Friday, February 22, 2013

Wrestling: District 3 information, predictions

Where: Kittatinny Regional High School, Hampton.

Teams: High Point, Jefferson, Kittatinny, Newton, Pope John, Sparta, Vernon, Wallkill Valley.

Friday schedule: Quarterfinals, 5:30 p.m.

Saturday schedule: Semifinals, 9 a.m.; third-place consolations, 10:30 a.m.; championships, 12:30 p.m.

Returning champions (6): Jr. Bryan Damon, Jefferson; So. Mike Derin, High Point; So. Jason Gaccione, High Point; Jr. Nick Romyns, Kittatinny; Jr. Kieran Gerrity, Kittatinny; Jr. Kyle Stoll, High Point.

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. Dom Gallo, High Point; 2. Austin Sisco, Pope John; 3. Trevor Morales, Newton.

Notes: Gallo is head-and-shoulder above here with two wins over Sisco -- 7-4 and 4-2 -- this season. The Wildcats have won no fewer than three titles in a single tournament since 2005, including a school record nine in 2008. Since '05, High Point has produced 44 of its 99 district winners.

113 -- 1. Bryan Damon, Jefferson; 2. Christian Silva, Kittatinny; 3. William Hurtt, Wallkill Valley.

Notes: Damon (32-1), whose only loss is up a weight to Lenape Valley's Peter Lipari, is the clear-cut choice here to win his second title. Silva, who finished fourth last year at 106, dropped an 11-2 decision to Damon on Jan. 15. Hurtt moved up from a deep 106 class, where he was the No. 7 seed, and assumed the No. 3 spot here. Sparta's Sissy Blasone, the No. 4, is attempting to become the first female in this district to qualify for regions.

120 -- 1. Jared Kobis, High Point; 2. Nick Klinger, Kittatinny; 3. Matt Tripodi, Jefferson.

Notes: Interesting here as representatives from these schools went 1-2-3 at this weight in 2012. Kobis (32-1), a talented freshman, makes it back-to-back ninth graders to win titles for the Wildcats at this weight after Mike Derin took the 120-pound crown a year ago. Klinger beat Tripodi, 3-1, on Jan. 15 and has benefited from a rugged schedule. He's better than his 13-18 record.

126 -- 1. Ian Burke, Sparta; 2. Austin Scrivani, Kittatinny; 3. Connor McHugh, High Point.

Notes: Burke finished third last year and helped snap Sparta's long drought on Friday nights, as the Spartans won one district bout from 2009-11. It's been six years with zero winners, but Burke ends that skid to become the school's first winner since Phil Takacs-Senske and Brandon Dock won in '07. McHugh is a tough senior, but has lost twice to Burke and will meet him for a third time in the semis. Scrivani, who beat McHugh, 7-6, will have work to do with Newton's Michael Larsen in the same half of the draw.

132 -- 1. Mike Derin, High Point; 2. Joe Hocking, Wallkill Valley; 3. Nils Holley, Jefferson.

Notes: Derin is going for two in a row and is looking real good of late after leaving the team for a few weeks in early January. Hocking has been around the block a few times as a runner-up in 2011 and a third-place finish last year. Wallkill Valley has 25 district champions -- the last was Ryan Callahan in 2010. Holley was third at 120 in 2012.

138 -- 1. Tom Murphy, Kittatinny; 2. Chris Auer, High Point; 3. Jim Lodema, Wallkill Valley.

Notes: Kittatinny has crowned at least one champion -- 93 total -- since 1994, a county-best string of 19 straight tournaments. Murphy (29-3) makes it 20 in a row and is wrestling extremely well as evidenced by his pin of Lenape Valley's Matt Benvenuto, a two-time District 2 champion, in the North 1, Group 1 final. Lodema-Auer in the semifinals should be a good one. Lodema has been third (2012) and fourth twice in this district, while this is Auer's first tournament appearance.

145 -- 1. Jason Gaccione, High Point; 2. Nick Romyns, Kittatinny; 3. Anthony Gignatelli, Pope John.

Notes: Battle of district champions here. Gaccione beat Romyns, 3-2, in their only career meeting in last year's Hunterdon-Warren-Sussex quarterfinals. Gaccione's brother, Joe, won three district titles for the 'Cats. Gignatelli beat Siek, 4-2, in early December, and has been a pain in the neck to wrestle for some of the better ones in Region 1. Case in point a 5-4 loss to HWS champ Jesse Thorsen of Belvidere and a 3-2 loss to High Point's Tommy Hooker, the No. 2 seed at 152.

152 -- 1. Luke Bohn, Jefferson; 2. Ryan Ward, Vernon; 3. Tommy Hooker, High Point.

Notes: Bohn and Ward -- who have never met -- are both hungry for titles after finishing second a year ago. Bohn lost, 5-3, to Pope John's Joe Emering at 145 and Ward was pinned by Kittatinny's Clarke Moynihan at 152. They have a common opponent with wins over Livingston's Brad Krosser. Bohn lost, 2-1, on Dec. 28, while Ward lost, 4-2 in sudden victory on Feb. 15. Bohn (28-5) has 22 falls this season and is battle-tested. Hooker, who lost, 10-0, to Ward in a dual meet last year, finished fourth at this weight.

160 -- 1. David Popek, Kittatinny; 2. Moses Yasin, High Point; 3. Al Falco, Sparta.

Notes: Not a very deep weight class here as Popek (12-12), a runner-up at 120 last year, is the lone wrestler with a .500 record. Popek owns a 2-1 win over Yasin in the dual meet, but the High Point wrestler has improved since that loss. Yasin beat Falco, 3-1, previously this season. Falco beat Reed, 5-3, on Jan. 11.

170 -- 1. Kieran Gerrity, Kittatinny; 2. Antonio Porraspita, High Point; 3. Tyler Zimmerman, Jefferson.

Notes: Gerrity going for back-to-back titles, winning at 160 last year. He beat Porraspita, 2-0, on Jan. 4 in a dual meet. The Wildcat is strong and was a handful in that meeting. Zimmerman, the No. 2 seed, was fourth at this weight in 2012.

182 -- 1. Josh Sibblies, Newton; 2. Jake Brook, Kittatinny; 3. Alex Reiman, Wallkill Valley.

Notes: Potential rematch of the 182-pound HWS final, won, 1-0, by Sibblies. His dad, Ted, won a district title in 1989 and is an assistant coach for the Braves. Brook has gone 195 most of the season and defeated High Point's Kyle Stoll, the top seed in this tournament at 195. But Brook feels like his best shot to place down the road in AC is at 182. The road could get bumpy starting here as Sibblies is hungry after losing most of the last two seasons with knee injuries. Reiman decked No. 3 seed Ryan May of Sparta in a dual meet.

195 -- 1. Kyle Stoll, High Point; 2. Gus Protogeropoulos, Newton; 3. Dylan Wunder, Kittatinny.

Notes: Stoll is already one up on his dad, Joe, who won a region title, but no district title, at heavyweight in 1984. Wunder is really a 170-pounder but returns here after a second-place finish a year ago. Protogeropoulos has enjoyed a breakout sophomore season and will be a tough out for Wunder in the semifinals. Sophomore Gavin Lally of Sparta is the No. 4 seed.

220 -- 1. Garrett Armstrong, Kittatinny; 2. Bobby McDonnell, High Point; 3. Robert Hajnos, Jefferson.

Notes: Armstrong, who was third last year at 182, has two wins over McDonnell this season -- both close. Having the home gym advantage is another plus for the Cougars. McDonnell is tough on top with a cradle but Armstrong's long arms and legs are a matchup nightmare. Hajnos could meet up with Pope John's Isaiah Bryant for third, which would be interesting considering Bryant finished fourth at 220 while wrestling for Jefferson last year.

285 -- 1. Noa Merritt, Pope John; 2. Gunny Wassong, High Point; 3. Carlos Goncalves, Sparta.

Notes: Merritt was third here last year, while Wassong did the same at 220. Merritt won, 5-3, when they met in a dual meet on Dec. 20. Goncalves, Jefferson's Andrew Willard and Kittatinny's Tom Smith are all capable of finishing third. Willard-Smith is a 5-4 matchup on Friday.

Team champion: Kittatinny.

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