Sunday, February 22, 2015

Wrestling: Districts 1, 2, 3 and 17 by the numbers

One tournament down and two more to go. As we gear up for Regions 1 and 5 this week, let's take a look at some of the noteworthy happenings from the district tournaments that house teams from the Open Mike area.

100 -- Delaware Valley hit the century mark for champions as Cory Lightner and Kyle Schlittler were No. 99 and 100, respectively in capturing their first District 17 titles at 170 and 182 pounds. Since moving over from District 1 in 2001, the Terriers have a produced 44 winners, nearly half of the program's total number of champs. After a school record of seven champs in 1993,  Del Val crowned a total of eight champions combined in the last seven years in D1. Those battles with Phillipsburg were fierce back in the day.

148 -- Number of career wins for North Hunterdon ace Ryan Pomrinca (148-12), who picked up his third District 17 title on Saturday with a 14-3 major of Del Val sophomore Matt Kolonia in their 126-pound final to match Del Val's Mike Pongracz (148-16 from 2009-13) atop the all-time wins list in the H-W area. Pomrinca, a two-time state placewinner, is perhaps the Hunterdon-Warren-Sussex area's best hope for a coveted state championship with P'burg junior Brandon Paetzell sidelined.

7 -- Phillipsburg stormed its way to a 42nd team championship behind seven champions in the District 1 Tournament at Mount Olive. Seniors Max Elling (160) collected his third title and Jimmy Schuitema (170) won his second. Elling became the 34th wrestler in program history to win at least three championships. Schuitema became the Stateliners' all-time wins leader with a 16-4 major over Belvidere's Kevin Merle in the finals. Schuitema (121-24) moved past four-time district champion Luke Grassi (120-32 from 2004-08), while Elling picked up his 120th victory with a 13-4 major over West Morris' Caleb Isemann in the finals. 'Liners winning their first titles on Saturday were Brian Meyer (126), John Kaluzny (152), Yann Ondele (182) and Robert Melise (285), while Steve Friedman (145) picked up his second.

400 -- High Point senior Jason Gaccione won his third District 3 championship at Kittatinny and in the process he joined older brother Joe and their uncle John Gardner, who is the head coach of the 'Cats, as three-time champions. It's an amazing amount of success in one family as the trio has combined for 400 victories, nine district titles, eight region championships and five state medals. With a career mark of 137-21, Jason Gaccione needs just two more wins to take sole possession of second place on the school's all-time list behind Nick Francavilla (156).

19 -- Pomrinca is just the 19th wrestler in the storied North Hunterdon program to win at least three district titles and the first since Andrew Cosgrove (2001-03). The Lions are closing in on 200 champs as a program, as Derek Ciavarro (145), Brian Smolinsky (152) and Michael Sicola (160) helped raise the total to 195, while leading North to its 11th team championship and second in four years. Head coach Tim Flynn won a district title for P'burg in 1994, while his assistant Jason Hawk won three for the Stateliners from 1986-88.

8 -- Lenape Valley advanced eight wrestlers to the Region 1 Tournament with a strong showing in the District 2 Tournament at Randolph. Winning titles for the Patriots were Jacob Falleni (106), Nick Palumbo (132) and D.J. Barrett (182). That's three straight years with three district titles for coach Doug Vetter's program, which has produced at least one winner every year since being shut out in 2003.

13 -- Phillipsburg will boast a tournament-high 13 wrestlers at Region 1 when action begins on Wednesday with the seconds vs. thirds. In addition to the seven D1 champions, Kyle Markus (106), Tom Kosar (113), Tyler Agans (120), DJ Wissing (138), Drew Horun (195) and Kyle Nothnagel (285) all qualified for the 'Liners, who have 115 region champs. In addition, P'burg has produced at least one district champion every year but 1950 and '55 -- a streak of 60 straight tournaments.

100 -- Three Sussex County wrestlers and one from Warren County reached the century mark for wins on Saturday. Over in District 3, High Point's Dom Gallo won his 100th in the semifinals en route to the 126-pound title, while Newton's Gus Protogeropoulos followed suit by decking Sparta's Zach Herbert to win the 195-pound championship. In District 2, Joe Aumann reached the mark by pulling off a 4-3 victory over Morris Knolls state placewinner Garrett O'Shea in the 113-pound final. In District 1, Warren Hills heavyweight Andrew Pacheco picked up his 100th in the District 1 semis.

3 -- Seniors Max Nauta and Pacheco joined the list of three-time champions for Warren Hills with their victories at 132 and 285, respectively, in District 1. Nauta is the Blue Streaks' first four-time finalist since Dave Richmond won four in a row from 2003-06. There have only been nine 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. Pacheco joined Johnston Oberly and Dan Slack as the only Streaks to win three or more titles in the heavyweight division.

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