BRICK TOWNSHIP – Wrestling has provided joys and lessons Point Boro senior Gabe Fattizzi could not have envisioned when he decided to give the sport a try as a freshman. On Wednesday night he faced the prospect of putting on the Panthers’ black and gold singlet for the final time.

“For the past three days it’s been going through my head that if I lose tonight it’s all over for me,” Fattizzi said. “The farthest I think I can go is wrestling a match in Atlantic City, and even though I’ve only been wrestling for a few years I know I can get there. Tonight was just the night I had to get through.”

Seeded 11th at 220 pounds for the NJSIAA Region 6 Tournament, Fattizzi defeated sixth-seeded Marc Jordine of Nottingham, 6-4, to survive the win-or-go-home preliminary round at Brick Memorial High School. The first round of the NJSIAA region tournaments pit the second- and third-place finishers from the district tournament against one another. The winners advance to Friday’s quarterfinals while the losers’ seasons, and in many cases their careers, are over.

“Tonight, I had to send someone home, and that’s terrible, but it’s better than it being me,” Fattizzi said.

Trailing in the third period, Fattizzi countered a shot by Jordine with double underhooks, turned it into a dump and put Jordine to his back for a five-point move with 45 seconds left.

“My coaches told me to just wrestle my match,” Fattizzi said. “I’m a strong kid and I’m well-conditioned because of our practices. They told me to wrestle my match and good things usually happen late.”

Fattizzi will next face No. 3 seed Chris Ratti from Northern Burlington when the tournament resumes at 5 p.m. on Friday back at Brick Memorial. Now he has some breathing room in his quest to reach the state tournament. A loss doesn’t mean the end now. There’s still a chance to wrestle back and place in the top four to advance to A.C.

For Fattizzi, that would be the dream ending to what has been arguably the most successful season in the history of Point Boro’s wrestling program. The Panthers repeated as Class B South division champions, won the South Jersey Group 2 state sectional title for the first time since 2007 and won the District 21 team title for the program’s first district team championship since 1991.

“The season with my team was the most important part to me and all of this is basically the icing on the cake,” Fattizzi said. “Wrestling a match at A.C. is a dream I’ve had for a few years and I’m hoping after surviving tonight, the blood round, I can get there.”

Fattizzi was one of three Shore Conference No. 11 seeds to pull upsets on Wednesday in a round that mostly went according to the seeds. Shore Regional freshman Michael McGhee scored a 7-1 decision over Allentown’s Matthew Paglia at 138 pounds for the evening’s first upset and Red Bank Catholic senior Michael Griggs won by fall in just 15 seconds against Brick Memorial’s Chris Mitler at heavyweight. Trenton’s Yajaziel Reyes also advanced as a No. 11 seed when he stunned Point Beach’s Jared Hoeler, 8-6 in sudden victory, at 170 pounds.

Brick Memorial senior Joe Rotondo won by 17-4 major decision over Trenton's Carlos Sanchez to reach the 113-pound quarterfinals at the NJSIAA Region 6 Tournament. (Photo by Robert Badders/Townsquare Media).
Brick Memorial senior Joe Rotondo won by 17-4 major decision over Trenton's Carlos Sanchez to reach the 113-pound quarterfinals at the NJSIAA Region 6 Tournament. (Photo by Robert Badders/Townsquare Media).

Three No. 10 seeds also won their preliminary-round bouts. Brick Memorial freshman David Szuba won by 10-1 major decision over Point Beach’s Jason Sherlock at 160 pounds and Howell senior Scott Prendergast used a takedown to defeat Bordentown/Florence’s Billy Costner, 3-1 in sudden victory, at heavyweight. Also, Bordentown/Florence’s Joe Levach won by 9-3 decision over Delran’s Berkant Haliloglu at 170 pounds.

The 195-pound weight class has an unlikely quarterfinalist in Red Bank Catholic’s Steve Cmielewski. The Caseys junior wasn’t even supposed to be wrestling this season after suffering a broken ankle in Red Bank Catholic’s first football game of the 2017 season. After an 8-2 victory over Northern Burlington’s Sam Gephart he’s two wins away from a berth in the state tournament.

Cmielewski had reconstructive ankle surgery on September 20 and was told he would be out until April. Instead, he made it back fourth months to the day, making his season debut on Jan. 20.

“You’re not going to find a harder worker and a better kid,” said Red Bank Catholic head coach Joe Gallagher. “People told him he’d never be able to wrestle this year let alone be competitive, and here’s a kid who made it to the district final and after tonight is in the region quarterfinals.”

“I was thinking I was going to come back early because I knew I was going to work hard and do what I had to do,” Cmielewski said. “I just kept working hard every day. I’m happy to be back.”

With Cmielewski and Griggs both winning Wednesday night it gives Red Bank Catholic two region quarterfinalists for the first time in the 11 years Gallagher has been the head coach. The five wrestlers who qualified for the Region 6 Tournament – Daniel Brewton, Aidan Meyler-McAuliffe and John Columbia along with Cmielewski and Griggs – is also a highwater mark for the Caseys under Gallagher.

Cmielewski will face Freehold Township’s Eric Quartey in the quarterfinals. Quartey, the No. 2 seed and a returning state qualifier, defeated Cmielewski, 7-4, in the District 24 final last Saturday. Griggs will take on Long Branch junior Kevin Cerruti, the No. 3 seed.

At 220 pounds, Monmouth Regional senior Ricky Voss won by 2-1 decision over Howell’s Joe Sardina to become the Falcons’ first region quarterfinalist since Scott Satcher in 2011. Voss improved to 32-4 on the season and will face the No. 1 seed, Bordentown/Florence’s Jajuan Hayes, in the quarterfinals.


Complete Region 6 preliminary-round results


4-Travis Kotelnicki (Northern Burlington) p. 13-Mark Harrison (Delran) 0:56

3-Logan Waller (Colts Neck) md. 14-Shailen Savur (Robbinsville) 15-2

6-Jack Maida (Shore) d. 11-Kip Lovgren (Point Beach) 5-0

7-Justin Schifter (Freehold Twp.) d. 10-Nick Torre (Point Boro) 5-2



8-Joe Rotondo (Brick Memorial) md. 9-Carlos Sanchez (Trenton) 17-4

6-William Tisony (Ocean) md. 11-Max Bean (CBA) 12-2

7-Drake Torrington (Robbinsville) d. 10-Tyler Ferris (Wall) 10-4

2-Ryan Zimmerman (Long Branch) p. 15-Sebastiano Nini (Allentown) 1:52



9-Riley Simon (Point Beach) d. 8-Brad Smuro (Shore) 8-1

5-A.J. Sortino (Manalapan) p. 12-Ethan Liptzin (Howell) 3:26

4-Adam Manzo (Ocean) p. 13-Reece Schenck (Lawrence) 0:43

6-Rey Guzman (Long Branch) d. 11-Jack Bailey (Point Boro) 2-1 2OT



8-Jack Nies (Ocean) d. 9-Michael Gagliardo (Freehold) 8-2

3-Dyon Womack (Colts Neck) p. 14-Ryan Kanner (Robbinsville) 2:27

6-Billy Moore (Bordentown/Florence) p. 11-Kether Thornton (Hightstown) 3:05

2-Josh Bollard (Jackson Liberty) p. 15-Daniel Brewton (Red Bank Catholic) 0:44



8-Jesse Bowers (Point Beach) d. 9-Tony Dushku (Freehold) 6-2

5-Kareem Ghiada (Manalapan) d. 12-Justin Pierre-Louis (Colts Neck) 5-1

6-Joe Schneider (Notre Dame) d. 11-Nicholas Golden (Allentown) 6-2

7-Sam LaCorte (CBA) p. 10-Alex Sanchez (Neptune) 5:56



8-Ethan Dzenis (Manasquan) d. 9-Shane Golomb (Wall) 8-3

5-Ty Bailey (Point Boro) p. 12-Cairo Henderson-Stewart (Neptune) 1:04

4-Matthew Potash (Bordentown/Florence) p. 13-Chris Gallegos (CBA) 1:46

11-Michael McGhee (Shore) d. 6-Matthew Paglia (Allentown) 7-1



8-Saif Ali (Ocean) d. 9-Isaac Shohet (Long Branch) 8-6

4-Ryan Feig (Northern Burlington) d. 13-Malachi McNeil-Ways (Delran) 8-3

3-Paul Jakub (Howell) md. 14-Anthony Lombardo (Colts Neck)

6-Anthony Coposky (Manalapan) md. 11-Jarrett Weir (Shore) 9-0



9-Michael Limone (Burlington Twp.) p. 8-Christian Recantini (CBA) 4:29

5-Jimmy Sherlock (Point Beach) p. 12-Randy Savage (Delran) 4:20

3-Xavier Kelly (Howell) p. 14-Emerson Derose (Ocean) 0:17

6-Jack Milazzo (Robbinsville) d. 11-Caleb Alvarado (Brick Memorial) 8-6



5-John McTaggart (Point Boro) md. 12-Aidan Meyler-McAuliffe (Red Bank Catholic) 10-0

4-Nolan Pecci (Allentown) p. 13-Ryan Fiolek (Freehold Twp.) 1:04

6-Louie Saez (Long Branch) d. 11-Efrain DeLeon (Lawrence) 12-6

10-David Szuba (Brick Memorial) md. 7-Jason Sherlock (Point Beach) 10-1



9-Derek Smith (CBA) d. 8-Corey Gill (Northern Burlington) 3-1

11-Yajaziel Reyes (Trenton) d. 6-Jared Hoeler (Point Beach) 8-6 SV

10-Joe Levach (Bordentown/Florence) d. 7-Berkant Haliloglu (Delran) 9-3

2-Liam McDermott (Allentown) p. 15-Joshua Almanzar (Nottingham) 0:52



9-Brian Shawsam (Trenton) p. 8-TreVonne Black (Burlington Twp.) 1:09

4-Tommy Hill (Northern Burlington) md. 13-John Columbia (Red Bank Catholic) 11-3

6-Keon Cooper (Steinert) p. 11-Taylor Sousa (Shore) 5:06

7-Zach Bohn (Delran) d. 10-Ariel Carreno (Riverside) 3:22



9-Mike Rosati (Shore) p. 8-Rashaun Hansford (Howell) 1:21

5-Ryan Brazill (Bordentown/Florence) d. 12-Nick Pasqua (Steinert) 4-2

4-Billy Borowsky (Point Boro) p. 13-Liam Buday (Point Beach) 4:49

7-Steve Cmielewski (Red Bank Catholic) d. 10-Sam Gephart (Northern Burlington) 8-2



9-Ricky Voss (Monmouth) d. 8-Joe Sardina (Howell) 2-1

5-Burak Ozbay (Delran) p. 12-Santino Giampa (Point Beach) 1:11

11-Gabe Fattizzi (Point Boro) d. 6-Marc Jordine (Nottingham) 6-4

7-Christopher Seifert (Ewing) d. 10-Peter Benedetti (Manalapan) 7-5



9-Joe Teresi (Ocean) p. 8-Thomas Wasylenko (Steinert) 5:30

3-Kevin Cerruti (Long Branch) p. 14-Parker Flanagan (Allentown) 1:48

11-Michael Griggs (Red Bank Catholic) p. 6-Chris Mitler (Brick Memorial) 0:15

10-Scott Prendergast (Howell) d. 7-Billy Costner (Bordentown/Florence) 3-1


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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