Jackson Liberty showed Saturday it is a program on the move as it crowned three champions and finished second in the team standings in the Neptune Classic at Neptune High School.
The Lions finished with 146.5 points. Powerful Don Bosco Prep won the tournament with 191 points. Among the teams Jackson Liberty outscored were Delbarton and Franklin Township.
Jackson Liberty’s champions were sophomore Mike Russo (113), junior T.J. Liquori (152) and senior Nick Zak (182).
Russo, the Region VI runner-up at 106 who was one win away from medaling at the state tournament last year, pinned Franklin’s Deshawn Hazel in 1:14.
Liquori defeated Livingston’s Brad Krosser 5-0. Krosser had upended Trenton’s Maaziah Bethea, the state seventh-place finisher at 132 last year, 4-2, in the semifinals.
Zak, the state sixth-place finisher at 170 last year, defeated Franklin’s Kurtis Hewitt, the District 18 runner-up at 160 last year, 2-1.
The Shore’s other champions were Toms River East’s Rich Lewis (138), Manalapan’s Mike Aronson (145 and Neptune’s Dae’Sean Brown (170) and Central’s Antanacio Carrillo (heavyweight).
Lewis, the state fifth-place finisher at 132 last year and seventh-place finisher at 119 in 2011, Delbarton’s Travis Vasquez, the District 9 runner-up at 106 last year, 7-1.
Aronson, the District 21 third-place finisher at 132, last year, won by technical fall over Delbarton’s Joe Tavoso.
Brown, the Region VI runner-up at 170 last year and Neptune’s first state tournament qualifier since 1999, defeated Don Bosco Prep’s Luke Farinaro, the Region II runner-up at 170 last year, 3-1. Brown was named the tournament’s co-Outstanding Wrestler with Don Bosco Prep’s talented freshman 106-pounder Kyle Biedumpfel.
Carrillo pinned Pinelands’ John Campano in the final.
TCNJ Pride Tournament
Toms River South had five champions and six finalists as it edged out Brick Memorial for the team title in the 16-team tournament at The College of New Jersey that consisted of teams whose head coaches wrestled at TCNJ.
The Indians had 248 points. Brick Memorial, which was wrestling without three starters, had 235 points.
Senior B.J. Clagon (145), last year’s 138-pound state champion and a three-time state placewinner, led the Indians’ champion fivesome. Clagon pinned all four of his opponents in a 1:06 or less. He was on the mat for a combined 3:14.
Kevin Corrigan (120), the state fifth-place finisher at 113 last year and a two-time state quarterfinalist, Matt Theobold (138), a two-time state qualifier, freshman Owen McClave (106) and sophomore Joe Salvato (160) were the Indians’ other champions.
Corrigan defeated Point Boro’s two-time District 23 champion Ryan Harter, 1-0, in the final. Theobold defeated Brick Memorial’s Alec Donovan, last year’s District 23 132-pound champion, 7-4.
McClave was seeded eighth and defeated the No. 1, 4 and 2 seeds. He pinned Freehold Township’s Nino Gagliano in 1:50 in the final and won by technical fall over Paul VI’s Liam Kelleher, the No. 1 seed, 22-4, in the quarterfinals.
Salvato, who missed most of last season with an injury, came from the No. 7 seed to win. He defeated top-seeded Matthew McDonald of Steinert, the District 25 third-place finisher at 160 last season, 7-2, in the final.
Brick Memorial, which wrestled without starters Matt Moore, the state seventh-place finisher at 195 last year, Anthony Miller, a state qualifer at 182 last season and Nick Costa, the District 23 champion at 152 last season, because of knee injuries, had three champions in Joe Ghione (126), Jared Staub (132) and Cliff Ruggiero (152).
Ghione, a two-time state sixth-place finisher, defeated Point Boro’s Daniel Nobbs, a state qualifier at 120 last year, 6-3, in the final. Staub, a three-time state qualifier and a transfer from Hamilton West, defeated Toms River South’s Zach Maikisch, 1-0, in the final. Ruggiero, the District 23 champion and a Region VI semifinalist at 138 last year, defeated Middletown South’s Andrew Blasco, the District 22 third-place finisher at 145 last year, 10-8.
Other champions from the Shore Conference were Lacey’s Luke Fernandez (170) and Pat Schinder (220) and Middletown South’s Trevor Finn (HWT).
Robin Leff Classic
Jackson Memorial had four champions and Ocean and Southern had one each in the power-packed tournament at Southern.
Jackson Memorial’s champions were Fred Terranova (106), Hunter Reese (126), Brian Hamann (138) and Ken Bradley (195).
Ocean’s champion was Jacob Bell (220) and Cody Smead (heavyweight) won for Southern.
Reese edged Ocean’s Max Rallo, the Region VI third-place finisher at 106 last year, 7-6, in the semifinals and then defeated Camden Catholic’s Mark McCormick, 5-3, in the final.
Hamann, a two-time state fourth-place finisher, pinned Timber Creek’s Brandon Virgilio, the District 30 runner-up at 126 last year, in the semifinals and then defeated East Brunswick’s Sean Glasglow, the District 20 runner-up at 132 last year, 5-1, in the final.
Bradley, the District 21 champion and Region VI semifinalist at 195 last year, majored Allentown’s Frank Juba, the Region VII third-place finisher at 195 last year, 15-4.
Howell had six champions and rolled to the team championship in its own tournament with 281 points, 119 points more than South River. Howell also fielded a second team and that team finished fourth with 134 points. Rebel champions were Mike Sisolak (106), Jimmy Slendorn (113), the District 21 runner-up at 106 last year, freshman Kris Lindemann (126), Ben Esposito (138), the District 21 champion at 120 last year, Joey Schultz (152) and Stephen Boncimino (195). Lindemann defeated Old Bridge’s Mike Nadera with a five-point move off a spladle in the final seconds. Nadera was the District 20 champion at 113 last year.