It was a fine close to the 2012 calendar year for several winter athletic teams at Collingswood High School. Below is a look at some of the highlights from the last month of athletic action.
No team enters the new year hotter than the Panthers, who finished 2012 with a 6-0 record. Collingswood has been able to pick up a half-dozen wins thanks to a stifling defense that has held three opponents under 20 points, and hasn’t given up more than 36 in a game.
Prior to the start of the season, Collingswood head coach Nancy O’Neill expressed her passion to develop players who think defense-first.
“Defense is definitely my coaching staff’s passion,” said O’Neill. “We did a nice job last year and we are coming back with a pretty solid group. We are small so we have to be able to defend.
"Once they realize it is our passion they start to buy into it because we go over it so often," she said. "We spent the summer working on it and saying, ‘We will be able to defend.’ Shots will fall on certain nights but we are going to defend.”
The Panthers’ most recent victories came against Paul VI (56-36) and Triton (45-27). They return to Colonial Conference action today when they host West Deptford at 7 p.m.
The Panthers split a pair of games last weekend at the Boardwalk Classic. Collingswood opened the tournament with a 42-36 win over Oakcrest. Ryan Dick led a balanced scoring attack with 11 points, and the Panthers overcame a slow start by outscoring the Falcons 29-17 in the second half.
Collingswood fell to Mount Olive (62-44) later in the tournament, despite 12 points from Tyrell Mann-Barnes and eight from Dick.
The Panthers currently sit at 3-3 with a 1-2 record in Colonial Conference. They will look to improve upon that mark when they host West Deptford tonight, at 7 p.m.
Since opening the season with a loss to rival Haddon Township, the Collingswood wrestling team has been flexing its muscles, winning four straight.
The biggest victory was a 39-29 win over 2012 Colonial Conference Liberty Division champion West Deptford. The Panthers had seven straight wins in that match, with four coming by pin. Collingswood garnered momentum from the victory and followed with defeats of Winslow Township, Bordentown and Frankford before the winter break.
Collingswood also had several wrestlers show well at its Christmas Wrestling Tournament. Mike Campbell placed second at 170, while Donnie Daly was second at 120. Forley Gunby went 3-1 at 152, while Dan Havens (106) and Nick Tassogloy each won two matches.
Collingswood returns to the mat Friday when it hosts Lindenwold.
The boys have rolled their way to a 2-3 record with victories against Seneca and Bishop Eustace. Aaron Kuchera knocked over 514 pins against Seneca for the team’s top series, while Tyler McDade Lutz drilled 482, 198 of which came in a masterful second game. Earlier in the year, Kuchera had a high of 207 and a series of 568 in the Panthers victory over Bishop Eustace.
The girls’ bowling team is 1-3-1 with a victory over Gloucester Tech. The Panthers got great consistency in the victory as Sophy Siv (475 pins), Jes Stikes (473) and Alyssa Brandly (457) each had strong showings.
Both teams return to the lanes Monday against Gloucester Catholic.