Wrestling: Region Tournaments Notebook with News and Notes from Regions 5, 6, 7 and 8
The NJSIAA region tournaments concluded on Saturday with Shore Conference wrestlers taking part in the Region 5, 6, 7 and 8 tournaments under the new alignment. When the dust settled the Shore Conference had 20 region champions, 18 runners-up and a total of 74 wrestlers who qualified for the state tournament at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City.
Under the previous alignment Region 6 was comprised of all the Shore Conference teams. Also new for this year is the top four finishers advancing to the state tournament instead of the top three. The most state qualifiers the Shore could have had was 42 (56 if taking the top four) so the number of state qualifiers is up for wrestlers from Ocean and Monmouth counties.
Since we couldn’t be at every region tournament, here are some news and notes from each of the four regions involving Shore Conference teams. Click in the region headings for complete results.
-Middletown North now has three straight years with a region champ, its most since winning a region title in four straight years from 1971-1974.
-Seeded No. 8 at 106 pounds Middletown freshman Tyler Klinsky was the lowest seed in New Jersey to win a region title. His is also the Lions’ first freshman region champ since Frank Molinaro in 2004.
-Holmdel junior Scott Dupont, third at 152 pounds, is the Hornets’ first state qualifier since John Mullan in 1986. He also recorded his 100th career win during the tournament.
-St. John Vianney junior Nick Caracappa won the 170-pound title to become the Lancers’ fourth region champion in history. SJV now has back-to-back seasons with a region champion for the first time in history.
-St. John Vianney’s five state qualifiers - Caracappa, freshman Tyler Pepe at 106, senior Jack McLafferty at 138, junior Josiah Walker at 195 and junior Steven Giannios at 220 - are the most in program history.
-Raritan junior Russell Benson, the 132-pound champion, is the Rockets’ seventh region champion and first since Ryan Lynch in 2011.
-Matawan senior Derrick Wiley was the first Huskies wrestler to reach the region final since Johnny Short in 2010. He is also Matawan’s first state qualifier since Glenn Cross in 2013.
-There are plenty of tidbits in the story, but here are some additional facts of note.
-Freehold freshman Nico Messina is the Colonials first state qualifier since Josh Davis in 2010 and was their first region finalist since Jaime Giovinazzo in 2004.
-Colts Neck has three state qualifiers for the first time in program history as junior Joey King took second at 113, senior Steven Kramer placed third at 138 and senior Vinnie Gargiulo was second at heavyweight. King also recorded his 100th career win during the tournament and is on pace to break the record of 120 set by Nick Ottaviano.
-Juniors Eric Quartey (195) and Kyle Hillermeier (160) give Freehold Township two state qualifiers for the first time since Gene Accardi and Mitch Berger made the trip to Boardwalk Hall in 2007.
-Jackson Liberty junior Josh Bollard placed third at 113 to give the Lions a state qualifier for second consecutive seasons.
-Long Branch’s four state qualifiers - Ryan Zimmerman at 106, Peter Wersinger at 182, Hunter Marhan at 220 and Kevin Cerruti at heavyweight - is its most since sending five in 2010.
-Cerruti, a sophomore, was the fourth-place finisher in District 23 and was only in the Region 6 Tournament because Wall’s Darryl Valme, the district third-place finisher, withdrew. Cerruti made the most of his second chance by finishing third in the region.
-Manalapan will have multiple state qualifiers for the first time since 2004 with Ronny Ghaida placing second at 152, Jake Staklinski taking second at 170 and Alex Baran finishing third at 132.
-Manaquan’s Francis Marshall, fourth at 152 pounds, is the Warriors’ first state qualifier since Mike Schappert in 1998.
-Shore freshman Al Desantis took fourth at 120 and is the Blue Devils’ first state qualifier since Luke Bush in 2010.
-Brick senior Dean Helstowski won his first region title with a 3-2 ultimate tiebreaker win over Rancocas Valley’s Seon Bowker in the 182-pound final. Helstowski had lost to Bowker, 3-2, during the regular season when Bowker wrestled for Southern. Bowker had also defeated Helstowski, 3-2, in the District 27 final.
-Lacey’s Hunter Gutierrez won the 106-pound title with a 4-0 win over Holy Cross’s Chase Mullarkey. He is the Lions’ 12th region champion and first since Lex Knapp in 2012.
-Lacey’s four state qualifiers - Gutierrez, Matt Garrity at 160, Luke Gauthier 138 and Luke Moynihan at 126 - are the most in program history.
-Donovan Catholic has two state qualifiers - Cristiaan Dailey at 138 and Sal DiSalvo at 195 - for the first time in program history. They are the first Griffins’ wrestler to reach the state tournament since region champion Anthony D’Anton in 2011.
-Toms River North has multiple state qualifiers for the first time since 2009 with freshman Nick Boggiano finishing third at 126 and senior Pat O’Donnell placing second at 170.
-Cole Corrigan’s 145-pound region title gives Toms River South a region champion for six consecutive seasons.
-Toms River East senior A.J. Meyers was upset in the semifinals by Lacey’s Matt Garrity, but the returning state runner-up wrestled back for third at 160 and recorded his 100th career win in the process.
-Pinelands Chris Nielsen won the 182-pound title with a 4-2 win over Delsea’s Vince Degeorge to become the Wildcats first region champion since Mike Molosky in 2002.
-Barnegat's Sean Foley placed fourth at 113 pounds to become the Bengals’ second state qualifier in program history and first since Matt Schofield in 2012.
Wrestling editor Bob Badders can be reached at email@example.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.