By BRIAN CUNNIFF
Karl Giulian had a lot working against him in a pursuit for a major wrestling milestone.
For starters, he had never before wrestled upon his arrival at Middle Township and went just 13-20 as a freshman. Then, early this season, the now senior suffered a knee sprain in the semifinal round of a season-opening tournament and missed nearly three weeks of action.
But on Saturday, Giulian took to the mat with 99 career wins and didn’t waste much time getting his 100th. Giulian decked Northern Burlington’s Dan Gamble in the first period during the first match of a home quad to forever etch his name in the history of Middle Township High School wrestling.
Giulian went on to split his other two bouts on the day and exited the quad with a career record of 101-44 going into next weekend’s district tournament.
He’s just the third Middle wrestler to reach 100 career victories. Former teammates Gary James Nagle finished with 104 in 2018 and Romeo Rodriguez ended with 111 last season.
“It’s pretty awesome to be the third kid to do it at Middle,” Giulian said. “A lot of credit goes to (head coach Matt) Wolf and the other coaches and to Gary and Romeo. They kind of paved the road so it’s up to me and my younger brother (Dave) and Alick (Killian) and the other kids to keep it going. They set the expectations and it’s up to everyone else to meet them. They kind of showed that 100 wins can be within reach for everybody. All the credit to Gary and Romeo for starting it off for us.”
Giulian, who’s season record is now 25-7, said he thought his chance at 100 wins might have been in jeopardy after his early-season injury.
“It definitely crossed my mind right when it happened,” he admitted. “Coming into the season, it was a goal of mine. But the main goal has always been to win a district championship. If I didn’t get 100 wins, it was always about a district championship anyway. It wouldn’t have been the end of the world but I am glad I got it.”
Giulian is set to graduate from Middle in June having earned 12 varsity letters. He’s also a standout football player and this spring will participate in track for the third season after playing baseball as a freshman.
Giulian said he plans to play football in college. He’s considering Stevenson College (Md.), William Paterson and West Chester.
Middle beat Northern Burlington (42-27) and Lindenwold (62-18) and lost to Cherry Hill East (41-34) in Saturday’s regular-season-ending quad. The Panthers finished the dual meet season at 16-7.
Dave Giulian (39-3), Alick Killian (30-4) and Mike Adelizzi (30-11) each eclipsed the 30-win mark for the Panthers during the regular season. And in addition to Karl Giulian, Jayden Matthews (28-13), Adrien LaBoy (26-11), Matt Gariano (24-16) and Evan Dugan (23-13) also each won more than 20 regular-season matches for the Panthers.