Thursday, February 20, 2014

Wrestling: District 1 information predictions

Where: The Pit at Phillipsburg High School.

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

Saturday's schedule: Quarterfinals 9 a.m.; semifinals, 1 p.m.; third-place consolations, 4 p.m., championships, 5:30 p.m.

Returning champions (6): So. Brandon Paetzell, Phillipsburg; Jr. Max Nauta Warren Hills; Jr. Max Elling, Phillipsburg; Sr. Sam Button, Mendham; Sr. Jesse Windt, West Morris; Jr. Andrew Pacheco, Warren Hills. Sr. Matt Ritchie, North Warren (2011).

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. Shane Metzler, West Morris; 3. Shane Murphy Mount Olive.

Notes: Paetzell looking to repeat at this weight class. The fifth-place finisher in last year's state tournament beat Metzler by technical fall in their dual meet clash. Metzler beat Murphy, 13-3, earlier this season. P'burg has had at least one champion every year since missing in 1955 and has 312 winners overall.

113 -- 1. Matt Valli, Warren Hills; 2. Tony Figueroy, Hackettstown; 3. Kade Loughney, West Morris.

Notes: Valli has beaten Figueroy twice, 15-3 and by technical fall, and is the choice here. He is looking to become the first Blue Streaks freshman to win a title since Dave Richmond won the first of four in 2003.

120 -- 1. Joe Renne, Hackettstown; 2. John Schade, West Morris; 3. Zach Nauta, Warren Hills.

Notes: Renne is the heavy favorite here after finishing third as a freshman. Schade was the runner-up at 106 last year.

126 -- 1. Dylan Luciano, West Morris; 2. Matt Ritchie, North Warren; 3. Austin Pidoto, Warren Hills.

Notes: Ritchie is looking for his second title and is one win shy of joining Kevin Brown (124-33 from 2006-10) as the only North Warren wrestlers to reach the century mark. Luciano decked Ritchie earlier this season while Pidoto finished third a year ago.

132 -- 1. Max Nauta, Warren Hills; 2. Steve Friedman, Phillipsburg; 3. Kenny Morgan, Belvidere.

Notes: Nauta, a two-time finalist and champ at 113 last year, makes the drop from 138. Friedman beat Nauta in the 2012 district finals, 10-6, at 106, after losses of 4-0 and 11-3 to the Blue Streak that season. Morgan is bumping up to a better spot here.

138 -- 1. Eric Friedman, Mendham; 2. David Migliaccio, West Morris; 3. Corey Zinsmeister, Phillipsburg.

Notes: Tough weight class as any of these three could win the title. Friedman was second last year, while Migliaccio beat Zinsmeister, 5-3, in the ultimate tiebreaker in a dual.

145 -- 1. Tommy Vazzano, Mount Olive; 2. Kenny Kane, Belvidere; 3. Anthony Roessner, Warren Hills.

Notes: Things opened up a bit with Phillipsburg's Jimmy Schuitema, the champ at 152 last season, being scratched from this weight class. Vazzano was fourth last year and beat Kane, 4-0, in a dual meet.

152 -- 1. Max Elling, Phillipsburg; 2. Ronald Spera, Mount Olive; 3. Johnny Hayes, North Warren.

Notes: Elling going for back-to-back titles and is the heavy favorite here. Spera has finished third and fourth in the district, while Hayes was a third-place finisher last year.

160 -- 1. Anel Kadiric, Mount Olive; 2. David Harris, Belvidere; 3. Ryan Ostir, Warren Hills.

Notes: Kadiric owns a 7-2 win over Harris, a fourth-place finisher last year. Ostir has finished fourth twice and has wrestled most of the season at 170.

170 -- 1. Jake Kocsis, Phillipsburg; 2. Kevin Merle, Belvidere; 3. Jack Butrymowicz, North Warren.

Notes: Kocsis is a strong bet to win his first title after a runner-up finish last year. Merle beat Butrymowicz, 3-0, in a dual meet.

182 -- 1. Sam Button, Mendham; 2. Stephen Merle, Belvidere; 3. Steve Cleaver, Warren Hills.

Notes: Button is one of the best wrestlers in this tournament and is a heavy favorite to win his second straight title. Merle knocked off Mount Olive's Anthony Colabella, 9-6, this season. Cleaver finished third last year and makes a return trip to Region 1.

195 -- 1. Joe Maso, Phillipsburg; 2. Aaron Flitcroft, Mendham; 3. Ryan Stephen, Belvidere.

Notes: Maso, the No. 2 seed, is eyeing his first title after finishing second a year ago. Flitcroft was third last year, while Stephen drew the No. 5 seed here.

220 -- 1. Jesse Windt, West Morris; 2. Tim Byrne, Mendham; 3. Ryan Witner, Warren Hills.

Notes: Windt beat Witner, 7-1, while Byrne earned a 4-2 decision over Witner in the North 2, Group 3 sectional semifinals. Witner was third as a sophomore and second as a junior.

285 -- 1. Andrew Pacheco, Warren Hills; 2. Will O'Connell, North Warren; 3. Alec Skaltsis, Mendham.

Notes: Pacheco the overwhelming choice to win his second straight title -- pinning O'Connell in 31 seconds in a dual meet.

Team champion: Warren Hills. Despite only having seven wrestlers in the tournament, P'burg will still be in the hunt for its 42nd championship.

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