The Kinner family has given so much to the Kingsway wrestling program over the last seven years.
Thanks to a timely return from a devastating injury, the family was able to go out with one final championship in the Dragons' gym.
Senior Cheney Kinner, wrestling just his second match of the season, picked up a major decision on Friday night to help top-seeded Kingsway defeat sixth-seeded Moorestown, 46-19, in the NJSIAA/Rothman Orthopaedics South Jersey, Group 4 final.
It was the second straight sectional title and third in four seasons for the Dragons, No. 6 in the NJ.com Top 20. The defending state champs were heavily favored and took care of business, denying the Quakers a third straight road upset in the playoffs.
"We came out and competed," Kingsway coach Mike Barikian said. "I was very impressed with the season Moorestown had this year, but I think people knew coming in that we were just a little more talented at most weights. They're a tough team but we're fortunate that we have depth and we don't really have holes where teams can bump around and get better matchups against us.
"I'm happy with the effort, but our goal is to win a state title. If we don't win two more matches, nobody is going to be happy."
Kingsway will face Brick Memorial on Sunday in the state semifinals at RWJ Barnabas Health Arena in Toms River. The Dragons defeated Brick, 37-24, during the regular season, and if they prevail again, they'll most likely get another rematch in the final against North Hunterdon.
North Hunterdon topped Kingsway, 40-21, back on Jan. 4, but the Dragons were without Kinner and Josh Palmucci.
"We're definitely thinking repeat," said Kinner, who clinched Kingsway's state crown last year in the final bout against Phillipsburg. "We have all of our guys back and we're hoping to see North Hunterdon. The first time, Josh was out, I was out and we had a couple of bad matches; kids getting pinned when they shouldn't get pinned. We're looking to avenge that loss and we're ready to go."
Kinner is happy to be wrestling at all. He suffered a broken wrist in a car accident and expected to miss his entire senior season, but got the cast off three weeks ago and returned for Wednesday's sectional semifinals against Clearview.
"Honestly, I didn't really know how to handle it at first," the 160-pounder said. "I was just so disappointed because I worked really hard in the offseason to get stronger, and it kind of felt like it was all for nothing. I just tried my best to get back for the end of the season so I could do this, be part of the playoff run."
Kinner was a freshman in 2017 when Kingsway claimed its first sectional championship in 10 years. His older brothers Trace and Quinn – a two-time individual state champion – were also on that team.
Unless Cheney's little sister ends up wrestling for the Kingsway girls program – which he said was unlikely – Friday night marked the end of an era for the family and the Dragons.
"It was always in the back of my mind," Kinner said. "I don't know if these are the last matches I'll ever wrestle in my career, so it's great to go out with a win. I love wrestling here so it's a great feeling."
Kinner will be attending Williamson College of the Trades next year, so this is his last hurrah in wrestling.
"I'm incredibly happy for Cheney," Barikian said. "When he got hurt in the beginning of the year, we thought he was done for the duration of the season. To get back and get to a point where he's ready to compete, I'm happy for him that he gets to end his career actually wrestling."
Kinner's win was part of five straight Kingsway victories after Moorestown's Tommy Blanch opened the match with a major decision at 138.
The highlight of the early going was Dakota Morris' second-period pin over Ronald McCoy at 145 in a match that was tied at 3. Morris improved to 29-3 and dropped McCoy to 27-5.
That helped the Dragons build a 20-7 lead before Moorestown got within one thanks to a decision from John Dalmass at 195 and back-to-back pins from Rob Damerjian at 220 and Adam Robinson at 285.
But Kingsway had an answer, as Brendan Callahan followed with a tech fall at 106, Nate McCullough pinned at 113 and Joey Miranda sealed the win with a tech fall at 120.
"I thought we kind of accepted that they were Kingsway," Moorestown coach Brian Cary said. "Some of our kids were battling, but overall I just didn't see the heart we had in the other two (playoff) matches. … That's on me, I have to have them ready to wrestle.
"My seniors up top stepped up like they always do, but Kingsway doesn't have a lot of holes. They're repeat champions, they're going to give whoever they see in the next round a tough match and I wish them the best."
Kingsway held out standouts Palmucci and Finn McFadden for weight reasons, but Barikian said both will be ready to go on Sunday. He hopes they get a chance to battle for another state championship.
"We expect to see North Hunterdon if we're able to get back to the final," he said. "That's a team that beat us soundly but there's going to be a lot of different matchups than the last time. We were missing guys and guys are in different weight classes now. It's going to be interesting if it happens."