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VIDEO: Deeper Middle team should compete this season


The Middle Township High School wrestling program will begin the season in an unfamiliar position.

After a few seasons of giving away points via forfeit in many matches, Middle has solid numbers this winter and should fill every weight class.

It’s a positive storyline for the program, which is set to begin its 2021-22 season Friday at Mainland before competing in the inaugural Hammonton Duals tournament on Saturday.

“This is the first time it looks like we’ll have a full lineup in at least four years,” said Middle head coach Matt Wolf (14th season, 144-137 career). “Especially when you’re a Group I or II school like us, to fill every weight class is big. You’re not giving your opponents free points.”

Senior co-captains David Giulian (left) and Alick Killian lead Middle Township High School’s wrestling team into the new season.

This season’s Middle team features a nice mix of experienced wrestlers, along with quite a few newcomers, lending optimism that the Panthers can improve upon last season’s 4-7 record, when the campaign was moved to the spring and shortened due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Leading the way are seniors David Giuilan and Alick Killian. Giulian, set to wrestle at 190 pounds this winter, went 10-5 during the pandemic season in the spring and brings a career record of 81-17 into the season. His 45 victories as a sophomore are a single-season program record. Killian, who will compete at 157 pounds, is 60-21 for his career after going 7-2 in the spring.

“They are among the most talented wrestlers we’ve had since I’ve been here,” Wolf said of his two co-captains. “Individually, you have to take them one at a time but I think Dave and Alick have a legitimate, good shot to win districts and then can compete and maybe even win at regions. Our expectation is that both of them advance to states and place at the state tournament.”

Other returning wrestlers with significant varsity experience include sophomore X’Zavier Swinton (132), junior Owen Haas (138), junior Adrien LaBoy (150) and sophomore Kani Perry (Hwt.).

Senior Ashton Meltzer (165) should also contribute at some point.

Varsity newcomers include freshmen Dante Jackson (106), Connor Rowlands (113), Geordin Davis (120), Donnie Nelson (126) and Troy Murray (144) and sophomores Brian Juzaitis (165), Jerry White (175) and Charlie Creamer (215).

The Cape-Atlantic League has been realigned for wrestling. Middle is now in the American Conference with Cedar Creek, Egg Harbor Township, Hammonton, Holy Spirit, Mainland, Ocean City and St. Augustine Prep.

“Within our conference, St. Augustine is just so good,” Wolf said. “We have a lot of work to do to get to their level. There are some other good teams in there, too, but I think we can compete pretty well against everyone else.”

For the postseason, Middle will compete in the District 31 and Region 8 tournaments.

Wolf’s assistant coaches are Ryan Freyer, Paul Connor, Tommy Bisset and John Richardson.