Sunday, March 9, 2014

Wrestling: Dinmore, Paetzell claim silver medals in AC

ATLANTIC CITY -- Sometime down the road, Gary Dinmore will fondly look back at what has been a tremendous high school wrestling career.

However, Sunday was not time or place as the Hunterdon Central senior dropped a tough 3-1 decision in sudden victory overtime to St. Augustine Prep’s Jack Clark in the 152-pound final at the 81st New Jersey State Wrestling Championships at Boardwalk Hall.

Phillipsburg's Brandon Paetzell, who finished fifth last year, moved a few steps up on the podium with a 1-0 loss to Delbarton's Ty Agaisse in the 106-pound final. Dinmore and Paetzell were the lone finalists from the Hunterdon-Warren-Sussex area.

Dinmore, for the third straight year, finished as a runner-up, losing twice previously to South Plainfield’s Anthony Ashnault, the Garden State’s only four-time unbeaten champion. Dinmore (39-3) closes the books with an overall record of 134-15 to go with four titles in both District 17 and Region 5, while also being just the third Hunterdon County wrestler to appear in three state finals.

“I’m sure I broke a lot of grade school records, too, but you don’t hear me talking about them now,” said Dinmore, who is heading to Penn State next fall with the goal of becoming an NCAA champion. “I couldn’t care less about my high school accolades. I’m thinking about college now and getting ready for NCAAs.”

Dinmore was among three placewinners from Hunterdon Central – Dylan Nace finished fifth at 132 and Collin Boylan was eighth at 145. North Hunterdon’s Ryan Pomrinca placed third at 126, while teammate Mike Ciavarro took sixth at 152. Pomrinca, a junior, picked up his second medal after a seventh-place finish at 113 pounds in 2012.

Pope John's Noa Merritt was Sussex County's lone medal winner with an eighth-place finish at 285, while Warren Hills' Andrew Pacheco finished sixth at 285. Phillipsburg's Jake Kocsis capped a terrific senior season with a fourth-place finish at 170.

But Dinmore found that coveted gold medal just as elusive as the two previous state tournaments. In what was a tremendous and action-packed final, Clark (26-0), a two-time National Prep champion, converted a single-leg takedown with 30 seconds left in sudden victory overtime to claim his first New Jersey state title.

Clark, who is St. Augustine’s second champion, joining Bobby Malatesta, who won the 122-pound title in 1985, fought off a single-leg attempt with 41 seconds left before finishing the decisive shot. There were several great scrambles in regulation, including a re-shot by Dinmore near the end of the third period that resulted in a go-ahead takedown with eight seconds left on the clock. But the takedown call was waved off by the officials and the bout went to overtime.

Even Dinmore agreed with the officials’ decision to not award a takedown near the end of regulation.

“I honestly didn’t think it was two [points],” he said. “I was so confused because two people said I [got the takedown] and two people said I didn’t. Even if I had won, I didn’t really win because that was not two.”
Dinmore took a 1-0 lead with a quick escape in the second period, but Clark evened the bout by getting out on bottom just three seconds into the third period.

Dinmore joins Hunterdon Central’s Tom Gibble (1979-81) and North Hunterdon’s Dave Gaunt (1969-71) – both two-time state champs -- as the only wrestlers in the county to reach three state finals.

Just no escape

For the second straight year, Paetzell dropped a 1-0 decision to Agaisse, who won their dual meet encounter last year at The Pit. This bout was pretty reminiscent of the first meeting, with Agaisse earning an escape for the winning point. That makes six periods between the two without an offensive point.

Paetzell (39-2) was ridden out the entire second period and got to his feet just once, while Agaisse needed just 13 seconds to escape in the third period. 

"I'm really mad to say the least," said an emotional Paetzell after the final. "I've been working so hard to become a state champion. I did a little better [this time vs. Agaisse] but it's not good enough for me. I didn't come here to take second place. I have such high goals. My goal last year was to be a four-time state champion. This year it was to be a three-time champion. it's heartbreaking not to achieve that."

Phillipsburg had two placewinners for the first time since 2006. Paetzell is the Stateliners’ 57th finalist and 24th runner-up, while Kocsis’ uncle, Mike, placed third at 125 in 1988.

Back points

Bergen Catholic’s Johnny Sebastian won his third state title and earned the Outstanding Wrestler Award following his 6-4 win in sudden victory overtime against Brearley/Dayton’s Joey Balboni in the 182-pound final. Sebastian (35-2), who will continue his wrestling career at Northwestern, finishes 144-18 overall and is a four-time placewinner, finishing fifth in 2011.

Clark had to be in the running for OW with beating a two-time runner-up for his first title, while knocking off two other placewinners – Bergen Catholic’s Joe Grello and Trenton Central’s Maaziah Bethea -- en route to the finals.

Roxbury's Dillon Artigliere (170) and Delsea's Bryan Dobzanski (220) capped their careers with a second state title, while ending on long win streaks. Artigliere, who is the Morris County school's first two-time winner, ends with an 84-match streak, while Dobzanski won 93 in a row to close it out.

Heavyweight Andrew Stevens made history by becoming Camden’s first finalist and state champion with a 3-0 win over Robbinsville’s Tyler Gildner, who is the Mercer County school’s first finalist. Gildner and teammate Christopher Tan (third at 113) are Robbinsville’s first two medal winners.

Montgomery’s Anthony Cassar, the 195-pound winner, is his school’s first state champion, while Jonathan Schleifer, the 160-pound champ, became East Brunswick’s first since 1991 (Scott Kammerer at heavyweight). They were among three champs from Region 5, along with Bound Brook’s Craig De La Cruz (126). 

Region 8 matched 5 for the most champs, while Regions 1, 2 and 3 all had two. Regions 4 and 7 had one apiece, while Region 6 had zero.

Final medal count: Region 6, despite not having a champ or a finalist, led the way with 18. Region 5 was next with 17, followed by Region 2 (16), Region 3 (14), Regions 1 and 4 (13), Region 7 (11) and Region 8 (10).

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