Thursday, February 26, 2015

Wrestling: Five quarterfinals to watch at Region 1

Here are five (actually six, we cheated) quarterfinal matchups you don't want to miss on Friday at Wallkill Valley Regional High School. And that's part of the beauty of only having two mats to focus on.

Quarterfinal action begins at 4 p.m.

106 pounds

4-So. Jacob Falleni (30-4, D2-1), Lenape Valley, vs. 5-Sr. Austin Perrault (27-7, D2-2), Morris Knolls.

Notes: This is a very competitive group at 106, but make sure to catch this one. Falleni, a Hunterdon-Warren-Sussex champion, nipped Perrault, 2-1, in the ultimate tiebreaker to claim the District 2 title on Saturday at Randolph High School. Perrault owns wins over four other wrestlers that qualified here, and he was beating Kinnelon's Scott Smith, the No. 3 seed at this weight, when he was decked with seven seconds left on the clock in their Morris County Tournament semifinal matchup.

120 pounds

1-Sr. Mojahed Hamdeh (28-2, D4-1), Wayne Hills, vs. Sr. Dan Kee (19-2, D4-3), Lakeland.
4-Jr. Nick Klinger (30-4, D3-1), Kittatinny, vs. 5-Jr. Joe Renne (31-6, D1-2), Hackettstown.

Notes: This weight class is ridiculously good. Hamdeh vs. Kee is a rematch of last year's 113-pound final, which Hamdeh won, 4-3. The Wayne Hills senior also won, 6-3, vs. Kee this season on Jan 21. Kee avenged two losses this season to DePaul's Damian Maver with a 7-5 win in Wednesday's preliminary round. Klinger won a pair of meetings vs. Renne last season, 12-5 and 8-6, the latter result occurring in the 2014 Hunterdon-Warren-Sussex finals. Renne's only win against Klinger was by technical fall two years ago.

126 pounds

4-Fr. Anthony Mastroeni (29-7, D2-2), Hopatcong, vs. Sr. Dominic Koert (23-5, D3-3), Pope John.
2-Sr. Matt Noble (33-2, D4-1), DePaul, vs. 7-Fr. Brian Meyer (19-12, D1-1), Phillipsburg.

Notes: If you haven't seen him already, Mastroeni is one impressive freshman. Koert is making his first appearance here because he wasn't able to crack the lineup while sitting behind Austin Sisco, a third-place finisher in 2014, his first two seasons at 106 pounds. Last year, an injury forced Koert to miss the postseason. Noble is a returning champion, but Meyer is another fab frosh and tough as nails. Get used to seeing him in this gym. Interestingly, Koert beat Meyer, 4-2, in sudden victory when they met in the Hunterdon-Warren-Sussex Tournament.

170 pounds

3-Jr. Daniel Kilroy (30-3, D4-1), Wayne Hills, vs. 6-Sr. Joey LaBell (31-6, D2-2), Lenape Valley.

Notes: Kilroy made a bit of a surprise run to the finals as the No. 5 seed at 160 last season, upsetting High Point's Tommy Hooker, 10-8, in the semis before finishing second with a 9-2 loss to Morris Knolls' Dean Drugac. LaBell is just plain tough, a wrestler definitely in the mold of his coach and former Lenape Valley standout Doug Vetter, a state runner-up at 189 pounds in 1990.

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