For three long years, the ICJA wrestling team competed in the Wittenberg Tournament and did not return with an individual champion. It was the longest drought in school history, and many fine ICJA wrestlers put themselves on the line only to come home disappointed.
Senior Yosef Marcucci changed all with an outstanding performance to claim the yeshiva wrestling national championship at 145 pounds. Marcucci started his campaign with the quarterfinals Sunday morning, the second day of the annual tournament held in Paramus, New Jersey, at The Frisch School. Marcucci dispatched Yehuda Silberfarb of MTA with a pin in 1:31. He advanced to the semi-finals, where he was cruising to victory over Steve Lieber of DRS when disaster nearly struck. With a seemingly comfortable 8-2 lead and a little more than a minute to go in the final period, Marcucci found himself in awkward position attempting to pin Lieber, and Lieber caught Marcucci on his back. In an act of tremendous will, the veteran Marcucci hit a high neck bridge and got himself out of trouble. He proceeded to reverse Lieber and get near fall points to win a 13-6 decision.
In the finals, Marcucci had the good fortune to meet his drill partner, sophomore Ray Goltz, who also had an excellent Wittenberg Tournament performance. Goltz began his tournament on Friday morning in the Round of 16 with a first period pin of Yaron Gerszberg of TABC. In the quarterfinals, he notched another first period pin against David Malul of North Shore. In the semis, while Marcucci was on one mat wrestling Lieber, Goltz was on the adjacent mat, where he turned in a dominating performance against Kushner’s Yitzy Peret. Goltz pinned him with two seconds to go in the second period. Marcucci came out victorious in the all-ICJA final. It was a fitting finale to Marcucci’s career and complement his regional championship two weeks earlier. For his part, Goltz send a message to all of the other yeshiva high schools that he looks to be a force to be reckoned with in future Wittenbergs.
Ida Crown took its smallest team in 20 years to Wittenberg. In addition, it was one of the least experienced squads to ever compete at the tournament, with Marcucci as the only four year veteran. Of the 13 wrestlers who participated, though, 10 placed in the top six. It was an excellent team performance, from top to bottom. Every Ace won at least won match.
In the 106 pound weight class, Freshman Noi Cohen shrugged off a quarterfinal loss to the eventual runner-up, and fought his way through the consolation bracket to the third place bout. Cohen needed only :46 seconds to finish off SAR’s Benjamin Roitman. Junior Binyomin Krohn, likewise, showed similar dominance in his performance at 152 pounds. Krohn racked up two first period pins before losing to the #1 seed in the semi-finals. He then proceeded to pin his next opponent from Kushner in the consolation semis. Krohn followed this victory up with a major decision over Zachary Gurwitz of MTA, taking the bronze medal in the process.
Freshman Enon Gurvich (106), senior Captain Daniel Karesh (160), and senior Yehuda Carlson (182) each took fifth place in their respective weight classes. Freshman Ronen Lavi (126), junior Yitzchak Nadoff (138) and junior Matan Auerbach (182) claimed sixth place finishes.
Kushner won the team race, ending SAR’s three year run. In doing so, Kushner won its first Wittenberg team title. SAR was second, and Frisch finished third. With its solid performance, Ida Crown finished comfortably in fourth place.