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Absegami defeats Oakcrest giving wrestling coach Gene Barber his 500th career victory


Absegami wrestling coach Gene Barber directs his team
against Oakcrest Monday night. (Photo: William A. Guerro)

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Long time Absegami high school wrestling coach Gene Barber cemented his place in Cape Atlantic League history by becoming the first CAL coach to obtain 500 career victory's and only the third coach in Southern New Jersey history, when his Braves wrestling team beat rival Oakcrest 44-12.

The match was already decided before the last wrestlers of the evening reached the mat for the 215 pound match. But it couldn't have been scripted any better. Coach Barbers son Mike was wrestling in the 215 lb weight class against Oakcrest's Billy Cheatham. The match was 1-1 after regulation but the younger Barber took control in overtime bringing the large crowd to their feet as he ended the match in tripple overtime winning 3-2.

As the referee raised Mike's arm signaling the victory, other members of the Brave's wrestling team gave Coach Barber a Gatorade bath and the celebration began.

Barber who is in his 33 season as the Absegami wrestling coach announced before the season started that this would be his final year leading the Brave's. During his career his teams have won 6 South Jersey titles and he has coached 116 district champions. From 2001-2005 Barbers Brave went un-defeated in 103 straight matches. 14 of his wrestlers surpassed 100 career victory's.

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