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Justin Flood with quick pin in Hammonton's win over Vineland

Justin Flood with quick pin in Hammonton's win over Vineland


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.

Meteorologist Joe Martucci loves forecasting for our towns in South Jersey. Subscribing to The Press of Atlantic City ensures your stories are being told. Go to for our best offers. You can subscribe for a print and digital subscription, or take part in a digital-only package.

Contact Patrick Mulranen: 609-272-7217

Twitter @ACPressMulranen

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