Friday, February 19, 2016

Wrestling: District 1 preview, predictions

Where: Warren Hills Regional High School, Washington Twp.

Teams: Belvidere, Hackettstown, Mendham, Mount Olive, North Warren, Phillipsburg, Warren Hills, West Morris.

Saturday's schedule: Quarterfinals, 9 a.m.; semifinals, 1 p.m.; third-place consolations, 4 p.m.; championships, 5:45 p.m.

Returning champions (7): Jr. Shane Metzler, West Morris (120); Jr. Nick Cassidy, Belvidere (126); So. Brian Meyer, Phillipsburg (145); Jr. Robert Melise, Phillipsburg (220); Jr. Matt Valli, Warren Hills (126, 2014); Sr. Joe Renne, Hackettstown (126, 2014); Sr. Brandon Paetzell, Phillipsburg (132, 2014).

Predictions: The top three finishers in each weight class advance to the Region 1 Tournament that begins on Wednesday at Wallkill Valley Regional High School in Hardyston.

106 -- 1. Cody Harrison, Warren Hills; 2. Michael Caso, West Morris; 3. Quinn Melofchik, Belvidere.

Notes: Shame that Harrison meets Phillipsburg's Cullen Day in the 4-5 match on Saturday, but that's how it goes. Harrison won, 5-2, in an earlier meeting this season, but his OT loss to Caso reshuffled the draw. Melofchik, the No. 1 seed, was third behind the runner-up Harrison at the Hunterdon-Warren-Sussex Tournament.

113 -- 1. Kyle Markus, Phillipsburg; 2. Kyle Wulff, Warren Hills; 3. Peter Tringali, Mendham.

Notes: Markus (27-6), a runner-up at 106 last season, is a heavy favorite here with an 11-0 win over Wulff on Jan. 29. Had Wulff not sustained a season-ending knee injury last season, this might have been the 106 final in '15. Wulff edged Tringali, 4-3, in the North 1, Group 4 sectional match.

120 -- 1. Shane Metzler, West Morris; 2. Tom Kosar, Phillipsburg; 3. Codey O'Rourke, Warren Hills.

Notes: Metzler, one of seven returning champions, was fourth in the state last season. He owns two wins over O'Rourke -- pin in 2:22 and 9-1 -- and scored a 17-2 technical fall win over Kosar, who is wrestling very well of late. Kosar, a returning runner-up, beat O'Rourke, 6-1, on Jan. 29.

126 -- 1. Matt Valli, Warren Hills; 2. Joe Renne, Hackettstown; 3. Nick Cassidy, Belvidere.

Notes: Valli (30-0), a champion in 2014, is eager to get at it after missing the postseason last year. Stacked weight here with two other former District 1 champions -- Renne (2014), who beat Cassidy (2015), 3-2, on Dec. 23. Renne, a runner-up last year who is 5-1 all-time against Warren Hills wrestlers, went on to win a Region 1 title.

132 -- 1. Brandon Paetzell, Phillipsburg; 2. Alex Carida, Hackettstown; 3. Alex Winant, Mendham.

Notes: Paetzell is back and seeking a third title, as he enters the tournament with a 94-12 career mark. He's been hampered by a broken hand in each of his last two seasons, and is looking to become just the 36th Stateliner to win at least three district championships. Carida was third last season.

138 -- 1. Zach Nauta, Warren Hills; 2. Kade Loughney, West Morris; 3. Tyler Agans, Phillipsburg.

Notes: Nauta looking to get over the hump here after back-to-back fourth-place finishes. Have a round-robin with these three -- Loughney beat Nauta, 5-3 in SV; Nauta beat Agans, 7-4, and Agans beat Loughney, 5-2. That was tossed out during the seedings, and left Agans' 9-4 win over Nauta on Jan. 9 as the deciding factor for the No. 2 seed. Loughney is the top seed.

145 -- 1. Brian Meyer, Phillipsburg; 2. Anthony Carida, Hackettstown; 3. Ty Romeo, Mount Olive.

Notes: Did you know P'burg has crowned at least one district champion every year since missing in 1955? Impressive stat right there. Meyer looking to make it two in a row after winning at 126 last season. Carida, who was the Hunterdon-Warren Sussex runner-up at 152, will be a tough opponent.

152 -- 1. Anthony Duardo, North Warren; 2. DJ Wissing, Phillipsburg; 3. Marco Gaita, West Morris.

Notes: Duardo (28-1) has been on a mission since his first-round loss at Region 1 last year. The HWS champ has a 9-4 win over Gaita, a Region 1 qualifier, in addition to victories over Nick Palumbo of Lenape Valley, 8-4, Region 1 runner-up Alex Zangrilli of Pequannock and Roxbury's Tommy Miller. Wissing, a returning D1 runner-up, missed HWS with an ankle injury.

160 -- 1. Troy Navarino, Mendham; 2. Caleb Isemann, West Morris; 3. Anthony Roessner, Warren Hills.

Notes: Navarino, a returning D1 runner-up, dropped to 152 at one point, but he's here for the postseason. Isemann, fourth in Region 1 last season, has a 7-2 win over Roessner to his credit. Roessner beat Mount Olive's Alfonso Pinto, 2-1, so the race for third will be tight.

170 -- 1. Jarod Ostir, Warren Hills; 2. Michael Servais, Mendham; 3. Jason Barna, Phillipsburg.

Notes: Ostir, who beat Navarino, 3-2 in OT, on  Feb. 8, opts to go 170 for the postseason after a fourth-place finish last season. He's been battling an ankle injury for most of the year. Barna, who's father, Mike, was a three-time district champ for the 'Liners, will benefit from a rugged schedule to advance.

182 -- 1. Dan Fisher, Phillipsburg; 2. Kyle Connelly, Hackettstown; 3. Brent Bartzak, Mendham.

Notes: Fisher (18-15), the Hunterdon-Warren-Sussex runner-up, did not face Connelly, who was at 195 on Jan. 9. Connelly reached the quarters but did not place. Very few head-to-head bouts at this weight class.

195 -- 1. Drew Horun, Phillipsburg; 2. Nick Galka, Warren Hills; 3. Alex Leontaris, North Warren.

Notes: Horun (24-5), who was third at 195 last season, should cruise to his first title. Galka, a promising freshman, bumps up from 182 pounds and has a great shot to reach the finals. Only six wrestlers are entered here.

220 -- 1. Robert Melise, Phillipsburg; 2. Daniel Colabella, Mount Olive; 3. Brody Oberly, Warren Hills.

Notes: Melise (31-2), who finished fifth in the state last season, should roll to a second straight title at this weight class. Colabella (21-7) was third at 285 last year. Oberly (15-16), who's father, Ben, was a three-time district champ for the Blue Streaks, owns win over the two wrestlers seeded below him at 4 and 5 -- Donte Rossi of Mendham (3-1) and Craig Cronce of Belvidere (pin in 57 seconds).

285 -- 1. Kyle Nothnagel, Phillipsburg; 2. Taylan Zafis, Warren Hills; 3. Alex Kaltenhauser, West Morris.

Notes: Nothnagel, who was the runner-up here last season, beat Zafis, 4-1, on Jan. 29. That shows how far Zafis (15-14) has come since going 1-18 a year ago. Zafis also was involved in a round-robin at this weight with a win over Joe Andes of Hackettstown (pin in 1:07) and a loss to Kaltenhauser (3-2 UTB), who lost to Andes (pin in OT).

Team champion: Phillipsburg claims its 43rd championship.

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