Friday, February 22, 2013

Wrestling: District 1 information, predictions

Where: Warren Hills Regional High School, Washington Township.

Teams: Belvidere, Hackettstown, Mendham, Mount Olive, North Warren, Phillipsburg, Warren Hills, West Morris.

Friday schedule: Quarterfinals, 5:30 p.m. (Doors open 4:30)

Saturday schedule: Semifinals, 11 a.m. (Doors open at 10), third-place consolations, 2 p.m., championships, 4 p.m.

Returning champions (8): So. Steve Friedman, Phillipsburg; Sr. Zach Fisher, Phillipsburg; Sr. Joe Kratochvil, Warren Hills; Sr. Nick Matthews, West Morris; Sr. Andrew Kaluzny, Phillipsburg; Sr. Evan Bray, Belvidere; Jr. Matt Ritchie, North Warren (2011); Sr. Tyler Kozimor, Hackettstown (2010-11).

Predictions: The top three finishers in each weight class advance to the Region 1 Tournament that begins on Wednesday at Wallkill Valley Regional High School in Hardyston.

106 -- 1. Brandon Paetzell, Phillipsburg; 2. John Schade, West Morris; 3. Austin Pidoto, Warren Hills.

Notes: Paetzell head and shoulders above here. Schade is the No. 4 seed, but wrestled most of the season at 113 and has some quality wins at 106 including a 4-2 win over Hopatcong's Joe Aumann. I think he knocks off top-seeded C.J. Miele of Mount Olive in the semis. Pidoto beat Schade in a dual meet but is in the wrong half of the draw with Paetzell.

113 -- 1. Max Nauta, Warren Hills; 2. Zach Fisher, Phillipsburg; 3. Joe Renne, Hackettstown.

Notes: Nauta, who was upset by a Stateliner in last year's finals, owns two wins over Fisher this season, 16-4, in the Hunterdon-Warren-Sussex finals and 4-2 in sudden victory in the dual meet. Renne is a tough freshman who looks like he will win a title or two down the road.

120 -- 1. Cory Fleming, West Morris; Steve Friedman, Phillipsburg; 3. Matt Ritchie, North Warren.

Notes: Fleming, master of a wicked headlock, is hungry after a heartbreaking loss to Fisher in last year's finals at 113. Friedman is a returning champion and will have his hands full with Ritchie, a champ in 2011, in the semifinals. Mendham's Vince Pallone, a state qualifier two years ago, and Warren Hills' Jon Fluck, third last year is an interesting 5-4 matchup on Friday.

126 -- 1. Joe Kratochvil, Warren Hills; 2. David Migliaccio, West Morris; 3. Tylor Petchonka, Phillipsburg.

Notes: Kratochvil, a Region 1 finalist last year, returns at this weight. He beat Migliaccio, 2-1, in sudden victory on Jan. 19. Actually a lot of Kratochvil's bouts are low-scoring affairs. Petchonka is the No. 6 seed and should make the trip to Wallkill. I can smell the popcorn machine already.

132 -- 1. Anthony Johnson, Phillipsburg; 2. Brandon Rothman, Hackettstown; 3. Eric Friedman, Mendham.

Notes: Johnson was third at 138 last year and finished second in Region 1 -- losing to Hackettstown's Tyler Kozimor in both tournaments. Rothman is the No. 2 seed and owns a 4-0 win over Friedman. In another good pairing on Friday, Warren Hills' Justin Pidoto meets Mount Olive's Ron Spera in a 5-4 matchup. Pidoto was third in the district as a freshman.

138 -- 1. Nick Matthews, West Morris; 2. Max Elling, Phillipsburg; 3. Kevin Bundschuh, Warren Hills.

Notes: Matthews going for his third title. It won't be easy as the final against Elling, a runner-up last year, should be a good one. Bundschuh, who lost 3-2 to Matthews and was pinned by Elling, has had a solid season and should meet up with North Warren's Mason Ryzoff for third.

145 -- 1. Jesse Thorsen, Belvidere; 2. Tyler Kozimor, Hackettstown; 3. Andrew Kaluzny, Phillipsburg.

Notes: This weight class is by far the deepest and toughest to forecast. Thorsen, the top seed, is the HWS champion and is on a collision course with No. 4 seed Brandon Carcuffe in the semis. Thorsen was second two years ago, while Carcuffe finished second that same year. Kozimor, a Region 1 champ with 98 career wins, is the No. 3 seed and looks to avenge a controversial one-point loss in the HWS semis to Kaluzny, a district champ, in the semifinals here. Kind of surprised Carcuffe didn't go 152, where he'd be top three.

152 -- 1. Jimmy Schuitema, Phillipsburg; 2. Evan Butka, Warren Hills; 3. Tommy Vazzano, Mount Olive.

Notes: Schuitema the clear-cut favorite here after finishing third as a freshman. He's beaten Butka twice this season -- 7-0 at HWS and a pin in the rematch at The Pit. Vazzano, the No. 2 seed, beats North Warren's Johnny Hayes for third.

160 -- 1. Jake Kocsis, Phillipsburg; 2. Sam Button, Mendham; 3. John Sickles, West Morris.

Notes: Another tough weight with Button and Sickles, who are both region qualifiers. Kocsis is the HWS champion and has benefited from a rugged schedule. Button has a clear path to the finals, but Kocsis is battle-tested and that's the ticket to the gold.

170 -- 1. Broderick Bupivi, Phillipsburg; 2. Adam Kratch, West Morris; 3. Anthony Colabella, Mount Olive.

Notes: Pretty competitive weight class. Bupivi and Kratch both majored Warren Hills' Ryan Ostir, the No. 4 seed, by similar scores. Colabella dropped an 11-6 decision to Kratch earlier this season.

182 -- 1. Evan Bray, Belvidere; 2. Steve Cleaver, Warren Hills; 3. Joe Maso, Phillipsburg

Notes: Bray is a pretty strong bet to win his second title. The battle is for second, as Cleaver and Maso split a pair of meetings with Maso winning the most recent matchup. I'm banking on the Blue Streak to break the tie in his home gym.

195 -- 1. Jesse Windt, West Morris; 2. Ryan Witner, Warren Hills; 3. Jim Conte, Mendham.

Notes: Windt majored Witner, 12-1, in a dual meet, so needless to say he's a big favorite here. Conte is interesting because he missed time with a shoulder injury earlier in the year. He lost, 4-3, to Witner for third place in 2012. Good 3-6 matchup on Friday with Phillipsburg's Tim Hinkle and Belvidere's Mike Farrell.

220 -- 1. J.B. Lawson, Belvidere; 2. Pete Andrich, Mount Olive; 3. Kyle Kinney, Phillipsburg.

Notes: Lawson looking to make his second finals appearance after a runner-up finish at this weight last season. He's the consensus choice after a 5-2 win over Andrich on Feb. 2. The interesting thing here will be to see if Phillipsburg's Kyle Kinney, the No. 5 seed, can make a run at the bronze. He's just getting back from a devastating elbow injury. Warren Hills' Tyler Bridygham is the No. 3 seed.

285 -- 1. Andrew Pacheco, Warren Hills; 2. Ryan Appleby, Belvidere; 3. Jarrett Williams, Phillipsburg.

Notes: Pacheco, only a sophomore, has a lot of talent and I have a hunch it's about to come out in full force this postseason. He's beaten Williams twice and is 1-2 against Appleby, including a 13-7 loss this season in a December dual. Pacheco won the HWS title, but Appleby was knocked off by Williams in an overtime thriller in the semis before the Stateliner's epic final with Pacheco.

Team champion: Phillipsburg.

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