Alex Gong had his heart set on wrestling Jake Terry, looking to avenge last year's loss.
However, the Absegami High School junior never got his chance. Instead his motivation was to make Ocean City pay for bumping up Anthony DeSantis to 171 pounds.
Gong outlasted DeSantis to clinch the match, as Absegami went on to win the Cape-Atlantic League American Conference battle, 40-27, at the Dixie Howell gymnasium in Ocean City.
"(Absegami coach Shawn Scannell) said to take that as an insult," Gong explained. "He said, ‘They think they can bring their guy up to beat you, so go out there and go all out.'"
Gong did just that, winning 6-3 to seal the win with two more bouts remaining.
"We knew they were going to be a tough opponent, and they have a bunch of tough guys," Scannell said. "I was concerned having a big win Saturday (against St. Augustine) and having a letdown match. We had to keep them focused. I was a little concerned. We were a little sloppy and sluggish, but we persevered and got it done."
In another key matchup, Nate Ross edged Dan Pettit, 3-1 at 140 pounds.
"I just needed to step up," Ross said. "I was angry (losing an individual bout Saturday against St. Augustine). I reflected on that. It's not going to happen again."
“He is a hard-working kid and is doing the right things," Scannell said. "He’s always in position, he's always in shape and always in the match. That kid is tough. Pettit is tough. He kept the pressure on him and good things happened."
The Braves only trailed once in the match and that was after forfeiting 103 pounds. Ocean City was within four after the 145-pound bout, but Absegami won four of the final five matches to clinch the conference win.
Chris Hahn won his 152-pound bout by pin over Vinny Varello in one minute, one second, and Deonde DeGennaro won a 15-11 decision over Cooper Gallagher at 160. Kevin Stadtmueller put the finishing touches on the win with a 9-3 decision over Lucas Pearson at 215.
"It means we are getting better," Ross said of the win. "On paper it looked like they were going to beat us, but certain people came through. We have said that from the beginning and it's happening."
Steve Schwartz started the match off with a 22-11 win at 285 over Josh Johnson. Mike Jiampetti pinned Austin Stron in 58 seconds at 119, and Gavin Guglielmi pinned Dominic DiGiacomo in 1:12 at 125.