Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Wrestling: Region 1 preliminary round recap, tidbits

With one round of the Region 1 Tournament in the books, let's take a look at some of the highlights from Wednesday night's action:

1. District 3 advanced the most wrestlers with 17 of 28 winning to reach the quarterfinals. High Point paved the way by pushing seven of nine through the opening round, as Dom Gallo (126), Mike Derin (132), Chris Auer (152), Colby Brands (170), Antonio Porraspita (182), Bobby McDonnell (220) and Christian Campbell (285) won for the Wildcats, who have a tournament-best 10 wrestlers alive in the quarters.

Derin (30-8), who worked Montville's David Eng for a 10-2 major, was the only one of eight returning champions in action on opening night. Derin finished second in D3, his first finals loss in three appearances. Campbell, making his Region 1 debut, used a cradle to deck Phillipsburg freshman Robert Melise in 1:16. Must be something that coach John Gardner's team likes about this round, as the 'Cats went 6-for-7 in the prelims last year.

District 1 was next with 15 winners, followed by District 2 with 13 and District 4 with 11.

West Morris aided D1 by following up last year's tremendous opening round by going 5-for-6 -- including freshman Kade Loughney's upset of the night, as he knocked off No. 7 seed Trevor Morales of Newton, 6-4, at 113 pounds. Shane Metzler (106), John Schade (120), Dylan Luciano (126) and David Migliaccio (138) also won for coach Ken Rossi's Wolfpack.

2. Phillipsburg and Warren Hills helped carry the flag for District 1, combining to send five wrestlers into the quarterfinals. The Stateliners went 3-for-4, as Steve Friedman (132), Corey Zinsmeister (138) and Joe Maso (195) were victorious, while Steve Cleaver (182) and Ryan Witner (220) won for the Blue Streaks. Maso needed a takedown in sudden victory for a 5-3 win over Belvidere's Ryan Stephen, while Cleaver put Mount Olive's Anthony Colabella to his back twice in a 7-5 victory.

It was a rough night for Belvidere, which went 1-for-6, as junior Kevin Merle advanced by decking Warren Hills' Kurt Nemeth in 2:38 at 170 pounds. Merle was turned twice with legs, but caught Nemeth riding high both times.

3. Let's take a look at how the top eight seeds fared in the opening round. There were three No. 7s to fall, including Morales, along with one No. 6 and one No. 8. A No. 5, Dylan Sullivan of Morris Hills, bowed out by not making weight.

Warren Hills junior Austin Pidoto was one of the No. 7 seeds ousted -- 4-2 by Montville's Michael Glasser.

4. Sparta continues its tremendous postseason by going 3-for-4 in the opening round, as Walker Schmitzer (145), Al Falco (170) and Gavin Lally (195) reached the quarterfinals. District 3 champs Garrett Gerndt (106) and Ian Burke (138) had the night off. The Spartans are looking for their first Region 1 champion since Phil Takacs-Senske won the 189-pound title in 2006.

Schmitzer (26-4), the No. 3 seed, decked Newton freshman Jake DeLuca in 3:07, while Falco (21-9) pinned Morris Hills' Jamie Tehuitzil in 4:19. Lally (25-6) made it 3-for-3 in falls by flattening DePaul's Adam Schlereth in 1:19.

Crosstown rival Pope John, which hasn't had a champ since 2004, has two No. 1 seeds in Austin Sisco (113) and Noa Merritt (285). The Lions went 0-for-2 on Wednesday, as Ryan Luchs (106) and Anthony Azzartti (132) dropped decisions.

5. Kittatinny and Hopatcong were among the local teams that had a perfect opening round -- combining to go 6-0.

The Cougars sent Nick Klinger (120), Nick Romyns (152), Garrett Armstrong (195) and Tom Smith (285) on through to the next round, while Joe Aumann (106) and Troy Bongiovanni (170) won as the Chiefs' lone qualifiers.

Romyns, a runner-up at 145 last year, worked Pequannock's David Iodice for a technical fall win -- 19-3 in 4:47. Bongiovanni horsed over Butler's Jonathan Crefeld for a pin in 1:15.

Back points

There were only 16 pins through the first 11 weights before the tournament closed with seven in the final three classes at 195, 220 and 285.  Morris Knolls' Luke Nappi had the quickest pin -- 32 seconds against Kinnelon's David LoCascio at 195. Wayne Valley's Justin Walker was next with a 49-second fall over Morris Hills' Derrick Kritz at 220.

High Point boasts three of the eight returning champions in this year's field -- Derin, Jason Gaccione (145) and Kyle Stoll (195). The Sussex County school's total of 41 champs, trails only Phillipsburg (114), Washington/Warren Hills (52) and Randolph (42), which hasn't had a winner since 2008.

Phillipsburg's Brandon Paetzell (106) and Warren Hills' Max Nauta (132) are also on the list of 2013 champions. Paetzell is looking to become just the second Stateliner to win titles in his freshman and sophomore seasons -- joining Rick Thompson (who won two of his three titles in 1970-71).

Roxbury went 1-for-3 in the opening round, as Troy Stanich (106) joined District 2 champions Richard Reimers (113), Devon LaFranco (132), Jake Legotte (138), Craig Roumes (145) and Dillon Artigliere (170) in the quarterfinals. Artigliere (36-0), one of only two unbeaten wrestlers in the tournament and riding an 80-match win streak, is looking to become the Gaels' third three-time champion, along with Bill Henderson (1963-65) and Tom Sloand (1975-77).

Morris Hills' Jose Delgado was a late addition -- replacing Roxbury's Peter Sutton at 182 -- and made the most of his opportunity. Delgado, who finished fourth in District 2, decked Wayne Valley's Sebastian Hull in 5:20 to advance.

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