Thursday, January 29, 2015

Wrestling: Newton set for rugged Jack Welch Duals

Pairings and seeds were announced for the eighth annual Jack Welch Duals to be held Friday and Saturday at Moorestown High School.

Wrestling begins on Friday at 4:30 p.m., with the second round to follow at 6:30. Action resumes at 11 a.m. on Saturday with rounds to follow at 1 and 3 p.m.

This year's event features three teams ranked in the New Jersey Writers Association Top 20. The top two seeds are No. 6 St. Peter's Prep and No. 8 Bound Brook, which is replacing No. 19 and 2014 Welch Duals champion Long Branch. The Crusaders are looking to get above the 70-percent rule required to qualify for the upcoming sectional tournaments and they will likely face St. Peter's for the championship on Saturday.

Camden Catholic, which had won this event five years in a row from 2009-13 and defeated Long Branch, 33-31, in the 2013 championship match, is not in this year's field. Long Branch posted a 30-20 win over Hunterdon Central in last year's title match.

Newton (5-8), the only local team in the tournament, is the No. 14 seed and will face No. 3 seed Christian Brothers Academy, ranked No. 14 by the NJWWA, in the opening round on Friday. Coach Eric Bollette's Braves teams have finished second twice in seven previous appearances at the duals.

Senior 195-pounder Gus Protogeropoulos (17-1) could face some stiff competition this weekend, as he did last season en route to placing third in Region 1. CBA features Region 6 qualifier Will Oxley (15-2) and Protogeropoulos potentially could get a rematch with Holy Cross' Matt Correnti (21-0), who placed third in the state at 195 last season. Protogeropoulos, who has 86 career wins, dropped a 13-6 decision to Correnti at last year's Welch Duals and he fell 6-0 to CBA's Michael Oxley, who placed fifth in AC at 195.

Pairings and seeds for Friday's opening round:

Pool 1

1-St. Peter's Prep vs. 16-Riverside
8-Egg Harbor Township vs. 9-Haddon Township

Pool 2

5-Collingswood vs. 12-Northern Burlington
4-Buena vs. 13-Rancocas Valley

Pool 3

3-Christian Brothers Academy vs. 14-Newton
6-Haddonfield vs. 11-Holy Cross

Pool 4

7-Delran vs. 10-Moorestown
2-Bound Brook vs. 15-Maple Shade

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