CLASS A SOUTH 

Brick Memorial – head coach: Mike Kiley, 3rd season

Brick – head coach: Matt Opacity, 16th season

Central – head coach: Owen Brennan, 2nd season

Jackson Memorial – head coach: Doug Withstandley, 7th season

Southern – head coach: John Stout, 18th season

Toms River East – head coach: Warren Reid, 39th season

Toms River North – head coach: Bill Wilbert, 9th season

Toms River South – head coach: Ron Laycock, 22nd season

 

THE FAVORITE: Southern 

No teams in the Shore regroups like Southern. It seems like every season the Rams graduate standout wrestlers, thrust some unheralded names into the lineup and at the end of the year are once again among the best teams in the state. Their individual records are rarely gaudy, but the schedule always makes them a battle-hardened squad. This year should be no different.

Southern topped Kingsway, 33-29, to win the 2018 South Jersey Group 5 sectional title.

After winning the division title and reaching the Group 5 final last season, the 2018-2019 version of Southern has plenty back, however, led by senior standout Nick O’Connell at 160 pounds. O’Connell tied for the team lead with 28 wins last season and claimed the Region 8 title. As a sophomore, O’Connell was a state medalist. Senior John Stout was injured for the first half of last season but came on strong with a 14-6 mark as well as District 29 and Region 8 titles. Stout will be at 182, followed by junior Ben LoParo (11-7) at 195 and junior J.T. Cornelius (16-8) at 220. Junior Jayden Smith is at heavyweight and was third in district last season.

The low/middle area of the lineup features a quartet of 20-match winners in sophomore Matt Brielmeier, senior Sebastian Delligatti, junior Robert Woodcock and senior Nick Pepe. Brielmeier (120/126) was the District 29 runner-up and Pepe (145/152) was a District 29 champion. Delligatti (126/132) was 27-12 and qualified for the state tournament while Woodcock (138) finished 24-8 and also reached the state tournament.

Junior Jayson Scerbo is another experienced wrestler down low after going 16-10 last season and slots in at 113/120 pounds.

 

CONTENDERS:  

Brick Memorial 

Brick Memorial lost a good portion of its lineup to graduation, especially in the upper weights, but as usual, there is talent returning and wrestlers waiting in the wings to continue the tradition of the Shore’s most decorated program.

Sophomore Vincent Santaniello gives Brick Memorial a big-time presence down low at 113 pounds after a freshman season where he went 39-6, finished second at the Shore Conference Tournament, won the District 21 title, finished second in Region 6 and placed eighth at the state tournament at 106 pounds. Senior Caleb Alvarado (138) was 22-9 and third at districts and junior Michael Richardson (126) posted 20 wins as a sophomore.

Leading the way in the upper half of the lineup is senior Ean Mueller, who made a great postseason run last season that included a dramatic Region 6 championship. Mueller will again be at 170 pounds and be followed in the lineup by sophomore David Szuba at 182. Szuba was one of just four freshmen to qualify for the state tournament from 152 pounds and heavier last season. He could be in for a huge year. It’s always difficult for a freshman to step right in at an upper weight where he is competing against mostly juniors and seniors, but the freshman Sam Azzarretti will look to do just that at 195 pounds.

 

Jackson Memorial 

Like Brick Memorial, Jackson is a storied program in the Shore and is right in the thick of division, conference and section championship races every season. 

The Jaguars return six region qualifiers from last season led by senior Vincent Scollo, who qualified for the state tournament at 106 pounds. Scollo is up at 126 this season following a year where he was 28-9, third in the SCT, first in District 25 and second in Region 7. He anchors the bottom half of the lineup and is actually one of just two Jags from 106-145 with a winning record from last season. The other is senior Hugh Mai, who was 4-3. Sophomore Luke Temple at 113 and senior Chris McDonald at 132 wrestled in 28 and 30 matches, respectively, last season so there is some experience outside of Scollo.

The top half of the lineup is where Jackson should thrive. Carsten Digiantomasso (152), Leo Shimonovich (170), Brock Winston (182), Kyle Epperly (195) and Brad Galassi (220) all return after securing district medals last season. Epperly was 28-11 and the District 25 champ while Winston was 22-14 and also a district champ.

 

Toms River North 

The Mariners announced themselves last season with a road victory over Jackson Memorial on their way to a second-place finish in the division before winning their first district team championship in 47 years. With the bulk of their lineup back they’ll look to emerge as a prime contender in the A South gauntlet.

Two-time state qualifier Nick Boggiano, a junior, is the marquee returner and situated at 138 pounds. Boggiano was fourth in the Shore Conference Tournament, a District 28 champion and third in Region 7 and it set up to reach 100 wins as a junior. At 113 pounds is junior Ryan Rosenthal, who was 31-9 and a district champ last season, and at 126 is senior Nick Reilly, who went 27-8 and won a district title. Reilly is 13 wins away from 100. Sophomore Alex Danelson (19-12) and junior Mark Fedeli (17-16, 3rd D28) are two more experienced returns in the lower half of the lineup. A pair of freshmen, Jake Rosenthal at 106 and Cole Anderson at 120, will look to make an immediate impact.

The Mariners’ two significant losses to graduation were state qualifier Juan Nakano and district medalist Anthony Clavijo. Those two wrestled at 170 and 195 pounds, respectively, but the Mariners still have a good group in the upper half with four 16-plus match winners back. Senior Jack Olseke (170) was 22-14 and a district runner-up a season ago and junior Mike Nakano (195) was 26-11 and a district runner-up. Junior Matt Spalletta (160) and sophomore John O’Donnell (220) are both returning starters.

 

Wrestlers to Watch 

Nick Boggiano, Jr., 138, Toms River North: 35-9, 4th SCT, 1st D28, 3rd R7

Riley Cheong, Sr., 145, Toms River South: 29-6, 2nd D28, 4th R7

Michael Conklin, So., 35-9, Toms River East: 35-9, 1st D26, 3rd R7

Sebastian Delligatti, Sr., 126/132, Southern: 27-12, 2nd D29, 4th R8

Kyle Epperly, Jr., 195, Jackson Memorial: 28-11, 1st D25

Ean Mueller, Sr., 170, Brick Memorial: 28-10, 4th SCT, 1st D21, 1st R6

Tyler Pepe, Jr., 126, Central: 32-9, 2nd SCT, 2nd D19, 4th R5 at St. John Vianney

Nick Reilly, Sr., 126, Toms River North: 27-7, 1st D28

Nick O’Connell, Sr., 160, Southern: 28-5, 2nd D29, 1st R8

Ryan Rosenthal, Jr., 113, Toms River North: 31-9, 1st D28

Vincent Santaniello, So., 113, Brick Memorial: 39-6, 2nd SCT, 1st D21, 2nd R6, 8th NJ

Vincent Scollo, Sr., 126, Jackson Memorial: 28-9, 3rd SCT, 1st D25, 2nd R7

John Stout, Sr., 182, Southern: 14-6, 1st D29, 1st R8

David Szuba, So., 182, Brick Memorial: 24-15, 3rd D21, 4th R6

Evan Tallmadge, Fr., 106, Brick: JSWL Intermediate champ, Fargo double All-American

Robert Woodcock, Jr., 138, Southern: 24-8, 3rd D29, 4th R8

 

Key Dates

Dec. 15

Brick Memorial at Garden State Classic (Barnegat)

Brick, Toms River North at Colt Classic (CBA)

Jackson, Toms River East at Neptune Classic

Southern at Robin Leff Invitational (Southern)

Toms River South at Ronald Bond Tournament (Haddonfield)

Dec. 19

Southern at Jackson Memorial

Toms River North at Toms River East

Dec. 22

Southern at High Point

Jackson vs. Howell/Don Bosco Prep

Dec. 27

Southern at Red Devil Invitational (Hunterdon Central)

Jackson, Toms River South at Walter Woods Tournament (Middletown South)

Dec. 28

Brick Memorial at Mustang Classic (Brick Memorial)

Toms River North at Hawk Classic (Manchester)

Jan. 3

Jackson at Toms River North

Jan. 4

Toms River South at Toms River East

Jan. 5

Toms River North at Henry Boresch Duals (Newton)

Jan. 5-6

Jackson, Toms River East at Sam Cali Battle for the Belt (West Orange)

Jan. 7

Central at Lacey

Jan. 9

Toms River North at Toms River South

Jan. 10

Southern at Brick Memorial

Jan. 12

Southern vs. Middletown North

Jan. 13

Toms River North vs. Point Boro at Rutgers University

Jan. 15

Southern at Toms River North

Jan. 16

Brick Memorial at Jackson Memorial

Jan. 18

Jackson at Camden Catholic

Jan. 19

Jackson Memorial at Jackson Liberty

Toms River North vs. High Point/South Plainfield/Delsea

Jan. 19-20

Southern at Escape the Rock Tournament (Council Rock South HS, Pa.)

Jan. 22

South Plainfield at Southern

Jan. 23

Toms River North at Brick Memorial

Jan. 25-26

Shore Conference Tournament at Red Bank Regional HS

Jan. 26

Phillipsburg at Southern

Feb. 1

Jackson Memorial vs. Point Boro

Feb. 4

NJSIAA sectional quarterfinals

Feb. 6

NJSIAA sectional semifinals

Feb. 8

NJSIAA sectional finals

Feb. 10

NJSIAA state semifinals and finals at RWJ Barnabas Arena (Toms River North)

Feb. 16

NJSIAA district tournaments

Feb. 20, 22-23

NJSIAA region tournaments

Feb. 28-March 2

NJSIAA state tournament at Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City

Managing editor Bob Badders can be reached at bob.badders@townsquaremedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @Bob_Badders. Like Shore Sports Network on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube channel for all the latest video highlights.

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