Friday, February 20, 2015

Wrestling: District 1 information, predictions

Where: Mount Olive High School, Mount Olive Twp.

Teams: Belvidere, Hackettstown, Mendham, Mount Olive, North Warren, Phillipsburg, Warren Hills, West Morris.

Saturday's schedule: Quarterfinals, 9 a.m.; semifinals, 12:30 p.m.; third-place consolations will follow semis; championships, 5 p.m.

Returning champions (8): Jr. Joe Renne, Hackettstown (120); Sr. Max Nauta Warren Hills (132); Sr. Eric Friedman, Mendham (138); Sr. Steve Friedman, Phillipsburg (145, 2012); Sr. Max Elling, Phillipsburg (160); Sr. Jimmy Schuitema, Phillipsburg (170, 2013); Sr. Aaron Flitcroft, Mendham (195); Sr. Andrew Pacheco, Warren Hills (285).

Predictions: The top three finishers in each weight class advance to the Region 1 Tournament that begins on Wednesday at Wallkill Valley Regional High School in Hardyston.

106 -- 1. Shane Metzler, West Morris; 2. Kyle Markus, Phillipsburg; 3. Alex Schlegel, Mendham.

Notes: Metzler, a runner-up last year, owns a pair of wins -- 11-3 and 9-3 -- over Markus, who is wrestling very well at the right time of the season. No reason to think we won't get a third match between these two.

113 -- 1. Nick Cassidy, Belvidere; 2. Kade Loughney, West Morris; 3. Tom Kosar, Phillipsburg.

Notes: Without a doubt this is the toughest weight to call. Loughney is the No. 1 seed, but he nipped Kosar, the No. 4 seed, 4-2 in SV when they recently met in the North 2, Group 4 final. Cassidy, the No. 2 seed, scored a 5-0 win over No. 3 seed Alex Carida of Hackettstown, who lost 1-0 to Loughney. Kosar has done a nice job filling in for the injured Brandon Paetzell.

120 -- 1. Dylan Luciano, West Morris; 2. Joe Renne, Hackettstown; 3. Tyler Agans, Phillipsburg.

Notes: Looking forward to this final should it happen on Saturday. Luciano, a three-time placewinner, was second last year and has two wins over Agans -- 7-0 and a pin in their most recent meeting. Renne made the drop from 126, which is loaded in Region 1, and is looking to repeat at this weight class to become just the 12th wrestler at his school to win at least two titles.

126 -- 1. Brian Meyer, Phillipsburg; 2. Zach Nauta, Warren Hills; 3. Marco Gaita, West Morris.

Notes: Meyer is one tough freshman and seems to be getting stronger with each match. He recently scored a 7-1 win over Jackson Memorial's Fred Terranova, a state qualifier. Nauta is dropping from 132, so those two did not meet during the regular season. Gaita, who is also a freshman and the No. 4 seed, is up top with Meyer, the top seed.

132 -- 1. Max Nauta, Warren Hills; 2. Gino Fluri, North Warren; 3. Donald Agans, Phillipsburg.

Notes: Nauta, a three-time finalist, is bidding for his third title and is looking to become the first four-time finalist for the Blue Streaks since Dave Richmond won four straight from 2003-06. There have only been seven wrestlers to win three or more titles for Warren Hills, minus the nine who competed for Washington High School which became known as Hills for the 1967-68 season.

138 -- 1. Eric Friedman, Mendham; 2. DJ Wissing, Phillipsburg; 3. Matthew Liberato, West Morris.

Notes: Friedman (32-0) is a returning champ and an eight-place finisher in the state tournament. Wissing (25-9), the No. 2 seed, has really come on this season and that should be an excellent final. Liberato, the No. 3 seed, is another promising freshman for the Wolfpack.

145 -- 1. Steve Friedman, Phillipsburg; 2. David Migliaccio, West Morris; 3. Kenny Kane, Belvidere.

Notes: Friedman is aiming for his second title -- and first since winning at 106 as a freshman -- and will likely face Migliaccio for a third time this season in the finals. Migliaccio, who lost to Friedman by scores of 5-4 and 5-3 in the regular season, is a three-time runner-up. He pinned Kane in a dual.

152 -- 1. John Kaluzny, Phillipsburg; 2. Troy Navarino, Mendham; 3. Jarod Ostir, Warren Hills.

Notes: Interesting weight class. Navarino is the top seed with Ostir, a talented freshman, lurking in the top half. Ostir vs. Hackettstown's Anthony Carida is a solid 4-5 matchup. Kaluzny is in the bottom half as the No. 3 seed. No. 2 Anthony Duardo of North Warren and No. 6 Rene Sousa of Belvidere are also in the mix.

160 -- 1. Max Elling, Phillipsburg; 2. Caleb Isemann, West Morris; 3. David Harris, Belvidere.

Notes: Elling is a three-time finalist and is shooting for his third title. Phillipsburg has crowned 315 champions in its history and at least one every year since being shut out in 1955. Isemann, who was pinned by Elling in the North 2, Group 4 final, earned an 8-3 win over Harris on Feb. 7. No. 2 seed Anthony Roessner of Warren Hills beat Isemann, 1-0, in December.

170 -- 1. Jimmy Schuitema, Phillipsburg; 2. Kevin Merle, Belvidere; 3. Dan Maresca, Mendham.

Notes: Schuitema, who won his only title as a sophomore, is the overwhelming choice here. Merle was a runner-up last year at this weight, where he was pinned by P'burg's Jake Kocsis. Maresca is looking to avenge a 2-1 loss to Merle on Jan. 15. That rematch may occur in the semifinals.

182 -- 1. Kurt Nemeth, Warren Hills; 2. Ryan Stephen, Belvidere; 3. Yann Ondele, Phillipsburg.

Notes: Nemeth, who was a third-place finisher last year, is down from 195, where he wrestled most of the season. Stephen is the No. 2 seed, while Ondele, who was a backup most of the season, is the No. 5.

195 -- 1. Stephen Merle, Belvidere; 2. Aaron Flitcroft, Mendham; 3. Drew Horun, Phillipsburg.

Notes: Flitcroft is a returning champion at this weight class, but he's the No. 2 seed behind Merle, who won by fall when they met on Jan. 15. Horun bumped up from 182 and it's curious because the sophomore would be the favorite at 182, though it seems to be an easier road to AC in Region 1 at 195. West Morris' Kevin Sears, who lost 10-4 to Merle and 6-1 in SV to Horun, is the No. 4 seed.

220 -- 1. Robert Melise, Phillipsburg; 2. Tim Byrne, Mendham; 3. Teddy Gurnowski, Hackettstown.

Notes: Melise was the postseason darling a year ago, with that clutch pin in the Group 4 final win over Southern and a third-place finish in District 1. Byrne (28-1), the No. 1 seed, finished second at this weight last year

285 -- 1. Andrew Pacheco, Warren Hills; 2. Kyle Nothnagel, Phillipsburg; 3. Alec Skaltsis, Mendham.

Notes: Nothnagel stunned Pacheco, 6-1, in overtime on Jan. 29. Pacheco (22-2), a state placewinner last year, is two wins shy of becoming the sixth Blue Streak to win 100 in a career and is looking to win a third straight district title. Johnston Oberly and Dan Slack are the only wrestlers in program history to win three or more titles in the heavyweight division.

Team champion: Phillipsburg will cruise to its 42nd championship.

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