Saturday, December 26, 2015

Wrestling: John Goles Invitational preview, info

What: John Goles Invitational Tournament (58th annual).

When: Monday.

Where: Warren Hills Regional High School, Washington Township.

Participating teams: Delaware Valley; Edison; Millburn; Newton; North Hunterdon; Plainfield; Pope John; Scotch Plains-Fanwood; Warren Hills; West Morris.

Schedule (approximate): Pigtails and quarterfinals, 9 a.m.; Wrestlebacks, noon; Semifinals, 1 p.m.; Wrestlebacks, 3:30 p.m.; Consolation finals, 4 p.m.; Championships, 5 p.m.

Returning champions (this year's weights): Shane Metzler, West Morris (120); Matt Valli, Warren Hills (126, 2013); Brian Smolinsky, North Hunterdon (152); Wyatt Vrancken, North Hunterdon (170); Kyle Schlittler, Delaware Valley (195).

Others to watchJake Rotunda, Pope John (120, District 3 champion, Region 1 third); Robert Cleary, Edison (132, District 19 champion, Region 5 champion, two-time Goles runner-up); Matt Kolonia, Delaware Valley (132, Region 5 fourth); Derek Ciavarro, North Hunterdon (160, District 17 champion, Region 5 third).

Notes: Metzler, who finished fourth in New Jersey last season at 106 pounds, is the lone returning state medal winner. Valli, a District 1 champ as a freshman also won a Goles title that season. The junior missed the 2014 tournament due to an injury. The 126-pound class is one of the deepest with six district medal winners. Also keep an eye on 132, where Cleary and Kolonia reside, along with blue-chip freshmen Wyatt McCarthy (Newton) and Robert Garcia (Pope John). Plainfield and Pope John join this year's field, replacing South Brunswick and West Windsor North. Pope John returns after a three-year absence. The Lions, coached by Mark Piotrowsky, were Goles members for 10 straight years from 2002-11. Their last champ? Joe Emering, who won at 152 in 2011. ... North Hunterdon steamrolled to its third team title and first since 2010 last year behind five champions, but this year's race looks to be wide open. Delaware Valley, Pope John and host Warren Hills could all be in the hunt. The Blue Streaks have won or shared 22 championships since the tournament's inception in 1958. Delaware Valley has claimed 10 of the last 17 team titles. ... Newton has crowned at least one champion in all but two tournaments since 2000. Speaking of which, assistant coaches Andy Iliff (1985-86) and Ted Sibblies (1987-88) were two-time winners for the Braves. Del Val assistant Gregg Wiseburn (1999-2000) and North Hunterdon assistant Chris Hrunka (2006) were also champs for the Blue Streaks. Millburn coach Mike Artigliere was a two-time champ for Madison (1985-86).

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