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The Journals are the premier publications for high-quality, hyperlocal news and advertising in Monmouth County, New Jersey

Apr 15, 2020

Middletown South Wrestler Michael Holland Reaches 100-Win Milestone

By Les Pierce

Celebrating Mike Holland’s win number 100. From left: Gina Holland, Michael, Coach Anton Atterbury, David and Alec Holland

One hundred career wins is a milestone for high school wrestlers. Michael Holland, of Middletown High School South, achieved that mark and did it the hard way.

Going into the District 19 tournament, the senior was named the No. 1 seed in the 132-pound competition. At this point, Holland had accumulated 97 victories over four years of wrestling. The 100-win mark would be achieved at this tournament if Holland was to take the title, but that did not come into fruition.

Holland started the day well with a 20-5 technical fall over Perth Amboy’s Angel Santiago in the quarterfinal round. However, he hit a bump in the road in the semifinal when he was turned back by Zach Vasile, of Marlboro.

The loss relegated Holland to the lower bracket where he faced Delaware Valley’s Chase Christie in a battle for the bronze medal and what could be his 99th win. If defeated in this match, Holland would end his career short of his goal.

After two full periods of the bout, Holland trailed by a 7-3 score and prospects of a victory were dismal. However, responding to the cheers of teammates, he rallied in the third and final period, outscoring his opponent by a 7-1 margin over the first minute for a 10-8 advantage. Then with 53 seconds remaining, Holland eliminated all doubts by pinning Christie for the win.

The victory earned the senior Eagle a berth in the Region 5 tournament, and his quest was alive. However, the opportunity presented an “out of the frying pan into the fire” scenario. The Regional tourney is comprised of District champions and medalists from several districts; the competition here is a major step up.

At the Regions, Holland faced 31-bout winner Tom Ammirati, of Holmdel. Ironically, Ammirati was also a senior in a quest to reach the 100 win plateau. Ammirati is the fourth in his family to wrestle for the Hornets, and his two brothers, Nick and Chris, had both reached 100 victories. This was a must-win for both wrestlers, and Holland prevailed via a 12-4 major decision. He was immediately joined on the mat by parents Gina and David, brother Alec and Middletown South Head Coach Anton Atterbury for a post-match celebration.

“Mike Holland provides excellent leadership for our young team,” Atterbury said. “He leads by example through his consistent hard work and dedication to putting the team first.”