Thursday, February 20, 2014

Wrestling: District 3 information, predictions

Where: Kittatinny Regional High School, Hampton.

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

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

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

Returning champions (10): Jr. Dom Gallo, High Point; Sr. Bryan Damon, Jefferson; Jr. Mike Derin, High Point; So. Austin Scrivani, Kittatinny; Jr. Luke Bohn, Jefferson; Sr. Nick Romyns, Kittatinny; Sr. Kieran Gerrity, Kittatinny; Sr. Kyle Stoll, High Point; Sr. Garrett Armstrong, Kittatinny; Sr. Noa Merritt, Pope John. Jr. Jason Gaccione, High Point (2012).

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. Chase Babus, High Point; 2. Garrett Gerndt, Sparta; 3. Ryan Luchs, Pope John.

Notes: Babus has really come on in the second half and will be looking to avenge a 12-10 loss in sudden victory to Gerndt earlier this season. Luchs is a bit of a wild card, as he's filling in for the injured Dominic Koert, who would have been the favorite here. High Point has had no fewer than three champs since 2005 and a total of 49 over that span.

113 -- 1. Austin Sisco, Pope John; 2. Trevor Morales, Newton; 3. Mark Bohn, Jefferson

Notes: Sisco won the Hunterdon-Warren-Sussex title, beating Morales, 4-2, in the semifinals, and gets his first title after finishing third twice and second last year at 106. Morales (29-5) has steadily improved this season and owns a 4-2 win over Bohn, when both were at 120 for the dual meet in December.

120 -- 1. Bryan Damon, Jefferson; 2. Dom Gallo, High Point; 3. Nick Klinger, Kittatinny.

Notes: Tough weight as Damon and Gallo are both returning champs, while Klinger finished third at this weight last year. Damon is among five wrestlers seeking a third championship. Gallo beat Klinger, 5-2 in a dual meet.

126 -- 1. Christian Silva, Kittatinny; 2. Eddie Medina, Newton; 3. Matt Tripodi, Jefferson.

Notes: Silva has finished fourth and second, but gets to the top of the podium this year. Medina has come on of late and lost to Silva, 4-1, in a dual meet. Tripodi has finished fourth and second in his career. Kittatinny has crowned at least one champion -- 99 total -- since 1994, a county-best string of 20 straight tournaments.

132 -- 1. Mike Derin, High Point; 2. Austin Scrivani, Kittatinny; 3. Anthony Azzartti, Pope John.

Notes: Derin gunning for his third title and back-to-back at this weight class. Scrivani won his first title a year ago, but dropped a 16-9 decision to Derin earlier this season. Derin is looking to become the 11th wrestler in program history to win three or more championships.

138 -- 1. Ryan Cullen, High Point; 2. Ian Burke, Sparta; 3. Niko Grello, Newton.

Notes: Burke finished third as a freshman and second last year. He's looking to become the school's first winner since Phil Takacs-Senske and Brandon Dock won in 2007. Grello was third as a sophomore and missed all of last season with a knee injury. But the choice here is Cullen, who has really improved this season and has benefited from strong competition.

145 -- 1. Jason Gaccione, High Point; 2. Walker Schmitzer, Sparta; 3. Jake DeLuca, Newton.

Notes: Gaccione's brother, Joe, won three district titles for the 'Cats. Now it's Jason's turn to get this second after a tough loss in last year's finals to Nick Romyns of Kittatinny. This clearly is a race for second place. Schmitzer has had a nice season, while the freshman DeLuca (6-7) drew the No. 4 seed here.

152 -- 1. Nick Romyns, Kittatinny; 2. Luke Bohn, Jefferson; 3. Chris Auer, High Point.

Notes: Really good class with returning champions Romyns and Bohn, along with Auer, a third-place finisher in 2013. Romyns is a three-time finalist and is looking to become the 10th wrestler in program history to win three or more titles. Bohn is solid, but it's hard to believe one of these three won't move up to 160, where they'd be heavy favorites. For Auer, that's assuming teammate Tommy Hooker (ankle) won't wrestle.

160 -- 1. Tommy Hooker, High Point; 2. Lance Fischer, Newton; 3. Tim VanLenten, Vernon.

Notes: Hooker will attempt to wrestle despite a fractured right ankle. He would still be the favorite despite being limited. Fischer dominated VanLenten earlier this season in the Hunterdon-Warren-Sussex Tournament and would be the choice to win if Hooker can't go, and assuming that no one moves up from 152 pounds.

170 -- 1. Kieran Gerrity, Kittatinny; 2. Al Falco, Sparta; 3. Colby Brands, High Point.

Notes: Gerrity looking for a three-peat. Falco was third last year, while Brands is coming off a huge performance in the Group 2 final, where his pin started a string of four in a row that lifted the Wildcats to a second straight championship. It's a shame that Brands is the No. 4 seed or he could wind up in the finals.

182 -- 1. Dylan Wunder, Kittatinny; 2. Antonio Porraspita, High Point; 3. Tyler Zimmerman, Jefferson.

Notes: Wunder is a two-time runner-up and finally breaks through this season. He beat Porraspita, also a runner-up last year, 6-0, in a dual meet. Porraspita decked Zimmerman earlier this season, using a power half to get the fall while leading 1-0. Zimmerman, who was third last year, dropped a 5-0 decision to Porraspita in last year's semifinals.

195 -- 1. Kyle Stoll, High Point; 2. Garrett Armstrong, Kittatinny; 3. Gavin Lally, Sparta.

Notes: Stoll also going for three in a row, while Armstrong seeks his second title after winning at 220 last year. Stoll won their meeting in the Hunterdon-Warren-Sussex final, 5-1. Stoll also beat Lally, 1-0, in a dual meet.

220 -- 1. Bobby McDonnell, High Point; 2. Gus Protogeropoulos, Newton; 3. Robert Hajnos, Jefferson.

Notes: McDonnell is on a roll of late and gets a rematch with Protogeropoulos, who won a 4-3 decision in their Hunterdon-Warren-Sussex final. Hajnos finished third last year and knocks off Kittatinny's Andrew Simpson for the second time this season to finish third here.

285 -- 1. Noa Merritt, Pope John; 2. Christian Campbell, High Point; 3. Ethan Reczka, Newton.

Notes: Merritt (22-0) this year's Hunterdon-Warren-Sussex champion, is head-and-shoulders above here and wins his second title. Interesting battle for second and third. Campbell recently beat teammate Gunny Wassong (second last year) for the right to wrestle and pinned Kittatinny's Tom Smith in overtime earlier this season. Reczka is up from 220 and earns a trip to Region 1.

Team champion: High Point.

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