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Shore Sports Network is proud to unveil its 2020 All-Shore teams and season-ending award winners featuring the top performers from the 2019-2020 Shore Conference wrestling season.

Scroll down for bios and pictures of the First Team All-Shore selections and write-ups on the second- and third-team selections.

*All-Shore final vote*

*Final standings*

*Final statistical leaders*

*Coaches All-County Teams*

*Coaches' All-Division Teams*

*Final Top 10*

*Wrestler of the Year*

*Coach of the Year*

 

FIRST TEAM

106

Anthony Santaniello, Fr., Brick Memorial

Photo by Richard O'Donnell.

Santaniello burst onto the scene to become one of the top 106-pounders in the country and set the stage for an immensely promising career. The Brick Memorial freshman finished 42-1 with his only defeat coming in the state final, 3-1, to undefeated Kinnelon sophomore Evan Mougalian. In addition to placing second in New Jersey, Santaniello was the Region 7 champion, the District 27 champion, the Shore Conference Tournament champion and the Mustang Classic champion. His efforts also helped Brick Memorial win the NJSIAA Central Jersey Group 4 sectional title and the District 27 team title. Santaniello finished the season ranked No. 7 in the country by InterMat.

 

113

Tyler Klinsky, Sr., Middletown North

Photo by Richard O'Donnell.

Klinsky concluded his record-breaking career by realizing his dream of becoming an NJSIAA champion. The Middletown North senior won the 113-pound state championship with a 6-3 win over Don Bosco Prep’s Kelly Dunnigan, avenging his only loss of the season and ending a 46-year drought to become the Lions’ second state champion and first since Ken Hopfsensperger in 1974. Along the way, Klinsky set Shore Conference records for career (169) and single-season victories (49). He also joined elite company as the seventh wrestler in Shore Conference history to win four region titles. Additionally, Klinsky won his fourth district title, repeated as Shore Conference Tournament champion and won the Mustang Classic title. Known for his unrelenting offensive pace, Klinsky led the Shore Conference with 24 technical falls, three of which came during the state tournament. His sensational career included a 169-15 record, a state championship, a state second-place finish, four region titles, four district titles, and two SCT titles. He finished the season ranked No. 15 in the nation and will continue his career at Rider University.

 

120

Dean Peterson, Jr., St. John Vianney

Photo by Richard O'Donnell.

The 2020 Shore Sports Network Wrestler of the Year, Peterson was perfect yet again to claim the NJSIAA 120-pound championship and become a two-time state champion with a second straight undefeated season (37-0). He began his junior year by placing first at the prestigious Beast of the East Tournament to become the first Shore Conference wrestler to win the event since 2007. He then won the Sam Cali Memorial Invitational and captured his third Shore Conference Tournament title. In the individual postseason, Peterson won the District 17 crown to become a three-time district champion and then repeated as champion in Region 5. His run to the 120-pound state title was completely dominant as he did not allow a single point in five bouts, ultimately defeating Brick Memorial’s Vincent Santaniello, 1-0, in the championship bout. Peterson, who is committed to Princeton University, will enter his senior year with a 108-2 career record and a 72-match winning streak.

 

126

Nico Messina, Sr., Freehold

Photo by Richard O'Donnell.

Messina’s quest for a state medal finally came to fruition when he placed sixth at the NJSIAA Championships to become Freehold’s first all-state wrestler since 1964. It was an arduous road for Messina, who lost in the pre-quarterfinal round and needed to win three straight bouts in the wrestlebacks to clinch a top-eight finish. In the blood round, Messina scored a 12-8 decision over St. Peter’s Prep’s Sean Rendeiro. He then defeated Westfield’s Luke Hoerle, 8-5, to clinch a top-six finish. Messina was also the Shore Conference Tournament champion and placed second at the Mustang Classic. He finished the season with a 41-5 record and a career mark of 143-19. Messina set numerous records during his four years, becoming Freehold’s first four-time district champion and its first three-time region champion. He was a four-time region finalist and a four-time state qualifier. His 143 career victories and 41 wins this season are both program records.

 

132

Jack Nies, Sr., Ocean

Photo by Richard O'Donnell.

Nies finished seventh in the state and won conference, district and region titles to conclude a memorable senior season that also included helping the Spartans win the NJSIAA Central Jersey Group 3 sectional title. Nies reached the quarterfinals at the NJSIAA championships where he was defeated by eventual state finalist Dylan Cedeno of Bergen Catholic. He rebounded with a 4-1 victory over Kingsway’s Jake Gentile in the blood round to clinch his first state medal. After a loss to Delbarton’s Simon Ruiz bounced him to the seventh-place bout, Nies closed out his career with a 3-0 decision over Jefferson’s Austin Jack to place seventh. ­­At the Shore Conference Tournament, Nies won by fall over Central’s Tyler Pepe in the semifinals and then defeated Toms River East’s Michael Conklin, 6-4 in sudden victory, to become an SCT champion. Nies’ District 24 title helped the Spartans win the team title. At the Region 6 Tournament, Nies beat Monroe’s Joseph Fiordaliso, 5-1, to win his first region title. He concluded his career with 136 wins.

 

138

Eddie Hummel, Jr., Southern

Photo by Richard O'Donnell.

Hummel was dominant until facing adversity late in the season and it was his response that defined a great junior year. Hummel suffered his first loss of the season via an 8-2 defeat to Woodstown’s Hunter Gandy in the Region 8 final. Then, in the opening round of the state tournament, he lost to West Essex’s Darren Jones, 6-3. With his season on the brink of collapse, Hummel was able to regroup and do so in historic fashion by winning seven straight bouts to finish third in the state. He got revenge on Gandy in the blood round with a 3-1 win in sudden victory to clinch a state medal. He then won 6-3 in overtime over Shore’s Al DeSantis and scored a 6-4 decision over Paulsboro’s Jacob Eli-Perez to reach the consolation final. In the third-place bout, Hummel defeated Long Branch’s Ryan Zimmerman, 4-2. Hummel was also a District 29 champion and a Region 8 runner-up, finishing the season with a 40-2 record. His efforts also helped Southern win the NJSIAA Group 5 state title and the District 29 team title.

 

145

Max Brignola, Jr., Rumson-Fair Haven

Photo by Richard O'Donnell.

Brignola went 37-4 and finished eighth at the NJSIAA Championships as the only Shore Conference wrestler in the weight class to earn a state medal. Brignola also won a District 18 championship and placed second in the Region 5 Tournament. At the state tournament, Brignola reached the quarterfinals where he was defeated by the eventual state champion, Collingswood’s Andrew Clark, 4-3. Needing one more victory to clinch an all-state finish, Brignola prevailed with an 11-8 decision over Camden Catholic’s Dante Monaco in the blood round. Brignola’s district title was his second and he also won the Shore Conference Tournament title at 145 pounds. His presence in the middle of the lineup also helped Rumson to its best season in program history. The Bulldogs won the Class A Central division title and reached the Central Jersey Group 2 final, the first sectional final appearance in program history. Brignola will enter his senior season with 113 career wins, 27 away from setting a new program record.

 

 

152

Nick Boggiano, Sr., Toms River North

Photo by Richard O'Donnell.

Boggiano was one of three Shore Conference wrestlers who climbed to the top of the podium in Atlantic City. He defeated Paramus’s Aaron Ayzerov, 7-3, to win the NJSIAA 152-pound state championship in his final high school match and become the fourth Toms River North wrestler to win a state championship. Boggiano went 41-1 with his only defeat coming in the Region 7 final. He won the District 26 title and repeated as Shore Conference Tournament champion and helped lead Toms River North to the Class A South division title. He was among the Shore Conference leaders in falls with 21. Boggiano finished his career as a two-time state medalist, a four-time region medalist, a three-time district champion and a two-time SCT champion. His 149 wins are the most in program history. Boggiano will continue his career at Stevens Institute of Technology.

 

160

Robert Woodcock, Sr., Southern

Photo by Richard O'Donnell.

A major contributor for Southern’s NJSIAA Group 5 championship team, Woodcock went a team-best 41-2 with only one loss at 160 pounds and a third-place finish at the NJSIAA Championships. Woodcock won by 3-0 decision over Camden Catholic’s Harrison Hinojosa in the state quarterfinals to clinch his first state medal. He was defeated in the semifinals, 5-4, by Delbarton’s Dante Stefanelli but won the final two bouts of his career to place third. He won 3-0 over Rumson-Fair Haven’s Shay Addison in the consolation semifinals and beat Manalapan’s Matt Benedetti, 6-4, in the third-place bout. Woodcock repeated as a Region 8 champion, won his second District 29 title and finished with 103 career victories. He will continue his career at the United States Air Force Academy.

 

170

Shane Reitsma, Sr., Howell

Photo by Richard O'Donnell.

Reitsma was the state runner-up at 170 pounds for the second straight season and finished ranked No. 6 in the nation to conclude a tremendous career. Reitsma posted a 42-2 record and won a Region 7 title, a District 25 title and a Shore Conference Tournament title while placing second at the PowerAde Tournament. He led the Rebels to their 15th straight Class A North division title, a second straight SCT team title and to an appearance in the NJSIAA South Jersey Group 5 sectional final. A four-year standout for Howell, Reitsma was a three-time state medalist and two-time state finalist, a three-time region champion and four-time finalist, a four-time district champion and a two-time Shore Conference Tournament champion. His 165 wins are the most in Howell history and he twice tied the single-season wins record of 42. Reitsma will continue his career at Rider University.

 

182

Luke Rada, Sr., Colts Neck

Photo by Richard O'Donnell.

The deepest weight in the Shore Conference was 182 pounds with five all-state wrestlers at the NJSIAA Championships and Rada emerged on top by reaching the state final. The Cougars senior went 41-3, finished second in New Jersey, won region and district titles and finished second at the Shore Conference Tournament to conclude one of the greatest careers in program history. At the state tournament, Rada won 6-4 over Fair Lawn’s Benjamin Liss to reach the semifinals and clinch a top-six finish. He then won 5-3 in double overtime over Wall’s Jake Whitworth to become Colts Neck’s second-ever state finalist. In the state final, he was defeated by Colonia’s John Poznanski, who is ranked No. 3 in the nation and went on to be voted as the tournament’s Most Outstanding Wrestler. Rada was the Region 6 champion where a 12-6 win over Point Beach’s Jason Sherlock made him the first Colts Neck wrestler to win two region titles. Rada also won his third district title to help the Cougars win the District 22 team title, the first in program history. He concluded his career with 134 victories. Rada will continue his wrestling career in the Ivy League at Harvard University.

 

195

David Szuba, Jr., Brick Memorial

Photo by Richard O'Donnell.

Szuba turned the corner during his junior season to become one of the top upperweights in New Jersey. The powerful Brick Memorial 195-pounder finished second in the state to cap a season where he went 35-3 and lost to just two wrestlers. After helping Brick Memorial win the NJSIAA Central Jersey Group 4 sectional title, Szuba won a District 27 title as the Mustangs claimed the district team crown. Szuba was second at the Shore Conference Tournament where he lost to Jackson Memorial’s Kyle Epperly, 10-3, but flipped the script in the Region 7 semifinals by pinning Epperly in the first period. Szuba also defeated Epperly, 11-8, in the state quarterfinals. Szuba’s other defeats were against eventual state champion Martin Cosgrove, a sophomore from Camden Catholic, in both the Region 7 final (10-9) and the state final (9-7). His efforts helped Brick Memorial finish No. 4 in the Shore and as a top 20 team in New Jersey. He will enter his senior year with 90 career wins.

 

220

Mike Nakano, Sr., Toms River North

Photo by Richard O'Donnell.

Nakano tied for the best finish at the NJSIAA championships among the Shore Conference’s four 220-pound qualifiers and it was his head-to-head victory over Holmdel’s Michael Pavlinetz that gave him the nod for first-team honors. At the state tournament, Nakano went 2-2 to reach the third round of wrestlebacks. He was fourth at the Region 7 Tournament and third at the District 26 Tournament. Nakano placed second to Lacey’s Vincent Ceglie at the Shore Conference Tournament but went 2-1 against Ceglie during the season, including a win in the Region 7 blood round. He finished the season with a 35-7 record and had 90 wins in his career as a three-year starter.

 

285

JT Cornelius, Sr., Southern

Photo by Richard O'Donnell.

Cornelius moved between 220 pounds and heavyweight throughout the season but went up to 285 for the individual postseason and made a run all the way to the state finals. Cornelius lost to Barnegat’s Griffin Jackstadt in both the District 29 and Region 8 finals but was the highest finisher among Shore Conference wrestlers at the state tournament and the only one in the top five. Cornelius won 8-2 over Franklin’s Marcus Estevez in the quarterfinals to clinch his first state medal. He then earned a 3-1 win in sudden victory over Dwight Morrow’s Hector Lebron to reach the state final. He was defeated by St. Joseph (Montvale) freshman phenom Jimmy Mullen, 7-3, in the championship bout to finish as the state runner-up. Cornelius was the runner-up at District 29 where he helped the Rams to the team title and also finished second at Region 8. He also helped Southern repeat as NJSIAA Group 5 champion. Also a standout football player, Cornelius will continue his career on the gridiron at Monmouth University.

 

 

SECOND TEAM

106

Evan Tallmadge, So., Brick

Tallmadge serves as a great example of the incredible depth of New Jersey’s 106-pound weight class in that he finished the season ranked  10th in the nation yet finished fourth at the NJSIAA Championships. He lost to just two wrestlers all season – Brick Memorial’s Anthony Santaniello and Delbarton’s Tyler Vasquez. At the state tournament, Tallmadge won 7-3 over Southern Regional’s Conor Collins to reach the semifinals and clinch a top-six finish. He lost 5-1 to Santaniello in the semifinals but beat Middletown South’s Jack Zaleski, 4-3, in the wrestleback semifinals. He fell to Vasquez, 5-2, in the third-place bout. Tallmadge was dominant in the District 24 and Region 6 Tournaments, winning titles at both with bonus-point victories in every bout. Tallmadge was also second at the Shore Conference Tournament, losing 1-0 to Santaniello in the championship bout. He was 39-3 on the season, second in the Shore in technical falls with 15 and will enter his junior year with 74 career victories.

 

113

Ryan Rosenthal, Sr., Toms River North

Rosenthal went 40-4 and placed sixth at the NJSIAA Championships and also won region and district titles. After a loss in the state quarterfinals, Rosenthal won 7-6 in double overtime over Rahway’s Kaelan Francois to clinch a state medal. He then won 6-1 over Williamstown’s Brady Conlin to secure a top-six finish. Rosenthal won the Region 7 title with a 5-0 win over Howell’s Colin Bradshaw and claimed his second district title with a 7-0 victory over Paulsboro’s Jackson Sichelstiel at District 26. Rosenthal was also second at the Shore Conference Tournament. He was seventh in the Shore with nine technical falls. Rosenthal will continue his career at The College of New Jersey.

 

120

Vincent Santaniello, Jr., Brick Memorial

It was another tremendous season for Santaniello, who won his third district title and second region title and finished second in the state at 120 pounds. Santaniello finished the season with a 39-2 record and his only losses coming to St. John Vianney’s Dean Peterson, who defeated Santaniello in the Shore Conference Tournament final (5-3) and the state final (1-0). Santaniello was the Mustang Class champion, the District 27 champion and the Region 7 champion. He helped Brick Memorial win the NJSIAA Central Jersey Group 4 sectional title and the District 27 team championship. He finished the season ranked No. 10 in the country by InterMat.

 

126

Thomas O’Keefe, Sr., Middletown North

Part of Middletown North’s historic lower-weight trio, O’Keefe went 42-8, won his first district title and finished in the top 12 at the state tournament for the second year in a row. O’Keefe was the Shore Conference Tournament runner-up at 126 pounds, won a District 22 title and placed second at the Region 6 Tournament. He went 3-2 at the state tournament to reach the fourth round of wrestlebacks. O’Keefe concluded his career with a record of 123-29 and will wrestle collegiately at Washington & Lee.

 

132

Michael Conklin, Jr., Toms River East

With a 39-4 season record, Conklin won district and region titles and reached the fourth round of wrestlebacks at the NJSIAA Championships to finish top 12 in the state. Conklin defeated Central’s Tyler Pepe in a thrilling overtime bout to win the District 25 title and become a three-time district champion. Conklin defeated Pepe again in the Region 7 final, 6-2, to win his second region crown. He was also the runner-up at the Shore Conference Tournament. Conklin will enter his senior year with 115 career wins.

 

138

Ryan Zimmerman, Sr., Long Branch

Zimmerman concluded a great career with his first state medal as he finished fourth at the NJSIAA Championships. After losing in the state quarterfinals, Zimmerman won 5-2 over Hunterdon Central’s Tanner Peake in the blood round to clinch a top-eight finish. He then won 1-0 over High Point’s Billy Talmadge and 8-6 over St. Joseph’s Michael Cetta to reach the third-place bout where he lost to Southern’s Eddie Hummel, 4-2. Zimmerman claimed his second district title and Long Branch won the team title at District 23. He then won his second Region 6 title by pinning Colts Neck’s Logan Waller, who had pinned Zimmerman in the Shore Conference Tournament final. A menace on the mat, Zimmerman was third in the Shore Conference with 27 wins by fall. His 147 career wins are the second-most in Long Branch history. Zimmerman will continue his career at American University.

 

145

Hunter Konstantoulas, Sr., Manalapan

Konstantoulas was eliminated in the first round of wrestlebacks at the state tournament but is the second-team selection based on his head-to-head win over CBA’s Tyler Barrett at the Shore Conference Tournament. Konstantoulas went 34-10, placed second at the SCT and at the District 20 Tournament and finished fourth in Region 5. He also helped Manalapan win the NJSIAA Central Jersey Group 5 sectional title, the program’s first since 1992.

  

152

Mike McGhee, Jr., Shore Regional

McGhee went 41-4 with region and district titles and reached the fourth round of wrestlebacks at the NJSIAA Championships to finish top 12 in the state. McGhee was second to state champion Nick Boggiano at the Shore Conference Tournament. He then won his second district title with a first-place finish at District 20. He became Shore’s first region champion in 18 years when he beat Princeton’s James Romaine, 7-5, to win the Region 5 title and was later joined by teammate Al DeSantis. McGhee will enter his senior year with 115 career wins. 

 

160

Shay Addison, Jr., Rumson-Fair Haven

One of a record three state medalists for Rumson, Addison went 39-4, placed fifth at the NJSIAA Championships and won his first region title to highlight a great sophomore season. Addison reached the quarterfinals of the state tournament where he lost to the eventual state champion, High Point’s Brian Soldano. Addison bounced back in the blood round to beat Cherokee’s Nathan Lapinski, 5-2, and clinch a top-eight finish. In the fifth-place bout, Addison won by fall over Watchung Hills’ Blake Bahna. Addison won a Region 5 title as the No. 8 seed, beating Manalapan’s Matt Benedetti in the quarterfinals and Hunterdon Central’s Norman Cella in the final. Addison was second at the District 18 Tournament but later avenged the district loss to Cella. Addison was second to Benedetti at the Shore Conference Tournament but also avenged that loss. His efforts also helped Rumson win the Class A Central division title and reach the NJSIAA Central Jersey Group 2 final, the first sectional championship appearance for the Bulldogs. He will enter his junior season with 66 career victories.

 

170

Jack Kelly, Jr., Rumson-Fair Haven

Kelly went 36-6 and finished fifth at the NJSIAA Championships. Kelly won by fall over Piscataway’s Marcus Petite to reach the state semifinals and clinch an all-state finish. He nearly knocked off Howell’s Shane Reitsma before falling, 6-4, in the semifinals. After a loss to Carteret’s Jacob Vega in the consolation semifinals, Kelly pinned Haddonfield’s Luke Benedict to place fifth. Kelly placed third at the Region 5 Tournament won his second District 18 title. He was also third at the Shore Conference Tournament. His wrestling helped Rumson win the Class A Central division title and reach the NJSIAA Central Jersey Group 2 final, the first sectional championship appearance for the Bulldogs. Kelly will enter his senior season with 83 career wins.

 

182

Blake Clayton, Jr., St. John Vianney

Clayton turned a solid season into a great one with a fantastic run to place third in the state at 182 pounds. The Lancers junior lost twice at the Beast of the East Tournament, placed third at the Mustang Classic, was the runner-up at the Sam Cali Memorial Invitational and failed to medal at the Shore Conference Tournament during the regular season, but his only loss after that came in the state tournament to eventual champion John Poznanski. Clayton won his third district title at District 17 and then claimed his first region title at Region 5. At the NJSIAA Championships, Clayton reached the quarterfinals where he was defeated by Colonia’s Poznanski but won his next four bouts to finish third. During those wrestlebacks he beat Point Beach’s Jason Sherlock (by fall), Wall’s Jake Whitworth (injury default) and Brick Memorial’s Joe Colon (5-1). Clayton will enter his senior season with 89 career victories.

 

195

Kyle Epperly, Sr., Jackson Memorial

Epperly went 39-5 and secured his second state medal by placing fifth at the NJSIAA Championships. He reached the state quarterfinals where he lost to Brick Memorial’s David Szuba, 11-8, but rebounded in the blood round by pinning Manalapan’s Gavin Claro to clinch another all-state finish. After a win in the wrestleback quarterfinals was followed by a loss in the wrestleback semifinals, Epperly closed out his career with a 7-0 win over Seton Hall Prep’s Michael Massa to place fifth. Epperly was first at the District 28 Tournament and third at the Region 7 Tournament. He also repeated as Shore Conference Tournament champion. Epperly’s 123 wins are tied for fourth all-time at Jackson Memorial. He will continue his career at Rutgers University.

 

220

Michael Pavlinetz, Sr., Holmdel

Pavlinetz went 35-8 and won the Region 5 title top become Holmdel’s second region champion in program history and first since 1983. He was also a District 18 champion to become a two-time district champ. At the NJSIAA Championships, Pavlinetz reached the third round of wrestlebacks

 

285

Justin Wright, Sr., Howell

Wright placed sixth in the state at the NJSIAA Championships and also won district and conference titles. He stunned the No. 1 seed, West Essex’s Bardhyl Gashi, 3-2 in double overtime, in the state quarterfinals, to clinch a top-six finish. He was then defeated by the eventual state champion, St. Joseph’s Jimmy Mullen, in the semifinals before dropping his final two bouts. Wright placed third at the Region 7 Tournament and was the winner in District 25 for his first district title. Wright earned the Shore Conference Tournament title to help Howell repeat as team champion. He finished the season with a 39-7 record and had 63 career wins as a two-year starter.

 

THIRD TEAM

106

Jack Zaleski, Fr., Middletown South

It was an excellent debut season for Zaleski, who went 42-6, placed fifth at the NJSIAA Championships and won region and district titles. At the state tournament, Zaleski lost to Brick Memorial’s Anthony Santaniello in the pre-quarterfinals but bounced back with four straight wins to clinch a top-six finish. He won by fall over Williamstown’s John Hildebrandt in the blood round and then won 6-0 over Eastern’s Jared Brunner in the wrestleback quarterfinals. After a 4-3 loss to Brick’s Evan Tallmadge in the wrestleback semifinals, Zaleski won by 10-2 major decision over Roxbury’s Luke Stanich to place fifth. Zaleski won the Region 5 title to become Middletown South’s first region champ since 2012 and joined the legendary Glenn Pritzlaff as the only Middletown South freshmen to win a region title. Zaleski was also the District 19 champion and finished fourth at the Shore Conference Tournament.

  

113

Aidan Shaughnessy, So., Rumson-Fair Haven

Shaughnessy enjoyed a breakthrough season in which he won district and region titles and reached the second round of wrestlebacks at the NJSIAA Championships. Shaughnessy was also fourth at the Shore Conference Tournament. He claimed the District 18 title before winning the Region 5 crown as the No. 4 seed. Shaughnessy’s presence in the lower half of the lineup helped Rumson win the Class A Central division title and reach an NJSIAA sectional final for the first time in program history.

  

120

Fred Luchs, Sr., Middletown North

In his final season, Luchs put the finishing touches on a stellar career by winning his first region title and earning his first state medal. Part of Middletown North’s sensational lower-weight trio, Luchs went 43-9, finished second at District 22, claimed first at the Region 6 Tournament and wrestled back to finish eighth in the state at 120 pounds. He finished his career as a three-time state qualifier with a 141-45 record.

 

126

Michael Richardson, Sr., Brick Memorial

Richardson went 36-6 and won district and region titles to conclude a 100-win career. The dangerous 126-pounder helped the Mustangs win the NJSIAA Central Jersey Group 4 sectional title and then captured his second District 27 crown to help Brick Memorial win the team championship. He then won his first region title by claiming gold in Region 7. Richardson was also third at the Shore Conference Tournament. At the state tournament, Richardson went 2-2 and reached the third round of wrestlebacks.

 

132

Tyler Pepe, Sr., Central

Pepe went 38-6 and advanced to the fourth round of wrestlebacks for a top-12 finish at the NJSIAA Championships. Pepe was also third at the Shore Conference Tournament and second at both the District 25 and Region 7 Tournaments. Pepe finished his career as a three-time state qualifier with 128 wins. He will continue his career at Belmont Abbey.

  

138

Al DeSantis, Sr., Shore

A memorable season for the most accomplished wrestler in program history ended with DeSantis finally climbing the podium as the seventh-place finisher at the NJSIAA Championships. After falling to St. Joseph’s Michael Cetta, 5-1, in the state quarterfinals, DeSantis won by 5-3 decision over Perth Amboy’s James Rodriguez to clinch a state medal. He lost in overtime to Southern’s Eddie Hummel in the wrestleback quarterfinals but closed out his career with a 3-2 win over High Point’s Billy Talmadge to place seventh. DeSantis was 43-4 with district and region titles plus a third-place finish at the Shore Conference Tournament. He won the District 20 145-pound title to become Shore’s first three-time district champion. In Region 5, DeSantis joined teammate Mike McGhee as the Blue Devils’ first region champions since 2002. DeSantis set a program single-season record with 43 wins and also became the program’s all-time wins leader with 156 career victories. He will continue his career at Rutgers University.

 

145

Tyler Barrett, Fr., Christian Brothers Academy

Barrett was one of the top freshmen in the Shore Conference this season with a 32-9 record and district and region titles. Barrett was also fourth at the Shore Conference Tournament. He then won a District 22 title and followed that up by placing first in Region 6 to become just the third CBA freshman to win a region title. He went 2-2 and reached the third round of wrestlebacks at the NJSIAA Championships. 

 

152

Nico Vargas, Sr., Wall

Vargas posted a 36-6 record, won district and region titles and closed out his career with over 100 wins while also helping Wall reach a state sectional final. Vargas won his second district title to lead the Crimson Knights to the District 21 team championship. Vargas then claimed the Region 6 title with a 2-1 win over Monroe’s Ian McCabe. He went 2-2 at the NJSIAA Championships and reached the third round of wrestlebacks. Vargas was also fourth at the Shore Conference Tournament. He finished his career with 107 wins.

 

160

Matt Benedetti, Sr., Manalapan

Benedetti concluded his stellar career by going 43-3 and finishing fourth at the NJSIAA Championships. He reached the semifinals and was defeated by the eventual state champion for the second straight year, this time via a 4-1 decision vs. High Point’s Brian Soldano. After a win in the wrestleback semifinals, Benedetti was defeated by Southern’s Robert Woodcock, 6-4, in the third-place bout. Benedetti was the District 20 champion and the Shore Conference Tournament champion and placed second in Region 5. For his career, Benedetti was a two-time state medalist, a three-time region medalist, a three-time district champ and an SCT champ. His 146 career wins are the most in Manalapan history

 

170

Hunter Smith, Sr., Jackson Memorial

Smith went 32-10, reached the second round of wrestlebacks at the state tournament, was a region third-place finisher and was a runner-up at districts and the Shore Conference Tournament. Smith finished second to Howell’s Shane Reitsma at the SCT. He was also second at the District 28 Tournament before placing third in Region 7 to make his first trip to the NJSIAA Championships.

 

182

Joe Colon, Sr., Brick Memorial

A shoulder injury suffered in the Region 7 semifinals derailed what could have been an even better senior season but Colon authored a gutty performance in Atlantic City to finish fourth in the state at 182 pounds. Colon won the Shore Conference Tournament title by defeating Colts Neck’s Luke Rada and then helped Brick Memorial capture the NJSIAA Central Jersey Group 4 championship. He won his third district title by placing first in District 27 to aid the Mustangs’ pursuit of the team title. He reached the Region 7 final but was clearly limited by the shoulder injury and lost to Shawnee’s Isaac Dean, 3-1 in overtime. Colon was able to reach the state semifinals thanks to a last-second quarterfinal win over Point Beach’s Jason Sherlock but was defeated by the eventual state champion, Colonia’s John Poznanski, in the semifinals. He beat Fair Lawn’s Benjamin Liss, 9-4, in the wrestleback semifinals and fell to St. John Vianney’s Blake Clayton, 5-1, in the third-place bout.

 

195

Patrick O’Dwyer, Sr., Long Branch

Known more as one of the top scorers in the Shore Conference as a first team All-Shore soccer player, O’Dwyer was one of the most unlikely all-state wrestlers in New Jersey. He came from the No. 19 seed to place eighth at the NJSIAA Championships, winning four straight bouts in the wrestleback round after suffering a defeat in the opening round. His 3-1 win in sudden victory over Pequannock’s Tommy Goodwin in the blood round clinched a state medal. O’Dwyer was also a District 23 champion and placed third at the Region 6 Tournament. He finished the season with a 26-10 record.

 

220

Tracey Taylor, Sr., Long Branch

Taylor won his first district title by claiming gold at District 23, was a Region 6 runner-up and reached the third round of wrestlebacks at the NJSIAA Tournament. Taylor was 31-5 on the season.

 

285

Griffin Jackstadt, Sr., Barnegat

Jackstadt had a record-breaking season to go down as the greatest wrestler in Barnegat history. He became Barnegat’s first state medalist by finishing eighth at the NJSIAA Championships when his 9-6 victory over Fair Lawn’s Jakob Shapiro in the blood round clinched the all-state finish. Jackstadt also became Barnegat’s first region champion when he beat Southern’s JT Cornelius in the Region 8 final. He also defeated Cornelius in the District 29 final to become the Bengals’ first two-time district champion. Additionally, Jackstadt was fourth at the Shore Conference Tournament. His 40 wins this season were also a single-season record. He posted 75 wins as a two-year starter. Also a standout football player, Jackstadt will head to the Ivy League to continue his football career at the University of Pennsylvania.

 

 

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.