Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXIV, No. 3
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
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FIGHTING BACK: Princeton High wrestling junior star John Marsh eyes an opponent in a bout earlier this season. Last Wednesday against Notre Dame, Marsh overcame a 5-2 deficit to pull out a 6-5 win over Matt Herbert at 130 pounds. Marsh’s heroics weren’t enough as PHS fell 42-24 to the Fighting Irish. In upcoming action, the Little Tigers will host a quad-match against WW/P-N, Ewing, and South Brunswick on January 23 before wrestling at WW/P-S on January 25.

Sparked by Marsh’s Fighting Spirit, PHS Wrestling Showing Improvement

Bill Alden

John Marsh dug himself a hole last Wednesday as he wrestled Matt Herbert of Notre Dame at 130 pounds.

The Princeton High junior star trailed 5-2 early in the third period but knew he couldn’t dwell on the score in mounting a rally.

“Coach [Rashone] Johnson always says that if you go down by any amount of points, think about the next point and the next move,” said Marsh.

“It’s all one step ahead, being in the moment. You are not looking ahead to how many minutes are left. You are not tired so you can keep going.”

Marsh made the most of every moment in the period, coming back for a dramatic 6-5 win.

While Marsh was disappointed afterward that PHS ultimately fell 42-24 to Notre Dame, he was still pumped up over his rally.

“The adrenaline is going,” said Marsh. “After a normal match, you are tired. If you lose, you are more tired. If you win, it all goes away; everything is gone.”

In Marsh’s view, his win exemplified the improvement he has made over the last year.

“I think my wrestling is a lot smoother,” said Marsh. “Before, it was pretty fragmented. I was working on one move and stop and then my next one and stop. This year, it is starting to flow together.”

For Marsh, starring in the midfield this past fall for PHS’s undefeated state champion boys’ soccer team has sharpened his focus.

“I understand the jump from being a good team to a great team,” said Marsh, who is following in the footsteps of older brother, Corey, in excelling in both soccer and wrestling.

“It has really helped me this year to push myself from the field to the mat. Bettering ourselves from last season, I know how that feels.”

With PHS working several young wrestlers into the lineup, Marsh believes his teammates are pushing themselves hard as they look to improve.

“We are a young team, we have a lot of newcomers,” said Marsh. “I give a lot of credit to the younger guys for sticking with it because this has been a hard year in the practice room with the workload and the amount of stuff we are learning. I feel like we are moving twice as fast and these new guys are keeping with it.”

PHS head coach Johnson certainly liked the way that Marsh kept his focus as he rallied to victory.

“It says a lot about your character, a lot of people get hit with two moves and fall behind 5-2 get discouraged,” said Johnson.

“I keep screaming to him “next point, next point;’ you keep yourself in the match and then you give yourself an opportunity to win the match. That’s what wrestling is all about. I am proud of him; that was a great job especially being up a weight class.”

In reflecting on the setback to the Fighting Irish, Johnson wished that some of his other wrestlers had taken a page out of Marsh’s book.

“Those points at the end of the period are the points that kill,” said Johnson. “Those are great to get and horrible to give. Scoring with short time, that’s prime time. That’s when you win matches. We lost a couple of matches at the buzzer.”

PHS senior star Calvin Brasor didn’t wait until the last minute, providing one of the highlights of the night for the Little Tigers at 171 as he pinned Rahmil Davis 35 seconds into their bout.

“Calvin pretty much leads by example,” said Johnson, who also got a win from senior Owen Wilson in the Notre Dame match. “He comes from Humberto Gunn and Paul LaPlaca who spawned Tom Frantzen, Mark Jeevaratnam, and Andre Cutler. Those guys spawned Corey Marsh and Calvin saw Corey. Calvin gets that from Corey.”

Johnson is hoping that his less experienced guys learn from the Notre Dame loss which saw the Little Tigers come up short in several bouts that could have gone either way.

“We are still growing as a team,” said Johnson, whose squad fell 42-24 to Hightstown last Thursday to move to 3-6 on the season.

“You have to take it and learn from it. You have got to see what you did and look at it on film. We need to evaluate the film and make good on some of those situations in short time.”

The Little Tigers have shown a sharp learning curve so far this season.

“I think we’ll be a lot better at the end of the season than we are right now,” asserted Johnson, whose team hosts a quad-match against WW/P-N, Ewing and South Brunswick on January 23 before wrestling at WW/P-S on January 25.

“We are a lot better now than we were at the beginning of the season. We are definitely seeing improvement. I think in the long run, we’ll be fine.”

Marsh is confident that the Little Tigers will keep getting better and better.

“Once we get the experience that’s needed, the team unity will be there,” said Marsh. “The energy fades sometimes during matches. I feel with a little more experience and chemistry, the team will bring up that energy and things will snowball through the season.”

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