Thursday, March 6, 2014

Wrestling: State picks, weight by weight breakdown

Here are Open Mike's championship selections and analysis for all 14 weight classes this weekend at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City.

106 pounds

Favorite: Ty Agaisse, Delbarton.

HWS entrants: Brandon Paetzell, Phillipsburg.

In the hunt: Brandon Cray, Steinert; Giovanni Ghione, Brick Memorial; Fred Terranova, Jackson Memorial; Alec Kelly, St. Peter's Prep; Jonathan Tropea, St. Joseph-Montvale; Sebastian Rivera, Christian Brothers Academy.

Sleeper: Gonzalo Limenza, Bound Brook.

Notes: Highly anticipated final between Agaisse and Paetzell, who finished fifth at this weight a year ago as the first P'burg freshman to place since 2000. Agaisse, who placed seventh, owns a 1-0 win over the Stateliner in last year's dual meet at The Pit. Both are extremely good on their feet (wrestlers still on the fence about freestyle take note of these two). Ghione won the title in a rugged Region 6 field last weekend and is lurking in the upper half. He will meet Limenza in the second round on Friday. Cray (34-1) is looking to become the first Steinert wrestler to place in the top four.

Winner: Paetzell.

113 pounds

Favorite: Nick Suriano, Bergen Catholic.

HWS entrants: Kyle DiNapoli, Voorhees; Austin Sisco, Pope John.

In the hunt: Bobby Jordan, Woodbridge; Owen McClave, Toms River South; Patrick D'Arcy, Holy Spirit; Zack Firestone, Clearview; Kareem Askew, Clifton; Dean Caravela, Caldwell.

Sleeper: Evan Drill, Somerville.

Notes: Suriano (37-0) is the clear choice here after winning the 106-pound title last year. The sophomore is 75-0 overall and is among the top wrestlers in the nation. D'Arcy (37-2) would probably rate as a favorite here in most years -- falling, 3-0, to Suriano in last year's quarterfinals, and finishing third. That was Suriano's closest margin of victory in AC. Jordan won his second Region 5 title and came up a round shy of a medal in 2013, as did Firestone.

Winner: Suriano.

120 pounds

Favorite: Luis Gonzalez, Don Bosco Prep.

HWS entrants: Dom Gallo, High Point; Cody Ihling, Voorhees.

In the hunt: Anthony Cefolo, Hanover Park; Bryan Damon, Jefferson; Nick Farro, Delbarton; Michael Russo, Jackson Liberty; Michael Russo, St. Peter's Prep; Tyler McBride, Camden Catholic; John Amato, Timber Creek.

Sleeper: William Kui, DePaul.

Notes: Gonzalez is one of two champions at this weight -- winning the 113-pound title last year. Cefolo, a junior, won the 106-pound championship two years ago and did not make it out of Region 3 in 2013. Lots of talented wrestlers here. Farro (30-4) is 2-1 against Cefolo this season, including a 5-4 win in the ultimate tiebreaker last weekend in the region finals. Damon (36-2) reached the semifinals and finished fifth at 113 last year. He's wrestled most of the season up at 126 and the big 120-pounder was impressive in winning District 3 and Region 1 titles. Jackson Liberty's Russo (35-0) was fourth at 106 last year.

Winner: Damon.

126 pounds

Favorite: Kyle Bierdumpfel, Don Bosco Prep.

HWS entrants: Ryan Pomrinca, North Hunterdon; Christian Silva, Kittatinny.

In the hunt: Pomrinca; Craig De La Cruz, Bound Brook; Christian Innarella, Delbarton; Matt Noble, DePaul; Marc Mastropietro, Hasbrouck Heights/Wood-Ridge; Peter Lipari, Bergen Catholic; Sal Profaci, Monroe.

Sleeper: Tyler Hrycak, Wayne Valley.

Notes: Quite possibly the toughest, and certainly one of the deepest weight classes in AC. Seven former placewinners are mentioned above. De La Cruz won the 120-pound title last year, but lost to Pomrinca in last weekend's Region 5 finals in the ultimate tiebreaker. Bierdumpfel (20-6), who drew the No. 1 seed overall, finished second at 106 a year ago. Pomrinca (35-1), a junior who placed seventh at 113 as a freshman, took his only loss up a weight -- 3-2 to Hillsborough's Jack Donnadio. Innarella is a three-time placewinner, while Noble, who was impressive in winning the Region 1 title, finished seventh at 113 for Bridgewater-Raritan in 2013. He's beaten Hrycak four times and owns a 5-1 victory over Lipari, who placed seventh at 120 in '13.

Winner: Noble.

132 pounds

Favorite: Anthony Giraldo, North Bergen.

HWS entrants: Mike Derin, High Point; Dylan Nace, Hunterdon Central; Max Nauta, Warren Hills; Austin Scrivani, Kittatinny.

In the hunt: Mike Magaldo, Watchung Hills; Mekhi Lewis, Bound Brook; Juan Rivera, Paulsboro; J.P. Ascolese, Bergen Catholic; Christian Bassolino, Hanover Park; Derin; Nace; Nauta.

Sleeper: Mark McCormick, Camden Catholic.

Notes: Another deep weight class with two former champions -- Giraldo and Magaldo. Giraldo (37-0), last year's winner at 126, owns a 3-1 win over Magaldo (35-1) -- a runner-up in 2011 and champ in '12 -- this season. They are in opposite brackets. Lewis (34-6) is one tough freshman and could wreck the upper half of the draw. Derin finished eighth at this weight last year, but has losses to Nace and Bassolino. Nauta, the ever dangerous mat wrestler who is making his third appearance, was decked by Derin in the Region 1 finals.

Winner: Magaldo.

138 pounds

Favorite: Ronnie Gentile, Paulsboro.

HWS entrants: None.

In the hunt: Connor Burkert, St. Peter's Prep; Joe Trovato, Paramus; Gordon Wolf, Lawrence; Justin McTamney, Bordentown; Matt Wilhelm, Southern; Joe Ghione, Brick Memorial; Connor Muli, Shawnee; Billy Povalac, Edison; Joseph Oliva, Ridgewood.

Sleeper: Brandon Kui, DePaul.

Notes: Gentile (37-1) was the runner-up at 132 last year and drew the overall No. 1 seed here. His lone loss is to Pennsylvania's Cortlandt Schuyler of Manheim Township -- 6-4 in the Escape the Rock semifinals on Jan. 18 -- who qualified for the Class AAA states. Trovato has placed fifth twice, while McTamney became his school's first medal winner with last year's sixth-place finish at 132. Wolf (24-0), a Region 5 champ, is a tough customer and will be a tough out for Gentile in the semis, provided both get that far.

Winner: Gentile.

145 pounds

Favorite: Carl Buttitta, Kennedy Iselin.

HWS entrants: Collin Boylan, Hunterdon Central; Jason Gaccione, High Point.

In the hunt: John Van Brill, Clearview; David McFadden, DePaul; Ryan Burkert, St. Peter's Prep; Zach Wilhelm, Southern; Dan Reed, Delbarton; Alec Donovan, Brick Memorial; Raymond Jazikoff, South Plainfield; Sean Glasgow, Bound Brook; Mark Papaneri, Cherry Hill West; Gaccione.

Sleeper: Matt Zovistoski, St. Joseph-Montvale.

Notes: Tough weight class to handicap. Buttitta is the overall No. 1 seed -- finishing fifth in 2011 and second in '12, at 103 and 106. McFadden (38-1), the No. 1 in the bottom half, is a two-time placewinner, including a runner-up finish at 113 in 2012. He scored a 3-2 win over Gaccione, fourth at this weight last season, in a classic Region 1 final match. DePaul is seeking its first champ since 1982. Van Brill (35-0) is also lurking in the bottom bracket and will get the winner of the Boylan-Jazikoff first-round clash on Friday. Gaccione and Reed could be on a collision course in the quarterfinals.

Winner: McFadden.

152 pounds

Favorite: Gary Dinmore, Hunterdon Central.

HWS entrants: Mike Ciavarro, North Hunterdon; Nick Romyns, Kittatinny.

In the hunt: Jack Clark, St. Augustine Prep; Maaziah Bethea, Trenton Central; Joe Grello, Bergen Catholic; Edward Lenkowski, Clearview; Nick Racanelli, Southern; Nick Velez, Westfield; Inan Sikel, South Plainfield.

Sleeper: Javiair White, Piscataway.

Notes: For the second straight year, Dinmore (36-2) is in the discussion for most anticipated finals match. The two-time runner-up and overall No. 1 seed is expected to face Clark, a former Maryland state champ and nationally-ranked wrestler, in the finals on Sunday. Clark (22-0), who had to sit 30 days to Jersey transfer rules, has quite the pedigree and was impressive in his win over Lenkowski for the Region 8 title.  Bethea is a two-time placewinner, fifth at 145 last year, and is the top seed in the bottom bracket, where Clark, Grello and Velez all reside. That's a tough road to the final. Ciavarro (31-6), making his first appearance in AC, has five losses to Dinmore this season.

Winner: Clark.

160 pounds

Favorite: Jonathan Schleifer, East Brunswick.

HWS entrants: Michael Sicola, North Hunterdon.

In the hunt: Josh Ugalde, Bound Brook; Christian Stackhouse, Riverside; Brett Donner, Wall; Jordan Pagano, Bergen Catholic; Joey Schultz, Howell; Dean Drugac, Morris Knolls.

Sleeper: Anthony Bassolino, Hanover Park.

Notes: Schleifer (34-0) was the favorite here last year, dropping a 6-1 decision to Roxbury's Dillon Artigliere in the finals -- one of the East Brunswick wrestler's two losses the last two seasons. He's looking to become the Middlesex County school's seventh state champ and first since Scott Kammerer in 1991. Ugalde (32-3) is the top seed in the bottom half and has benefited from a rugged schedule. Stackhouse (38-0) also is aiming to make history by becoming the first champ for Riverside, which has never had a wrestler get past the quarters.

Winner: Schleifer.

170 pounds

Favorite: Dillon Artigliere, Roxbury.

HWS entrants: Kieran Gerrity, Kittatinny; Joe Guzzo, North Hunterdon; Jake Kocsis, Phillipsburg.

In the hunt: Josef Johnson, Delbarton; Luke Farinaro, Don Bosco Prep; Mike Fagg-Daves, Franklin; Sean Roesing, Secaucus; Kocsis.

Sleeper: Dean Sherry, Brick Township.

Notes: Artigliere, last year's 160-pound champ, is attempting to become the first Roxbury wrestler to win a second title and enters this one riding a state-best 83-match win streak. But Johnson (34-5), seventh at 160 a year ago, is looking to spoil the party with an All-Morris County final and rematch of their county tournament title bout won by Artigliere, 7-5. They also met on Jan. 4, with Artigliere winning, 8-2. Gerrity, who is making his fourth trip to AC, has two losses to Kocsis (36-3), who should be in the medal hunt.

Winner: Artigliere.

182 pounds

Favorite: Johnny Sebastian, Bergen Catholic.

HWS entrants: D.J. Barrett, Lenape Valley; Kody Eichlin, Delaware Valley.

In the hunt: Joey Balboni, Brearley/Dayton; Sam Button, Mendham; Nick DePalma, DePaul; Isaiah Soto, Bound Brook; Nicholas Costa, Brick Memorial; Phil Woods, Roselle Park; Cooper Gallagher, Ocean City; Chad Freshnock, Middletown North; Kyle Lynch, Raritan.

Sleeper: Eichlin.

Notes: Sebastian (29-2), last year's 182-pound champion and the 160-pound winner in 2012, is the class of the field here. The Northwestern-bound wrestler is looking to become the Crusaders' first three-time winner. Button (37-1) has been solid all season and rolled to the Region 1 title -- knocking off DePalma in the finals. Unfortunately, Button is the same quarter of the draw with Sebastian. Balboni (37-1) is the top seed in the bottom bracket and was knocked off the semifinals at 170 last year. Soto (22-5) is the No. 2 seed up top and could meet up with Woods in the quarters.

Winner: Sebastian.

195 pounds

Favorite: Matt Correnti, Holy Cross.

HWS entrants: Kyle Stoll, High Point; Garrett Armstrong, Kittatinny.

In the hunt: Dominic Carfagno, St. Joseph-Montvale; Anthony Cassar, Montgomery; Ralph Normandia, Franklin; Ed Shockley, Millville; Robbie Maggiulli, Emerson-Park Ridge; Ken Bradley, Jackson Memorial; Anthony Landberg, Wayne Valley; Michael Oxley, Christian Brothers, Academy; Jeff Velez, Brearley/Dayton; Cory Damiana, Lower Cape May.

Sleeper: Christian Colucci, St. Peter's Prep.

Notes: Loaded weight class and some very good wrestlers will walk away from Boardwalk Hall without medals. Carfagno was sixth at this weight in 2012 and Stoll was sixth here in 2013. Normandia was third at 220 last year and is the top seed in the bottom bracket. How crazy is this weight? Correnti (37-4) and Cassar (39-0), the Region 5 champ, will meet in the second round on Friday night -- the winner to face the winner of the likely second-round matchup between Shockley and Bradley. FYI: Montgomery has never had a placewinner or a quarterfinalist. Stoll gets Colucci out of the gate and then in all likelihood a date with Normandia in the quarters.

Winner: Cassar.

220 pounds

Favorite: Bryan Dobzanski, Delsea.

HWS entrants: Gus Protogeropoulos, Newton.

In the hunt: Zack Chakonis, Don Bosco Prep; Mike Markulec, Hopewell Valley; Christian Jenco, Bergen Catholic; Tyreek Smith, Moorestown; Jordan Fox, St. Peter's Prep; Tyler Poling, Brick Memorial; Justin Walker, Wayne Valley; Ronald Picado, Bound Brook; River Ullrich, Steinert.

Sleeper: Jesse Windt, West Morris.

Notes: Dobzanski (39-0) finished third at 195 in 2012 and first at this weight in '13, and is riding an 81-match win streak. Chakonis (36-1), a junior who was sixth at 220 in 2012, is itching for a finals rematch, dropping a 5-4 bout to Dobzanski for the gold in '13. Markulec (37-0) is housed as the No. 2 seed in the bottom half and is primed to become his school's first finalist after a fifth-place finish last year -- one spot shy of matching George Saliba, who is Hopewell's highest finisher (fourth in 2008). Picado and Protogeropoulos hook up in the opening round on Friday.

Winner: Dobzanski.

285 pounds

Favorite: Armond Cox, St. Peter's Prep.

HWS entrants: Andrew Pacheco, Warren Hills; Noa Merritt, Pope John; Marek Tomanek, Delaware Valley.

In the hunt: Kevin Wilkins, St. Joseph-Montvale; Kyle Cocozza, Howell; Nick LaShell, Hanover Park; Andrew Stevens, Camden; Stephen Johnson, Bound Brook; Tyler Gildner, Robbinsville; Pacheco; Merritt.

Sleeper: Patrick Toal, Raritan.

Notes: Wide open weight class for the second straight year. The two best athletes in the field are Merritt and Pacheco. Both are making their second appearances. Pacheco (33-2) evened their season series at 1 with a 5-2 win in the Region 1 finals. Merritt won by the same count in the Hunterdon-Warren-Sussex final. LaShell (30-0), a huge heavyweight, knocked off Pacheco, 3-2 in ultimate tiebreaker in last year's wrestlebacks. Wilkins (27-2), who finished fourth here last year, was decked by Pacheco in a dual meet. Johnson (22-1) is the No. 2 seed in the bottom half and placed fifth in 2013. Camden has never had a champ -- Kendalle Gibson was fourth in 1998 -- but Stevens (33-0) is a wild card here.

Winner: Pacheco.

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