Last year, Montville’s Parker Meytrott and Roxbury’s Dillon Artigliere left Wallkill Valley’s gym with broken hearts.
Last night, the two wrestlers left Wallkill with big smiles – each one the proud owner of a Region 1 championship.
Meytrott defeated Kittatinny’s Kieran Gerrity in the 170-pound final, 7-0.
“It’s two completely different sides of the spectrum,” Meytrott, a 2011 state qualifier, said. “Last year, I felt like the world fell on top of me. This year, I feel like I am on top of the world.”
Artigliere (160) defeated Mendham’s Sam Button for the third straight time this year, 12-0.
“It’s definitely a lot sweeter to come out on top,” Artigliere said. “It’s good to be confident going into the states.”
The rest of the top three finishers at Region 1 automatically qualified for the state tournament in Atlantic City, which begins with preliminaries (second- and third-place regional finishers) on Friday night at 5 p.m. The pre-quarterfinals, which will pit region champions against preliminary-round survivors, will begin at 7 p.m.
A total of 14 wrestlers from Morris County placed in the top three.
Second-place finishers joining Button included Roxbury’s Stephen Caserta (106) and Jake Legotte (132), Jefferson’s Bryan Damon (113), and Morris Knolls’ Michael Burns (182).
West Morris had a trio of third-place finishers in Nick Matthews (138), Brandon Carcuffe (145) and Adam Kratch (170). Randolph’s A.J. Vindici (113), Montville’s Anthony Fano (126), Jefferson’s Luke Bohn (152), and Roxbury’s Stephen Arthur III (195) were Morris’ other third-place qualifiers.
Meytrott, since he has state tournament experience, figures to wrestle with more confidence than his first appearance.
“I definitely don’t think I’ll be as nervous this time,” he said. “I’ll just go and wrestle my match and wrestle like it is any other match.”
Meytrott had an easy time of it in the finals. He had a first-period takedown and arm-barred Gerrity for two back points in the second. He had an escape in the third period and another takedown and was never threatened.
“It feels fantastic,” Meytrott said. “I felt like I dictated the match. There were no issues. I felt like I was in complete control.”
Meytrott and the Mustangs coaches went over the scouting report on Gerrity and Meytrott followed it to a tee.
“We knew he had good size and he liked to lock up on the body,” Meytrott said. “He’s tall and lean, so I had to stay low. He’s a tough rider, tough on top.”
Meytrott is glad he put in plenty of extra time in the offseason, especially with the way last year ended. Last year, he had a pin and a major in the regions before losing to Kittatinny’s eventual region champion Clarke Moynihan, 2-0.
But in the wrestlebacks, Meytrott was pinned by West Milford’s Patrick Van Duyne in 3:24.
So Meytrott went from dominating and wrestling well at the regions to suddenly falling short of a return trip to Boardwalk Hall.
“I used last year as motivation,” he said. “I trained so hard in the offseason, and all the hard work paid off.”
Artigliere, a Region 1 champion and Outstanding Wrestler as a freshman, lost in the finals to Moynihan last year, 5-1. Artigliere recovered from disappointing region loss to place fifth in the states.
He returned to the top of the podium in Wallkill in style. He had a first-period takedown, a takedown and three backs in the second, and a lateral drop and three more backs in the third to pull away from Button.
“I felt pretty good,” he said. “It was a good match in the finals. Everything was working. It was a pretty good overall match for me.”