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BRHS junior Justin McTamney wrestles way to elite standing

May 30, 2013 06:17AM, Published by Community News Service, Categories: Sports


Bordentown’s Justin McTamney wrestles at the Jack Welch Duals Jan. 26, 2013. (Photo by Dennis Baker.)



By Anthony Williams

For many athletes, participation in a sport is often a family tradition, and Bordentown Regional High School junior Justin McTamney’s situation is no different. McTamney is following in his brother Jason Cassidy’s footsteps as a captain and wrestler for the Scotties, and is poised to make a run at the best season ever in the history of Bordentown wrestling. After a successful run in the NJNSIAA State Wrestling Championships on March 8-10 to end his junior year, McTamney may have already staked his claim as one of the best wrestlers in Bordentown history. McTamney finished sixth in the state championship, and he is the first state semifinalist in Bordentown history, as well as the highest place winner at the meet in Bordentown history. With a career record of 98-15, McTamney is on pace to join the ranks of 100 winners at Bordentown by the first weekend of next season. He would join his brother, as well as Khalid Shakir, Thomas Lee and Josh Slezak. But this past season has made McTamney’s goals much higher than just winning 100 career matches. “I think the ultimate goal is for Justin to be a state champ,” head wrestling coach Joe Sprague said. “He has the mental make-up to accomplish this, but a lot of his success next year will be determined by what he does in the off season between now and then. If he puts in the work, I can definitely see him standing on top of the podium. It will be his choice as to how far he wants to go.” During the 2012-13 regular season, McTamney compiled an impressive 28-3 en-route to a top seed in District 26. McTamney cruised to a district championship, beating Burlington Township’s talented Aaron Lambert by major decision in the finals to capture the crown. The win was McTamney’s second in a row over Lambert, who pinned McTamney in their first meeting. The district championship earned McTamney the second seed, and a first round bye, in the Region 7 Tournament at Robbinsville High School the following week. McTamney kept up his strong run by dismantling the competition with wins of 7-0 in the quarter-finals, a pin at 5:42 in the semi-finals, and a 9-2 drubbing of top seeded Connor Muli of Shawnee in the finals. This was McTamney’s second Region 7 finals appearance; having lost to Burlington Township’s standout senior Kevin Devoy in 2012. McTamney’s success helped get him ready mentally and set the tone for the entire state tournament. “I went in with a winning attitude,” McTamney said. “I knew if I went in with confidence that I can do anything and beat anybody.” For all of his efforts in the district and region tournaments, McTamney was seeded third in the top bracket of the 132 pound weight class in the NJSIAA State Wrestling Tournament Championships in Atlantic City. Once again, McTamney was awarded with a first-round bye, but didn’t let that slow his momentum. He quickly dispatched Jake Legotte of Roxbury via second period pin in 3:25 and followed that up with a 9-5 quarter-final victory over second seeded Connor Burkert of St. Peter’s Prep. The win set up a semifinal matchup against the overall number 1 seed, Scott DelVecchio of South Plainfield. McTamney wrestled a tough match but came out on the short end of a 10-7 decision to the eventual state champion. DelVecchio was no stranger to McTamney and the Bordentown coaching staff, having won a state championship in 2012, but that didn’t seem to faze them. “It was no different than every other match,” McTamney said. “There was a red line, a green line, a circle, and a referee and that’s what I focused on.” Sprague was not surprised at McTamney’s performance in the state tournament. “I definitely expected it,” Sprague said. “Once he accomplished his first two goals of being a district and region champion, I knew Justin wasn’t going to fall short of becoming a state place winner.” McTamney anticipates putting in the time and effort in the off-season to meet his coach’s expectations and plans on doing as much summer wrestling as he can before the start of next season. Besides hardwork, McTamney knows there are other keys to his success, too. “Confidence, commitment and having fun,” McTamney said. “I really enjoy winning and hope to do a lot more of it next year.”



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