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TOMS RIVER — Having “state-medalist” in front of your name is something every high school wrestler aspires to accomplish, but with that connotation comes a certain amount of expectation. Howell’s Kris Lindemann knows this all too well.

“I came in sixth in the state last year, and you don’t want to be the kid that comes in sixth and then doesn’t get out of regions the next year,” Lindemann said. “That gives you that little bit extra to push through and hang on.”

Lindemann made sure he wouldn’t suffer that fate by defeating Jackson Memorial’s Tim Hamann for the second time on Saturday, 3-2, in the 138-pound consolation finals of the 2015 NJSIAA Region VI Tournament at Pine Belt Arena.

Lindemann, who was seeded fourth in the District 21 Tournament and fifth in Region VI, defeated Hamann 2-1 in the quarterfinals to avenge a 6-5 loss during the Shore Conference Tournament, but then fell to eventual champion, Jackson Liberty’s Matt Russo, 4-2 in the semifinals. He had previously lost to Russo in the District 21 semifinals before also battling back for third.

“Coming into this bracket I think my toughest competition was the two kids in my district (Hamann and Russo),” Lindemann said. “I knew they were going to be close matches and that I just had to get through it and get to Atlantic City.

Last season Lindemann qualified for the state tournament as the Region VI runner-up at 132 pounds en route to his sixth-place finish in the state tournament, and later an NHSCA Sophomore Nationals title. This season the route has been a bit more difficult. He injured his knee midway through the season and at one point though his season might be over. Instead he’s persevered to once again reach the state tournament. Just like last year, he knows he’s three good days away from taking home some more hardware.

“Down there anything can happen,” Lindemann said. “You have a good tournament and you can get on the podium.”

Lindemann was one of 14 wrestlers who survived the white-knuckle bouts in the consolation brackets to finish third and punch their tickets to the state tournament.

At 120, Southern senior Chris Crane avenged losses to Jackson Memorial’s Fred Terranova, Howell’s Peter Dee and finally Toms River East’s Yoseph Borai to finish third and reach the state tournament for the first time. In the quarterfinals, he beat Terranova 3-1 in sudden victory to reverse his loss from January 7 when Terranova stunningly won by technical fall.

After an 8-6 loss to Wall’s Denzel Tovar in the semifinals, Crane rebounded with a 2-1 victory over Dee in the consolation semifinals. Dee had defeated Crane 3-0 in the South Jersey Group V sectional semifinals. In the consolation finals he faced Borai, who defeated him 4-2 in sudden victory during the regular season and again in the District 24 final. Crane had the only takedown of the bout and held on after a wild scramble at the end of the third period in which Borai was originally given two points and two back points which would have given him a 5-3 win, but both were waved off, declaring Crane the winner.

“There’s no better feeling,” Crane said. “I just kept grinding every day. I had my family and friends telling me to believe in myself and that I could do it.”

St. John Vianney’s Micah Clarke only began wrestling last season as a freshman, but on Saturday became a state qualifier in a wide-open race for the third and final qualifying spot at heavyweight. Clarke, who was seeded sixth, outlasted Point Beach’s Forrest Gardner 8-5 in double overtime in the pre-quarterfinals, then ousted third-seeded John Tomlinson of Long Branch, 3-2 in ultimate tiebreaker to reach the semifinals.

St. John Vianney sophomore Micah Clarke lets out a celebratory roar after defeating Raritan's Malcolm Daniels 12-9 in the Region VI heavyweight consolation finals. (Photo by Ray Richardson).

His championship bracket run ended in the semifinals when eventual champion, Brick Memorial’s Nick Rivera, defeated him 8-0. In the consolation semifinals, Clarke pinned Central’s Darius Marrow in 4:46 to reach the third-place bout. He then defeated Raritan’s Malcolm Daniels 12-9 on the strength of a five-point move in the second period to book his trip to Atlantic City.

“Last year I didn’t even make it out of districts and I’ve been working hard every since then,” Clarke said. “I started wrestling my freshman year and I loved it from the start.”

Rivera and Jackson Memorial’s Brody Graham were the heavy favorites to reach the final, which they did, but that left the third and final spot open to any number of wrestlers.

“I knew I could do it, but it was going to be hard work,” Clarke said.

Also finishing third were Howell freshman Kyle Slendorn at 106, Long Branch senior Jason Hernandez at 113, CBA junior Dylan VanSickell at 126, Southern senior James Knoeller at 132, Middletown North senior Paul Capaldo at 145, Toms River East sophomore A.J. Meyers at 152, Toms River South senior Antrez Clagon at 160, Brick senior Kyle Wojtaszek at 170, Jackson Memorial senior Connor Bohringer at 182, Howell sophomore Eric Keosseian at 195 and Toms River North senior Mike Siwiec at 220.


NJSIAA Region VI Tournament

Third-place bouts

106: 1-Kyle Slendorn (Howell) md. 4-Jeff DeLuise (Barnegat) 11-2

113: 6-Jason Hernandez (Long Branch) d. 4-Mikey Sisolak (Howell) 7-3

120: 6-Chris Crane (Southern) d. 4-Yoseph Borai (Toms River East) 3-1

126: 4-Dylan VanSickell (CBA) d. 5-Nick Wagner (Wall) 7-6

132: 3-James Knoeller (Southern) d. 1-Dylan Seidenberg (Raritan) 6-3

138: 5-Kris Lindemann (Howell) d. 4-Tim Hamann (Jackson Memorial) 3-2

145: 3-Paul Capaldo (Middletown North) p. 7-Alex Johnson (Shore) 0:45

152: 7-A.J. Meyers (Toms River East) d. 6-Josh Glantzman (Wall) 9-4

160: 3-Antrez Clagon (Toms River South) tf. 10-Jarret DiGiantomasso (Jackson Memorial) 6:00 (17-2)

170: 3-Kyle Wojtaszek (Brick) d. 5-Dylan DaSilva (Toms River North) 8-4

182: 2-Connor Bohringer (Jackson Memorial) d. 4-Anthony Vetrano (Middletown North) 4-3

195: 6-Eric Keosseian (Howell) d. 5-Quentin DeCarlo (Toms River South) 9-6

220: 2-Mike Siwiec (Toms River North) p. 6-Fred Womack (Colts Neck) 3:24

Hwt: 6-Micah Clarke (St. John Vianney) d. 5-Malcolm Daniels (Raritan) 12-9