Paulsboro’s Reign Continues With Another Colonial Crown
PAULSBORO — For more than half a century, Paulsboro High School’s wrestling team has worn the crown of King of the Colonial Conference.
And it doesn’t look like the program’s reign is ending anytime soon.
The Raiders captured their 52nd conference title in 53 years on Monday, dispatching Sterling 66-4 to put the finishing touches to the Liberty Division championship and extend the team’s winning streak to 113 straight wins.
Paulsboro’s dominance has produced plenty of eye-popping numbers along the way, nearly as impressive as the conference championship tally.
According to stats man and Paulsboro assistant coach Steve Anuszewski, Big Red has compiled an incredible 464-11-1 record in the conference since 1965, a mark that includes Paul Morina’s 337-3 record over the course of his career as a head coach.
Paulsboro’s last conference loss came against Haddonfield in 2011 when the Haddons won 33-31. Collingswood ended Paulsboro’s 307-game winning streak in 2008.
With the real heavy lifting approaching as Paulsboro attempts to defend its Section and State crowns, winning the Colonial Conference is still priority #1 on the to-do list.
“It’s important,” senior DJ Hainey said of the conference title win. “But we’re not done yet, we have to get those group titles too.
“It’s getting fun now. We’re in the room, you gotta like it, we’re having a good time wrestling.
“That’s a lot of big shoes for us to fill (compared to what the program has accomplished in the past). You have to work hard for what you want. It’s tough, but I think we’re ready.
Morina said that while state titles are the ultimate goals, winning the colonial crown can be just as satisfying.
“We’re proud of that,” said Morina, who is in his 37th season as head coach. “We talk about it all the time.”
Not all of Paulsboro’s numbers are up.
While the win totals are inspiring, the number of wrestlers wearing the red singlets and famous red satin warm-ups has dwindled in recent years, down to 17 or 18 athletes in the room.
In his first year of coaching, Morina said there were as many as 40 or 41 kids for the team. This number has stabilized in recent years, but remained around 30 or so a few years ago.
“We’re fighting the numbers right now,” Morina said. “We just don’t have the numbers we had before. We were fine until COVID started (two years ago). Some kids didn’t come out and we lost a few other kids during the season.
Morina said Paulsboro’s midget program is starting to grow. Her son, Sam, works with 9 to 11 year olds.
“Keeping those kids out is the key to everything,” Morina said.
The man with 741 coaching victories under his belt said the job certainly hasn’t gotten any easier over the years, even with the success of the Raiders.
“Coaching is a bit different these days,” Morina said. “You have to keep pushing these kids, trying to teach these kids the work ethic that they need to be successful. They need to learn more about hard work and what more you’re going to gain.
“There are so many things these kids can do now. … They can be sitting at home, playing on the computer, playing video games until 2 in the morning. Then they arrive at school the next day all tired.
“You have to find young people who want to get involved in the program and who are not afraid to work hard.
After his friend and fellow Paulsboro coach Glenn Howard quit after 35 years with the football program in December, some thought Morina might be next.
But it certainly didn’t look like that on Monday night as Morina seemed content on the Paulsboro bench.
“I’m pretty happy with where I am,” Morina said. “I don’t think I will go anywhere. I feel good and I have fun. »
Preparing his squad for the most exciting four-week streak of the season is next on the coach’s agenda. Next week, Paulsboro will chase its 41st section title (the Raiders will be South Jersey’s Group 1 tournament seed) and the program’s 34th state title.
Seniors Max Cabanas, Devin Horton and Hainey each bowled against Sterling while junior Doug King closed the game with a pinfall.
Paulsboro 66, Sterling 4
175: Max Cabanas, P, pin Kenny McArdle, 1:09; 190: Jason Gugel, P, forfeit; 215: Nick Gellien, S, md. Austin Willet, 12-3; 285: Brandon Armstrong, P, d. Jamir Richardson, 8-4; 106: Hayden Holmes, P, d. Shawn Ammann, 7-0; 113: Aundre Hill, P, p. Jarie Sallie, 2:39; 120: Chase Bish, P, forfeit; 126: Devin Horton, P, p. Brandon Rebecca, 0:49; 132: Jackson Sichelstiel, P, d. Kevin Stubbs, 6-1; 138: Dante Onorato, P, d. Tre’von Potts, 6-3; 144: Roman Onorato, P, forfeit; 150: Sean Daniels, P, forfeit; 157: DJ Hainey, P, p. Ivan Medina, 3:09; 165: Doug King, P, p. Antoine Gogolski, 1h39.
Tom McGurk is a regional sports reporter for the Courier-Post, the Daily Journal and the Burlington County Times, covering South Jersey sports for over 30 years. If you have a sports story to tell, contact him at (856) 486-2420 or by email [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter at @McGurkSports. Help support local journalism with a digital subscription.