Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Wrestling: Atlantic City by the numbers

Let's go inside the numbers for the 82nd New Jersey State Wrestling Championships at Boardwalk Hall:

42 -- Number of wins for returning champ David McFadden of DePaul, the most for any wrestler in the field in Atlantic City. McFadden (42-0), who is one win better than St. Joseph-Montvale's Jonathan Tropea (41-0). is looking to claim the Passaic County school's fifth championship and, in the process, become its first repeat winner. Gene Mills (1976), Sal La Corte ('81) and Steve DePetro ('82) are the other Spartans to win titles.

23 -- North Hunterdon ace Ryan Pomrinca (36-0 at 126) is one of 23 unbeaten wrestlers in the field, along with High Point's Jared Kobis (30-0 at 138). The others are: McFadden (42-0 at 160), Tropea (41-0 at 106), Holy Cross' Matt Correnti (39-0 at 195), Jackson Liberty's Matthew Russo (39-0 at 138), Keansburg's Tyree Sutton (39-0 at 195), Kingsway's Quinn Kinner (38-0 at 106), Old Tappan's Tyler Mullen (38-0 at 160), Monroe's Sal Profaci (37-0 at 132), Clifton's Mohammed Farhan (36-0 at 138), West Orange's Chris Morgan (36-0 at 182), Bergen Catholic's Nick Suriano (36-0 at 120), Delran's Marcus Miraglia (34-0 at 145), Brick Township's Dean Sherry (34-0 at 182), Clearview's Zack Firestone (33-0 at 120) and Michael Van Brill (33-0 at 132), Christian Brothers' Sebastian Rivera (33-0 at 113), Toms River South's Owen McClave (32-0 at 120), Don Bosco's Zack Chakonis (28-0 at 285), Elizabeth's Lloyd Jackson (28-0 at 285), Eastern's Brandon Barbella (26-0 at 132) and Wall's Brett Donner (13-0 at 170).

5 -- McFadden is one of five returning champions in the field -- along with Suriano, Hanover Park's Anthony Cefolo (126), Summit's Craig De La Cruz (132) and Delbarton's Ty Agaisse (120). Suriano, Cefolo and De La Cruz are all looking to become three-time champs. De La Cruz won two titles at Bound Brook prior to this season.

9 -- Region 2's total number of returning placewinners, the most of among all eight regions. Region 6 is next with eight, while Regions 1 and 3 have seven. Two-time medal winner Brandon Paetzell of Phillipsburg would have made it eight for Region 1, but he's been sidelined most of the year with a left hand injury. Warren Hills senior Andrew Pacheco, who finished sixth at 285 last season, is among those back from Region 1, as well as High Point senior Jason Gaccione, who was fourth in 2013. Washington/Warren Hills ranks second all-time with 46 state champs, while High Point is tied for 20th place with 10.

6 -- Hanover Park is among 13 schools with six state champions in their history. Anthony Cefolo is looking to make it seven for the Morris County school as he seeks a third title. Coach James LaValle (1995, '97-98) is the only three-timer for the Hornets. Brick Memorial, which also has six state champs, has four wrestlers in this year's tournament, including returning placewinner Alec Donovan at 145 pounds.

30 -- It's been awhile since Summit had a state champion, 30 years to be exact, Enzo Catullo went back-to-back in 1984 (142 pounds) and '85 (149) for the Union County school's lone titles. Craig De La Cruz will be looking to end that drought as he bids for a third championship after winning two at Bound Brook. De La Cruz will be competing at 132 pounds this weekend in AC.

21 -- How apropos. Atlantic City will host the state tournament for a 21st time this year -- only Princeton University's Jadwin Gym has hosted more (22 from 1970-91). The event shifted to AC in 1992 where it's been ever since, sans a two-year move to the Meadowlands in 2000 and '01, when Boardwalk Hall underwent renovations. Other former hosts include the Elizabeth Armory (nine times, 1947-55), Rutgers (seven from 1959-65) and Asbury Park Convention Hall (four from 1966-69). Ten high schools have also been sites for the tournament -- Union, Somerville, Roselle Park, Teaneck, Grover Cleveland Jr. (Elizabeth), Springfield, Thomas Jefferson, Rahway and Belvidere (1946). Union hosted the first four tournaments from 1934-37.

129 -- State champions produced by Union County, by far the leader in New Jersey. Westfield's Christian Barber (2011) is the last champ from the county. Union's Leo Moorman was the first at 95 pounds in 1935. Next up is Sussex with 113 (82 from Newton) and Bergen with 107. Warren County ranks fourth with 85, followed by Ocean (61) and Somerset (61), Morris (59), Gloucester (58), Camden (57), Middlesex (41), Monmouth (37), Hunterdon (36), Essex (34), Burlington (24), Passaic (21), Atlantic (19), Cumberland (12), Salem (8), Hudson (6), Cape May (4) and Mercer (2).

82 -- Total number of state champions for Newton High School, a state record. The Sussex County school has one entry this year in senior Gus Protogeropoulos at 195. The Braves have had at least one qualifier in 11 straight tournaments. Ted Sibblies, a runner-up in 1989, was the school's last finalist, while fellow assistant coach Andy Iliff is the last champ -- winning back-to-back in 1986 and '87.

974 -- Total number of state champions in New Jersey history. This year's tournament is the 82nd overall since 1934 -- when Newton's Leo Snover won the first state title and started the Sussex County school's run to a state record 82 champs. No. 1,000 will be crowned in 2016.

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