Sunday, February 23, 2014

Wrestling: Districts 1, 2, 3 and 17 by the numbers

We close the books on another great weekend of wrestling in the four districts that house teams in the Open Mike area.

Here's a look at some of the more noteworthy accomplishments:

170 -- Total of district champions for Washington/Warren Hills as juniors Max Nauta (132) and Andrew Pacheco (285) won their second titles on Saturday at The Pit, while Matt Valli (113) and Ryan Ostir (160) picked up their first titles to help the Blue Streaks capture their first team championship since 1990 -- ending Phillipsburg's three-year reign. It's the program's 12th overall as Washington won titles in 1947, '48, '49, '51, '52, '54, '56, '59, '60 and '66.

315 -- Phillipsburg's total of district champions as Brandon Paetzell (106) and Max Elling (152) won their second titles, while senior Jake Kocsis (170) claimed his first District 1 championship. The Stateliners, who competed with only half their due to disciplinary reasons and had their run of three straight years with five champs snapped, advanced all seven wrestlers entered to the Region 1 Tournament at Wallkill Valley. Steve Friedman (132) and Joe Maso (195) finished second, while Corey Zinsmeister (138) and  freshman Robert Melise (285) took thirds. P'burg has produced at least one champion every year but 1950 and '55 -- a current streak of 59 straight tournaments. Bill Lowe was the 'Liners' first winner in 1948.

18 -- North Hunterdon's total of District 17 champions since being shut out for the first time ever in 2008. Ryan Pomrinca (126) won his second title, while Mike Sicola (160) and Joe Guzzo (170) claimed their first championships on Saturday at the Hunterdon Central Field House. Runner-up Mike Ciavarro (152) recorded his 99th victory in the semifinals, a 9-4 win over Delaware Valley's Cory Lightner. Coach Tim Flynn's Lions finished third in the team race.

14 -- High Point rolled to its 14th District 3 team title behind three champs in Jason Gaccione (145), Tommy Hooker (160) and Kyle Stoll (195), as a total of 12 Wildcats advanced to Region 1 -- the most of any school in Districts 1-4. Gaccione, a three-time finalist, won his second title, while Stoll became just 11th wrestler in program history to win three. Both wrestlers claimed the gold in style with their 100th victories in the finals. And how about Hooker (ankle injury) basically winning on one leg? If that's not the definition of Outstanding Wrestler, I don't know what is. High Point has won seven of the last nine district team titles, snapping Kittatinny's two-year reign.

5 -- Hunterdon Central led all teams in District 17 with five champions -- Peter Nace (106), Dylan Nace (132), Collin Boylan (145), Gary Dinmore (152) and Nick Suk (195). Those titles helped the Red Devils repeat as team champions, the program's 34th overall. Dinmore became just the third at his school to win four titles, joining Tom Gibble (1978-81) and Kyle Brewer (2000-03), and is the 12th Hunterdon County wrestler to do it.

42 -- Delaware Valley's total number of champions since moving to District 17 in 2001. The Terriers, who have 98 overall, have crowned at least one winner in every tournament since seceding from District 1. Seniors Kody Eichlin (182), a two-timer, and Marek Tomanek (285) were this year's winners -- Nos. 15 and 16 under coach Andy Fitz in his seven seasons -- and helped Del Val to a second-place finish in the team standings. Tomanek (30-3) also became the all-time heavyweight wins leader at the school -- surpassing former state qualifier James Zdepski (29-2 in 1981).

103 -- Kittatinny's total number of district champions as Christian Silva (126), Austin Scrivani (132), Kieran Gerrity (170) and Dylan Wunder (182) pushed the Cougars over the century mark with a tournament-high four winners. Silva and Wunder won their first titles, while Scrivani won his second in as many opportunities, upsetting two-time champ Mike Derin of High Point, 3-0, to also earn Outstanding Wrestler honors. Gerrity became just the 10th wrestler in school history to win at least three titles with his third in a row.

9 -- Hopatcong's run of nine years with at least one district champion ended on Saturday, as Troy Bongiovanni finished second at 170 pounds in District 2. Joe Aumann took third at 106 pounds for the Chiefs, who had nine wrestlers in the field. Coach Eric Fajerman has coached 26 champs in his 14 seasons with the Chiefs, who missed only one other time (2004) during his tenure. The Sussex County school has 69 winners overall since 1973, when Vin Sibilia, Gary Kessel and Bob Valli won the first titles.

Also, Voorhees ran its streak of at least one champ in District 17 to nine years in a row, as Kyle DiNapoli (113) won his first championship, while Cody Ihling (120) claimed his second straight. That makes 11 champions under coach Eric Hall in his four seasons at the helm. The Vikings now have 109 overall in 39 seasons.

6 -- Lenape Valley will send six wrestlers to the Region 1 Tournament, as D.J. Barrett (182), Sam Palumbo (195) and Ralph Hall (220) won District 2 titles at Hopatcong -- making it 11 straight years for the Patriots with at least one champion. They'll be joined by runner-up Nick Palumbo (120), and third-place finishers Dominic LaBell (152) and Joe LaBell (160).

In addition, Sparta snapped a six-year drought without a champion in District 3, as Garrett Gerndt (106) and Ian Burke (138) won titles. They are the school's first winners since Phil Takacs-Senske and Brandon Dock won at 189 and 285, respectively, in 2007. It's another sign of the major progress that the program has made under coach Frank Battaglia and assistant Dan Trappe. From 2009-11, the Spartans won a total of one bout in districts and advanced no one past Friday night in 2010 and '11. This year, Sparta sent eight wrestlers into the semifinals after advancing a combined total of nine on Friday nights from 2009-13.

Belvidere is sending six wrestlers to Region 1 -- the most since seven qualified for the County Seaters in 2002. Kenny Kane (145), David Harris (160) and Kevin Merle (170) finished second, while James Smith (113), Rene Sousa (152) and Ryan Stephen (195) took thirds.

224 -- Newton's total number of district champions with the addition of Gus Protogeropoulos, who claimed the 220-pound title at District 3. He's the first champ for the Braves since 2012 -- Steven Churchill and Jake Connelly winning that year -- and is the 10th under coach Eric Bollette in his 13 seasons in charge.

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