• Dan Russoman

St. Joseph Academy wrestlers fall to Vineland


St. Joseph’s Nick Melchiore, left, controls Vineland’s Lionel Powell during their match last week. (THG/Dan Russoman.To purchase photos in The Gazette, call (609) 704-1940.)

HAMMONTON—Six forfeit losses cost St. Joseph Academy’s wrestling team last week in a 54-27 loss to Vineland in a Cape Atlantic League dual meet.


The Wildcats gave away 36 points in the meet because their short-handed roster did not have wrestlers to compete in many weight classes. St. Joe earned three forfeit wins of its own, as there were just five matches contested on the mat.


“We only have a few kids, so we’re giving up points every night,” St. Joseph coach Joe Melchiore said.


Vineland won by fall at 113, 165 and 215 pounds, while grabbing forfeit wins at 106, 120, 126, 132, 175 and 190.


St. Joe’s Doug Farinaccio (138), Tyson Catoe (144) and Anthony Cruz (150) also won by forfeit.


On the mat, Nick Melchiore scored a 14-6 win against Vineland’s Xavier Lugo at 157 pounds and at 285, Bryan Butkus pinned Ayden Rivera in 1:37 to round out the scoring for the Wildcats.


“It’s been tough, not only because we’re so small (roster), but because we haven’t had a lot of practice time for various reasons. I think once we get into a routine, we’ll be OK,” Melchiore said.


Last weekend, St. Joe dropped three decisions at a quad meet hosted by Mainland, falling to the host Mustangs, Manasquan and Egg Harbor Twp.


Butkus stayed undefeated with three wins during the day, while Farinaccio, and Melchiore each won twice.


In a 42-27 loss to EHT, Farniaccio topped Xavier Meneses-Fedeli 5-2 at 132 pounds and Cruz pinned Alexander Guerra in 1:53 at 144. Catoe earned a forfeit at 150 before Melchiore pinned Reed Orbach in 52 seconds at 157.


Butkus won his first match of the day at 285, pinning Eric Castro in 1:31.


The heavyweight continued his strong afternoon with a pin in 1:07 against Manasquan’s Joseph Cavanagh-Figueroa, the Wildcats’ lone victory in a 67-6 loss.


Against Mainland, Butkus capped a three-win day by taking down Nick Timek in 1:30. Mainland defeated St. Joseph 66-18. Farinaccio won at 132, pinning Nikko Carfango in 5:00 and at 157, Melchiore earned a forfeit win.


On January 19, St. Joe visits Atlantic City at 6 p.m. The Wildcats will be at Williamstown on January 22 for a quad meet that also includes Lindenwold and Winslow Twp.


St. Joseph Academy’s girls basketball team was expected to resume activities this week after nearly a month of dealing with COVID-19-related issues.


According to athletic director Anne Marie Mercado, the Wildcats were shut down for several days following the infection of a staff member.


Currently, Mercado is working to build a junior varsity schedule for St. Joe, one that she said will include as many games as possible.


“It’s been a tough stretch for these girls, but they’ve stayed committed and I hope to give them some sort of season this year,” Mercado said.