The Middle School wrestling team completed an undefeated season with a league title on Thursday night by defeating Williamstown.
The victory tonight ends a 17-0 season (14-0 regular season) for the Pirates wrestling squad.
Cinnaminson wrestled all three playoff matches this week. Wins came against defending league champion CW Lewis (51-24), Moorestown (62-12) and Williamstown (36-33).
“Honestly, the kids were battle tested all year,” Murray said. “It’s all about the matchups. The one reason us and Williamstown were so close was because where their good kids were, so were our really good kids. Throughout the whole season they worked hard in practice, they came together and they stuck to our goals.”
The win against CW Lewis was extra sweet for the wrestling team as the Pirates fell to that squad in last year’s league finals.
“It was a bit of a redemption story with that matchup,” Murray said.
The win over Williamstown came during the heavyweight bout as Cinnaminson’s Kirabo Mandeville went into double overtime tied at 0-0.
Mandeville’s opponent was called for a hand lock, which gave Mandeville a point and the 1-0 victory to claim the title for Cinnaminson.
“It was an insane scene at the middle school,” Murray said. “We got the point on locked hands in double overtime.”
“Our goals were to win our division, go undefeated and avenge last year’s loss in becoming overall league champions. The ability to do that against a talented Williamstown team is impressive. We knew they would throw everything they had at us.”
The Pirates led the match 30-18 and then 33-18 before Williamstown rallied to tie it at 33-33 with the heavyweight bout left on the docket.
This was Mandeville’s first season wrestling and what a pressure situation he was thrust into tonight.
The win against Williamstown was the second of the season and third in as many matches. The Pirates beat Williamstown in the regular season this year and in the first round of the playoffs last year.
“We knew that us beating them last year in the playoffs and this year in the regular season that they would give us everything they could,” Murray said.
Murray picked the match against Medford as the most impressive during the regular season for the Pirates.
“When we faced Medford, they were very smart with their matchups,” Murray said. “Their moves battle tested our kids. They came at us with everything they had. We won 47-30 in the match and it was our last one of the regular season. The kids got a taste of what playoff wrestling would be like.”
This year’s team had 14 8th graders on it and Murray said each one has expressed interest in continuing their wrestling careers in high school.
“They know that with putting in the work now and developing a mindset with how to be a good wrestler, they can succeed at the next level,” Murray said.
“Eventually you’re going to hit a point where you’re not going to be able to pin everybody. They understand the team concept of wrestling.”
The bloodlines on this middle school team run thick at the high school.
“Jack Bundy, JT Holt and Ethan Schuler all have younger brothers on the team this year,” Murray said.
“Matt Bundy, Conlan Holt and Nick Schuler are all on their way up. They know what it take to be a varsity wrestler and they’re excited to take part in it.”
Murray’s final message to his wrestlers was somewhat cliched according to him, but right on point.
“This was the hardest working wrestling room I’ve seen outside of a high school wrestling room. They put themselves in this position,” Murray said.
“Every kid came to practice every day. They worked hard for every minute we were in the room. There was a reason we were the #1 seed. There was a reason we came into tonight undefeated. They deserved to come out as champions because they worked like champions throughout the year.”
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