The dream of making the trip to Atlantic City for the NJSIAA Individual Wrestling Championships began in November for nearly a thousand Shore Conference wrestlers.This weekend at Pine Belt Arena on the campus of Toms River North, champions will be crowned in the 2013 Region VI Tournament. Three wrestlers in each weight class move on, their goal of being a state champion still alive. For the rest it’s the end of the line, victims of the powerful and unforgiving Shore Conference.

With the quarterfinals set for 5 p.m. Friday night and the conclusion of the tournament on Saturday, we will break down each of the 14 weights and predict who will be crowned region champions and make the trip to Boardwalk Hall.


Friday’s quarterfinal matchups
1-Michael Russo (So., Jackson Liberty, 32-0) vs. 8-Cole Bisaccia (So., Rumson-Fair Haven, 23-7).
4-Fred Terranova (So., Jackson Memorial, 24-9) vs. 5-Denzel Tovar (So., Wall, 26-5)
3-Jimmy Slendorn (Jr., Howell, 25-12) vs. 6-John Finnerty (Fr., Point Beach 30-5)
2-Owen McClave (Fr., Toms River South, 35-2) vs. 10-James Knoeller (So., Southern 13-7).

The favorite: Michael Russo
The contenders: Owen McClave, Jimmy Slendorn.

Russo was the runner-up at 106 pounds last season to Brick Memorial’s Joe Ghione and finished just outside of the medal round in the state tournament. He already has a pair of victories over Slendorn by major decision and technical fall, and also won by technical fall over Terranova. Baring a huge upset he will be in the final. Terranova and Tovar met during the Shore Conference Tournament with the Jaguars sophomore winning, 2-1. Slendorn has the experience edge over the field but has been up and down this season. McClave been tremendous as a freshman for the Indians and has two wins over Knoeller and a major decision over Slendorn. His only losses have come to Holy Spirit’s Patrick D’Arcy, a Beast of the East medalist, and Bergen Catholic’s Nick Suriano, the No. 1 ranked 106-pounder in the country. The battle for third should produce the most drama here.

1st: Mike Russo
2nd: Owen McClave
3rd: Jimmy Slendorn


Friday’s quarterfinal matchups
1-Kevin Corrigan (Sr., Toms River South, 33-1) vs. 9-Chris Crane (So., Southern, 22-10).
4-Connor Mulligan ( Jr., Brick, 29-3) vs. 5-Ben Mrozinski (Sr., Lacey, 26-7).
3-Nick DePierro (Jr., Freehold Township, 33-6) vs. 6-Nick Ottaviano (Jr., Colts Neck, 30-4).
7-Nasiyr Brown (So., Neptune, 19-5) vs. 2-Dominic Franciosi (Jr., Middletown South, 30-5).

The favorite: Kevin Corrigan.
The contenders: Dominic Franciosi, Nick DePierro, Nick Ottaviano, Connor Mulligan.

Corrigan is a heavy favorite to reach the final and claim his third region title. He has majored both Franciosi and DePierro, pinned Ottaviano, decisioned Mulligan twice and defeated Mrozinski. In fact, Corrigan has not lost to anyone in the Shore Conference since he was a freshman. The bottom half of the bracket is where any upsets might occur. DePierro and Ottaviano will square off in a rematch of the District 21 final, won by Ottaviano 9-2. Franciosi has a win over Ottaviano but split bouts with DePierro (W 8-3, L 5-1) during the regular season. Brown wrestled at 120 for most of the season and had some quality wins, but he has a tough road in front of him.

1st: Kevin Corrigan
2nd: Nick DePierro
3rd: Dominic Franciosi


Friday’s quarterfinal matchups
1-Joe Ghione (Jr., Brick Memorial, 32-2) vs. 8-Joe Santamarco (So., Manalapan, 24-11).
4-Matt Russo (So., Jackson Liberty, 27-6) vs. 5-Brandon Murray (Jr., Toms River South, 26-6).
3-Pete Ottaviano (Sr., Colts Neck, 29-7) vs. 6-Max Rallo (Jr., Ocean, 30-5).
2-Dan Nobbs (So., Point Boro, 28-2) vs. 7-Dylan Seidenberg (So., Raritan, 23-11).

The favorite: Joe Ghione
The contenders: Dan Nobbs, Pete Ottaviano, Matt Russo, Brandon Murray

Ghione was last season’s 106-pound champion and is a two-time state medalist. He defeated Nobbs at both the TCNJ Pride Tournament and in the District 23 final, and also owns victories over Murray and Seidenberg. Nobbs, a state qualifier last season, wrestled at 126 for most of the season where he defeated Russo in overtime, 4-2. Murray had some curious losses early in the season but has been on a tear since mid-January. His only two defeats in that span have come to Ghione and Timber Creek’s John Amato, a state medalist. The Russo vs. Murray bout is one of the best on Friday night. Ottaviano defeated Russo in the District 21 final, and has to be considered a factor from the No. 3 seed.

1st: Joe Ghione
2nd: Dan Nobbs
3rd: Brandon Murray


Friday’s quarterfinal matchups
1-Alec Huxford (Sr., Jackson Memorial, 9-2) vs. 8-Zach Maikisch (Sr., Toms River South, 28-9).
4-Marcus Iwama (So., Rumson-Fair Haven, 30-2) vs. 5-Anthony Scarcella (Sr., Raritan, 25-8).
3-Erik Beshada (Jr., CBA, 29-2) vs. 6-Ryan Budzek (Jr., Point Boro, 25-2).
7-Andrew Tonneson (Jr., Southern, 26-11) vs. 2-Jared Staub (Sr., Brick Memorial, 25-11).

The favorite: Erik Beshada
The contenders: Everyone

This is the first weight on the list where the odds are greater the top two seeds will not reach the final. Huxford, a state qualifier in 2011 at 103 pounds, made his debut mid-season in a loss to South Plainfield where he suffered one of his two losses to Corey Stasenko (the other came to Joe Ghione). He will be tested right away by Maikisch, who has some solid wins this season. Iwama and Scarcella have each defeated one another this season with Iwama winning the most recent battle in the District 22 semifinals. Beshada was the runner-up at 113 last season and his only two losses this season are to Point Boro’s Dan Nobbs and Watchung Hills’ Mike Magaldo, a returning state champion. Staub, a three-time state qualifier at Hamilton West, will have a tough time reaching Atlantic City for a fourth time. Tonneson is 2-0 vs. Staub this season, including a 9-2 decision in the Group IV final.

1st: Erik Beshada
2nd: Alec Huxford
3rd: Anthony Scarcella


Friday’s quarterfinal matchups
1-Karl Waldron (Sr., Neptune, 27-2) vs. 9-Dan Saraiva (So., Marlboro, 23-5).
4-Zach Hertling (So., Ocean, 25-2) vs. 5-Zach Wilhelm (Jr., Southern, 28-8).
3-Jason Bohal (Sr., Raritan, 26-6) vs. 6-Ryan Harter (Sr., Point Boro, 30-4).
7-Ben Esposito (Sr., Howell, 35-1) vs. 2-Kyle Wojtaszek (So., Brick, 25-6).

The favorite: Zach Hertling
The contenders: Jason Bohal, Ben Esposito, Karl Waldron, Zach Wilhelm

The seeds for this weight went haywire when Bohal defeated Hertling in the District 22 final. Hertling was third in New Jersey at 120 pounds last season and is a returning region champion. Waldron jumped to the No. 1 seed based on a head-to-head win over Wojtaszek, who holds the same criteria over Bohal. That’s how you get a 35-1 wrestler as the No. 7 seed. Waldron is a three-time District 23 champ but faces a tough matchup with Saraiva, a fourth-place finisher at 120 last season. The Hertling-Wilhelm quarterfinal bout could very well be the final if the seeds were different, and is one of Friday’s most anticipated bouts. Wilhelm was eighth in the state at 103 pounds as a freshman. Bohal comes in with a lot of momentum but Harter presents a tough draw. Esposito’s only loss came to Brick Memorial’s Alec Donovan at 138 pounds.

1st: Karl Waldron
2nd: Ben Esposito
3rd: Zach Hertling


Friday’s quarterfinal matchups
1-Brian Hamann (Sr., Jackson Memorial, 29-3) vs. 9-Christian Casselli (Jr., CBA, 18-4).
4-Steve Cimmino (Sr., Brick, 25-4) vs. 5-Jake Campana (Sr., Southern 23-10).
3-Alec Donovan (So., Brick Memorial, 27-7) vs. 6-Nick George (Sr., Long Branch, 31-3).
10-Dan Kinsella (Sr., Wall, 22-9) vs. 2-Rich Lewis (Sr., Toms River East, 28-0).

The favorite: Brian Hamann
The contender: Rich Lewis

After two very balanced weights at 126 and 132, the 138-pound bracket is a two-horse race between a pair of returning region champs and state medalists. Hamann placed fourth as a freshman at 103 and fourth last season at 126 in the state tournament, and was last season’s 126-pound region champ. Lewis is a two-time region champ and two-time state medalist, finishing fifth at 132 last season. The battle for the final qualifying spot is one to watch. Cimmino and Campana square off in a rematch of a bout won by Cimmino, 5-1 in overtime, during the regular sesaon. Donovan has been on fire since the start of the team state tournament and George has turned in his best season yet for Group II runner-up Long Branch.

1st: Brian Hamann
2nd: Rich Lewis
3rd: Alec Donovan

Toms River South senior B.J. Clagon is the heavy favorite at 145 pounds where he is wrestling for his third Region VI title.


Friday’s quarterfinal matchups
1-B.J. Clagon (Sr., Toms River South), 37-0) vs. 9-Nick Racanelli (Jr., Southern, 22-13).
4-Luke Balina (Sr., Long Branch, 24-5) vs. 12-Matt Best (So., Middletown South, 24-9).
3-Spencer Young (Sr., Jackson Memorial, 26-7) vs. 6-Riley Kelly (Jr., Point Beach, 27-4).
10-Terrance Davis (Jr., St. John Vianney, 33-3) vs. 2-Ashanti Maurice (Sr., Howell, 28-7).

The favorite: B.J. Clagon
The contenders: Ashanti Maurice, Spencer Young

There are favorites and there are heavy favorites. And then there’s Clagon at 145 pounds. Of his 37 wins this season 22 have come by pin and he has yet to win a bout by anything less than a major decision. His last loss was in the 130-pound state final two years ago to current Rutgers sophomore Anthony Perrotti. His last loss in the Shore Conference came in the 2010 region semifinals. He is 148-6 for his career. The bottom half of the bracket is set up for a rematch of the District 21 final between Maurice and Young, won by the Howell senior 9-7. The rest of the field is just hoping to pull an upset somewhere along the line to advance to the state tournament, which is possible but not likely.

1st: B.J. Clagon
2nd: Spencer Young
3rd: Ashanti Maurice


Friday’s quarterfinal matchups
1-Brett Donner (Fr., Wall, 30-1) vs. 8-Dylan DaSilva (So., Toms River North, 25-7).
4-Andrew Blasco (Sr., Middletown South, 31-2) vs. 5-Jake George (Sr., Long Branch, 31-5).
3-T.J. Liquori (Jr., Jackson Liberty, 31-1) vs. 6-Chris Serpico (Sr., Southern, 23-5).
7-William Scott (So., Brick, 17-5) vs. 2-Cliff Ruggiero (So., Brick Memorial, 26-9).

The favorite: T.J. Liquori
The contenders: Andrew Blasco, Jake George, Brett Donner, Cliff Ruggiero

This is a very solid weight that could be won by any of the top five seeds. Donner is undefeated in the Shore Conference and has had an outstanding freshman campaign. He defeated both Scott and Ruggiero during the District 23 Tournament and beat George in overtime during the regular season. The Blasco-George quarterfinal bout is a rematch of the District 22 final, won by Blasco, 5-2. Liquori’s only loss is to state-title contender Wayne Stinson of Northern Burlington, and he also owns an 8-1 win over Blasco during the regular season. Ruggiero is the x-factor here. He is so lethal on his feet and can put anyone on their back in the blink of an eye. Serpico is a seasoned wrestler making his third appearance in the region tournament. He was fourth last season at 145.

1st: T.J. Liquori
2nd: Andrew Blasco
3rd: Brett Donner


Friday’s quarterfinal matchups
1-Dan Wojtaszek (Sr., Brick, 29-3) vs. 8-Joe Beverly (Sr., Brick Memorial, 26-9).
4-Gerardo Jorge (Jr., Southern, 24-8) vs. 5-Antrez Clagon (So., Toms River South, 23-11).
3-Anthony Ferraro (Sr., St. John Vianney, 34-2) vs. 6-Nick Pappayliou (Sr., Long Branch, 30-6).
7-Connor Sheehan (Jr., Raritan, 27-6) vs. 2-Joey Schultz (Jr., Howell, 31-6).

The favorite: Dan Wojtaszek
The contenders: Joey Schultz, Anthony Ferraro

Wojtaszek wrestled the entire year at 170 and 182 to balance the Dragons’ lineup and did not lose to any opponent in the Shore Conference. He was dominant during the District 23 Tournament, winning by fall over his quarterfinal opponent, Joe Beverly, in the district final. Jorge and Clagon met in the District 24 final, a 2-1 win for Jorge in the ultimate tiebreaker. Ferraro finished one win away from a medal two seasons ago and placed fourth last year. This looks to be the season he finally breaks through with a trip to Atlantic City. Ferraro and No. 2 seed Schultz split bouts this season with Schultz recently winning in the District 21 final.

1st: Dan Wojtaszek
2nd: Anthony Ferraro
3rd: Joey Schultz


Friday’s quarterfinal matchups
1-Tyler Richardson (Sr., Brick Memorial, 30-3) vs. 9-Ryan Kirk (Sr., Barnegat, 24-7).
4-Luke Fernandez (Sr., Lacey, 31-1) vs. 5-Connor Bohringer (So., Jackson Memorial, 19-11).
3-Dillon Stambaugh (Sr., Red Bank, 35-2) vs. 6-Kyle Lynch (Jr., Raritan, 27-6).
2-Dae'Sean Brown (Sr, Neptune, 33-2) vs. 7-Tyler Wilton (Sr., Middletown North, 31-4).

The favorite: Dae'Sean Brown
The contenders: Tyler Richardson, Luke Fernandez, Dillon Stambaugh

Predicting who will win this bracket comes down to the triangle between Richardson, Brown and Fernandez. Brown beat Richardson in the District 23 final, Richardson pinned Fernandez in the regular season and Fernandez edged Brown, 3-2, during the Shore Conference Tournament. When Brown pushes the pace he’s incredibly tough to beat. Stambaugh vs. Lynch is a rematch of the District 22 final, won by Stambaugh for Red Bank’s first district champ since 2005. If Brown, who was second last year at this weight, can claim the region title it will be the first for Neptune since Ben Pierce in 1995.

1st: Dae’Sean Brown
2nd: Tyler Richardson
3rd: Luke Fernandez


Friday’s quarterfinal matchups
1-Nick Zak (Sr., Jackson Liberty, 32-0) vs. 8-Tommy Lyster (Sr., Ocean, 24-5).
4-Connor Case (Sr., Southern, 23-9) vs. 5-Chris Pappayliou (Sr., Long Branch, 32-4).
3-Nick Costa (Jr., Brick Memorial, 22-1) vs. 6-Drew Donner (Sr., Wall, 23-6).
7-Anthony Fabiano (Jr., Middletown North, 27-7) vs. 2-Glenn Cross (Sr., Matawan, 29-4).

The favorite: Nick Zak
The contenders: Nick Costa, Glenn Cross, Connor Case, Chris Pappayliou

Zak is a big favorite here after claiming the 170-pound region title last season, the first for Jackson Liberty’s program. He has yet to lose to a Shore Conference opponent since his sophomore season and enters with an unblemished record. The winner of the 4-5 matchup between Case and Pappayliou has an inside track to the third-place match. Costa has just one loss (Christian Jenco, Bergen Catholic) since returning from an injury suffered during football season and has 13 of his 22 wins by pin. Cross, a state qualifier last season, has lost twice to Zak this season, most recently in the District 21 final.

1st: Nick Zak
2nd: Nick Costa
3rd: Glenn Cross


Friday’s quarterfinal matchups
1-Matt Moore (Sr., Brick Memorial, 28-0) vs. 8-Dave Mitchell (Jr., Toms River North, 20-9).
4-Shawn McCord (Jr., Red Bank Catholic, 32-1) vs. 5-Chad Freshnock (Fr., Middletown North, 32-3).
3-Mike Oxley (Jr., CBA, 30-3) vs. 6-Dan Hwang (Sr., Marlboro, 24-9)
7-Ben Aquilina (Jr., Manalapan, 29-7) vs. 2-Ken Bradley (Jr., Jackson Memorial, 28-4).

The favorite: Matt Moore
The contenders: Ken Bradley, Mike Oxley

Bouncing around between 195 and 220 this season, Moore has been extremely dominant. He owns a 2-0 win over Bradley, who is one of just two wrestlers to go a full six minutes with the Mustangs senior. Moore was second at 195 last season and finished seventh in the state tournament. Bradley’s only losses have come at the Beast of the East and to Moore and Jackson Liberty’s Nick Zak. He’s a good bet to reach the final. Oxley has had a very solid season and holds a win over Freshnock and a major decision over McCord in the District 22 final.

1st: Matt Moore
2nd: Ken Bradley
3rd: Mike Oxley


Friday's quarterfinal matchups
1-Tyler Poling (Jr., Brick Memorial, 20-5) vs. 8-Kyle Cocozza (Sr., Howell, 27-6).
4-Jacob Bell (Sr., Ocean, 31-4) vs. 5-Jesse Bauta (Jr., Southern, 26-9).
3-John Seidle (Sr., Neptune, 27-7) vs. 6-Matt Frigon (Sr., Barnegat, 22-13).
7-Joey Guidetti (Sr., Long Branch, 21-9) vs. 2-Pat Schinder (Sr., Lacey, 31-2).

The favorite: none
The contenders: everyone

The final two weights are where things start to get interesting. Poling wrestled as a small heavyweight the entire season before dropping to 220 for the district tournament, where his District 23 championship earned him the region’s top seed. He pinned Cocozza in the Central Jersey Group IV final and owns two wins by decision over Bauta. Bell pinned Bauta during the regular season. Schinder lost to Bauta, 5-4, during the regular season but has won 15 bouts in a row with just two coming by decision.

1st: Pat Schinder
2nd: Tyler Poling
3rd: Jacob Bell


Friday's quarterfinal matchups
1-John Appice (Sr., Manalapan, 32-1) vs. 8-Ezra Figueroa (Sr., Brick Memorial, 8-5).
5-Hunter Gellman (Sr., Freehold Township, 30-8) vs. 4-Domingo Perez (Sr., Asbury Park, 16-4).
3-Anthony Fernicola (Sr., Holmdel, 27-6) vs. 6-Trevor Finn (Sr., Middletown South, 27-6).
7-Marvin Hayden (Sr., Toms River South, 27-9) vs. 15-Atanacio Carrillo (Jr., Central, 31-6).

The favorite: John Appice
The contenders: Anthony Fernicola, Trevor Finn, Marvin Hayden, Domingo Perez, Hunter Gellman, Atanacio Carrillo.

Appice is the defending region champion and finished seventh in New Jersey last season, and should at least reach the final. But there is no Jimmy Lawson-type unbeatable heavyweight this season, and at this weight all it takes is one false step to be staring up at the lights of Pine Belt Arena. Proof of how wide open this weight is came in the preliminary round when 15th-seeded Carrillo knocked second-seeded Pat Toal of Raritan out of the tournament. Hayden edged Carrillo with a takedown in overtime to win the District 24 title, so anything can happen in their quarterfinal bout. Perez is a two-time district champ, but has been defeated twice this season by Fernicola, who he could see in the wrestlebacks. Finn, the District 22 champ, has wins over Carrillo and Gellman along with a pair of three-point losses to Appice. Appice’s only loss this season is to Haddon Heights’ Alex Thompson, a state-title contender.

1st: John Appice
2nd: Anthony Fernicola
3rd: Domingo Perez