Rory Bonner Takes Third at State Wrestling Tourney
The West Deptford High School senior shook off the disappointment of not making a top-two finish by battling back in the third-place match at the NJSIAA State Wrestling Championships.
Third place is not first place, and Rory Bonner knows it.
But the 195-pound West Deptford High School senior shook off the disappointment of missing a top-two finish by battling back in the third-place match at the 2013 NJSIAA State Wrestling Championships last weekend.
That he earned the final victory of his high-school career over Matt Moore of Brick Township just yielded added satisfaction. Moore had pinned Bonner in a preseason tournament, and the Eagle had not forgotten that.
"My semifinal match, I made a few mistakes and lost the match," Bonner told Patch on Monday. "I went back and got third."
"It’s the second-highest place ever in school history," said West Deptford athletic director Tim Cammarota, who said that he "flashed back" over Bonner's meteoric wrestling career during his commute to work on Monday.
Bonner "really made his breakthrough in the tournament his freshman year" despite not getting "a wealth of bouts," Cammarota said.
"[In 2009-10] They had a great team that went all the way to the final and won the [South Jersey Group II] title," he said. "They wouldn’t have done that without [Bonner] breaking through in the lineup. People were like, 'Who is this guy?' Now here we are, a full three years later, and that all came to fruition."
Bonner's loss in the tournament semifinal came amidst a nearly immaculate single-season record, Cammarota said, despite "teams wrestling away from him" at times.
"I know that was frustrating for him and for the team, but we try to tell them that’s not going to happen in late February and early March," he said.
Bonner, who plans to wrestle at 197 pounds for Bucknell University, credited the strength of the West Deptford program and coaches John Craig and Christian Scannell with giving him the opportunity to emerge.
"I had good coaching," Bonner said.
West Deptford wrestling fans can still look forward to the career of Rory's little brother, Griffin Bonner, who was his teammate for two years. Their older brother, Sean, who also wrestled for West Deptford, is attending West Chester University.