HAMMONTON — Hammonton High School wrestling coach Dave Mauriello describes Justin Flood as the type of athlete who deserves success.
Flood competes at the 106-pound weight class, just as he did in 2020. But his stature changed this season: He gained weight during the offseason.
The 16-year-old sophomore is listed at 105 pounds, a good bit more than he did as a freshman.
“That’s a big difference,” Mauriello said. “And it’s paying dividends for him.”
Flood earned a pin in 42 seconds to lead the Blue Devils to a 66-12 victory over Vineland in a Cape-Atlantic League West Division meet Friday morning.
Flood improved to 3-2, and the Blue Devils earned their first victory of the season.
“I felt good about it,” Flood said of his bout. “It was nice.”
“My first (contested) match (of the season, a 6-4 loss to Absegami’s Owen Doyle), I don’t wrestle very well. I should be better. I just didn’t have my head straight there.”
Flood also pinned Lower Cape May Regional’s Joseph DeLong in 40 seconds Wednesday. He is glad to be on the mat this season and wants to keep it that way.
“I would’ve liked an entire season,” Flood said.
Programs across the state have had to shut down due to COVID-19 concerns, including CAL teams such as Oakcrest, Holy Spirit and St. Augustine Prep. Hammonton and Vineland have not been affected.
“Honestly, we are just lucky right now that we aren’t getting (the virus),” Flood said. “I am hoping that everyone isn’t going out partying or stuff like that.”
Vineland was missing some wrestlers from its already limited lineup. Fighting Clan coach Jake Homiak said two were out due to minor injuries and another was out for undisclosed reasons. The result was forfeits in nine of the 14 weight classes, including one double forfeit.
But one Vineland highlight came at 132.
Yahira Cuevas, a junior, became the first female wrestler in the program to compete in a varsity meet, Homiak said. The Fighting Clan have had female wrestlers before, but only at the junior varsity level.
Cuevas, who never wrestled before this season, was pinned by Brett Stansbury in 1 minute, 8 seconds. Homiak called the moment “really cool.”
“She was nervous, but of all the girls that ever stepped into our room, she has worked the hardest,” Homiak said. “She is still in here. She wrestles with the guys. She does conditioning with the guys. I tell her every day, that’s a credit to her.
“I’m proud of her.”
Without a full lineup, Homiak just wants to get his wrestlers ready for regions and possibly states, including 2020 region qualifiers Dave Dutra (285) and Gabe Baldosaro (113).
Dutra and Baldosaro each won by pins.
Region 7 and 8 will be combined into one “super region” this season. Only 16 wrestlers will be in each weight class, making it harder to qualify.
“It’s just a matter of seeing how things shake up with those selection committees,” Homiak said. “But for us, my kids are working hard in the room and doing everything we are asking them to do. Hopefully, we can finish successfully without any hiccups for COVID.”
Mauriello, the Hammonton coach, praised the Vineland wrestlers, noting that he understands the Fighting Clan were missing wrestlers and calling Dutra and Baldosaro “tough guys”
It was the first win of the season for Hammonton (1-4).
“I’m really pleased the guys came out and wrestled well,” Mauriello said. “We’ve had a tough go of it to start the season with some tough opponents (Middle Township, Absegami, St. Augustine Prep and Lower Cape May).
“I was just happy to see us perform well.”
Match began at 126
106—Justin Flood H p. Josh Kinchen, 0:42 113—Gabe Baldosaro V p. Frank Italiano, 1:03 120—Vincenzo Cirillo H p. Dominic Bosco, 0:22 126—Double forfeit 132—Brett Stansbury H p. Yahira Cuevas, 1:08 138—Edwin Flores H by forfeit 145—Luis Dionicio H by forfeit 152—Ryan Stanziale H by forfeit 160—Kevin Watson H by forfeit
170—Matthew Grasso H by forfeit 182—Dylan Jones H by forfeit 195—John Kane H forfeit 220—Juan Urbina H by forfeit
285—Dave Dutra V p. Brandon Velez, 2:52.
Records—Hammonton 1-4; Vineland 0-6.
SOUTH JERSEY NOW: Outdoor capacity limits increase Friday
Brian Wiener presents the staff of the Atlantic County VA Clinic with a plaque
Outdoor capacity limits increase Friday
Continued increases in the capacity limits of various indoor and outdoor events went into effect Friday, per Gov. Phil Murphy's announcement on Monday.
Outdoor gathering limits increased from 50 people to 200, Murphy said during a COVID-19 briefing. The limit for large venues also went up from 10% to 20%, and the threshold seating capacity for venues to be considered large venues went down to 5,000 to 2,500.
Additionally, outdoor venue capacity increased from 15% to 30%.
Religious services, political activities, weddings, funerals and memorial services remain uncapped; and the indoor limit for restaurants, gyms and health clubs, recreational facilities and arcades, and personal care businesses remains at 50%.
Ocean City fire displaces at least four
OCEAN CITY — A Thursday night fire resulted in extensive damage to a mixed-use building on Asbury Avenue, city spokesperson Doug Bergen said Friday.
Firefighters responded to the 1000 block of Asbury Avenue at 11:56 p.m. for a report of a fire, Bergen said in a news release. A light haze of smoke was seen in the upper floors of the building, and the fire was then located in the exterior walls.
Due to the age and construction of the building, the fire spread rapidly, Bergen said. The fire was under control by 4 a.m.
Four residents were evacuated with no reported injuries to fire personnel, Bergen said. The cause of the fire is under investigation.
Fire companies from Marmora, Margate and Somers Point provided assistance.
More than 300 bags of heroin, 20 grams of cocaine seized from Atlantic City home
ATLANTIC CITY — A three-month investigation led to the arrest of a city man and the seizure of drugs Thursday, police said Friday.
Detectives executed a search warrant at a residence on South Florida Avenue belonging to 42-year-old Chance Hamilton, police said in a news release.
The detectives found 330 bags of heroin, 22 grams of cocaine, more than 9 grams of ecstasy, more than 5 ounces of marijuana, paraphernalia used in the distribution of narcotics and more than $2,100 in cash, police said. Hamilton was arrested as a result of the search.
Hamilton was charged with four counts each of possession of a controlled dangerous substance, possession with intent to distribute and possession with intent to distribute within 1,000 feet of a school zone; and one count each of money laundering and possession of drug paraphernalia. He was taken to the Atlantic County jail.
Concert Under the Stars to return to North Wildwood
NORTH WILDWOOD — The city’s Concert Under the Stars series will begin July 1.
The seasonal series, held at the Lou Booth Amphitheater at Second and Ocean avenues, will begin with music from the Trammps. After a two-week pause, concerts will be held every Thursday and Saturday through Sept. 18. Other tributes include music from Billy Joel, Elvis and Bruce Springsteen.
Concerts will begin at 8 p.m. For more information, call 609-522-7722 or 800-882-7787.
— Ahmad Austin
Atlantic, Cape, Cumberland counties top 271,000 vaccinations
According to state records, 271,489 doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in Atlantic, Cape May and Cumberland counties as of Thursday afternoon.
Around the state, 4,434,780 doses of the Moderna, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson vaccines have been administered, according to records. The state has administered 2,854,638 first doses and 1,672,595 second doses.
In Atlantic County 146,415 doses have been administered; 62,247 have been administered in Cape May and 62,827 have been administered in Cumberland County, according to state records.
No COVID-19 briefing with state officials Friday
There is no briefing with state officials Friday to update residents on the spread of COVID-19.
So far, Atlantic County has reported 24,603 cases with 607 deaths and 12,583 cleared from isolation. Cape May County has reported 7,886 cases with 194 deaths and 7,283 designated off quarantine. Cumberland County has reported 12,857 cases with 368 deaths.
For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.
Contact Patrick Mulranen: 609-272-7217