Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Wrestling: Hunterdon-Warren preview capsules

Belvidere County Seaters

Coach: Dan McIntyre (66-37, sixth season).

2015-16 record: 11-10, 5-0 Skyland Conference Valley Division (first).

Returning starters (8): So. Quinn Melofchik (33-6, D3, R4) 106; Jr. Ryan Lensi (16-8) 120; Sr. Nick Cassidy (24-12, D3) 126; Sr. Gio Campana (9-15) 132; Sr. Lars Haugaard (2-12) 152; Sr. Nick Appleby (13-15) 170; Jr. Ryan Kokawski (17-9) 195; Sr. Craig Cronce (12-17) 220.

Key losses: Josh Pershpalaj (16-11) 170.

Key returnees: Jr. Kristian Panetta (1-7) 126; So. Gage Gares 132; Sr. Joey Sena 160; Sr. Kyle Hartzog 182; Sr. Bartolomeo Pepe 220; Jr. Hunter Smith 220.

Promising newcomers: Fr. Dylan Olsen 113; Fr. Anthony Appleby 152.

Outlook: County Seaters are coming off a first-place finish in the division and are poised to make another run at the title with eight returning starters, including region qualifiers Melofchik and Cassidy. Those returnees will need to come through with big points in dual meets to help offset some of the more inexperienced weights. With 25 wrestlers in the room, staying healthy will be a big key for success. A winning record and qualifying for the North 2, Group 1 sectional tournament are certainly realistic goals for this squad.

Delaware Valley Terriers
Coach: Andy Fitz (156-53, 10th season).

2015-16 record: 20-5, 2-4 Skyland Conference Raritan Division (T-fourth), Central Jersey, Group 2 champion and Group 2 runner-up.

Returning starters (8): Sr. Dylan Uderman (12-6) 106; So. A.J. DeRosa (32-12, D2, R2) 120; Sr. Matt Kolonia (37-7, D1, R3) 132-138; Sr. Connor Mills (21-13, D2, R2) 132-138; Sr. Rhys Zigich (28-12, D3) 145; Sr. Chase Bauberger (21-13, D3) 152-160; Sr. Sean Lessig (16-13, D3) 170; Jr. Kyle Lightner (26-7, D1, R2) 195.

Key losses: Vito Intili (23-15, D3) 120; Jake Moore (23-6) 126; Kyle Refalvy (22-13, D3) 126; Kyle Schlittler (37-6, D1, R3) 195; Ethan Kendzulak (11-12, D4) 285.

Key returnees: Jr. CJ Heaps (8-9) 113; Sr. Tanner McLaughlin 152-160; So. Shawne Ramsby (8-13) 182; Sr. Josh LaDuca (2-2) 220; Jr. Joe Pandy (7-4) 285.

Promising newcomers: Fr. Gage Crater 126; Jr. Eli Kalfaian 195-220.

Outlook: Terriers are coming off a banner season, capturing their 16th sectional title and advancing to the Group 2 final for the first time since 2006. With eight returning starters, expect the Hunterdon County school to make another run at both championships. DeRosa, Kolonia, Mills and Lightner are all returning state qualifiers, while Crater will be a freshman to watch, according to Fitz. Upper weights are still a bit of a question mark due to some inexperience on the big stage, but this lineup is pretty balanced and will be a tough out in dual meets. The division is once again absolutely brutal so the goal once again will be to finish in the top three.

Hackettstown Tigers

Coach: Frank Rodgers (208-209-4, 14th season of second stint, 21st overall).

2015-16 record: 9-14, 0-3 NJAC Freedom Division (fourth).

Returning starters (7): Sr. Steven Nicotra (8-9, D4) 120; Sr. Justin Bennett (20-16, D4) 132; Jr. Alex Carida (32-9, D2, R3) 138; Sr. Anthony Gonzalez (7-6, D3) 152; Sr. Kyle Connelly (29-8, D1) 220; Jr. Joe Andes (14-16, D3) 285.

Key losses: Joe Renne (31-7, D1, R4) 126; Anthony Carida (30-10, D2) 145; So. Kyle Salazar (10-17, knee injury).

Key returnees: So. Nate Bennett 106; Jr. Erick Garcia (7-7) 126; Sr. James Clarke 160-170.

Promising newcomers: Fr. Zeb Burke 145; Sr. JJ Carrara 152; Jr. Shawn Burke 152-170; Jr. Matt Castro 195.

Outlook: Tigers are once again looking at a bit of a rebuilding season with a shortage of numbers and the loss of two stars to graduation, including Renne, the program's all-time wins leader. Carida and Connelly are two good ones to build around as they are among seven returning starters. Gonzalez also returns after missing a good portion of last season with injury. The key for dual meet success will be saving points in those inexperienced weights. The Freedom Division got a lot tougher with the addition of Newton, but this group will battle to finish in the top three.

Hunterdon Central Red Devils

Coach: Jon Cantagallo-Rohm (35-12, third season).

2015-16 record: 18-4, 5-1 Skyland Conference Raritan Division (second).

Returning starters (11): So. Jack Bauer (29-10, D1, R2) 113; Jr. Hunter Graf (35-8, D1, R1, S8) 120; Sr. Peter Nace (25-6, D1) 126; So. Vincent Romaniello (27-11, D2) 132; Sr. Bryce Hall (17-12) 132-138; Sr. Mark Dellevalle (9-10) 138-145; Jr. Kevin Ciresa (29-8, D1, R3) 145-152; Sr. Chris Taylor (13-9) 152; Sr. Michael Iodice (32-7, D1, R2) 182; Sr. Victor Lacombe (35-5, D1, R1, S5) 220; Jr. Angelo Crespo (12-10) 220-285.

Key losses: Gavin Hoff (13-15, D4) 182; Connor Wheatley (25-12, D2) 195.

Key returnees: So. Pasquale Vizzoni (8-3) 120-126; So. Dan Furmato (6-9) 160.

Promising newcomers: Fr. Grant Bloch 106; Fr. Anthony Romaniello 106; Jr. Reese Young 170-182; Fr. Lukas Bakerian 195; So. Ryan Joyce 285.

Outlook: With 11 returning starters, including a pair of state placewinners, the Red Devils are again one of the most talented teams in the area and should be a factor among the state's top programs. Balance is the key, along with staying healthy, but you would be hard pressed to find many weak spots in this lineup. A strong group of upper weights gives teams a big advantage nowadays, and this group is anchored by Iodice and Lacombe, one of the best 220-pounders in the state. This will be a fun team to watch this season. Bound Brook and Phillipsburg are annually the teams to beat in this loaded division, but Central will be a matchup headache for most on the schedule.

North Hunterdon Lions

Coach: Tim Flynn (101-42, eighth season).

2015-16 record: 9-10, 2-4 Skyland Conference Raritan Division (T-fourth).

Returning starters (7): So. Connor Robinson (10-17) 106; Jr. Andrew Gapas (26-10, D2) 132-138; Jr. Will Hughes (7-15) 138-145; Sr. Cole Marra (27-11, D1, R4) 145-152; Jr. Tucker Kirchberger (14-15) 145-152; Sr. Nick Luberto (7-18) 160; Sr. Charlie Tordik (28-9, D1, R4) 285.

Key losses: Derek Ciavarro (27-4, D1, R3) 160; Wyatt Vrancken (28-6, D2, R4) 170.

Key returnees: So. Michael Wilson 126-132; Sr. Matt Gregory 170; Jr. Yousef Abbas (11-11) 195.

Promising newcomers: Fr. Evan Klimas 113; So. Nicolas House 120; Fr. Kyle Anderson 132-138; Jr. John Spies 145; Fr. Jacob Fossett 152; Fr. Anthony Masters 170; Jr. Noah Quental 170-182.

Outlook: Lions are young and inexperienced at several weight classes, but this coaching staff always gets the most out of its group, so keep an eye on this team as the season goes on. Gapas is a returning region qualifier, while Marra and Tordik just missed their first trips to Atlantic City with fourth-place finishes. But success will ultimately hinge on how the newcomers blend in and if some of the returning starters show improvement. A third-place finish in this rugged division would be a lofty goal this season.

North Warren Patriots

Coach: Scott Stoll (15-25, third season).

2015-16 record: 7-12, 2-2 NJAC Colonial Division (third).

Returning starters (4): Sr. Steven Skuropacki (5-17) 126; Sr. Shannon Grogan (17-13, D3) 138; So. Kevin Shaffer (5-8) 145; So. Ryan Walsh (8-20) 160;

Key losses: Anthony Duardo (35-5, D2, R3) 152; Kevon Hartley (12-6) 160; Alex Leontaris (19-11, D2) 195.

Key returnees: So. Joseph Voitek (2-9) 152; Jr. Joey Sprague (6-8) 285.

Promising newcomers: Fr. Ben Lilly 106; Fr. Nicholas Deloreto 106; Fr. Justin Gerkhardt 113; Fr. Brandon Casey 126-132; Fr. Rob Fletcher 138; Jr. Ben Adams 170; Jr. Jon Lucas 182; Jr. Alex Hicks 195; Sr. Scott Yurochak 220.

Outlook: Patriots are fighting low numbers and inexperience coming into this season. Grogan is the lone proven wrestler coming off a third-place finish in last season's district tournament. Stoll is excited about some of the younger wrestlers, but with only two seniors on the entire roster, he will need several others to step up and assume leadership roles. Approaching last season's win total will be the primary goal.

Phillipsburg Stateliners

Coach: Dave Post (96-17, seventh season).

2015-16 record: 17-3, 6-0 Skyland Conference Raritan Division, North 2, Group 4, Group 4 champions.

Returning starters (6): Jr. Cullen Day (16-8) 106; So. Kyle Tino (12-20) 132-138; Jr. Brian Meyer (33-10, D1, R1) 145-152; Sr. Dan Fisher (20-17, D3) 182; Sr. Drew Horun (29-7, D1, R4) 195; Sr. Robert Melise (40-3, D1, R1, S2) 220.

Key losses: Kyle Markus (34-9, D1, R2) 113; Tom Kosar (18-12, D2) 120; Brandon Paetzell (15-4, D1, R1, S2) 132; Tyler Agans (18-19, D2) 138; DJ Wissing (28-7, D1, R2) 152; Kyle Nothnagel (37-7, D1, R2) 285.
Phillipsburg celebrates its District 1 team championship in 2016.

Key returnees: So. Travis Jones (2-3) 113; Jr. Tyris Manley 120; Jr. Lance Wissing (5-15) 138; So. Jayson Zinsmeister 145-152; Jr. Shamyr Brodders 160-170; So. Austin Roth (6-12) 160-170; Sr. Justen Caraballo 285.

Promising newcomers: So. Brenden Fox 120; So. Cody Harrison (22-8, D1, R3, transfer from Warren Hills) 126-132; Jr. Josh Ramos 132-138; Fr. Denny Perez 145; Fr. Ryan Mitzak 145.

Outlook: Stateliners are always in the hunt for championships, and despite the loss of six solid starters to graduation, the state power is ready to reload for another title run. Harrison, who was a state qualifier as a freshman at Warren Hills, is a bonus to what would have already been a strong lineup. There are some inexperienced spots in the lower weights, but the wrestlers stepping in have proven themselves in spot varsity action or on the JV level. First season without being in The Pit will be strange to say the least, but the home opener in a sparkling new gymnasium vs. Bound Brook on Jan. 4 will be a barn burner.

Voorhees Vikings

Coach: Eric Hall (117-40, seventh season).

2015-16 record: 16-12, 0-6 Skyland Conference Raritan Division (seventh).

Returning starters (10): Jr. Colby Koshinski (29-11, D2) 113; So. Hunter Rinehart (12-23, D3) 120; Sr. Colton Riley (12-22) 132; Sr. Liam Cutri-French (20-14, D4) 138; Sr. Ben Brandner (11-20) 145; Sr. Michael Fernandes (34-5, D1) 160; Jr. Scott Fernandes (28-8) 182; So. Lewis Fernandes (28-11, D3) 195; So. Sam Huff (9-17) 195; Sr. Adam Murdock (10-19) 220.

Key losses: Kyle DiNapoli (31-2, D1, R1, S7) 126; Derek Howarth (32-9, D2) 220.

Key returnees: Sr. Augie Heithoff (4-11) 126; So. Matt Brandner 145; Sr. Colton Curtis 182.

Promising newcomers: So. Aidan Taylor 106; Fr. Joe Delusant 126; So. Charlie Eberlie 160; So. Austin Newarski 160; Sr. Eli Jones 285.

Outlook: Vikings were expected to struggle last season, but they still managed to log 16 wins. With 10 returning starters, including four region qualifiers, excitement is high for the Hunterdon County school, which has won two sectional titles over the past four seasons. The strength for this season's team is up top, while Michael Fernandes, a district champ, anchors the middle of the lineup. All three Fernandes brothers combined for 57 pins last season. Vikes will need to be better down low against the stronger teams on the schedule as they move to the Central Jersey, Group 2 section -- joining champion Delaware Valley and runner-up Raritan.

Warren Hills Blue Streaks

Coach: Jarrett Hosbach (142-113, 12th season).

2015-16 record: 12-9, 3-3 lSkyland Conference Raritan Division (third).

Returning starters (11): Jr. Kyle Wulff (24-11, D2) 120; Jr. Cody O'Rourke (17-9) 126; Sr. Matt Valli (33-3, D2) 132-138; Jr. Pedro Cruz (8-21) 132-138; Sr. Zach Nauta (24-9, D3) 145; Jr. Cameron Nauta (11-20, D3) 145-152; Sr. Rashon Wade Taylor (10-22) 152-160; Jr. Jarod Ostir (16-9, D1, R3) 182; So. Nick Galka (19-15, D3) 195; Sr. Brody Oberly (16-18, D4) 220; Sr. Taylan Zafis (16-16, D4) 285.

Key losses: Anthony Roessner (24-12, D3) 160; Kurt Nemeth (21-6) 182.

Key returnees: So. Chris Ostir (1-2) 126; Sr. Kyle Henderson 160; Sr. Ryan Beckler 160; Sr. Paul Turnbull 170; Sr. Henry Garcia 220.

Promising newcomers: Fr. Greg Slivka 106; Fr. Logan Nauta 113; Fr. Geir Nemeth 138.

Outlook: Blue Streaks are plenty experienced and should be a factor in the Skyland Conference Raritan Division race. There are a few question marks in the lineup, but this should be one of the more balanced teams in the area with six returning region qualifiers. The Warren County school moves to Region 3 this season. Valli will be hungry for a trip to AC following an abrupt end to his junior season in a tough Region 1 weight class -- he also won his first Hunterdon-Warren-Sussex title -- while Jarod Ostir (coming off Tommy John surgery in the spring) looks to lead the upper weights.

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