Lacey’s Brady Carter, Howell’s Ethan Liptzin shake up 106-pound bracket in Region 7 quarterfinals
TOMS RIVER – Trailing by two entering the third period, Lacey freshman Brady Carter knew exactly what he had to do against Camden Catholic’s Chase Casey: stay off the mat and take him into deep water.
“I just pushed the pace,” Carter said. “I knew he was going to get tired so I just pushed the pace until he got gassed and 11 points, there it is.”
Highlighted by a 5-point move, Carter staged a furious rally with 11 points in the third period to upend the top-seeded Casey, 13-7, and advance to the NJSIAA Region 7 106-pound semifinals as the No. 8 seed on Friday night inside RWJBarnabas Health Arena. Carter countered a shot by the Camden Catholic freshman and put him to his back midway through the third period to take a 7-4 lead. He then added a takedown and two near-fall points with 35 seconds left and secured another takedown in the closing seconds for one of the biggest upsets by seed in the entire tournament.
“The seeds don’t really matter, you just have to go out there and wrestle your best, eighth seed or not,” Carter said. “I’ll take the first seed or the last seed.”
Carter and Casey know each other’s styles very well as club training partners, and Carter knows how slippery the Irish frosh can be on the mat. Carter was leading 2-0 late in the second period when Casey scored a reversal in the final seconds to tie the bout. Casey then took a 4-2 lead with a reversal in the second period before riding out Carter the rest of the way.
It was an easy positional choice for Carter to start the third.
“He’s all about the funk and in the first period he scored a reversal on me with a funk roll out of it,” Carter said. “So I wasn’t going to let him go on top. I just picked neutral and kept pushing the pace.
“He’s been my training partner for about three years. I hate to have to wrestle my partner but you just have to go out there and do your job and forget about everything else.”
Carter entered high school as an intermediate state champ and was undefeated heading into the Shore Conference Tournament, but lost to Holmdel’s Nick Ammirati in ultimate tiebreaker in the opening round.
“I was actually happy with the loss I took,” Carter said. “Going into [regions] with zero losses wouldn’t have given me a push. The loss gave me a push.”
Also contributing to the shakeup in the 106-pound bracket was Howell junior Ethan Liptzin, who avenged a pair of defeats with an emphatic 13-1 major decision victory over Jackson Memorial sophomore Brett Blaess.
When Howell and Jackson Memorial met in a regular-season dual meet, Blaess rallied for a 10-7 victory. He did it again in the Shore Conference Tournament, edging Liptzin, 4-3, in the pre-quarterfinals.
“I think this is the first time I’ve really wrestled six minutes (against Blaess),” Liptzin said. “I was leading in every match I wrestled him and I just stopped wrestling, and this is the first time I did what I wanted to do the entire time.”
Liptzin took Blaess down and then turned him for two near-fall points twice to take a 6-0 lead. He scored a reversal in the second period to go up 8-0 and added an escape and two takedowns in the third period for the dominating victory.
“Losing to him twice already, I had no pressure,” Liptzin said. “I knew I could beat the kid so I just wanted to have fun with it.”
The 106-pound bracket is now an all-Shore Conference final four with Carter and Liptzin set to face each other in the semifinals out of the top bracket while Toms River North senior Louie Gagliardo (No. 3 seed) and Brick Memorial freshman Ryan Smith (No. 2 seed) will meet in the other semifinal. It’s wide open.
“I’ve never been here before so there’s no pressure on me,” Liptzin said. “I want to do it. I’m ready.”
Outside of 106, upsets were few and far between. The top four seeds advanced to the semifinals in six of the 14 weight and in two others the only ‘upset’ was the No. 5 seed winning. At 145 pounds, Toms River South senior Riley Cheong continued to prove he is anything but a conventional No. 11 seed by defeating third-seeded C.J. Thompson of Maple Shade, 8-5, to reach the semifinals. Cheong will face No. 7 seed Declan Skelly of Haddonfield, who upset the No. 2 seed, Seneca’s Kory Seidle, 5-4 in double overtime.
Also at 145, Toms River North junior Nick Boggiano avenged a loss in the District 26 final by outlasting Paulsboro’s Gabe Onorato, 2-1 in double overtime, in the 4-5 quarterfinal matchup. Tied 1-1 after regulation and sudden victory, Boggiano escaped in the first tiebreaker period and then rode out Onorato to advance to the semifinals. He will take on Camden Catholic’s Lucas Revano, last season’s 132-pound state champion.
Saturday’s semifinal round, which begins at 9 a.m., features several marquee matchups. At 132 pounds, Lacey’s Hunter Gutierrez and Collingswood’s Andrew Clark will square off in a matchup of state medalists. At 138 pounds, Paulsboro’s Jacob Perez-Eli and Camden Catholic’s Anthony Croce will meet. Both were one win away from a state medal last season. In the 152-pound weight class, Howell’s Paul Jakub and Camden Catholic’s Brandon Mooney clash in a rematch of the District 25 final won by Jakub, 7-5.
Managing editor Bob Badders can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @Bob_Badders. Like Shore Sports Network on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube channel for all the latest video highlights.