Thursday, February 18, 2016

Wrestling: District 3 preview, predictions

Where: Kittatinny Regional High School, Hampton.

Teams: High Point, Jefferson, Kittatinny, Newton, Pope John, Sparta, Vernon, Wallkill Valley.

Friday's schedule: Quarterfinals, 5:30 p.m.

Saturday's schedule: Semifinals, 9 a.m.; third-place consolations, 11 a.m.; championships, 12:30 p.m.

Returning champions (7): Jr. Mark DiGeronimo, Kittatinny (113); So. Jake Rotunda, Pope John (120); Sr. Nick Klinger, Kittatinny (132); Sr. Austin Scrivani, Kittatinny (138); Sr. Jared Kobis, High Point (145); Sr. Kevin Lewis, High Point (285); Sr. Garrett Gerndt, Sparta (120, 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. Joe Aragona, Pope John; 2. Devin Flannery, High Point; 3. Mason Godfrey, Jefferson.

Notes: Aragona (30-0) is among the favorites to win a state title and already owns a 13-2 major over Flannery (23-6), who really came on in the second half of the season. Godfrey (28-5), who lost a 9-6 decision to Flannery, also has been impressive, decking Sparta's Chris Hwang, who is No. 4 seed.

113 -- 1. Mark DiGeronimo, Kittatinny; 2. Christian Deehan, Pope John; 3. Maverick Liebl, High Point.

Notes: DiGeronimo (21-6), eyeing a championship repeat, is a big favorite like he was a year ago. Deehan (25-6) was a runner-up to DiGeronimo last year at 106. Kittatinny, which could have a big tournament, has crowned at least two champs every year since being shut out in 1993. With only five at this weight, a Liebl-Deehan semifinal will be interesting on Saturday morning.

120 -- 1. Jake Rotunda, Pope John; 2. Garrett Gerndt, Sparta; 3. Chris Schrieks, Jefferson.

Notes: Rotunda, who last year became the first freshman to win at his school since former state champ Brian Unkert 1987, has beaten Gerndt twice this season -- 7-3 and 6-1 -- and is 4-0 all-time against Gerndt dating to last season. Kittatinny's Perry Maio, the No. 4 seed, owns two wins over High Point's Justin Liebl, the No. 5 seed, while Schrieks wrestled up at 126 most of the season.

126 -- 1. Robert Garica, Pope John; 2. Mark Bohn, Jefferson; 3. Grant Gerndt, Sparta.

Notes: Garcia, a super freshman, really turned heads with his second-place finish at the Hunterdon-Warren-Sussex Tournament, knocking off Hackettstown's Joe Renne, a Region 1 champion, in the semis. Bohn, like Shrieks, wrestled up most of the season and is dangerous with big moves. Gerndt, High Point's Trey Osborn and Kittatinny's Calvin Brook -- all capable of advancing -- round out a deep classes. Osborn, who beat, Brook, 2-0, gets a rematch in the quarters. Gerndt scored one-point decisions over both.

132 -- 1. Nick Klinger, Kittatinny; 2. Wyatt McCarthy, Newton; 3. Shane Kobis, High Point.

Notes: Good weight class. Klinger, who is going for back-to-back titles, has his work cut out with a potential semis showdown with Kobis, who lost a  3-2 decision in their dual meet meeting. Pope John's Ryan Luchs, a two-time placewinner should get McCarthy in the semis. McCarthy, who dropped a 7-5 decision to Klinger, beat Luchs, 5-2, at Hunterdon-Warren-Sussex.

138 -- 1. Austin Scrivani, Kittatinny; 2. Nick Giordano, Newton; 3. Cole Nagle, Vernon.

Notes: Scrivani is an overwhelming choice to become just the fifth wrestler at his school to win four titles and the first since former state champ Will Livingston (2003-06). Scrivani's brother, Garrett, was a two-time champ in 2010-11. Giordano, the No. 3 seed and Nagle, the No. seed will be a good semifinal. Nagle (26-2) is dangerous with 18 pins. Only three of his bouts (five forfeits) on the mat have gone six minutes.

145 -- 1. Jared Kobis, High Point; 2. Jake Vanwingerden, Kittatinny; 3. Jake DeLuca, Newton.

Notes: Kobis (19-0), who is sitting on 90 career wins, is looking to join an elite group at his school with a third title. His coach, John Gardner won three (1988-90), while longtime assistant coach Mickey Thomas was the school's first champ in 1968. Vanwingerden, the No. 2 seed, is a two-time third-place finisher.

152 -- 1. Dylan Minter, Kittatinny; 2. Aric Wingle, High Point; 3. Shane Connolly, Jefferson.

Notes: Perhaps the most competitive weight class. Minter knocked off Wingle and Connolly this season -- 3-1 and 8-3, respectively, while Wingle scored a tight 3-2 decision over No. 6 seed Sean McHugh of Sparta. The 5-4 match between Newton's Jonathan Borgognoni and Pope John's Billy Koenig will be a treat as well.

160 -- 1. Lance Fischer, Newton; 2. Taylor Molfetto, Kittatinny; 3. Rob Turro, High Point.

Notes: Fischer, a runner-up last year, has been wrestling with a torn ACL. Kudos to him. Molfetto (20-6), a huge Miami Dolphins fan, has really come on of late and will be a tough out in the finals after a pair of fourth-place finishes. Turro, just a sophomore, moves on as well.

170 -- 1. Al Falco, Sparta; 2. Josh Klimek, Kittatinny; 3. Justin Randzio, Jefferson.

Notes: Could see a rematch here in the finals as Falco posted a 12-7 decision over Klimek in a dual meet, but that bout was much closer than the score indicates. Falco (27-5), has finished third twice and second two years ago. Klimek (24-5), third last year, seems to be peaking at the right time. In what may be a huge bout in the team race, Pope John's Joe Frumolt squares off with High Point's Liam Gorman in a 5-4 bout on Friday. Frumolt won their previous meeting, 1-0, on Jan. 5.

182 -- 1. Jake Brown, Pope John; 2. Zach Mafaro, Kittatinny; 3. Jakob Jakova, Jefferson.

Notes: Speaking of the team race, here's what could be a big one between impressive young wrestlers. Brown (25-6), a sophomore and runner-up last year, came up through the Kittatinny system. Mafaro (22-6), only a freshman, could make the first of many finals appearances.

195 -- 1. Billy Loewen, Sparta; 2. Colin Myles, Pope John; 3. Luke DeGroat, Kittatinny.

Notes: Maybe the toughest weight to forecast. Loewen (16-2) is the No. 1 seed by virtue of an 8-6 victory over Myles on Jan. 20. Loewen also beat DeGroat, 3-1.

220 -- 1. Adam Schlereth, Newton; 2. Zach Herbert, Sparta; 3. Cliff Rutter, High Point.

Notes: Spartans looking to make a statement up top as Herbert is the favorite here after a runner-up finish at 195 last season. Schlereth (8-2), who was third in District 4 for DePaul last season, is low on bouts after sitting the first 30 days. Both have a common opponent in High Point's Cliff Rutter, a runner-up last season -- Schlereth winning by technical fall and Herbert by a 6-1 decision.

285 -- 1. Kevin Lewis, High Point; 2. Robbie Gennat, Sparta; 3. Avery Sheruda, Jefferson.

Notes: Lewis has wrestled at 195 for the most part this season, but he once again makes the jump to heavyweight where he won a title last season and was fourth in Region 1. Gennat, who was decked by Lewis in last year's final, has two wins over No. 4 seed and last year's third-place finisher Tyler Pittenger of Newton, the No. 4 seed.

Team champion: In a very good race, Kittatinny wins its 11th title over Pope John, which is seeking its fourth championship (1975, '77 and '81).

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