Coming off a winning season and retaining key starters, the Colts Neck High School wrestling team expects to retain respect among the Shore Conference and continue to be a winning program. The Cougars finished last season 15-9 overall, 12-8 within the Shore Conference and 5-1 within Division North B.
Head Coach Brett Jankos is hopeful to impress the conference this upcoming winter, stating, “We’re always aiming for the division and looking to be in the Shore Conference top 10.” However, he admits this won’t be easy. “The Shore Conference is a hotbed for high school wrestling. It’s nationally recognized as one of the premier areas of wrestling in the country.”
Key returners include seniors Tyler Russ, Amir Shakhnavazov, and Nicholas Fischer. Russ struggled with injuries last year but will make a healthy return as one of Colts Neck’s best competitors. Russ and Shakhnavazov each placed at districts last year but exited at regionals while Fischer brought a “spark to the lineup and worked hard in the off-season to improve,” Jankos said.
Alongside this senior class, the underclassmen serve a critical role. “We have a lot of [sophomores] who started last year and some incoming freshmen who are going to make an immediate impact, especially with the lightweights,” Jankos said.
Overall, Colts Neck’s program holds serious promise and can be expected to be gritty this upcoming season.