By BRIAN CUNNIFF
ERMA — It got so loud in the old gymnasium at Lower Cape May Regional High School Wednesday evening that those watching the boys basketball game in the new gymnasium down the hall probably heard the roar.
T.J. Rossett, a first-year junior, gave the Caper Tiger wrestling team a stunning 42-41 victory over Holy Spirit when he won his heavyweight bout by third-period fall in the final bout of the match.
After coming close to getting Holy Spirit’s Philip Docteur to his back at a couple of points earlier in the match, Rossett finally did so early in the third period. As soon as the match official slammed his hand to mat and blew his whistle to signify the pin, the couple hundred fans in attendance jumped to their feet and cheered. Lower coach Billy Damiana hurled himself into the arms of Rossett to celebrate as well.
“For him to come through like that in an environment he’s never been around and he’s never had that big-match feel before, that’s just huge for him,” Damiana said. “He’ll never forget that the rest of his life and a lot of the people in here won’t forget it, either.”
Lower got its 42 points via seven bouts, winning five by forfeit against a Holy Spirit team that has a lot of talent but little depth.
“They forfeited to a lot of our better kids,” Damiana said. “That got some of their best guys on our less experienced guys and it worked out in their favor. But then T.J. came up huge.”
Frankie Casper gained Lower’s other victory by fall at 152 pounds. After he and Spirit’s Patrick Newman wrestled to a scoreless stalemate through the first period, Casper immediately took Newman to his back at the start of the second and recorded the pin in 2:11.
“This was Senior Night and it was probably our last home match of the year, so to end our home schedule like that is just perfect,” Damiana said. “For us to sneak out a victory against a team like that is fantastic.”
Lower’s Mikey Castellano (120), Devon Bohn (126), Taren Caraveau (138), Jake Baxter (160) and Paul Gilbert (195) were each awarded forfeit victories.