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Yeshiva Wrestlers Compete and Win at Wittenberg

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The 22nd Annual Henry Wittenberg Invitational ended last week with two New Jersey teams in the top rankings. The Frisch School of Paramus climbed to third place while Rae Kushner Yeshiva High School of Livingston claimed second place for its second consecutive year. SAR of Riverdale maintained its first place spot while the Maimonides M-Cats of Boston took fourth place, hitting the top rankings for the first time in that school’s history.

Named after the two-time Jewish Olympic champion and the founder of the wrestling team at Yeshiva University, the Henry Wittenberg Wrestling Invitational is the national championship for yeshiva wrestlers across the country. The competition was founded in 1996 by Coach Wittenberg’s protégé and former Yeshiva University wrestling coach, Neil Ellman. At the time, only six yeshiva teams existed, almost all of them initially sponsored and organized by Coach Ellman, including two New Jersey yeshivas, The Frisch School and Torah Academy of Bergen County.

For 20 years the Invitational took place on the Yeshiva University campus, but the tournament has since moved to the campus of The Frisch School, where it has been held for the past two years. Sixteen teams and 200 wrestlers from across the United States come together every Presidents’ Weekend to push their training to the limit in a grueling two-day competition. This year, nearly 1,000 people packed the Frisch gym, and the Facebook Live post ultimately received more than 5,000 views.

The Wittenberg Invitational is the only championship available for observant wrestlers whose dedicated refusal to compete on Shabbat forces them out of their local and regional competitions. Wittenberg is also the only wrestling competition in the world that transforms itself from a cauldron of intense yelling and combat to complete quiet for 15 minutes as wrestlers and fans join together to daven mincha.

Each year, four New Jersey yeshivas send wrestling teams to the Invitational—The Frisch School in Paramus, Torah Academy of Bergen County in Teaneck, Rae Kushner Yeshiva High School in Livingston and the Rav Teitz Mesivta Academy (JEC) in Elizabeth.

New Jersey wrestlers performed particularly well at this year’s Wittenberg Invitational, including several first place champions as well as the recipient of the 2017 Most Outstanding Wrestler, Yoni Uvsitzky, a senior at Rae Kushner Yeshiva High School.

Weight Class

Place

First Name

Last Name

Team

106

1

Dan

Peikes

Rae Kushner Yeshiva High School

113

1

Yacov

Billinson

Rae Kushner Yeshiva High School

138

1

Yoni

Uvsitzky

Rae Kushner Yeshiva High School

182

1

Aaron

Braun

Rae Kushner Yeshiva High School

195

2

Brian

Carmeli

Rae Kushner Yeshiva High School

126

3

Eli

Benzakein

Rae Kushner Yeshiva High School

132

2

Baruch

Crane

Rav Teitz Mesivta Academy

160

3

Jeff

Heckendorn

Rav Teitz Mesivta Academy

170

1

Jake

Nussbaum

The Frisch School

195

1

Yonatan

Benchabbat

The Frisch School

152

2

Yehuda

Farkas

The Frisch School

182

2

Gabi

Benchabbat

The Frisch School

220

3

Yoni

Katz

The Frisch School

285

3

Michael

Froimchuk

The Frisch School

126

1

Ben

Antosofsky

Torah Academy Bergen County

132

3

Ben

Mendolevitz

Torah Academy Bergen County

 

By JLBWC Sports Staff

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