SCRANTON, Pa. – The University of New Jersey City men’s wrestling team kicked off the third official season in program history with an exclamation mark today, Sunday, Nov. 13, at Electric City Duals, hosted by the University of Scranton. The Gothic Knights finished second overall on the day with a 4-1 record in their five games, matching last year’s single-day win total. On top of that, Senior National Qualifier and 149 lbs Jeff Johnson (Middlesex, NJ/Middlesex) went a perfect 4-0 that day, including three wins in the fall and one technical fall.
NJCU (4-1) dropped its only game of the day to start against Alfred State College (6-0) as the Pioneers went 5-0 and placed first in the duel. Second year 125 pounds Damianlee Torres (West Orange, New Jersey/West Orange) went 4-1 that day — the only other Gothic Knight to claim four wins — but his only loss came in a high-scoring, 16-14 decision to Alfred State. Johnson got his first pin of the day against the Pioneers at 4:01 in his game and freshmen Zachary Vera (Livingston, NJ/) and Jazz Bull (New Brunswick, NJ/New Brunswick) followed with decision wins at 157 and 165, respectively, to put NJCU up 13-12 at the time. Unfortunately, Alfred State had four straight wins to end the game and take the win.
Jersey City came back strong in their next game, a narrow 22-21 win over hosts Scranton (3-3). Torres started with a victory in the fall, followed by a decisive victory for the juniors George Rivera (Teaneck, NJ/Teaneck) debuting at 133 lbs. After a decision put the Royals on the board, Johnson landed another pin to make it 15-3 at the time. Three straight wins for Scranton tied it at 15-15 heading into first year Farhan Khan (Carteret, NJ/) clinched a decision at 174 pounds to make it 18-15. First-year student Deren Cercioglu (Totowa, NJ/) sealed the win with a major decision at 197 to make it a seven-point, 22-15 lead. Despite the pin at heavyweight for Scranton, NJCU picked up the win.
The Gothic Knights then made quick work of Keystone College (1-4), dominating the Giants 41-6, including eight individual wins. Those who weren’t forfeited came from the first year Andy Beras (Bergenfield, NJ/Bergenfield) by decision at 141 pounds, Johnson again by drop at 149, Vera by technical drop at 157 pounds, Bull with a pin at 165 and Cercioglu by decision at heavyweight.
NJCU returned to the mat for a 39-16 win over Rowan College-Gloucester County (0-5). Torres picked up a win in the fall at 133 pounds, followed by a freshman pin Anthony Monetti (Montville, NJ/Montville Township) at 141 pounds. Three more forfeit wins paired with two more at 197, Cercioglu by decision and freshman heavyweight Marcus Hebron (Middle Township, NJ/) in the fall made it a 23-point victory over the Roadrunners.
The Gothic Knights closed out their day with another narrow win, this time by just two points over SUNY Oneonta (2-3) at 29-27. Torres picked up his fourth win of the day at 125, but the Red Dragons took back-to-back wins to take a 9-6 lead. Johnson responded with a 16-1 technical victory to put NJCU in the lead again at 11-9, and his team would trail no more. Junior Ty Bailey (Point Pleasant, N.J./Point Pleasant Boro) recorded one of his two wins of the day with a pin just 17 seconds from the start of his match at 157 pounds, followed by a pinfall victory in 44 seconds at 165 pounds by Bull. Oneonta have won three of the last four games, but it was Hebron at 197 that sealed it with a win in the fall to make it 29-21 at the time.
NJCU returns to action Saturday afternoon, November 19, for the team’s second doubleheader against Ursinus College. The Gothic Knights will travel to Collegeville, Pennsylvania for this one after hosting the Bears at the John J. Moore Athletics and Fitness Center (JMAC) last season on November 20, 2021.