Thursday, February 27, 2014

Wrestling: Ten quarterfinals to watch at Region 1

Here are ten quarterfinal matchups you don't want to miss on Friday at Walkill Valley Regional High School. And that's part of the beauty of only having two mats to focus on.

120 pounds

4-So. Nick Klinger (30-6), Kittatinny, vs. 5-Jr. Dom Gallo (29-7), High Point.
3-Jr. William Kui (27-7), DePaul, vs. 6-So. Joe Renne (31-6), Hackettstown.

Notes: Gallo really took it to Klinger in their first meeting this season -- a 5-2 victory on Jan. 24 -- before Klinger turned the tables with a 3-2 win in triple-overtime on Saturday in the District 3 semifinals. Gallo, who finished fourth here at 106 last year, was very close to getting out in that final period. This weight class is absolutely stacked, as the winner will likely get Randolph's A.J. Vindici in Saturday's semifinals. Renne, who has two losses to Klinger this season, faces a tough task against Kui, who has two wins over Klinger and finished third at 106 last season. The Kui-Renne winner likely gets Jefferson's Bryan Damon in the semis.

126 pounds

4-Jr. Dylan Luciano (26-8), West Morris, vs. 5-Sr. Christian Silva (23-13), Kittatinny.

Notes: Silva, who won his first District 3 title on Saturday, will try to make it two wins over Luciano after posting a 5-4 win when they met in a dual meet on Jan. 25. The fact that this a 5-4 matchup speaks to the depth of this weight class. Both were quarterfinalists and fifth/sixth finishers at 113 last year. The Cougars are looking for their first champ since Clarke Moynihan in 2012.

138 pounds

3-Sr. Jake Legotte (24-11), Roxbury, vs. 6-Jr. Ian Burke (28-2), Sparta.

Notes: Legotte was a runner-up at 132 last season, while Burke was one-and-done in two previous appearances in this tournament. Burke ended the Spartans' title drought at District 3, becoming the school's first champion since 2007. Now, he looks to become its first region winner since 2006. Roxbury has 33 champs in its fine history, the sixth-most in this region.

152 pounds

4-Sr. Chris Auer (22-13), High Point, vs. 5-Sr. Nick Romyns (22-4), Kittatinny.

Notes: Round III here, as Auer pulled off a stunning 3-2 win in triple-overtime on Saturday in the District 3 semifinals. Romyns, a runner-up at 145 last year who was denied in his bid for a third district title, scored an 8-2 win over Auer in their first meeting on Jan. 24. The gym should be electric as the fans of these two rival schools cheer on their wrestler. High Point's total of 41 champs is one shy of matching Randolph for third-most in this region.

160 pounds

4-Sr. Nick Carey (24-11), DePaul, vs. 5-So. Daniel Kilroy (25-4), Wayne Hills.

Notes: Fourth meeting this season between these rivals, with Carey holding a 2-1 lead in the series. Kilroy decked Carey on Jan. 4, but dropped decisions -- 6-4 in OT and 8-5 -- in the last two matchups, the latter in the District 4 finals. Both were quarterfinalists last season. DePaul's first region champion, Gene Mills (1974), will be inducted into the Region 1 Hall of Fame on Saturday. Wayne Hills has never had a champ.

170 pounds

4-Jr. Kevin Merle (27-8), Belvidere, vs. 5-So. Al Falco (21-9), Sparta.

Notes: Third installment here. Merle, a transfer from Stroudsburg (Pa.), was welcomed to New Jersey with a 10-7 loss to Falco in his first match on Dec. 21. Seven days later, Merle turned the tables by decking Falco in a dual meet. Falco qualified last year at 160 and exited in the opening round.

195 pounds

4-Jr. Aaron Flitcroft (23-8), Mendham, vs. 5-Jr. Joe Maso (24-7), Phillipsburg.

Notes: Rematch of the District 1 final, won by Flitcroft, 3-1. With the bout tied at 1 in the third period, Flitcroft bulled his way in for a double-leg takedown with 14 seconds left on the clock to secure the victory at The Pit. Maso, a two-time district runner-up, needed a takedown in sudden victory to beat Belvidere's Ryan Stephen in the opening round on Wednesday.

220 pounds

3-Jr. Gus Protogeropoulos (32-5), Newton, vs. 6-Sr. Bobby McDonnell (23-15), High Point.

Notes: Protogeropoulos is 2-0 in championship matchups vs. McDonnell this season -- 4-3 in the Hunterdon-Warren-Sussex final and 5-2 in the District 3 final. McDonnell was second at this weight class last season, while Protogeropoulos, a natural 195-pounder, exited in the opening round. He's bidding to become Newton's 35th champion.

285 pounds

4-Jr. Will O'Connell (25-6), North Warren, vs. 5-Sr. Christian Campbell (12-12), High Point.

Notes: Everyone is anticipating a final between the top two seeds -- Pope John's Noa Merritt and Warren Hills' Andrew Pacheco -- but Campbell is a bit of a wild card at this weight. After splitting time with fellow senior Gunny Wassong (a two-time district placewinner), Campbell reached his first District 3 final Saturday, where he was decked by Merritt. Earlier this season, Campbell lost 6-5 to Merritt in the UTB.

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