Bound Brook Wrestling: Welcome


   Joan M. Gleason

10/25/30 to 4/21/17

       Bound Brook wrestling lost their biggest fan on  Friday as Joan Gleason took the express lane to Heaven and passed away. "Mom" was known by the Bound Brook wrestlers for delicious cookies and uplifting attitude. However, if she thought you could do better or work harder, she certainly let you know. She also sent wrestlers, coaches and officials letters everytime they did something to impress her. She attended the States every year since 1972 and over 15 NCAA wrestling tournaments. She really did love wrestling!

      Visitation for her will be at St. Joseph Church on Mountain Avenue in Bound Brook on Monday from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. She will have a mass of Christian burial at St. Joseph Church at 10 a.m. on Tuesday. She will be interred with her beloved husband Robert and near her beloved son Patrick in the Bound Brook Cemetary.

      In lieu of flowers she would prefer that donations be made to either St. Joseph Church, P.O. Box 72, Bound Brook, New Jersey 08805 or Bound Brook Wrestling, 114 East Union Avenue, Bound Brook, New Jersey 08805.

      Rest in Peace Mom as you were the soul and conscience of the Bound Brook wrestling program! 




Norman wins State

Martinez places sixth

     Lorenzo Norman won his second youth State Championship on Saturday at the Trenton Arena when he defeated four opponents in the 120 Lbs. Junior Division. He was very dominant this year as he pinned his first three opponents and then cruised to a 5-0 win in the finals against Sabino Portillo of the Triumph Wrestling Club. It is the fourth year in a row in which Lorenzo has either won or placed in the States. 

     Alex Martinez placed for the first time in the State when he placed sixth in the 112 Lbs. weight class. He started his day with a pin and and a win before falling in the quarter-finals to the eventual runner-up. He then won one more match to place sixth.

       Congratulations guys on a great day and continuing our program wide goal of State Champs and State Place Winners! 



      Zach Vatalare became a four time NCWA All American when he placed second at their National Championships in Texas. Zach competed in the 141 Lbs. weight class and finished the tournament with a 4-1 record for the University of Michigan Wrestling Club. This was by far his best finish in four attempts. Add to it that he was also named a Academic All American for the third consecutive year.

        Zach will graduate from UM this year and move on to the University of Delaware to pursue his Masters Degree in Physical Therapy.... I think.  Nice job Zach! 



Cleary & Casey place in States

     In the Summer of 2013 the Bound Brook wrestling team convened the last week of June to wrestle in the Long Branch Duals. On the team that day were three new wrestlers I had seen wrestle live once and barely knew. We put them on the mat in three weights in a row and the coaches all looked at each other and basically said: "Holy crap they're good, we better not screw this up!" Those wrestlers were George Walton, Stephan Glasgow and Mekhi Lewis and I don't know if we screwed them up, but I do know they all became New Jersey State Champions on Sunday in Atlantic City. It is the first time in the history of Bound Brook wrestling that we've had three State Champs in one year and they are the school's 23rd, 24th and 25th State Champions and gives the Crusaders 13 State Champions this young century.

        However, they were not alone on the award stand as Robbie Cleary took third in the State and Joe Casey place sixth in the State. Add to that JJ Sistrunk's and Travis Hays' wins and you've got to say we had a tournament almost beyond expectations..... I said almost!!


        Talk about no respect. George Walton placed fourth in the state of New Jersey  last season and defeated second seed soundly at the Junior Nationals, but yet he was afterthought of winning this weight class by all the pundits who fawned over the other returning State place winners. But we in the know are keenly aware that George Walton is an remarkable wrestler who doesn't like to cut weight. That's right I said it, the kid doesn't even cut weight! But in the end those pundits did us a favor because they gave George a chip for his shoulder which in his case is very dangerous, just ask the ref who hit him for stalling in the District finals.

         George started fast in the tournament with three pins against Sam Houstan of CBA,  Turner Hadad of Governor Livingston and Region Champ Chris Nielsen of Pineland. Then things got tough when he had a hard fought semi-final win against Queen of Peace State place-winner Dominick Maniero in overtime with a neutral in overtime. That placed him in the finals against Scotch Plains upstart Sam Wustefeld and although it wasn't his or the ref's best match, George prevailed with a takedown in the third period and a 5-4 win (Hey, but you try wrestling in front of 10,000 wrestling fans watching every move you make.) . In the end George bested his fourth place finish from last year and became a New Jersey State Champion who was undefeated in New Jersey with a 39-2 record.

         The future is at Old Dominion for George as he accepted a scholarship there and they are getting a kid who is a amazing wrestler, a great friend to the other kids and has a successful future at his fingertips. Congratulations Geroge!


       When I watched Shane Griffith at the Whose Number One wrestling meet this past Fall I thought: "Boy that kid is hard to score on, I don't know what we will do to beat him." Then I remembered he was going to have to wrestle Stephan Glasgow and our guy is one heck of a smart wrestler.  Not only was I proven right, I was proven right twice as Stephan defeated Griffith for the second time this season by a 3-2 score and showed again his amazing instinct and talent on a wrestling mat as Griffith never threatened him in the match.

       Stephan was equally impressive in the rest of his matches as he defeated Tim Hamann of Jackson Twp. and Kade Loughney of Lacey by falls on Friday and then defeated undefeated Omar Abdelhamid of Rutherford 13-3 in the quarter-finals. He seemed a little distracted in his 9-5 semi-final win against Tim Kanniard of Wall before earning a Outstanding Wrestler worthy performance against Griffith. In three State tournaments Stephan placed second once and won two titles and who knows what he would've done if he would've made weight for Regions his freshman year! Damn Slurpees! Stephan was undefeated in New Jersey this year with a 36-1 record.

        How lucky is Rutgers University to get this amazing and delightfully hilarious kid on their team next season, In fact, I hope he studies acting at the Mason Gross School of the Arts because not only does he remind everyone of Chris Tucker, he has a great ability to make everyone laugh around him.  Besides that I will never forget him hitting the "We want State Champions" sign in our room everytime he got a takedown in practice his junior year (BTW, it ain't easy getting takedowns in our room).


        Last year he survived, this year he thrived! In last season's State Championship match Mekhi Lewis one by the hair of his chinny, chin, chin and that's because he was nervous. This year he might have been nervous, but also wasn't going to be denied,. Mekhi defeated reigning 160 Lbs. State Champion Kyle Cochoran of Paramus by a 5-3 score and in-turn was voted as one of the Outstanding Wrestler's of the tournament.

        Mekhi was a pinning machine going into the State tournament and that continued as he pinned Daequan Jackson-Swoope of Rancocas Valley, Joe Napoleone of St. Joes-Montvale, Matthew Garrity of Lacey and then disappointingly (sarcasm added) major decisioned Michael Petite of Piscataway by a 16-4 score in the semi-finals.  He finished his senior season with a 43-0 record.

        Mekhi is headed to Virginia Tech next season and what a wrestler they are getting. He is quiet, funny and driven kid who will not be denied what he wants in room and in his life. He was the only four time State place-winner in this year's tournament and is a true bad-a$$.


         Sometimes when things are going well enough, people just keep going on and not worrying about if there is something more they could be doing. Robbie Cleary ain't that person and he showed that this season as he left his comfortable Middlesex County schedule to test himself with Bound Brook's challenging in-state and out-of-state schedule. It resulted in a few more regular season losses this season, but he moved up the medal stand four places as he placed third at 138 Lbs. when he defeated Quinn Kinner for the second time in the tournament with the score in this match being 11-4.

         Robbie defeated Alex Winant of Mendham by a 11-4 major decision and Bob Dinger of Middlesex by a 4-3 score on Friday, before defeating Kinner on Saturday morning by a 3-2. He seemed passive in his semi-final match against Gerard Angelo of Bergen Catholic falling by a 8-6 score, but defeated Travis Layton of Woodstown by a 6-4 score to earn his right to wrestle for third. He finished the season 39-4 record and a staggering 150 wins in his career.

        In the end, we will never know what Robbie would have done if he didn't face the challenges of the Bound Brook wrestling room, but you know what we don't care! Robbie is great and thoughtful kid who has a lot of talents including those of an artist. Rutgers University is getting a leader who impresses everyone he meets. 


       Joe Casey finally proved me wrong and actually placed higher in a tournament then he did in the past as he took sixth in the State at 145 Lbs. on Sunday. Unfortunately for Joe he was injured in his semi-final and could not compete after that match.

      However, before that match Joe was doing a nice job as he TJ Caswell of Manville by a 4-0 decision and then defeated Stanley Wojdylak of Middletown North by a 8-4 score on Friday night. Saturday morning he faced a tough drink of water in undefeated Cole Corrigan of Toms River South, but he prevailed by a 2-1 overtime decision before falling to the eventual State Champ Nick Palumbo of Lenape Valley in the semis. Joe finished the season with a adventurous 31-9 record and his third and best placement at States.

        This coach looks forward to making Joe Bound Brook's 26th State Champion in the off-season as the kid is incredibly athletic and just needs to know how devastating good he can be as others have come and gone, but Joe has remained and experienced the rewards he so deserves.


       Travis Hays by all accounts is probably a 152 pounder on most teams and a darn good one at that. Unfortunately (or is it fortunately?) Bound Brook quite literally has the best 152 and 160 pounders in the state of New Jersey. So Travis had to wrestle 170 this season and sometimes 182 and even 195 and even still face a tough wrestle-off against Matt Duarte to wrestle in Districts. At Districts he placed third, so the idea he'd make States was not a sure thing and the fact as the 32nd seed that he'd win a match even less likely. But you know what he did as after losing to the eventual State runner-up Dominick Mandarino of Don Bosco, Travis defeated Charles McCall of Winslow Township with a tough on top mentality. He was then eliminated by Drew Bowker of Rancocas Valley, but darn he has a lot to be proud of! Travis is headed to the Air Force and you probably see how unbelievably successful he is someday.

        JJ Sistrunk is only a sophomore, but had a outstanding sophomore campaign with a 32-11 record. He had his ups and downs, especially with Mike Tyle of Manville, but did start his tournament off with a overtime win over Egg Harbor's Paul Valian in the first round. If this kid works on his good outside single and more importantly just gets in front of Coach Lukacs and lifts the daylights out of it, I guarantee he'll be a State Champ. The weight is heavy and it has some technique, but if your a beast your the Champ. He could definitely be a beast!


         I'm tired, it's late and I ain't proofreading this article tonight, but if you didn't know Bound Brook has had an amazing State tournament run these past 19 years.  Here are some fun facts to nosh on:

-13 State Champions since 2004
-20 State finalists since 2000
-19 years with at least one State place-winner
-The winningest wrestler in New Jersey twice.
-The outstanding wrestler of the State tournament three times.
-38 State place winners since 1999 
-A four time State Champion
-3 four time State place-winners
-3 three time State place-winners

        What a run by some amazingly dedicated kids who have idiot coaches who work their a$$e$ off and only expect perfection. Here are this season's final records. 

 106 No wrestler
113 Mark Venson 16-15 (Season Complete)
120 No wrestler
126 No wrestler
132 Carlos Uglade 7-12 (Season Complete)
138 Rob Cleary 39-4 (Career Complete and 3rd in State)
145 Joe Casey 31-6 (Season Complete and 6th in State)
152 Stephan Glasgow 36-1 (Career Complete and 2x STATE CHAMPION)
       Matt Duarte 13-14 (Career Complete)
160 Mekhi Lewis 43-0 (Career Complete and 2x STATE CHAMPION)
       Nazareth Saavedra 0-2 (Career Complete) 
170 Travis Hays 25-13 (Career Complete)
       David Ugalde 1-3 (Season Complete)
182 George Walton 39-2 (Career Complete and STATE CHAMPION)
195 No Wrestler
220 Mike Borja 7-22 (Career Complete) 
285 Jervey Sistrunk 32-11  


Seven State qualifiers plus five Champs plus one team title equals the sixth ranked team in Region 5!

        After Saturday's conclusion of the Region 5 wrestling tournament I can only surmise that the coaches who voted on the rankings of the teams in Region 5 must have been the same people doing the polling for this past year's Presidential election. Why do you say? Well should the team that has the most wrestlers going to A.C, who had five individual Champions, easily one the team race and beat the number one team in the Region head-to-head be voted the sixth best team in the Region? Most would say that makes little sense. 

       All kidding aside, who cares! The Crusaders want State Champions and place-winners and that credo showed on Saturday as they dominated Region 5 finishing the day with a glistening 14-2 individual record. They outpaced the number one team in Region 5 by a 161.5 to 125, had five Champs and two other State qualifiers. They did it by embracing the idea that being tough on top is imperative in Championship wrestling. In fact, the Crusaders scored back-points in four of five finals and in the other final held their opponent down for 45 seconds after taking him down for the go ahead points. Tough on top, tough on top, tough on top. It's the part of the analytics of wrestling and people just don't get it, but we do! Here is a summary of each wrestler's day:

138 ROBBIE CLEARY (Champion)- Wrestling in his fourth Region final Robbie had a hard earned victory against one of his rivals Matt Kolonia of Delaware Valley. After giving up the first takedown, he got his neutral easily in the first period to make the score of the bout 2-1. He then got the next neutral and takedown and held Kolonia down for 45 seconds to take a 4-2 lead into the third. The only scoring in the third was a neutral by Kolonia making the final 4-3. He earned the finals by defeating Sean Thompson of West Windsor South by a 14-4 score in the semis.

145 JOE CASEY (Champion)- Had a tall order Today as he is undefeated in Region competition but was facing an undefeated Nick Lombard of Monroe in the finals. However, Joe was given a easy neutral in the second, then scored takedown and back-points to take a 5-0 lead. He didn't exactly finish how we'd like, but we WILL fix that this week. In the end he won by a 6-5 score. In the semis he defeated TJ Caswell of Manville by a 8-0 score.

152 STEPHAN GLASGOW (Champion)- Sometimes you just love something a kid does in a match, with Stephan it happens like five times a match as he gave Joe Hatcher is second loss in as many weekends and for the season by a 20-6 score. His feet were amazing and his ability to go feet-to-back on takedowns just make him so darn dangerous. It was his third Region Championship and he got there by pinning Scott Dupont of Holmdel in 2:25 seconds in the Semis. He truly DOMINATES!

160 MEKHI LEWIS (Champion)- When Mek is on a mission, you can think you are going to beat him, but if he chooses to DOMINATE you've got no shot. The Outstanding Wrestler of Region 5 tore through the tournament to win his fourth Region title. In the finals he faced State place-winner Michael Petite for the second consecutive week and pinned him for the second consecutive week, this time in 31 seconds. His Region tournament lasted exactly 4 minutes and 30 seconds, 'nuff said.

170 TRAVIS HAYS (4th Place)- Coming from the seventh seed Travis avenged a pin from last weeks District semi-finals against East Brunswick's Jason Minikle to defeat him by a 4-2 score and earn a trip to Atlantic City. In his first match of the day he had our quickest fall of the tournament (Not easy to do on this team)  when he pinned his Edison opponent in 16 seconds. In the third place match he fell to Nick Recine by fall when he didn't protect his feet while on top. Pretty good job by a kid who's probably a 152 pounder.

182 GEORGE WALTON (Champion)- If you are wrestling or reffing George lie low and don't do anything to motivate him. George put on a clinic in the finals as he pinned  Michael Iodice of Hunterdon Central after bringing to the verge of a tech fall. Early in the day George won by a major 15-4 decision against Joseph Walker of St. John Vianney.  Mr. Walton seems ready for a great run in Atlantic City. 

220 JERVEY SISTRUNK (3rd Place)- When this kid does some serious weight training you got yourself a load of trouble. JJ has continued his sophomore season with his first trip to Atlantic City and a third place finish. Friday night he defeated Paul Liseno of Keansburg 5-2, then after falling to eventual Champion Dylan D'Amore in the semis defeated Lou Ceras of Monroe and his old nemisis Mike Tyle of Manville in overtime to punch his ticket.

        Not too bad of a day and I guess we have to get another room in Atlantic City. That will be the best 600 bucks the program ever spends! 


Saavedra Makes History

       Congratulations to Nazaeth Saavedra on making history for Bound Brook High School wrestling as she is our first woman wrestler ever to receive a full woman's scholarship for wrestling to King University!

       For those of you who aren't up to date in their woman's wrestling, the King College woman's wrestling team is the number one ranked team in the Woman's College Wrestling Association.  In other words, they are like the Penn State of woman's wrestling. King College is located in Bristol, Tennessee which also has a NASCAR track and a cool Geico commercial with that friendly little lizard.





        The great thing about life is sometimes you leave on the journey, but your just not sure how you're going to get to the destination. The Bound Brook High School wrestling team's journey last Saturday was Red Bank High School and the destination was their sixth consecutive District 18 Title. 

         How they got there was a inprobable second place finish by Carlos Ugalde at 132 Lbs.  It's no secret that the Crusaders are missing some weights this season and early in the season Carlos Ugalde came to Coach Cleary and said he'd like to make 132 Lbs. for the team to fill that gap in the line-up. It wasn't easy and often Carlos missed weight, but as time wore on he started to do a better job of managing that weight. That was certainly the case this past weekend as he made weight by Friday evening and wrestled the heck out of it on Saturday beating the fifth seed in overtime and the defeating the first seed in the quarter finals. In the finals he gave a good match to the second seed, but that didn't matter as he already gave a huge help to the Crusaders in the team race. Of course Carlos' didn't do it alone as other wrestlers who are used to district titles did their usual magic:

138 Robbie Cleary won his fourth District title and pinned his way through the tournament.

145 Joe Casey won his third District title and wrestled a staggering 27 seconds on the day, by quick falls in his first two matches and a default in the finals.

152 Stephan Glasgow had a undefeated wrestler in Joe Hatcher from Piscataway in the finals, but still put on a offensive fireworks show winning a 17-8 major decision first loss on the season.

160 Mekhi Lewis won the Outstanding Wrestler Award as he pinned all three of his opponents, including  a pin in a little over two minutes against State place-winner Michael Petite.

182 George Walton won his third title and scored bonus point wins in all his matches.

         Other wrestlers who helped the cause included JJ Sistrunk who reversed history from last year when he beat Manville's Mike Tyle in the Counties, but lost to him in the Districts. This season JJ lost in the Counties, but won in District semis with a takedown in sudden victory. 

         The Crusaders last two place-winners were Travis Hays who repeated his third place finish from a year ago and delivered a big win in the quarters against his higher seeded Hopewell Valley opponent and Mark Venson who's season concluded with a fourth place finish.

         The Crusaders who didn't win the districts (Ugalde, Sistrunk, Hays and Venson) take to the mats on Wednesday in the pre-quarters on the Region 5 tournament at Hunterdon Central, while the District Champs take the mats on Friday in quarter-finals action. Anyone who wins Wednesday also wrestles Friday and Saturday at Central. The rounds on Wednesday and Friday start at 5:30 p.m.