Howell freshman Darby Diedrich won Most Outstanding Wrestler and Marlboro junior Mike DeFaria knocked off a pair of standouts at 145 pounds during the NJSIAA District 21 Tournament on Saturday at Manalapan High School.

Diedrich, the top seed at 106 pounds, pinned St. John Vianney junior Luck Eckloff in 1:56 in the championship bout. Diedrich (31-6) won by fall in all three of his bouts and was one of five champions for the Rebels.

Howell captured the team title, 196-139.5, over second-place St. John Vianney. Jackson Memorial was third with 123.5 points, followed by Manalapan at 109.5 and Jackson Liberty at 87. The district title is the 11th in program history for Howell and its fourth in five seasons.

Five individual champions helped Howell win the District 21 team title for the fourth time in five seasons. (Photo courtesy of Howell wrestling).
Five individual champions helped Howell win the District 21 team title for the fourth time in five seasons. (Photo by Karen Lindemann).

Sophomore Kyle Slendorn at 113 and seniors Anthony Gagliano (132) and Kris Lindemann (138) each won their second district titles. Junior Eric Keosseian won his first district championship by winning the 220-pound weight class.

Colts Neck head coach Brett Jankos was selected as District 21 Coach of the Year.

No. 4 seed DeFaria took down the top seed, Howell's Peter Dee, 3-2 in the semifinals before defeating St. John Vianney senior Khalil Haskins, 4-3, in the championship bout. DeFaria (19-1) is the Mustangs' first district champion since Vinnie Leone and Mitch Seigel won titles in 2011.

Holmdel senior Garrett Hilsheimer won by fall over Howell senior Frank Leonardis in 58 seconds to win the 170-pound title and become the Hornets first district champ since Craig Weindorf in 1998.

Jackson Memorial senior Mike Spino (22-1) scored an impressive 9-2 victory over Howell senior Nick Ciaccia (30-7) in the 120-pound final. Senior Tanner Kelly also claimed a district title for the Jaguars, winning the 182-pound crown with a 3-0 decision over St. John Vianney's Steven Giannios for his second district championship. The Jaguars have now had a district champion in 33 straight seasons, which is second all-time in the Shore Conference to Brick Memorial's 36. Jackson also has a Shore Conference-best 184 district champions in its program's history.


Wrestling 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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