Wrestling: Middletown North and Raritan, SJV’s Caracappa Have Record Day at Region 5 Tournament
Middletown North and Raritan set program records for region champions in a single season while Nick Caracappa became St. John Vianney’s first two-time region champion to highlight the NJSIAA Region 5 Tournament for the Shore Conference.
Sophomore Tyler Klinsky and seniors Stanley Wojdylak and Nicko Cofone brought home titles for Middletown North to give the Lions a program-record three region champions. Klinsky, who was the top seed at 113 pounds, edged Hopewell Valley’s Chris Lanciano, 4-3, to repeat as Region 5 champion. At 145 pounds, Wojdylak dominated with a technical fall and two pins to win his first region title. He pinned Hillsborough’s Raymond O’Callaghan in just 70 seconds in the semifinals and then pinned Hunterdon Central’s Vincent Romaniello in 2:50 to complete his run to the title. Cofone defeated Raritan’s George Burdick, 7-3, in the semifinals and topped Hillsborough’s Michael Dooley, 5-2, to also win his first region title.
Junior Jacob Anderson also qualified for the state tournament by finishing third at 195 pounds. Anderson was the No. 1 seed but fell to Monroe’s Kaylon Bradley, 4-3, in the semifinals for his first loss of the season. He bounced back by defeating the No. 2 seed, Bound Brook’s David Ugalde, 3-1, in the second round of wrestlebacks to clinch a trip to the state tournament and then pinning Delaware Valley’s Eli Kalfaian in 5:17 to take third.
Raritan had multiple region champions crowned for the first time in program history as seniors Russell Benson and Ethan Wolf brought home titles. In the last bout of the finals, Benson both wowed and stunned the crowd at the Hunterdon Central Field House when he pinned Red Devils senior Hunter Graf in 5:21 to win the 132-pound title. Benson hit a nearside cradle and, after Graf sat through, Benson rolled through off a neck bridge into what Raritan head coach Rob Nucci called a “Cradle of Confidence”.
Wolf used a pair of double-leg takedowns to defeat St. John Vianney senior Steven Giannios, 4-3, to claim the 220-pound championship. The last time the two met it was Giannios scoring a 5-2 decision on Jan. 18 of 2017. It took over a year for the rematch, but Wolf was able to exact revenge for his first region title.
The Rockets have a total of six state qualifiers as A.J. Erven and Justin Acevedo were also finalists at 138 and 195 pounds, respectively, while Burdick finished third at 182 pounds and Anthony Aquilano placed fourth at 160. Erven fell to Princeton’s Alec Bobchin, 5-0, in the final while Acevedo made a fantastic run to the final as the No. 10 seed before being defeated by Bradley, 3-2. After losing in the semifinals, Aquilano defeated Monroe’s Nicholas Weikel, 3-1 in overtime, to clinch a state tournament berth. He was defeated by Spotswood’s Shea Obado, 6-4, in the third-place bout. Burdick pinned Rumson-Fair Haven’s Liam Horan to clinch a trip to states and then pinned North Brunswick’s Kenneth Abode in 61 seconds to take third.
One week after losing the District 19 final to Rumson’s Nick Addison, Caracappa won the rubber match by scoring a 2-1 decision to win the Region 5 170-pound title. Caracappa beat Addison, 8-1, to win the Shore Conference Tournament title but Addison got him back with a 7-6 win in the District 19 final. His win on Saturday made him the Lancers’ first-ever two-time region champion and fifth region champion overall.
Joining Caracappa at Boardwalk Hall will be Giannios, freshman Dean Peterson and sophomore Tyler Pepe. Peterson suffered his first loss of the season when he was defeated by Hunterdon Central freshman Brett Ungar, 4-2 in ultimate tiebreaker, in the 106-pound final. Pepe lost to eventual champion Mitchell Polito of East Brunswick in the 120-pound semifinals but came back with a 12-0 major decision over Middletown North’s Fred Luchs to qualify for the state tournament for the second season in a row. He lost to Old Bridge’s Jake Wiatroski, 3-2, in the third-place bout.
Holmdel’s Scott Dupont finished second at 152 pounds and will make his second trip to Atlantic City. Dupont defeated Piscataway’s Joseph Hatcher, 4-2, in the semifinals before falling to Bound Brook’s Joey Casey, 7-1, in the championship bout. Casey, who is 29-0 and a three-time state medalist, was selected as the tournament’s Outstanding Wrestler.
Rumson freshman Max Brignola finished third at 126 pounds and will join Addison in the state tournament. Brignola lost in the quarterfinals but defeated Keyport’s Jaleel Gopaul, South Brunswick’s Jonathan Lamprecht and Montgomery’s Emmanuel Perera in succession to take third. Addison also broke the Bulldogs’ single-season record for wins with his 38th victory.
Red Bank senior Edison Quesada finished third at 220 pounds to become the Bucs’ first state qualifier since Lamar Brown in 2005. Quesada lost to Manville’s Matthew Rogalski, 14-11, in the quarterfinals but won three straight bouts by fall in the wrestlebacks to take third. In the blood round, he pinned Hunterdon Central’s Angelo Crespo in 2:27 and then got his revenge on Rogalski by pinning him in 3:28 to finish third.
Adam Markman finished third at heavyweight and Justin Weimer took fourth at 170 pounds to give Middletown South its first state qualifiers since 2013. Markman lost 3-1 to Manville’s Michael Tyle in the semifinals, beat New Brunswick’s Ramiro Osuna Jr., 4-3, in the blood round and then took down Franklin’s Marcus Estevez, 3-1 in overtime, to take third. Weimer lost in the quarterfinals but won his next two bouts, including a 6-2 win over Monroe’s Justin Hopman in the blood round.
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