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As our preview of the 2021 Shore Conference wrestling season continues, we’ll take a look at some of the top wrestlers in the Class A South Division, which features Brick Memorial, Brick Township, Central, Jackson Memorial, Southern, Toms River East, Toms River North and Toms River South.

Wrestlers are listed in alphabetical order.

 

Brett Blaess, Sr., Jackson Memorial

Blaess was moving toward a state tournament berth at 106 pounds before an injury in the Region 7 Tournament semifinals ended his season. His junior season concluded with him going 30-8, placing second in District 28 and officially finishing sixth in Region 7 after he had to medically forfeit his final two consolation bouts. He won a district title as a sophomore and was fifth in Region 7, also at 106 pounds.

 

Matt Brielmeier, Sr., Southern, 145

Brielmeier will be entering his fourth year as a starter for Southern and has been a part of two Group 5 championship teams and another that reached the Group 5 final. He’s coming off a season where he went 28-11 at 126 pounds, won his first district title and reached the state tournament for the first time. He is also a three-time district finalist and will enter this year with 70 career victories.

 

Connor Collins, So., Southern, 113

Collins had a great debut season for the Rams with a 38-4 record, District 29 and Region 8 titles and a top-12 finish in the state tournament wrestling in a stacked 106-pound weight class. He was one win away from a state medal and will certainly be eyeing an all-state finish in 2021. His presence last season helped the Rams win the overall NJSIAA Group 5 title.

 

Michael Conklin, Sr., Toms River East, 145

Conklin is a three-time state qualifier who has inched closer to a state medal each year and will take one final shot at the medal stand before continuing his career at The College of New Jersey. Last season, Conklin went 39-4, placed second at the SCT, won District 25 and Region 7 titles and reached the fourth round of wrestlebacks at the state tournament to finish with a top-12 designation at 132 pounds. He is a three-time district champion, a two-time region champion and a two-time SCT runner-up with three SCT medals.

 

Vinnie DalliCardillo, Sr., Central, 182

DalliCardillo and teammate Nick Sura are the Golden Eagles’ returning wins leaders and their anchors at the top of the lineup. Last season, DalliCardillo went 26-11 and placed third at the District 25 Tournament.

 

Eddie Hummel, Sr., Southern, 138

“The Hammer” made an immediate impact, as expected, for Southern last season after transferring from Roselle Park where he was sixth in the state as a sophomore. Hummel had an outstanding junior season to help the Rams win the Group 5 state title and then put together a sensational postseason run in Atlantic City to place third in the state at 138 pounds. After winning a District 29 title, Hummel reached the Region 8 final where he suffered his first defeat of the season in a loss to Woodstown’s Hunter Gandy. Hummel then lost his first bout of the state tournament. Undeterred, Hummel then authored an epic run through the consolation bracket by winning seven straight bouts, including an overtime win over Gandy in the blood round, to finish with a bronze medal. His profile was raised even more when he beat Hanover Park's two-time state champ, Joey Olivieri, in Anthony Ashnault’s Mobbin’ Classic in February.

 

Joe McCullough, Jr., Toms River East, 152

McCullough’s progression from his freshman to sophomore seasons gave the Raiders another standout in the lineup and with senior Michael Conklin at 145 pounds and sophomore Anthony Lawrence at 160, Toms River East has a great trio in the middle of the lineup. McCullough went 27-16 last season while placing third in District 25 and fourth in Region 7 to reach the state tournament. He has 50 wins over his first two high school seasons and is a two-time region qualifier.

 

John O’Donnell, Sr., Toms River North, 285

O’Donnell had a breakout season as a junior, earning his first postseason accolades and advancing to the third round of wrestlebacks at the state tournament. In 2020, Johnny O went 30-6 and finished second at the Shore Conference Tournament before really turning up the heat in the individual postseason. He won the District 26 championship and then captured the Region 7 title as the No. 6 seed. He should be in play for a spot on the medal stand as a senior.

 

Anthony Santaniello, So., Brick Memorial, 120

Santaniello’s freshman season was nearly perfect as he finished second in the state at 106 pounds. It was his only loss of the year and surely something that has driven him the entire offseason. In his first high school season, Santaniello went 42-1, helped the Mustangs win the Central Jersey Group 4 sectional title, won the Shore Conference Tournament, claimed the District 27 title, won the Region 7 championship and reached the state championship match. He is nationally-ranked by FloWrestling and is an obvious state title contender.

 

Vincent Santaniello, Sr., Brick Memorial, 126

Santaniello has already carved out one of the best careers in program history and is looking to punctuate it with a state championship in 2021. Last season at 120 pounds, Santaniello went 39-2, finished second at the SCT, won the District 27 title and the Region 7 title and finished second in the state. His only two losses came to St. John Vianney two-time state champion Dean Peterson, who is not wrestling this season after having surgery recently. While Santaniello was looking forward to another shot at Peterson after losing 1-0 in the state final, the reality is that without Peterson, Santaniello is the state-title favorite at 126 pounds. For his career, the Navy commit has a 116-10 career record with three district titles, two region titles and a runner-up finish and all-state finishes of eighth, third and second.

 

Nick Sura, Sr., Central, 195

Sura and teammate Vinnie DalliCardillo are the returning wins leaders. Sura went 26-11 last season, placed third at the District 25 Tournament and earned a region medal with a sixth-place finish in Region 7.

 

David Szuba, Sr., Brick Memorial, 285

The Mustangs knew Szuba had great potential when he flashed greatness as a freshman at 160 pounds. His breakthrough season came last year when he went 35-3 and reached the NJSIAA 195-pound championship match after winning his second district title and finishing second in Region 7. Big, strong and athletic, Szuba is now a mid-sized heavyweight with too much speed for the heavies pushing the 285 limit and the judo skills to launch anyone into orbit. That’s a scary dude. A lot can obviously happen between now and the state finals on April 25, but it looks like a collision course between Szuba and St. Joseph (Montvale) sophomore Jimmy Mullen, who won last season’s heavyweight state title as a freshman. Mullen pinned Szuba at the Garden State Scrap in January but Szuba came back and earned a 5-4 victory later that month. Szuba, who is committed to Rider University, enters this season with 90 career victories and is a three-time state qualifier and two-time district champion.

 

Evan Tallmadge, Jr., Brick Memorial, 113

Brick Memorial’s group of lowerweights went from great to scary with the arrival of Tallmadge, whose family moved from the other side of town. In his first two seasons wrestling at Brick Township High School, Tallmadge won 72 bouts, two district titles, a region crown, reached the state tournament twice and secured a top-five state medal. Last season at 106 pounds, Tallmadge went 39-3, won his second district title, claimed the Region 6 crown, was the Shore Conference Tournament runner-up and placed fourth at the NJSIAA Championships. Two of his three losses came to his close friend, Anthony Santaniello. Now they’re in the same wrestling room. Tallmadge, who is committed to Navy, is ranked No. 10 in the nation (at 120) by TrackWrestling.

 

Hao Tang, Sr., Brick, 220

Tang is the returning wins leader for the Dragons after going 25-8 and winning the District 24 title last season. He was sixth in the Region 6 Tournament.

 

Luke Temple, Sr., Jackson Memorial

Temple is Jackson’s lone returning state qualifier after making a run in the wrestlebacks at the Region 7 Tournament as the No. 6 seed at 120 pounds. He was second at District 28 and finished last season with a 24-18 record.

 

Lucas Torre, Jr., Brick Memorial, 106

Torre transferred over from Point Boro to join his brother, Nick, who was a member of the Mustangs last season. As a sophomore, Torre was a state qualifier who went 27-9, was a District 23 runner-up and placed fourth in Region 6. With him at 106 pounds it begins a stretch of the best group of lowerweights in New Jersey.

 

Cole Velardi, So., Southern, 170

Like Connor Collins down low, Velardi was an impact frosh for Southern while wrestling in the middle of the lineup at 152 pounds. He compiled a 33-8 record in his first season, placed third in District 29, finished fourth in Region 8 and won a match at the state tournament. He’ll move up two weight classes and give Southern a boost in the upper half of its lineup after it graduated starters at 160, 182, 220 and 285.

 

Other returning district medalists

Braden Scott, Jr., Brick Memorial, 132

Nick Torre, Sr., Brick Memorial, 132 (2018)

Michael Cate, Sr., Brick Memorial, 138 (2019)

Chris Siller, Jr., Central, 138

Lucas Lipari, So., Jackson Memorial

Nick White, Sr., Jackson Memorial

Mike Rauch, Jr., Jackson Memorial

Rob Lagravenis, Sr., Jackson Memorial

Stephen Jennings, Sr., Southern, 195

Eddie Totten, Sr., Toms River East, 132

Anthony Lawrence, So., Toms River East, 160

Jake Rosenthal, Jr., Toms River North, 138

Ray Gardner, So., Toms River South

Luke Cox, Jr., Toms River South

 

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