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SCCC Wrestling Team Wins GSAC Championship

2/6/2024 12:00:00 PM

On Saturday, February 3, the Sussex County Community College Wrestling Team competed in the 2024 Garden State Athletic Conference Team Championship. This Tournament consisted of the top 4 schools in the Conference based on records and results of in-season conference duels. Camden was the number one seed with a 5-0 record, Union the two seed with a 3-2 record, Sussex the third seed with a 3-2 record, and Middlesex the fourth seed with a 2-3 record. 

The Tournament featured Camden vs Middlesex in the first round and Sussex vs Union. Camden won over Middlesex to advance to the final.

Sussex was able to rewrite the script as they pulled off a 33-21 upset over second-seeded Union. At 125lbs Roman Citro started the Skylanders off with a pin, followed by another bonus point victory as Seth Hagensen earned a 12-1 major decision at 133lbs. Next, Chris Casale got a first-period fall to put the Skylanders up 16-0 heading into 149. Chris Dwyer bumped up two weight classes, so Sussex did not have to forfeit. Dwyer almost pulled off the upset, trailing 13-10 as he chased a final takedown but could not finish. Thaylor Sibblies got Sussex back on the board, earning bonus points at 157. At 165, Sussex forfeited, bringing the score to 22-9. Shawn Pawlowski at 174 got a tech fall, and Noah Ripley pinned at 184 to put Sussex up 33-9 and ensure a team win. Sussex forfeited at 197, and Shane Saulnier at heavyweight was in a 0-0 match before getting caught on his back for a final score of Sussex 33 to Union 21. This was enough to send Sussex to their first-ever GSAC Championship Final and set up a rematch against Camden, the defending champions.  

The final match against Camden began in favor of Sussex as Roman Citro earned a tech fall victory at 125lbs. Next, Seth Hagensen earned a 10-2 Major Decision to give Sussex a 9-0 lead with eight matches left. At 141lbs, Chris Casale  lost a close 6-4 decision but kept an important match close and allowed Sussex to bump and forfeit at 149. With the score tied 9-9, Chris Dwyer went out at 157lbs, hoping to collect a forfeit, but was sent a match; he fought hard. Unfortunately, the match wanted for Thaylor went to Dwyer, and Thaylor was given a forfeit. He still earned Sussex bonus points, collecting the forfeit at 165lbs and bringing the score to 15-15. Shawn Pawlowski got a big 10-0 major decision to put Sussex up 4. Noah Ripley followed that up with a 7-1 decision at 184, giving Sussex a 22-15 lead with two matches left. Mike Castles bumped up to 197 and made his season debut after sitting out all year due to an early season injury. He was down 4-2 heading into the second period but quickly went to work earning the fall. This secured Sussex's win and the GSAC championship, putting them up 28-15 with one match left. Shane Saulnier received a forfeit at heavyweight, and the 3rd-seeded Sussex Skylanders knocked off the top-seeded Camden Cougars 34-15 for the win. This gives Sussex Wrestling their first-ever GSAC Championship.  

The Skylanders are back on the mat Sunday, February 11
at East Stroudsburg University when they compete against
NCAA Division II's ESU, Seton Hill, and Division III Centenary.