The Crusaders, who have gone wire-to-wire as the No. 1 team in the NJWWA Top 20 the last two seasons and are ranked No. 2 nationally by Intermat, have five returning state champions in their lineup.
Leading the way is Penn State recruit Nick Suriano, a three-time state champion and a heavy favorite to win the 126-pound state championship and become New Jersey’s fourth four-time state champion and second unbeaten for his career four-time winner.
Bergen Catholic’s other returning state champions are Shane Griffith, Joe Grello, Kevin Mulligan and Gerard Angelo. Griffith won at 132 last year and will compete at 138 this season. Grello won at 170 last year and returns at that weight. Mulligan won at 182 last year is at 195. Angelo won at 106 last year when he was at Hanover Park and will compete at 120.
Highly-regarded freshman Josh McKenzie (182) is another Bergen Catholic wrestler who is a major contender for a state title.
Bergen Catholic defeated No. 8 DePaul, 52-18, on Tuesday night.
Delbarton and Don Bosco Prep, which will both have the unenviable task of competing with Bergen Catholic for the NJSIAA Non-Public North A championship, are the Nos. 2 and 3 ranked teams.
Delsea, the defending Group 3 champion, is ranked No. 4 -- the highest for a public school team. The Crusaders have already defeated two ranked teams in No. 10 Clearview and No. 11 Southern,
(Records through Jan. 5)
Don Bosco Prep
St. Peter's Prep
NJWWA voting members (in alphabetical order): Donald J. Brower (MorrisCountyHSWrestling.com); Frank D'Esposito (TheShoreConference.com); Steve Falk (Asbury Park Press of Neptune and Hitting the Mats); Josh Friedman (Courier Post of Cherry Hill, Daily Journal of Vineland); John Lewis (Burlington County Times); Ron Mazzola (On the Mat); Tom McGurk (Courier Post of Cherry Hill); Anthony Spaulding (New Jersey Herald); Greg Tufaro (Home News Tribune of East Brunswick); Mike Weilamann (Open Mike/Mugs Media); Brad Wilson (Express-Times).