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Manalapan junior Jesse Johnson, Jackson Memorial senior Avery Meyers and Central Regional freshman Jayla Hahn each captured NJSIAA South Region championships to lead a Shore Conference contingent of 12 state tournament qualifiers on Sunday at Williamstown High School.

Johnson, who was part of a historic first group of girls wrestling state champions last season as the 136-pound champ, was dominant in winning the 151-pound bracket with all three victories coming by fall. She pinned Eastern junior Rachel Forsman in just 44 seconds in the championship bout to remain undefeated at 12-0.

Meyers was also unstoppable in her quick run to the 128-pound region title, winning all three of her bouts by fall in the first period. She pinned Trenton Central sophomore Karielys Reyes in 1:24 in the final to improve to 32-3 on the season.

Hayn announced herself as a state title contender by knocking off the No. 1 seed, Jackson Memorial sophomore Jordyn Katz, 12-6, in the 143-pound final. Hahn won by fall over Overbrook freshman Alexis Rosano in the semifinals. Katz was the state sixth-place finisher at 185 pounds last season.

Finishing in second place were Lakewood senior Estefani Cortez at 114 pounds, Lakewood senior Jessica Rivera at 121, Katz at 143, Lakewood junior Ana Gonzalez at 161 and Jackson Memorial junior Gina Novello at 180.

Wrestling back to finish third and clinch a berth in the state tournament were Manalapan junior Julia Manolas at 107 pounds, Jackson Memorial sophomore Skyelar Smith at 135, Jackson Memorial sophomore Abigail Stanberry at 151 and Jackson Memorial senior Madison Pesavage at 161.

Team scores were not officially kept, but Jackson Memorial out-pointed Kingsway, 168.5 to 151 to finish first and will send six wrestlers to the state tournament.

The second NJSIAA Girls Wrestling State Tournament will take place from Thursday, March 5 to Saturday, March 7 at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City. The quarterfinal round will begin at 6:30 p.m. on March 7. The semifinals will be contested at approximately 2 p.m. on March 8 and a round of wrestlebacks is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. The third-place and fifth-place bouts will begin at 10 a.m. on March 9 and the state finals will are set for approximately 1:30 p.m.


Managing editor Bob Badders can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @Bob_Badders. Like Shore Sports Network on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube channel for all the latest video highlights.


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