but we'll learn from it and move on."
West Deptford's Chris Andujar capped the match with a forfeit victory as the Eagles improved their record to13-1. The victory followed up a first-place finish at the Virginia Duals.
"These guys love each other, and the energy has been high all year," Shields said. "They've bought in all season long and they're seeing the results of their hard work so far. The season is far from over, but we want to remain humble and focused on the rest of the season."