Sunday, February 26, 2017

Wrestling: Carida, Meyer, Melise are golden in R3

WEST ORANGE -- Phillipsburg senior Robert Melise was in a class by himself once again on Saturday, putting another check mark next to the list of postseason goals in winning a second straight region title at 220 pounds.

Melise stuck Montclair senior Sam Mellow with an arm bar in just 58 seconds -- earning the Outstanding Wrestler Award with three pins in a total time of 3 minutes 58 seconds -- as he was among three wrestlers from the Open Mike area to claim Region 3 championships at West Orange High School.
Robert Melise displays his OW Award.

Phillipsburg junior Brian Meyer also won his second title at 145, while Hackettstown junior Alex Carida rolled to his first at 138 pounds. In all, 11 area wrestlers advanced to the 84th State Championships that begin on Friday at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City.

"Every match is one at a time. ... Another step," said Melise (33-2), who set the single-season record for pins with his 28th in the finals, surpassing former heavyweight Zach Miers (27 in 1998), while racking up three in a total time of 3:58.

Melise, who also pinned Mellow (32-2) with a bar a week earlier for the district title, now has 22 falls among his last 26 wins, including four forfeits. Now in the best shape of his career, Melise points to the two losses on his record, in addition to last year's runner-up finish in the states, as his main source of motivation heading to AC.

"I feel like I've got a good streak going," said Melise, who may get a chance to avenge his only in-state loss -- 3-2 in overtime to Region 1 champion Peter Acciardi of Don Bosco Prep on Dec. 18 -- next weekend. "You can't look past anyone, that's when you caught. I have two losses, so it has happened. I don't like the feeling of defeat, and I do plan on re-writing those losses -- at least one."

Meyer on fire

Phillipsburg went 2-1 in the finals as junior Cullen Day (106) settled for a runner-up finish, while Meyer scored a 3-1 win over Queen of Peace state placewinner Garrett Beam. They are among an area-best five Stateliners who punched their tickets to Atlantic City. Travis Jones (113) was fourth, while sophomore Cody Harrison (126) rebounded from a loss in the quarterfinals to place third.

Meyer (33-7), a three-time district champ and the school's 120th region gold medal winner, used a first-period takedown en route to the win, while fighting off a deep single-leg attempt by Beam in the final seconds. Meyer and Melise are among just five P'burg wrestlers to win back-to-back region titles since 2000, joining head coach Dave Post (2002-03), Jon Gregory (2005-06) and Brandon Paetzell (2013-14), one of just five 'Liners to win three times. Matt Lane is the only other to win two titles in that stretch (2009, '11).

That win over Beam, who placed eighth in last year's state tournament, will help Meyer tremendously from a seeding standpoint in the 145-pound bracket, which will be announced on Monday.

Day (31-7) gave up a decisive takedown with 17 seconds left in the third period in a 3-1 loss to talented Delbarton freshman Anthony Clark in their 106-pound final.

Tigers settle for split

Carida is another local wrestler on a roll of late, converting two takedowns en route to an impressive 5-1 win over former champion Sean Conley of Hanover Park. In the process, Carida, who won his first district title last weekend, became just the 14th Hackettstown wrestler to win a region title -- nine of those coming since 2007.

"It means I'm doing something right," Carida said with a big smile after learning he joined an exclusive club at the Warren County school. "I've been working on the little things, I just want to improve every single match. Being on my feet is really paying off, working on my shots and angles, and moving my feet and pushing the pace."

Carida (37-2) said working with assistant coach Jim Berringer -- a region champ for Hopatcong at 140 pounds in 2000 -- has also helped from the neutral position.

"I take after him I guess," said Carida, now 95-24 overall.

Junior Joe Andes (285) made a nice run to his first region final, pushing unbeaten Elyezer Oliviery of Union City, a state qualifier last season, in a 1-0 loss. Andes, the District 9 runner-up, earned his first trip to states with a 2-1 win in the semis over Zack Sieb of Morris Catholic.


170 -- 5-Jr. Marco Gaita (39-2, D11-1), West Morris, d. 3-Jr. Jarod Ostir (29-9, D12-1), Warren Hills, 6-3.
182 -- 1-Sr. Dominic Mainiero (28-1, D11-1), Queen of Peace, d. 2-Sr. L.J. Castellano (29-8, D10-1), Delbarton, 3-1.
195 -- 2-Sr. Thomas Rigas (35-2, D12-1), Whippany Park, d. 1-Sr. Rory DeLuca (30-7, D11-1), Hanover Park, 8-4.
220 -- 1-Sr. Robert Melise (33-2, D9-1), Phillipsburg, p. 2-Sr. Sam Mellow (32-2, D9-2), Montclair.
285 -- 1-Sr. Elyezer Oliviery (33-0, D10-1), Union City, d. 6-Jr. Joe Andes (30-10, D9-2), Hackettstown, 1-0.
106 -- 7-Fr. Anthony Clark (32-2, D10-1), Delbarton, d. 1-Jr. Cullen Day (31-7, D9-1), Phillipsburg, 3-1.
113 -- 2-Sr. Victor Lopez (32-1, D10-1), West Orange, d. 4-So. Dom DiFrancescantonio (33-10, D11-2), Hanover Park, 10-6.
120 -- 1-Jr. Patrick Glory (38-0, D10-1), Delbarton, p. 3-Jr. Matt Armamento (22-6, D11-1), Queen of Peace, 1:40.
126 -- 1-So. Nick Raimo (32-1, D11-1), Hanover Park, d. 2-Sr. Shane Metzler (35-3, D11-2), West Morris, 5-2.
132 -- 1-Sr. Ray Wetzel (25-5, D11-1), Queen of Peace, d. 2-Sr. Lou Raimo (32-9, D11-2), Hanover Park, 5-2.
138 -- 2-Jr. Alex Carida (37-2, D9-1), Hackettstown, d. 5-Jr. Sean Conley (28-6, D11-1), Hanover Park, 5-1.
145 -- 2-Jr. Brian Meyer (33-7, D9-1), Phillipsburg, d. 1-Jr. Garrett Beam (25-4, D11-1), Queen of Peace, 3-1.
152 -- 2-Sr. Omar Abdelhamid (39-0, D11-1), Rutherford, d. 1-Jr. Gerald Jones (25-7, D9-1), Caldwell, 7-0.
160 -- 4-Sr. Troy Navarino (39-1, D9-1), Mendham, d. 2-Fr. Kieran Calvetti (19-9, D10-1), Delbarton, 4-0.
Outstanding Wrestler Award -- Robert Melise, Phillipsburg.
Coach of the Year -- Steve Baig, Mendham.
Assistant Coach of the Year -- Anthony Dietrich, Orange.

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