Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Wrestling: Region 1 preview, predictions

Where: Wallkill Valley Regional High School, Hardyston.

When: Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.

Teams (34): Belvidere, Butler, DePaul, Dover, Hackettstown, High Point, Hopatcong, Jefferson, Kinnelon, Kittatinny, Lakeland, Lenape Valley, Mendham, Montville, Morris Catholic, Morris Hills, Morris Knolls, Mount Olive, Newton, North Warren, Pequannock, Phillipsburg, Pompton Lakes, Pope John, Randolph, Roxbury, Sparta, Vernon, Wallkill Valley, Warren Hills, Wayne Hills, Wayne Valley, West Milford, West Morris.

Wednesday schedule: Preliminaries, 5 p.m. (Doors open at 3 p.m.).

Friday schedule: Quarterfinals, 4 p.m. (Doors open at 2:40 p.m.).

Saturday schedule: (Doors open at 7 a.m.): Semifinals, 9 a.m., immediately followed by two rounds of wrestlebacks; third-place consolations approximately 30 minutes after wrestlebacks; championships following consolations.

Returning champions (9): Sr. Mojahed Hamdeh, Wayne Hills (120); Sr. Matt Noble, DePaul (126); Sr. Max Nauta, Warren Hills (132, 2013); Sr. Jason Gaccione, High Point (145, 2013); So. Brandon Kui, DePaul (152); Sr. David McFadden, DePaul (160); Sr. Jimmy Schuitema, Phillipsburg (170, 2013); Jr. Dean Drugac, Morris Knolls (182); Sr. Andrew Pacheco, Warren Hills (285).

Qualifiers by school

Phillipsburg 13; DePaul 12; Sparta 9; Lenape Valley 8; Montville 8; Morris Knolls 8; West Morris 8; High Point 7; Kittatinny 7; Roxbury 7; Wayne Valley 7; Belvidere 6; Mendham 6; Newton 6; Pope John 6; Jefferson 5; Pequannock 5; Pompton Lakes 5; Randolph 5; Hopatcong 4; Wayne Hills 4; Kinnelon 3; North Warren 3; Butler 2; Hackettstown 2; Lakeland 2; Morris Hills 2; Mount Olive 2; Wallkill Valley 2; Warren Hills 2; West Milford 2; Dover 0; Morris Catholic 0; Vernon 0.

106 pounds

1. Shane Metzler, West Morris; 2. Daniel Percelay, DePaul; 3. Jacob Falleni, Lenape Valley

Notes: Pretty deep weight with Phillipsburg's Kyle Markus and Kittatinny's Mark DiGeronimo, the runner-up and third-place finisher in the Hunterdon-Warren-Sussex Tournament also in the field. Kinnelon's Scott Smith and Morris Knolls' Austin Perrault also in the mix. Metzler looks like the class here, though Percelay rolled to the District 4 title with an 8-1 victory over Smith. Falleni, the HWS champion, is tough on top.

113 pounds

1. Garrett O'Shea, Morris Knolls; 2. Joe Aumann, Hopatcong; 3. Jake Rotunda, Pope John

Notes: O'Shea, who finished third at 106 last season with a 2-0 win over Aumann, was stunned by Aumann, 4-3, in the District 2 finals on Saturday. Aumann also picked up his 100th victory in that rematch. Rotunda is an impressive freshman and should be able to earn the trip to AC.

120 pounds

1. Nick Klinger, Kittatinny; 2Dylan Luciano, West Morris; 3. Troy Stanich, Roxbury

Notes: Just an incredibly deep and talented weight class here. In the top quarter of the draw alone, you have last year's 113-pound champion in Wayne Hills' Mojahed Hamdeh, along with runner-up Dan Kee of Lakeland. Kee will face DePaul's Damian Maver, who has beaten Kee twice, in the opening round on Wednesday. Stanich was the runner-up at 106 last season and beat District 3 champion Klinger, 3-1 in December. Luciano, who has split two bouts with Stanich this season, earned the No. 2 seed after a fourth-place finish at 126 in 2014.

126 pounds

1. Matt Noble, DePaul; 2. A.J. Vindici, Randolph; 3. Dom Gallo, High Point

Notes: This is a tough one to call. Noble is a returning champ at this weight class, while Gallo was a runner-up at 120 last season. Vindici is a two-time state placewinner, but he finished fourth at 120 last year after being knocked off by Gallo in a UTB thriller in the semis. He's in a nice spot up top with a loaded bottom half of the draw. Keep an eye on No. 7 seed Brian Meyer of Phillipsburg. The talented freshman could play spoiler here.

132 pounds

1. Max Nauta, Warren Hills; 2. Austin Scrivani, Kittatinny; 3. William Kui, DePaul

Notes: These picks aren't getting any easier. Nauta, who is six wins shy of passing three-time Region 1 champ Dave Richmond for the all-time record at the Warren County school, is a three-time finalist and a runner-up at this weight last season. Scrivani was third at this weight, dropping  2-1 decision in the semis to eventual champion Mike Derin of High Point. Derin pinned Nauta in the finals. Kui, who finished third the last two seasons, is on a collision course with Scrivani in the semifinals.

138 pounds

1. Jared Kobis, High Point; 2. DJ Wissing, Phillipsburg; 3. Eric Friedman, Mendham

Notes: What a shame that the unbeaten Kobis and Friedman are in the top half of the draw. Nonetheless, that should be a great semifinal should it happen. Kobis (27-0) reached the semifinals two years ago, but he was derailed by a shoulder injury. He also missed most of last season with a hand injury. Friedman (35-0) is a returning runner-up at this weight who went on to place eighth in the state tournament. Wissing, the No. 6 seed, is in a great spot down below.

145 pounds

1. Jason Gaccione, High Point; 2. Steve Friedman, Phillipsburg; 3. Ian Burke, Sparta

Notes: Gaccione won this weight class as a sophomore and he finished second last season with a 3-2 loss to DePaul state champion David McFadden. Gaccione has beaten Friedman twice this season, including a 7-1 decision in the Hunterdon-Warren-Sussex finals. Friedman did not make it past the quarters in two previous appearances, but he's wrestling extremely well right now. Burke, the No. 4 seed, is eager for a rematch with Gaccione after a 14-11 loss in the District 3 finals.

152 pounds

1. Brandon Kui, DePaul; 2. John Kaluzny, Phillipsburg; 3. Tommy Miller, Roxbury

Notes: Kui (36-3) made everyone take notice last season by winning the 138-pound title as a freshman. He's a strong bet to repeat. Montville's Anthony Fano, who finished fourth at 138 a year ago, also is in the top half of the draw. Kaluzny, who rolled to the District 1 title after starting the season as the backup for the Stateliners, dominated in a 7-3 win over Miller when their teams met in the Group 4 semifinals two weekends ago.

160 pounds

1. David McFadden, DePaul; 2. Max Elling, Phillipsburg; 3. Craig Roumes, Roxbury

Notes: Without a doubt, this would be the most anticipated final. McFadden (39-0) is bidding to become just the fourth wrestler in this region to capture four titles. The slick four-time District 4 champion, who has also placed second and sixth in the state tournament, owns a 161-8 career mark. Elling (35-2) is looking for his first Region 1 title and a return trip to AC after finishing fourth at 152 last season.

170 pounds

1. Jimmy Schuitema, Phillipsburg; 2. Luke Bohn, Jefferson; 3. Daniel Kilroy, Wayne Hills

Notes: Schuitema (34-3), who was suspended from competing in the postseason last year, is seeking his second title after winning as a sophomore. Bohn has finished third twice here, including last year at 152, beating Elling, 7-5. Kilroy (30-3), the No. 3 seed, made an inspired run to the finals at 160 last season, where he lost a 9-2 decision to Morris Knolls' Dean Drugac. Lenape Valley's Joey LaBell is lurking as the No. 6 seed.

182 pounds

1. Nick DePalma, DePaul; 2. D.J. Barrett, Lenape Valley; 3. Dean Drugac. Morris Knolls

Notes: Tough at the top here with DePalma (31-6), a returning runner-up at this weight, along with Drugac (34-1), a champ at 160 last season. Barrett (34-1), who was third here last season, has been turning heads all season and he made a statement by handing Drugac his first loss in the District 2 finals.

195 pounds

1. Gus Protogeropoulos, Newton; 2. Patrick Daly, Pequannock; 3. Aaron Flitcroft, Mendham

Notes: Protogeropoulos (31-2) has made a seamless drop from 220, where he was a third-place finisher last season. The senior became the eight wrestler at his school to reach the 100-win mark in the District 3 finals. Daly (30-3), who is the No. 2 seed, has beaten Flitcroft, the District 1 champ, three times this season, including a 7-0 decision in the Morris County Tournament quarterfinals. Keep an eye on Lenape Valley's Sam Palumbo and Phillipsburg's Drew Horun, the Nos. 6 and 7 seeds. They are capable of pulling off an upset.

220 pounds

1. Robert Melise, Phillipsburg; 2. Scott Lavelle, DePaul; 3. Gavin Lally, Sparta

Notes: Tough upper half of the draw with Lavelle (36-4) as the No. 1 seed and Lally (33-1), the Hunterdon-Warren-Sussex champ, sitting in the No. 4 spot. Lally's lone loss this season is to Protogeropoulos in a dual meet, which he avenged a few days later in the county finals. Lavelle dropped a 4-3 decision to Protogeropoulos in last year's third-place match. Melise (31-6) has been solid since dropping from 285, beating Mendham's Tim Byrne, 12-3, in the District 1 finals.

285 pounds

1. Andrew Pacheco, Warren Hills; 2. Kyle Nothnagel, Phillipsburg; 3. Kevin Lewis, High Point

Notes: Pacheco scored a no-doubt 7-0 decision over Nothnagel to avenge an earlier loss to the Stateliner and win a third District 1 title on Saturday. Those two seem destined for a third meeting, but Pacheco has been tough in this gym, winning the title as a junior and reaching the finals as a sophomore. Lewis made a smart move going 285 and winning the District 3 title after competing at 220 most of the season.

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