Monday, January 16, 2017

Wrestling: New Jersey Writers Association Top 20

For the second straight week, five teams from the Hunterdon-Warren-Sussex area appear in the latest New Jersey Wrestling Writers Association Top 20 poll.

Phillipsburg (5-1), with wins over No. 7 Hunterdon Central (34-24 on Wednesday) and Kittatinny (45-19 on Thursday) remains in the No. 5 spot. The Stateliners will square off against No. 11 Hanover Park (8-1) on Thursday at Phillipsburg High School.

Delaware Valley (8-2) falls one spot to No. 10, while Pope John (7-1) jumps up three spots to No. 9 after winning its first team championship in the Hunterdon-Warren-Sussex Tournament on Saturday -- besting second-place Hunterdon Central by three points.

The Lions dropped a 50-13 decision to No. 1 Bergen Catholic on Monday.

Rounding out the local teams ranked is No. 17 High Point. The Wildcats (8-1) will face No. 13 Delsea on Saturday as part of a quad at Roxbury High School.

Bergen Catholic (4-1) remains the unanimous No. 1 team for the second straight week. The Crusaders, who collected all 13 first-place votes and have been ranked No. 1 in the poll every week since the 2013-14 season, beat Passaic Tech, 59-4, last Wednesday, but dropped a 30-29 decision to Clovis High School, a California team ranked sixth in the country by InterMat Wrestling.

(Records through Monday)

1Bergen Catholic (13)(4-1)2601
4South Plainfield(18-1)2254
6Bound Brook(5-3)1946
7Hunterdon Central(6-2)1767
9Pope John(7-1)16012
10Delaware Valley(8-2)1429
11Hanover Park(8-1)1359
14Queen of Peace(4-0)8816
16Seton Hall Prep(19-0)49          NR
17High Point(8-1)4418
18Don Bosco Prep(5-4)4213
19Monroe Township(11-1)36          NR

Others receving votes: Collingswood (11-1) 9; DePaul (4-2) 8; Middletown North (12-0) 8; North Hunterdon (9-2) 4.

NJWWA voting members (in alphabetical order): Donald J. Brower (; Frank D'Esposito (; Steve Falk (Asbury Park Press and; Josh Friedman (Courier Post of Cherry Hill, Daily Journal of Vineland); Screwy Louie Lazzari (New Jersey historian); John Lewis (Burlington County Times); Ron Mazzola (NJWWA president, Region 5 ranking chairman); Tom McGurk (Courier Post of Cherry Hill); Anthony Spaulding (New Jersey Herald); Mark Trible (Courier Post of Cherry Hill); Greg Tufaro (Home News Tribune of East Brunswick); Mike Weilamann (Open Mike/Mugs Media); Brad Wilson (Express-Times).

Wrestling: Hunterdon-Warren-Sussex rankings

With the eighth annual Hunterdon-Warren-Sussex Tournament freshly in the books, it's never too early to take a look at next year's event, which will take place in the spacious and beautiful Phillipsburg High School gym in 2018.

Hunterdon Central, which had served as the Hunterdon-Warren host school since the tournament began in 2010, is out of the mix, at least for now. Loyal readers of this blog will certainly recall several occasions over the years when we took Central to task for the way it ran some of the HWS events. Current head coach Jon Cantagallo-Rohm, who seem less than pleased with the way things ran at Hopatcong on Saturday, sure does, and he made certain to point out to several of us on media row about how we ripped his school and should return the favor.

In fact, much of our previous criticism of Central centered around rushing to get done, not having set times for rounds to make it more fan-friendly, and of course, the travesty of running semifinals and finals on multiple mats.

Well, in the interest of consistency, Hopatcong High School, the Sussex host, went to a one-day format this year for the first time ever. Longtime athletic director Tom Vara, who has since retired, always ran a classy show over two days. Aside from it being one day, several other disappointing moments stick out from Saturday. Running finals and consolations together is bad enough, but not holding up until each weight class is done and NO introductions of the finalists was poor, as well as no podium to recognize the placewinners. Here we have the best county tournament in the state with some great wrestling, and to not honor these guys is shameful.

Here is to hoping that Phillipsburg will take a much different approach and run the event with the dignity it so deserves. After all, 'Liners assistant coach Scott Silvis took charge of the seeding this year, which held up the 2016 tournament for hours that morning, and did a fantastic job of getting things done on Friday night. Coaches will not let this be a two-day event and it seems we're stuck with finals and consolations at the same time. But one mat in the center for finals -- consolations can be done on four in the previous round -- holding up the weight classes, a podium, and intros for the finalists are not much to ask. Also, finals at 5 p.m., and stick to it.

On a lighter note, it will be good to see tradition and history taking center stage this week with two longtime rivalries hitting milestone numbers on Wednesday. Warren Hills will travel to Phillipsburg for the 70th meeting in that series, while North Hunterdon heads to Delaware Valley for the 50th clash between county rivals on Gold Rush Night in Alexandria Township.

Now, onto this week's rankings.

1. Phillipsburg (5-1) -- Stateliners went 2-0 last week with wins over Hunterdon Central (34-24 on Wednesday) and Kittatinny (45-19 on Thursday) before finishing third in the Hunterdon-Warren Sussex Tournament. Junior Cullen Day won at 106 pounds, his first title, while senior Robert Melise repeated as the champ at 220. Melise, now 99-20 overall, will bid for his 100th career win against Warren Hills. "I'm hoping to get my 100th in front of my family and friends. It will be a nice feat," Melise said following his pin of Central's Victor Lacombe in the HWS finals. P'burg owns a 55-14 edge in the series vs. Hills dating to 1948 and has won 30 in a row since two losses in 1990.

Up next: Warren Hills at home on Wednesday; Hanover Park at home on Thursday; Easton (Pa.) at home on Saturday.

2. Pope John (6-0) -- Lions jump up a few spots after making tournament history on Saturday by winning their first HWS team championship -- giving Sussex County back-to-back titles for the first time and its third overall, joining High Point (2010) and Kittatinny (2016). Super freshman Eddie Ventresca (113) started the title parade, while two-time champions Joe Aragona (120) and Jake Rotunda (126) were also among the team's nine placewinners. In NJAC action, coach Mark Piotrowsky's team rolled to a 45-26 win over Jefferson in an American Division clash.

Up next: at Bergen Catholic on Monday; at Mount Olive on Wednesday; Mendham and Whippany Park at Randolph on Saturday.

3. Hunterdon Central (6-2) -- Red Devils fell just three points shy of Pope John in the team title race at Hunterdon-Warren Sussex, 196-193, despite having a tournament-best 11 wrestlers place in the top six. You have to wonder what might have been had senior Peter Nace, who left after being pinned in the semifinals, wrestled in the third-place bout at 126 pounds. A win by major decision would have given his team a share of the team championship, while scoring a technical fall or pin would have won it. Senior Michael Iodice became a two-time champion with his pin at 182, while Hunter Graf (120) and Victor Lacombe (220) were runners-up.

Up next: Voorhees at home on Wednesday; Watchung Hills at home on Friday; Old Tappan and Westwood at Emerson-Park Ridge on Saturday.

4. Delaware Valley (8-2) -- After lopsided victories over Pingry (52-15 on Tuesday) and Watchung Hills (42-22 on Wednesday), Terriers finished fifth at the Hunterdon-Warren-Sussex Tournament. Senior Kyle Lightner (18-0) posted an impressive 5-1 win over Phillipsburg's Drew Horun in the 195-pound final, while freshman Gage Crater had a nice run to the championship round, pinning Nace in the semifinals and finishing second at 126. Senior Matt Kolonia (18-1) got his first loss in the 138-pound final.

Up next: North Hunterdon at home on Wednesday; Kittatinny and West Morris at Westfield on Saturday.

5. High Point (8-1) -- Wildcats gutted out a 36-31 win over Sparta on Thursday before finishing seventh in the Hunterdon-Warren-Sussex Tournament. Coach John Gardner's team was missing a few starters, including sophomore Devin Flannery (11-1), who would have been one of the contenders at 113 pounds but he did not compete due to illness. Sophomore Brandon LaRue (106) and freshman Billy Talmadge (126) were third-place finishers, while senior Aric Wingle (160) was fourth.

Up next: Delsea and Bridgewater-Raritan at Roxbury on Saturday.

6. North Hunterdon (9-2) -- Lions opened eyes with their fourth-place finish and three individual champions at the Hunterdon-Warren-Sussex Tournament. Junior Andrew Gapas won the rugged 132-pound weight class and the OW Award, while seniors Cole Marra (152) and Charlie Tordik got their first titles after runner-up finishes last year. Sophomore Connor Robinson was fourth at 106. More on this Tuesday night, but it should be interesting vs. Del Val, which rated as a big favorite coming into the season. But North looks to have a real shot at pulling off the upset.

Up next: at Delaware Valley on Wednesday; Bridgewater-Raritan at home on Thursday; Hillsborough, Watchung Hills and Woodstown at home on Saturday.

7. Warren Hills (7-6) -- Blue Streaks had a tough week with losses to Bound Brook and North Hunterdon before placing sixth as a team in the Hunterdon-Warren-Sussex Tournament as junior Jarod Ostir (170) was the lone finalist. Seniors Zach Nauta (145) and Taylan Zafis (285) were third, while junior Kyle Wulff (120) and senior Matt Valli (132) finished fourth. Wulff scored a nice 5-2 win over Del Val's A.J. DeRosa in the quarters after dropping their first two meetings this season.

Up next: at Phillipsburg on Wednesday.

8. Kittatinny (6-3) -- Junior Shane Smith surprised the field by winning the 160-pound title as the Cougars finished eighth in the Hunterdon-Warren-Sussex Tournament. Smith pulled off wins in the semifinals and finals with a flying cement job -- decking Pope John's Reece Mulduun for the gold. Senior Josh Klimek (182) was second, while junior Josh Hiler (170) placed third. In dual meet action last week, coach John Gill's team rolled to a 75-5 victory over Wallkill Valley before a 45-19 loss at Phillipsburg.

Up next: at North Warren on Wednesday; Delaware Valley and West Morris at Westfield on Saturday.

9. Voorhees (6-4) -- Third time was a charm for unbeaten senior Michael Fernandes as he won the 170-pound title after back-to-back runner-up finishes in the Hunterdon-Warren-Sussex Tournament. Coach Eric Hall's team finished ninth in the team standings, as junior Scott Fernandes (182) and sophomore Lewis Fernandes (195) placed third for the Vikes, who dropped a 43-30 decision to Bound Brook in their lone dual meet of the week.

Up next: at Hunterdon Central on Wednesday; Ridge and New Brunswick at Franklin on Saturday.

10. Sparta (5-5) -- Senior Zach Herbert (285) was a runner-up as the Spartans finished 13th in the team standings at the Hunterdon-Warren-Sussex Tournament. Junior Robert Gennat (195) was a fourth-place finisher for the Sussex County school. Herbert (15-2) dropped a 2-1 decision to North Hunterdon's Charlie Tordik, who also won 5-4 when they met in the John Goles Invitational finals on Dec. 28. In dual meet action, Spartans rolled to a 56-11 win over Morris Hills and had a tough 36-31 loss to High Point.

Up next: Roxbury at home on Wednesday; North Warren and Pompton Lakes at Lenape Valley on Saturday.

On the bubble -- Lenape Valley (4-6) and Newton (4-4). Patriots finished 10th in the Hunterdon-Warren-Sussex Tournament behind two-time champion Nick Palumbo (145) and two third-place finishers in Jacob Falleni (120) and Ray Smaha (138). They will get a chance to crack the Top 10 with a win over Sparta on Saturday. Braves were 11th at HWS, with sophomore Wyatt McCarthy (152) finishing second and Jonathon Borgognoni (160) taking third. They will travel to Lenape Valley on Wednesday.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Wrestling: HWS schedule for Jan. 16-21

Monday, Jan. 16


Pope John, Holy Spirit at Bergen Catholic, 10 a.m.

Tuesday, Jan. 17


Belvidere at Wilson (Pa.), 7 p.m.

Wednesday, Jan. 18

(All matches 7 p.m., unless noted)

Northwest Jersey Athletic Conference

Wallkill Valley at Hopatcong, 6 p.m.
Kittatinny at North Warren
Newton at Lenape Valley
Pope John at Mount Olive
Roxbury at Sparta

Skyland Conference

North Hunterdon at Delaware Valley
Voorhees at Hunterdon Central, 6:30 p.m.
Warren Hills at Phillipsburg
Belvidere at Manville


Emerson-Park Ridge at Hackettstown

Thursday, Jan. 19

(All matches 7 p.m.)

Northwest Jersey Athletic Conference

Morris Hills at Lenape Valley

Skyland Conference

Bridgewater-Raritan at North Hunterdon


Hanover Park at Phillipsburg

Friday, Jan. 20

(All matches 6 p.m., unless noted)

Northwest Jersey Athletic Conference

Madison at Hopatcong
Parsippany Hills at Vernon

Skyland Conference

Watchung Hills at Hunterdon Central


Newton in Jack Welch Duals at Moorestown

Saturday, Jan. 21

(All events 9 a.m., unless noted)

Hackettstown, Morris Knolls, Bishop Ahr at Wayne Valley, 11 a.m.
High Point, Delsea, Bridgewater-Raritan at Roxbury, 10 a.m.
Hopatcong, Manville, Notre Dame at Montgomery, 2 p.m.
Delaware Valley, Kittatinny, West Morris at Westfield, 9:30 a.m.
North Warren, Sparta, Pompton Lakes at Lenape Valley
Vernon, Demarest at Secaucus
Hunterdon Central, Old Tappan, Westwood at Emerson-Park Ridge, 9:30 a.m.
Voorhees, Ridge, New Brunswick at Franklin
Belvidere, Kinnelon, Middlesex at Governor Livingston
Hillsborough, Watchung Hills, Woodstown at North Hunterdon
Pope John, Mendham, Whippany Park at Randolph


Easton (Pa.) at Phillipsburg, 7 p.m.
Newton in Jack Welch Duals at Moorestown

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Wrestling: Gapas, Melise are gold standard at HWS

HOPATCONG -- Saying a wrestler gave an outstanding performance is sometimes a bit overdone. However, in the cases of North Hunterdon junior Andrew Gapas and Phillipsburg senior Robert Melise, the label fits them to a T.

Gapas wowed those in attendance with his match to the 132-pound title, while Melise was among five to repeat as champions with his pin in the 220-pound final to highlight the eighth annual Hunterdon-Warren-Sussex Tournament on Saturday at Hopatcong High School.

Gapas won arguably the toughest and deepest weight class by decking state qualifier and 2016 runner-up Robert Garcia of Pope John, which edged Hunterdon Central (196-193) for the team title. The Lions joined Kittatinny (2016) and High Point (2010) as the only Sussex schools to win team championship.

"I just tried to wrestle as hard as I could," said Gapas, who earned the Outstanding Wrestler Award and knocked off returning champion Matt Valli of Warren Hills for the second time in four days with a 3-2 decision in the semifinals. "If it worked out [being the OW], it worked out."

Gapas (18-1), a fifth-place finisher a year ago, scored two takedowns in the first period, giving up a reversal in between for a 5-2 lead after one period. Garcia (17-3), who finished third in Region 1 last season as a freshman, took bottom to start the second. Instead of cutting Garcia to go neutral, Gapas opted to ride and gave up another reversal. That was his last mistake -- getting a takedown near the edge and switching over to a headlock for the pin in 3:02.

"I thought about letting him go, but I am confident on top with my riding," said Gapas, who put in a lot of time at various clubs during the offseason. "I knew I could ride him and probably have a good chance of turning him. It was so exciting. [When he was on his back] I kept saying, 'Yes, let's get this done. He's a great wrestler."

Melise, a state finalist last season, made it back-to-back titles at 220 by decking fellow placewinner Victor Lacombe of Hunterdon Central with a cradle in 1:12. The win was extra sweet for Melise, who took exception when Central opted to bump Lacombe away to 285 in the dual meet on Wednesday -- a 34-24 win for the Stateliners.

Melise (16-2) pinned Lacombe -- with, you guessed it, a cradle in overtime last season in their only other meeting.

"I was really ticked off, but [the Central coaches] did what they had to do to try and win the dual meet," said Melise, who picked up his 99th win overall in the process. "I love wrestling the best wrestlers. It's what makes me better. He just kind of gave me [the cradle]. He posted up and I could feel his knee slide up to try and get out of it. I cross-faced and locked it up."

Palumbo puts it on repeat

After providing one of the most entertaining finals a year ago, Lenape Valley senior Nick Palumbo and Phillipsburg junior Brian Meyer gave us another thriller at 145, where Palumbo came through with another pin, this time in 5:52. There were a total of seven falls and one technical fall in the championship round.

Palumbo (19-0) displayed some serious horsepower in this title run, but put himself in some bad spots in the process -- giving up a reversal while attempting a spladle in the first period and a takedown in the second while trying to muscle Meyer, a Region 1 champion last season.

"He was pretty strong," said Palumbo, who pinned Meyer in 1:41 in last year's title bout at 145. "It wasn't very smart by me."

Palumbo, who led 5-4 after two periods, finally put Meyer away with a headlock. A rematch between the two never materialized last year as Palumbo lost in the region semifinals, but rallied the following weekend to finish third in the state. Palumbo is his school's eighth county champ and the first to win multiple titles.

"It feels awesome," said Palumbo, who is among just 22 wrestlers in tournament history to win at least two championships. "I feel like I didn't wrestle my best. I felt slow. This is the first time I've made scratch weight [at 145 in awhile.]"

Young Lions lead the way

With a trio of champs and five in the finals, Pope John made tournament history by joining Kittatinny as the first Sussex County schools to win back-to-back team championships.

Sophomore Joe Aragona (120) and junior Jake Rotunda (126) were repeat winners, while freshman Eddie Ventresca (113) burst onto the scene by winning his first title for the Lions. Garcia and Reece Mulduun (160) were runners-up.

Aragona (13-0) had a much rougher go than his teammates in a 2-0 win over Hunterdon Central junior Hunter Graf in a battle of unbeaten state placewinners. A first-period takedown was the difference.

Rotunda (16-2) built an 8-0 lead before pinning impressive Delaware Valley freshman Gage Crater with a half in 1:11. Crater (13-6) had the place rocking in the semifinals by decking Hunterdon Central state qualifier and two-time county runner-up Peter Nace.

Ventresca was in class by himself at 113, working Phillipsburg sophomore Travis Jones for a 19-4 technical fall win in 4:36.

Hunterdon review

Gapas was one of three champions for an improving North Hunterdon team, as the Lions finished fourth in the team race. Seniors Cole Marra (152) and Charlie Tordik (285) also won their first county titles after runner-up finishes in 2016. North ranks second on the all-time county champions list with 15, just four behind Phillipsburg.

Delaware Valley junior Kyle Lightner showed that he could be in for a special season with a dominating 5-1 victory over Phillipsburg senior Drew Horun, who was derailed in his bid for a second title. After riding Horun the entire second period, Lightner took bottom in the third and grabbed a 3-0 lead with a takedown 19 seconds in. He converted a second at the buzzer to ice it.

Voorhees senior Michael Fernandes finally got over the tri-county finals hump -- decking Warren Hills junior Jarod Ostir in 1:51 to win the 170-pound title. Fernandes (17-0), who twice finished second at 160 pounds, is the Vikes' sixth champion overall and first since Kyle DiNapoli won at 113 in 2014.

Hunterdon Central, which went 1-2 in the finals and was three points shy in the team chase, saw senior Michael Iodice win his second title -- pinning Kittatinny senior Josh Klimek in 3:44 for the 182-pound gold. Nace opted to forfeit his third-place match against High Point freshman Billy Talmadge, so the team race could have been even tighter.

Back points

Phillipsburg finished out of the top two in the team standings for just the second time in tournament history. The 'Liners, who had their run of five straight titles snapped by Kittatinny last year, finished 13th in 2010, when quite a few regulars missed the inaugural event. Junior Cullen Day (106) joined Melise as the Warren County school's 18th and 19th champs.

Delaware Valley senior Matt Kolonia (18-1) can attest to how tough it is to win a title in this rugged tournament as he lost a heartbreaking 5-3 decision to Hackettstown junior Alex Carida in a battle of state placewinners at 138. Kolonia, a two-time runner-up and 100-match winner, finished fourth as a freshman and fifth as a sophomore.

Hackettstown got its third champion overall and first in six years as Carida (17-2) rallied from a 3-1 deficit in the final 26 seconds against Kolonia. The Tigers' previous winners were Andrew Scudder (2010) and Ryan Nicotra (2011).

Warren Hills had a tough day and finished without a champion for the first time since 2012 and just the third tournament overall. Ostir was the Blue Streaks' lone finalist, while Valli, last year's OW, finished fourth at a brutal weight. Seniors Zach Nauta (145) and Taylan Zafis (285) placed third, while junior Kyle Wulff (120) was fourth. Wulff knocked off Del Val's A.J. DeRosa, 5-2, in the quarters after losses in two previous meetings this season.

Newton, which saw its run with at least one finalist end last year, had a runner-up in sophomore Wyatt McCarthy (152). Junior Jonathon Borgognoni (160) was third, while senior Nick Giordano (145) and junior Joseph DeLuca (182) were fourth for the Braves. Only Pope John (7), Hunterdon Central (6), Phillipsburg (5) and Warren Hills (5) had more semifinalists than the Braves (4).

High Point jumped up four spots in the team standings after finishing 11th last year. The Wildcats did not produce a finalist for the second straight tournament after going three straight with a champion. Sophomore Brandon LaRue (106) and Talmadge were third, while Aric Wingle (160) took fourth.

Kittatinny junior Shane Smith may have been the most unlikely champ -- pinning Mulduun in 1:25 to win the 160-pound title. As was the case in the semifinals against Borgognoni, a flying cement job was the winning move.

Wrestling: Hunterdon-Warren-Sussex results

Team standings: 1. Pope John (PJ) 195; 2. Hunterdon Central (HC) 192; 3. Phillipsburg (P) 170; 4. North Hunterdon (NH) 150; 5. Delaware Valley (DV) 145.5; 6. Warren Hills (WH) 115; 7. High Point (HP) 114; 8. Kittatinny (K) 109; 9. Voorhees (Vo) 97.5; 10. Lenape Valley (LV) 97; 11. Newton (N) 86.5; 12. Hackettstown (H) 77; 13. Sparta (S) 76; 14. Belvidere (B) 66; 15. Hopatcong (Ho) 47; 16. North Warren (NW) 22.5; 17. Wallkill Valley (WV) 22; 18. Vernon (Ve) 7.

Placewinners by school

Hunterdon Central 1+2+2+1+3+2=11; Pope John 3+2+1+1+0+2=9; Delaware Valley 1+2+0+0+3+1=7; North Hunterdon 3+0+0+1+1+2=7; High Point 0+0+2+1+3+0=6; Phillipsburg 2+3+0+0+0+1=6; Warren Hills 0+1+2+2+0+1=6; Lenape Valley 1+0+2+0+0+2=5; Newton 0+1+1+2+0+1=5; Kittatinny 1+1+1+0+1+0=4; Voorhees 1+0+2+0+0+1=4; Belvidere 0+1+0+1+1+0=3; Hackettstown 1+0+0+2+0+0=3; Hopatcong 0+0+1+2+0+0=3; Sparta 0+1+0+1+1+0=3; North Warren 0+0+0+0+0+1=1; Wallkill Valley 0+0+0+0+1+0=1; Vernon 0+0+0+0+0+0=0


106 -- 3-Jr. Cullen Day (16-5), P, d. 1-So. Quinn Melofchik (13-2), B, 3-1 SV.
113 -- 6-Fr. Eddie Ventresca (18-2), PJ, tf. 1-So. Travis Jones (13-6), P, 19-4, 4:36.
120 -- 1-So. Joe Aragona (13-0), PJ, d. 2-Jr. Hunter Graf (13-1), HC, 2-0.
126 -- 1-Jr. Jake Rotunda (16-2), PJ, p. 3-Fr. Gage Crater (13-6), DV, 1:11.
132 -- 2-Jr. Andrew Gapas (18-1), NH, p. 5-So. Robert Garcia (17-3), PJ, 3:02.
138 -- 2-Jr. Alex Carida (17-2), Ha, d. 1-Sr. Matt Kolonia (18-1), DV, 5-3.
145 -- 1-Sr. Nick Palumbo (19-0), LV, p. 2-Jr. Brian Meyer (17-6), P, 5:52.
152 -- 3-Sr. Cole Marra (15-3), NH, d. 5-So. Wyatt McCarthy (16-2), N, 5-3.
160 -- 5-Jr. Shane Smith (15-4), K, p. 7-Jr. Reece Mulduun (10-3), PJ, 1:25.
170 -- 2-Sr. Michael Fernandes (17-0), Vo, p. 1-Jr. Jarod Ostir (16-4), WH, 1:51.
182 -- 1-Sr. Michael Iodice (13-2), HC, p. 2-Sr. Josh Klimek (14-4), K, 3:44.
195 -- 1-Jr. Kyle Lightner (18-0), DV, d. 2-Sr. Drew Horun (19-4), P, 5-1.
220 -- 1-Sr. Robert Melise (16-2), P, p. 2-Sr. Victor Lacombe (14-1), HC, 1:12.
285 -- 1-Sr. Charlie Tordik (18-0), NH, d. 2-Sr. Zach Herbert (15-2), S, 2-1.
Outstanding Wrestler Award -- Andrew Gapas, North Hunterdon.

Third-place consolations

106 -- 4-So. Brandon LaRue (14-2), HP, p. 2-So. Connor Robinson (14-5), NH, 2:41.
113 -- 2-So. Jack Bauer (11-3), HC, p. 5-Sr. Brandon Olmstead (13-4), Ho, 3:31.
120 -- 3-Sr. Jacob Falleni (15-3), LV, p. 5-Jr. Kyle Wulff (14-6), WH, 5:48.
126 -- 5-Fr. Billy Talmadge (10-5), HP, forfeit, 2-Sr. Peter Nace (11-2), HC.
132 -- 1-Jr. Anthony Mastroeni (16-1), Ho, d. 3-Sr. Matt Valli (17-3), WH, 7-5.
138 -- 4-Sr. Ray Smaha (16-1), LV, p. 3-Sr. Nick Cassidy (11-6), B, :49.
145 -- 3-Sr. Zach Nauta (17-2), WH, p. 4-Sr. Nick Giordano (10-8), N, :25.
152 -- 1-Jr. Kevin Ciresa (12-4), HC, forfeit, 10-So. Anthony Rispoli (9-6), PJ.
160 -- 1-Jr. Jonathon Borgognoni (15-3), N, d. 3-Sr. Aric Wingle (12-4), HP, 3-2.
170 -- 3-Jr. Josh Hiler (14-4), K, p. 5-Sr. Jake Wilkerson (13-4), Ho, 1:15.
182 -- 3-Jr. Scott Fernandes (15-2), Vo, p. 4-Jr. Joseph DeLuca (11-6), N, 3:22.
195 -- 3-So. Lewis Fernandes (14-3), Vo, p. 4-Jr. Robert Gennat (12-5), S, 5:33.
220 -- 3-Jr. Jake Brown (6-1), PJ, d. 5-Sr. Kyle Connelly (15-4), Ha, 5-1.
285 -- 3-Sr. Taylan Zafis (14-7), WH, d. 4-Jr. Joe Andes (13-5), Ha, 5-1.

Fifth-place consolations

106 -- 12-Fr. Grant Bloch (4-3), HC, md. 7-Fr. Ben Lilly (10-4), NW, 16-3.
113 -- 7-Fr. Zachary Creeden (17-3), WV, p. 8-Fr. Evan Klimas (13-5), NH, :28.
120 -- 4-So. A.J. DeRosa (15-4), DV, md. 6-So. Hunter Rinehart (12-4), Vo, 12-0.
126 -- 7-So. Michael Wilson (9-8), NH, d. 4-Fr. Eric Falleni (12-9), LV, 8-2.
132 -- 6-So. Vincent Romaniello (13-2), HC, d. 4-Sr. Connor Mills (14-5), DV, 8-3.
138 -- 7-Jr. Shane Kobis (12-4), HP, d. 9-Sr. Bryce Hall (10-6), HC, 3-0.
145 -- 8-Jr. Trey Osborn (8-6), HP, d. 7-Jr. Tucker Kirchberger (9-6), NH, 3-1.
152 -- 4-Sr. Rhys Zigich (16-3), DV, d. 2-Sr. Anthony Smaha (12-9), LV, 10-3.
160 -- 2-Sr. Chase Bauberger (14-5), DV, d. 8-So. Dan Furmato (7-7), HC, 11-9.
170 -- 8-Sr. Nick Appleby (13-2), B, d. 6-Jr. James Swentzel (5-7), PJ, 5-3.
182 -- 8-Sr. Matthew McDonnell (7-9), HP, p. 11-So. Austin Roth (3-12), P, 1:48.
195 -- 5-So. Zach Mafaro (15-3), K, d. 6-So. Nick Galka (15-7), WH, 6-4.
220 -- 4-Sr. William Loewen (13-3), S, d. 7-So. Luke Fischer (11-6), N, 5-2.
285 -- 5-Jr. Angelo Crespo (7-6), HC, p. 6-So. Louis Montana (6-7), PJ, 1:58.


106 -- Quinn Melofchik, B, d. Brandon LaRue, HP, 2-1; Cullen Day, P, p. Connor Robinson, NH, 1:57.
113 -- Travis Jones, P, tf. Brandon Olmstead, Ho, 16-0, 3:30; Eddie Ventresca, PJ, d. Jack Bauer, HC, 4-0.
120 -- Joe Aragona, PJ, md. Kyle Wulff, WH, 10-2; Hunter Graf, HC, d. Jacob Falleni, LV, 6-0.
126 -- Jake Rotunda, PJ, md. Billy Talmadge, HP, 12-0; Gage Crater, DV, p. Peter Nace, HC, 4:58.
132 -- Robert Garcia, PJ, d. Anthony Mastroeni, Ho, 7-6; Andrew Gapas, NH, d. Matt Valli, WH, 3-2.
138 -- Matt Kolonia, DV, md. Ray Smaha, LV, 14-5; Alex Carida, Ha, d. Nick Cassidy, B, 4-2.
145 -- Nick Palumbo, LV, p. Nick Giordano, N, 5:43; Brian Meyer, P, tf. Zach Nauta, WH, 18-3, 5:29.
152 -- Wyatt McCarthy, N, d. Kevin Ciresa, HC, 3-1; Cole Marra, NH, d. Anthony Rispoli, PJ, 8-4.
160 -- Shane Smith, K, p. Jonathon Borgognoni, N, 2:46; Reece Mulduun, PJ. d. Aric Wingle, HP, 5-3.
170 -- Jarod Ostir, WH, d. Jake Wilkerson, Ho, 5-2; Michael Fernandes, Vo, p. Josh Hiler, K, 2:34.
182 -- Michael Iodice, HC, md. Joseph DeLuca, N, 9-1; Josh Klimek, K, p. Scott Fernandes, Vo, 3:54.
195 -- Kyle Lightner, DV, d. Robert Gennat, S, 6-0; Drew Horun, P, d. Lewis Fernandes, Vo, 8-2.
220 -- Robert Melise, P, p. Kyle Connelly, Ha, 3:52; Victor Lacombe, HC, d. Jake Brown, PJ, 3-1 SV.
285 -- Charlie Tordik, NH, d. Joe Andes, Ha, 6-0; Zach Herbert, S, p. Taylan Zafis, WH, 2:51.


106 -- Quinn Melofchik, B, d. Mathew Garcia, PJ, 9-2; Brandon LaRue, HP, md. Grant Bloch, HC, 13-0; Cullen Day, P, md. Derek Molfetto, K, 10-1; Connor Robinson, NH, p. Ben Lilly, NW, 3:43.

113 -- Travis Jones, P, p. Evan Klimas, NH, 3;20; Brandon Olmstead, Ho, d. Colby Koshinski, Vo, 3-0; Eddie Ventresca, PJ, p. CJ Heaps, DV, 2:47; Jack Bauer, HC, d. Zachary Creeden, WV, 4-1.

120 -- Joe Aragona, PJ, p. Ryan Lensi, B, 1:08; Kyle Wulff, WH, d. A.J. DeRosa, DV, 5-2; Jacob Falleni, LV, p. Hunter Rinehart, Vo, 5:37; Hunter Graf, HC, d. Maverick Liebl, HP, 6-2.

126 -- Jake Rotunda, PJ, tf. Chris Ostir, WH, 15-0, 4:00; Billy Talmadge, HP, md. Eric Falleni, LV, 11-0; Gage Crater, DV, p. Michael Freda, N, 3:06; Peter Nace, HC, p. Michael Wilson, NH, :50.

132 -- Anthony Mastroeni, Ho, d. Kyle Tino, P, 9-2; Robert Garcia, PJ, d. Connor Mills, DV, 7-2; Matt Valli, WH, d. Vincent Romaniello, HC, 7-1; Andrew Gapas, NH, p. Justin Bennett, Ha, 1:29.

138 -- Matt Kolonia, DV, d. Bryce Hall, HC, 9-4; Ray Smaha, LV, d. Ryan Luchs, PJ, 9-2; Nick Cassidy, B, d. Shannon Grogan, NW, 3-0; Alex Carida, Ha, d. Shane Kobis, HP, 6-1.

145 -- Nick Palumbo, LV, tf. Trey Osborn, HP, 23-8, 4:17; Nick Giordano, N, d. Calvin Brook, K, 5-2; Zach Nauta, WH, p. Liam Cutri-French, Vo, 1:02; Brian Meyer, P, p. Tucker Kirchberger, NH, :56.

152 -- Kevin Ciresa, HC, d. Bart Yarosz, Ho, 7-2; Wyatt McCarthy, N, d. Rhys Zigich, DV, 4-2; Cole Marra, NH, d. Rashon Wade Taylor, WH, 3-2; Anthony Rispoli, PJ, d. Anthony Smaha, LV, 10-9.

160 -- Jonathon Borgognoni, N, d. Dan Furmato, HC, 11-4; Shane Smith, K, d. Sean Finnegan, S, 3-2; Aric Wingle, HP, d. Nick Luberto, NH, 8-3; Reece Mulduun, PJ, p. Chase Bauberger, DV, 6:26 SV.

170 -- Jarod Ostir, WH, d. Nick Appleby, B, 11-6; Jake Wilkerson, Ho, d. Dan Fisher, P, 3-1; Josh Hiler, K, d. James Swentzel, PJ, 9-8; Michael Fernandes, Vo, tf. Sean Finnegan, S, 16-0, 4:00.

182 -- Michael Iodice, HC, p. Matthew McDonnell, HP, :50; Joseph DeLuca, N, tf. Brodie McDonald, WV, 16-0, 4:55; Scott Fernandes, Vo, p. Austin Roth, P, 3:26; Josh Klimek, K, p. Christopher Jhong, PJ, 4:40.

195 -- Kyle Lightner, DV, tf. Hunter Flores, HP, 16-1, 2:50; Robert Gennat, S, p. Zach Mafaro, K, 1;36; Lewis Fernandes, V, p. Nick Galka, WH, 2:43; Drew Horun, P, md. Ryan Kokawski, B, 14-4.

220 -- Robert Melise, P, p. Jacob Mafaro, K, :45; Kyle Connelly, Ha, d. William Loewen, S, 4-2 SV; Jake Brown, PJ, p. Connor Andrews, WV, 1:48; Victor Lacombe, HC, p. Luke Fischer, N, 1:45.

285 -- Charlie Tordik, NH, p. Casimiro Jimenez, Ve, :42; Joe Andes, Ha, d. Angelo Crespo, HC, 5-1; Taylan Zafis, WH, p. Louis Montana, PJ, 1:26; Zach Herbert, S, p. Justen Caraballo, P, 1:14.


106 -- Quinn Melofchik, B, forfeit; Mathew Garcia, PJ, d. Dylan Uderman, DV, 5-2; Grant Bloch, HC, d. Aidan Taylor, Vo, 8-3; Brandon LaRue, HP, forfeit; Cullen Day, P, forfeit; Derek Molfetto, K, p. Zach Miller, LV, 2:54; Ben Lilly, NW, p. Greg Slivka, WH, 1:50; Connor Robinson, NH, forfeit.

113 -- Travis Jones, P, forfeit; Evan Klimas, NH, p. Dominick Falleni, LV, 5:27; Brandon Olmstead, Ho, md. Zach DiGeronimo, K, 9-1; Colby Koshinski, Vo, forfeit; CJ Heaps, DV, forfeit; Eddie Ventresca, PJ, p. Julian Sibblies, N, 1:17; Zachary Creeden, WV, d. Justin Gerkhardt, NW, 4-0; Jack Bauer, HC, forfeit.

120 -- Joe Aragona, PJ, forfeit; Ryan Lensi, B, p. Nicolas House, NH, 5:18; Kyle Wulff, WH, p. Brenden Fox, P, 3:50; A.J. DeRosa, DV, p. Logan Folb, Ve, :51; Jacob Falleni, LV, forfeit; Hunter Rinehart, Vo, p. Freddie Gonzalez, Ho, 2:30; Maverick Liebl, HP, p. Rocco Gignatelli, S, 2:11; Hunter Graf, HC, forfeit.

126 -- Jake Rotunda, PJ, forfeit; Chris Ostir, WH, md. Gio Campana, B, 12-2; Billy Talmadge, HP, p. Ryan Rodriguez, Ho, :16; Eric Falleni, LV, p. Denilson Blanco, Ha, 5:28; Gage Crater, DV, p. Thomas Abode, P, 3:34; Michael Freda, N, d. Nile Mattar, K, 12-7; Michael Wilson, NH, p. Brandon Casey, NW, 1:08; Peter Nace, HC, forfeit.

132 -- Anthony Mastroeni, Ho, forfeit; Kyle Tino, P, p. Roman Moss, Ve, 1:51; Robert Garcia, PJ, p. Rob Fletcher, NW, :33; Connor Mills, DV, p. Anthony Esposito, LV, 1:04; Matt Valli, WH, p. Augie Heithoff, Vo, 3:47; Vincent Romaniello, HC, p. Kristian Panetta, B, 1:21; Justin Bennett, Ha, p. RJ Brevot, HP, 1:01; Andrew Gapas, NH, forfeit.

138 -- Matt Kolonia, DV, p. Zachary Chaparro, Ho, 1:00; Bryce Hall, HC, d. Lance Wissing, P, 4-2; Ryan Luchs, PJ, d. Carter Sheridan, S, 8-2; Ray Smaha, LV, tf. Colton Riley, Vo, 16-1, 6:00; Nick Cassidy, B, p. Pedro Cruz, WH, 1:12; Shannon Grogan, NW, d. Mike Callahan, K, 6-2; Shane Kobis, HP, p. William Hughes, NH, 1:10; Alex Carida, Ha, p. John Alvarez, Ve, 1:36.

145 -- Nick Palumbo, LV, p. Austin Bramley, S, 3:52; Trey Osborn, HP, d. Tanner McLaughlin, DV, 3-2; Calvin Brook, K, d. Travis Healy, PJ, 5-0; Nick Giordano, N, p. Sean Cranmer, Ho, 1;34; Zach Nauta, WH, p. Perry Laszki, Ve, 1:30; Liam Cutri-French, Vo, d. Mark Dellavalle, HC, 5-2; Tucker Kirchberger, NH, p. Zebulon Burke, Ha, 1;22; Brian Meyer, P, p. Vasilios Nikolopoulos, B, :52.

152 -- Kevin Ciresa, HC, forfeit; Bart Yarosz, Ho, p. Kasey Hotz, K, 2:43; Wyatt McCarthy, N, d. Jayson Zinsmeister, P, 11-6; Rhys Zigich, DV, p. Matt Brandner, Vo, 2:53; Cole Marra, NH, p. Joe Voitek, NW, 3:42; Rashon Wade Taylor, WH, p. Lars Haugaard, B, 1;30; Anthony Rispoli, PJ, d. Sean McHugh, S, 7-2; Anthony Smaha, LV, p. Mike Roccasanta, Ve, :30.

160 -- Jonathon Borgognoni, N, forfeit; Dan Furmato, HC, p. Ryan Walsh, NW, 3;32; Shane Smith, K, p. Joey Sena, B, :22; Sean Finnegan, S, p. James Clarke, Ha, 3:10; Aric Wingle, HP, d. Shamyr Brodders, P, 5-3; Nick Luberto, NH, p. Jordan Costanza, LV, 1:26; Reece Mulduun, PJ, d. Ben Brandner, Vo, 3-1; Chase Bauberger, DV, p. Alex Feinberg, Ho, 1:11.

170 -- Jarod Ostir, WH, p. Storm Goralczyk, HP, :50; Nick Appleby, B, p. Shawn Burke, Ha, 3;10; Jake Wilkerson, Ho, p. Kyle Metz, DV, 1:43; Dan Fisher, P, d. James Harvey III, LV, 9-2; Josh Hiler, K, p. Julian Heiligtag, HC, 3:02; James Swentzel, PJ, d. Nick Brigante, N, 5-4; Paddy Finnegan, S, p. Anthony Masters, NH, 2:44; Michael Fernandes, Vo, p. Walt Talt, Ve, 1:06.

182 -- Michael Iodice, HC, forfeit; Matthew McDonnell, HP, p. Liam McGuire, Ho, 1:51; Brodie McDonald, WV, forfeit; Joseph DeLuca, N, forfeit; Scott Fernandes, Vo, forfeit; Austin Roth, P, d. Shawne Ramsby, DV, 2-1; Christopher Jhong, PJ, d. Michael Freeman, S, 3-2; Josh Klimek, K, forfeit.

195 -- Kyle Lightner, DV, forfeit; Hunter Flores, HP, p. Ryan Hall, LV, 3;10; Zach Mafaro, K, p. Matt Castro, Ha, :30; Robert Gennat, S, forfeit; Lewis Fernandes, V, p. Cole Zydel, PJ, 1:23; Nick Galka, WH, md. Devin Mager, N, 18-4; Ryan Kokawski, B, d. Yousef Abbas, NH, 7-4; Drew Horun, P, forfeit.

220 -- Robert Melise, P, forfeit; Jacob Mafaro, K, d. Josh LaDuca, DV, 7-2; Kyle Connelly, Ha, p. Mike Alvarez, Ve, 3:09; William Loewen, S, p. Scott MacMillan, LV, 1;15; Jake Brown, PJ, p. Hunter Smith, B, :52; Connor Andrews, WV, d. Cliff Rutter, HP, 5-2; Luke Fischer, N, md. Sam Huff, Vo, 8-0; Victor Lacombe, HC, p. John Sanchez, Ho, :15.

285 -- Charlie Tordik, NH, forfeit; Casimiro Jimenez, Ve, d. Zachery Dora, WV, 4-3; Angelo Crespo, HC, d. Thomas Hubmaster, HP, 5-1; Joe Andes, Ha, forfeit; Taylan Zafis, WH, p. Craig Cronce, Be, 1:45; Louis Montana, PJ, d. Joey Sprague, NW, 4-1; Justen Caraballo, P, injury over Luis Arrazola, N, 3;10; Zach Herbert, S, p. Graham Harpell, K, :39.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Wrestling: Hunterdon-Warren-Sussex info, picks

What: Eighth annual Hunterdon-Warren-Sussex Tournament.

Where: Hopatcong High School.

Saturday's schedule: Preliminaries and pre-quarterfinals (four mats), 10 a.m.; other rounds to follow on four mats.

Teams: Belvidere, Delaware Valley, Hackettstown, High Point, Hopatcong, Hunterdon Central, Kittatinny, Lenape Valley, Newton, North Hunterdon, North Warren, Phillipsburg, Pope John, Sparta, Vernon, Voorhees, Wallkill Valley, Warren Hills.

Returning champions (projected weights): Joe Aragona, Pope John (120); Jake Rotunda, Pope John (126); Matt Valli, Warren Hills (132); Nick Palumbo, Lenape Valley (145); Michael Iodice, Hunterdon Central (182); Zach Mafaro, Kittatinny (195); Drew Horun, Phillipsburg (195); Robert Melise, Phillipsburg (220).

Returning placewinners (projected weights): Quinn Melofchik, Belvidere (third, 106); Colby Koshinski, Voorhees (fourth, 113); Devin Flannery, High Point (fifth, 113); Jack Bauer, Hunterdon Central (sixth, 113); Mark DiGeronimo, Kittatinny (second, 120); Hunter Graf, Hunterdon Central (third, 120); A.J. DeRosa, Delaware Valley (fifth, 120); Kyle Wulff, Warren Hills (sixth, 120); Cody Harrison, Phillipsburg (second, 126); Peter Nace, Hunterdon Central (second, 126); Jacob Falleni, Lenape Valley (fourth, first-2015, 126); Robert Garcia, Pope John (second, 132); Anthony Mastroeni, Hopatcong (third, 132); Perry Maio, Kittatinny (fourth, 132); Andrew Gapas, North Hunterdon (fifth, 132); Justin Bennett, Hackettstown (sixth, 132); Matt Kolonia, Delaware Valley (second, 138); Alex Carida, Hackettstown (sixth, 138); Bryce Hall, Hunterdon Central (sixth, 138); Shane Kobis, High Point (sixth, 138); Brian Meyer, Phillipsburg (second, 145); Nick Giordano, Newton (fourth, 145); Zach Nauta, Warren Hills (fifth, 145); Kevin Ciresa, Hunterdon Central (third, 145); Cole Marra, North Hunterdon (second, 152); Wyatt McCarthy, Newton (fifth, 152); Rhys Zigich, Delaware Valley (sixth, 152); Jonathon Borgognoni, Newton (fourth, 160); Rashon Wade Taylor, Warren Hills (sixth, 160); Michael Fernandes, Voorhees (second, 170); Dan Fisher, Phillipsburg (second, 170); Josh Klimek, Kittatinny (third, 182); Scott Fernandes, Voorhees (fourth, 182); Robert Gennat, Sparta (third, 195); Lewis Fernandes, Voorhees (fifth, 195); Jake Brown, Pope John (fourth, 220); Brody Oberly, Warren Hills (fifth, 220); Cliff Rutter, High Point (sixth, 220); Charlie Tordik, North Hunterdon (second, 285); Zach Herbert, Sparta (fourth, 285).

Other placewinners in 2015 (projected weights): Brandon Olmstead, Hopatcong (fifth, 113); Nick Cassidy, Belvidere (sixth, 138); Shannon Grogan, North Warren (sixth, 138); Chase Bauberger, Delaware Valley (sixth, 160).

Open Mike championship picks

106 -- Cullen Day, Phillipsburg
113 -- Eddie Ventresca, Pope John
120 -- Hunter Graf, Hunterdon Central
126 -- Jake Rotunda, Pope John
132 -- Robert Garcia, Pope John
138 -- Matt Kolonia, Delaware Valley
145 -- Nick Palumbo, Lenape Valley
152 -- Wyatt McCarthy, Newton
160 -- Aric Wingle, High Point
170 -- Michael Fernandes, Voorhees
182 -- Michael Iodice, Hunterdon Central
195 -- Drew Horun, Phillipsburg
220 -- Robert Melise, Phillipsburg
285 -- Charlie Tordik, North Hunterdon

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Wrestling: HWS weight-by-weight preview

It's time to take a closer look at what's in store for the eighth annual Hunterdon-Warren-Sussex Tournament on Saturday at Hopatcong High School.

The tournament starts at 10 a.m. with the preliminary and pre-quarterfinals rounds on four mats. Quarterfinals will follow on four mats, with the semifinals and wrestlebacks also on four mats. Championship bouts will be wrestled along with the matches for third and fifth place.

Kittatinny is the defending team champion, but what could be the best tri-county tournament to date figures to be a three-team race between Phillipsburg, Pope John and Hunterdon Central. P'burg has crowned the most individual champions with 17, while North Hunterdon is next with 12.

We will reveal our championship picks on Friday, but let's start by ranking the top five contenders and noting some of the medal hopefuls in the 14 weight classes. Tournament seeding will take place on Friday night, so we aren't exactly sure where some wrestlers will be on Saturday. They are listed below according to where we know they will be or at the lowest weight they have competed this season.

106 pounds

1. Jr. Cullen Day (12-5), Phillipsburg
2. So. Quinn Melofchik (10-1), Belvidere
3. So. Brandon LaRue (11-1), High Point
4. So. Connor Robinson (11-3), North Hunterdon
5. Sr. Christian Deehan (4-2), Pope John

Other contenders: Fr. Cooper Stewart (7-1), Sparta; Fr. Ben Lilly (8-2), North Warren

Keep an eye on: So. Derek Molfetto (9-7), Kittatinny; Fr. Aidan Taylor (7-4), Voorhees; Sr. Dylan Uderman (6-2), Delaware Valley; Fr. Grant Bloch (1-2), Hunterdon Central

Notes: Melofchik finished third at this weight last year and fourth in Region 1. Day did not compete in the county tournament last season. LaRue was stuck behind region qualifier Devin Flannery as a freshman and has the talent to make some noise. Robinson and Deehan are returning at this weight class from last season. Bloch, a strong 106, could be a darkhorse after dropping on Wednesday, and losing 6-3 to Day.

113 pounds

1. Fr. Eddie Ventresca (14-2), Pope John
2. So. Devin Flannery (11-1), High Point
3. So. Travis Jones (10-5), Phillipsburg
4. So. Jack Bauer (8-2), Hunterdon Central
5. Fr. Zachary Creeden (14-2), Wallkill Valley

Other contenders: Fr. Evan Klimas (10-3), North Hunterdon; Sr. Brandon Olmstead (11-2), Hopatcong; So. Dominick Falleni (9-6), Lenape Valley

Keep an eye on: Fr. Logan Nauta (8-7), Warren Hills; Jr. CJ Heaps (6-4), Delaware Valley; Jr. Colby Koshinski (5-6), Voorhees; So. Mike Nelson (7-8), Kittatinny

Notes: Ventresca is one impressive freshman -- finishing fourth at the Beast of the East in December. Flannery, a district runner-up and fifth-place finisher here at 106 last season, is much improved. Jones shook things up with a 7-2 win over Bauer, who finished sixth in the tri-county tournament and was a state qualifier at 106 as a freshman. Creeden is a good-looking rookie, while Olmstead, who placed fifth two years ago, will seek his second medal after missing all of last season with a knee injury.

120 pounds

1. So. Joe Aragona (9-0), Pope John
2. Jr. Hunter Graf (10-0), Hunterdon Central
3. Sr. Mark DiGeronimo (10-4), Kittatinny
4. So. A.J. DeRosa (12-3), Delaware Valley
5. Sr. Steven Nicotra (9-1), Hackettstown

Other contenders: Jr. Kyle Wulff (12-4), Warren Hills; So. Hunter Rinehart (9-1), Voorhees; Jr. Maverick Liebl (6-2), High Point.

Keep an eye on: Jr. Tyris Manley (4-5), Phillipsburg; So. Matt Rosa (7-5), Newton

Notes: Aragona, who placed third in the state at 106, last season, is a returning county champion. Graf, who is closing in on 80 career wins, finished eighth in the state last season and third in this tournament. DiGeronimo, a two-time district champion, was a county runner-up in 2016, while DeRosa was fifth.

126 pounds

1. Jr. Jake Rotunda (12-2), Pope John
2. Sr. Peter Nace (9-1), Hunterdon Central
3. Sr. Jacob Falleni (12-2), Lenape Valley
4. So. Cody Harrison (7-3), Phillipsburg
5. Fr. Billy Talmadge (7-4), High Point

Other contenders: Fr. Gage Crater (10-5), Delaware Valley

Keep an eye on: So. Nile Mattar (5-9), Kittatinny; So. Michael Wilson (6-7), North Hunterdon; So. Chris Ostir (4-4), Warren Hills

Notes: Rotunda, a two-time state qualifier, is a returning county champion. Nace, who recently picked up his 100th career win, has finished second twice in this tournament, and seeks a finals rematch with Rotunda, who won 9-2 in 2016. Falleni won a title at 106 in '15 and was fourth last season at 113. Harrison, a state qualifier, was a finalist at 106 as a freshman.

132 pounds

1. So. Robert Garcia (14-2), Pope John
2. Jr. Anthony Mastroeni (13-0), Hopatcong
3. Jr. Andrew Gapas (14-1), North Hunterdon
4. Sr. Matt Valli (15-1), Warren Hills
5. So. Vincent Romaniello (10-1), Hunterdon Central

Other contenders: Sr. Connor Mills (12-3), Delaware Valley; Fr. Garrett Stewart (10-4), Sparta; So. Kyle Tino (5-7), Phillipsburg; Jr. Perry Maio (8-7), Kittatinny

Keep an eye on: So. Michael Freda (7-5), Newton; So. Jake Wronko (5-4), Lenape Valley

Notes: One of the toughest and deepest weights. Valli, who won the 126-pound title last year and the Outstanding Wrestler Award -- with a 6-5 win over Garcia in a great final -- suffered his first loss to Gapas on Wednesday. Mastroeni is a returning state qualifier and was third in this class last season.

138 pounds

1. Sr. Matt Kolonia (15-0), Delaware Valley
2. Sr. Ray Smaha (13-0), Lenape Valley
3. Jr. Alex Carida (13-2), Hackettstown
4. Sr. Nick Cassidy (9-4), Belvidere
5. Jr. Shane Kobis (9-3), High Point

Other contenders: Sr. Shannon Grogan (11-3), North Warren; Jr. Will Hughes (11-4), North Hunterdon; Sr. Liam Cutri-French (8-3), Voorhees; Sr. Ryan Luchs (8-4), Pope John

Keep an eye on: Jr. Lance Wissing (2-3), Phillipsburg; Sr. Bryce Hall (8-4), Hunterdon Central; Jr. Mike Callahan (10-7), Kittatinny; Sr. Jake DeLuca (7-5), Newton; Sr. Roman Moss (10-4), Vernon

Notes: How tough is it to win a tri-county title? Consider that Kolonia, a state qualifier and 100-match winner, is still looking for his first after placing fourth, fifth and second in that order. Carida was sixth at 132 last season, while Smaha, a tough customer, is seeking his first medal here. Cassidy finished fifth in 2015 and Kobis was sixth in '16.

145 pounds

1. Sr. Nick Palumbo (15-0), Lenape Valley
2. Jr. Brian Meyer (14-5), Phillipsburg
3. Sr. Zach Nauta (14-1), Warren Hills
4. Jr. Kevin Ciresa (9-3), Hunterdon Central
5. Jr. Calvin Brook (10-4), Kittatinny

Other contenders: So. Kevin Schaffer (10-3), North Warren; Sr. Nick Giordano (8-6), Newton

Keep an eye on: Jr. Tucker Kirchberger (7-4), North Hunterdon; Jr. Trey Osborn (5-5), High Point

Notes: Potential here for what could be the best final of the tournament and a rematch of last year's title bout at 145. Palumbo decked Meyer for the county gold and went on to place third in the state. Meyer, who looks much improved, won a Region 1 title. Nauta was fifth at 138 in 2016.

152 pounds

1. Sr. Cole Marra (11-3), North Hunterdon
2. So. Wyatt McCarthy (13-1), Newton
3. Sr. Rhys Zigich (13-2), Delaware Valley
4. Sr. Kasey Hotz (11-4), Kittatinny
5. Sr. Bart Yarosz (14-1), Hopatcong

Other contenders: So. Jayson Zinsmeister (3-8), Phillipsburg; Sr. Rashon Wade Taylor (8-7), Warren Hills

Keep an eye on: Sr. Anthony Smaha (10-7), Lenape Valley; So. Anthony Rispoli (7-5), Pope John; Sr. Trevor Kish (11-6), Wallkill Valley; Sr. Sean McHugh (6-5), Sparta

Notes: Marra, a returning runner-up, owns a 3-1 win over McCarthy in the John Goles Invitational finals on Dec. 28. McCarthy placed fifth at 132 in 2016 and is looking to win the Braves' fourth HWS title. Zigich has not faced either this season -- losing in the Goles quarterfinals at 145. Smaha upset Marra, 3-0, on Thursday.

160 pounds

1. Sr. Aric Wingle (10-2), High Point
2. Jr. Jonathon Borgognoni (12-2), Newton
3. Sr. Chase Bauberger (11-4), Delaware Valley
4. Jr. Shane Smith (11-4), Kittatinny
5. Sr. Nick Luberto (10-4), North Hunterdon

Other contenders: Jr. Reece Mulduun (7-2), Pope John

Keep an eye on: So. Dan Furmato (5-5), Hunterdon Central; Sr. Sean Finnegan (7-6), Sparta; Jr. Cameron Nauta (3-4), Warren Hills

Notes: Pretty wide open weight class. Wingle is looking for his first tri-county medal after pinning Borgognoni -- who beat Bauberger in the quarters and finished fourth last year -- in a dual meet last season.

170 pounds

1. Sr. Michael Fernandes (11-0), Voorhees
2. Jr. Jarod Ostir (13-3), Warren Hills
3. Jr. Josh Hiler (11-3), Kittatinny
4. Sr. Dan Fisher (6-4), Phillipsburg
5. Sr. Jake Wilkerson (11-2), Hopatcong

Other contenders: Sr. Nick Appleby (10-1), Belvidere; Sr. Sean Lessig (9-1), Delaware Valley

Keep an eye on: Sr. Ryan Beckler (8-7), Warren Hills; Sr. Anthony Gonzalez (4-5), Hackettstown; So. Nick Brigante (6-7), Newton; Sr. Paddy Finnegan (5-7), Sparta

Notes: Fernandes is coming off back-to-back runner-up finishes at 160. This may finally be his time. Ostir is a returning state qualifier and makes the drop from 182. Fisher drops down a weight after finishing second at 182 last season. Wilkerson had a promising sophomore season before a knee injury ended his junior campaign before it started. 

182 pounds

1. Sr. Michael Iodice (9-2), Hunterdon Central
2. Sr. Josh Klimek (10-3), Kittatinny
3. Jr. Scott Fernandes (10-1), Voorhees
4. Jr. Joseph DeLuca (9-4), Newton
5. So. Shawne Ramsby (6-3), Delaware Valley

Notes: Iodice was the 170-pound champion a year ago and handed Klimek, who was third at 170 in 2016, a 5-3 loss on Saturday in a dual meet. Fernandes will have something to say about who wins the title and will look to spoil any potential rematches here.

195 pounds

1. Sr. Drew Horun (16-3), Phillipsburg
2. Jr. Kyle Lightner (14-0), Delaware Valley
3. So. Zach Mafaro (12-2), Kittatinny
4. So. Lewis Fernandes (10-2), Voorhees
5. Jr. Robert Gennat (10-3), Sparta

Other contenders: So. Nick Galka (13-5), Warren Hills; Jr. Ryan Kokawski (10-1), Belvidere; Jr. Hunter Flores (6-2), High Point

Keep an eye on: Jr. Yousef Abbas (5-2), North Hunterdon; Jr. Brodie McDonald (10-7), Wallkill Valley; Jr. Devin Mager (4-2), Newton

Notes: Any doubt whether this is the toughest weight class? Sure is hard to remember one that was better -- and deeper. Horun is the defending 195-pound champion and two-time finalist. Lightner, a state qualifier last season, is looking for his first medal, while Mafaro was the 182-pound champ in 2016. Fernandes pinned Gennat, who was third at 285 a year ago, last weekend. Lightner pinned Fernandes in their dual meet. Horun waged a war with Mafaro on Thursday in a 23-14 win as the Stateliner rallied from an early 7-1 deficit after getting off his back in the first period.

220 pounds

1. Sr. Robert Melise (12-2), Phillipsburg
2. Sr. Victor Lacombe (11-0), Hunterdon Central
3. Jr. Jake Brown (3-0), Pope John
4. Sr. Kyle Connelly (13-2), Hackettstown
5. Sr. William Loewen (10-2), Sparta 

Other contenders: Sr. Brody Oberly (9-5), Warren Hills; Sr. Cliff Rutter (7-1), High Point; So. Luke Fischer (9-4), Newton; Sr. Josh LaDuca (7-7), Delaware Valley

Keep an eye on: Fr. Jacob Mafaro (7-3), Kittatinny; Sr. Connor Andrews (9-8), Wallkill Valley

Notes: We didn't get this matchup between state placewinners last year in the final or in Wednesday's dual meet, but Melise pinned Lacombe last season in a dual meet and was the runner-up in Atlantic City, Lacombe placed fifth in AC. Brown, who is just coming back from a knee injury in football, was fourth in the county and a state qualifier at 195 in 2016.

285 pounds

1. Sr. Charlie Tordik (13-0), North Hunterdon
2. Sr. Zach Herbert (12-1), Sparta
3. Sr. Taylan Zafis (10-5), Warren Hills
4. Jr. Joe Andes (11-3), Hackettstown
5. Jr. Thomas Hubmaster (7-4), High Point

Other contenders: Jr. Angelo Crespo (4-5), Hunterdon Central; Sr. Justen Caraballo (5-8), Phillipsburg

Keep an eye on: Jr. Chris Litterio (5-6), Kittatinny; Sr. Luis Arrazola (6-6), Newton

Notes: Another potential rematch here as Tordik handed Herbert his only loss to date -- 5-4 in the John Goles Invitational finals. Tordik was the runner-up in the county at 285 last year, while Herbert finished fourth at 220.