Rodgers enjoyed district experience for Randolph

Rodgers enjoyed district experience for Randolph

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Rodgers enjoyed district experience for Randolph

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Sean Rodgers won a District 2 title Saturday night — and that is when the fun started.

One teammate … then two … three … four … and finally about 30 members of Randolph’s wrestling program came storming out of the bleachers to mob the Rams popular senior 152-pounder after he beat Morris Knolls’ top-seeded Dean Drugac in the finals Saturday night, 4-3.

The win over Drugac continued a strong senior season for Rodgers (31-8), who managed to win the district championship on his home mat at Randolph High.

“This was a great way to end my senior year here,” Rodgers said. “All my family and friends were here to watch me. It couldn’t have been better.”

Drugac beat Rodgers in the Morris County Tournament in January and Rodgers knew that he had to stay out of scramble situations in order to win the district.

“The first match, I had him on his back, he had me on my back and he is really good in those situations,” Rodgers said. “This match, I had to stay more focused and yet stay aggressive. He’s a great wrestler but I overcame that.”

Rodgers and the rest of District 2 placewinners advanced to Region 1 at Wallkill Valley, which begins with preliminaries on Wednesday. The region quarterfinals will be held Friday night, with the semifinals Saturday morning, with wrestlebacks, consolations for third, and then finals to follow.

Randolph teammates Zac Kazaba and A.J. Vindici were just as thrilled to win the district on their home mat.

“It feels great to have the crowd behind you,” Vindici said after pinning Montville’s Michael Glasser in 4:58.

Glasser struck first with a takedown but Vindici gained a reversal to tie the match — and that sent his confidence soaring. He had an escape, takedown and three backs to pull away before the fall.

“When I got the reversal, I knew I had him,” Vindici, a returning state seventh-placer, said.

Vindici is probably looking at a No. 2 seed behind Jefferson’s Bryan Damon, who edged Vindici in a Morris County Tournament finals thriller, 4-3. Vindici narrowly missed pinning Damon, who hung on for dear life in the final moments of the match.

“I have to be prepared for everyone, not just him,” Vindici said. “I cannot look ahead.”

Kazaba pinned his way through at 220, decking Lenape Valley’s Dante James in 1:22 to win District 2.

“I came in as the first seed and I hadn’t lost to anyone in my weight, so I just had to take it home,” Kazaba (31-8) said. “Hard work and the right mindset will get you far. It’s my senior year and it was my time to take it. And winning it here on my home mat meant a lot.”

Mustangs crown two

Montville’s Parker Meytrott (170) hates thinking back to how his season ended last year. The 2011 state qualifier took Kittatinny’s eventual Region 1 champion Clarke Moynihan to the limit before losing in the semifinals, 2-0. Then in the wrestlebacks, he was caught and pinned by West Milford’s Patrick Van Duyne in 3:24. So what was building up to be a promising season ended in heartbreak at Wallkill.

“I use it as motivation now,” Meytrott said after pinning Lenape Valley’s D.J. Barrett in the District 2 finals in 1:50. “I was Top 16 in the state two years ago and I expected better. That’s why I’m training extremely hard. All summer, I thought about the regions when I went to tournaments, clubs and when I lifted. This is my senior season, so it’s time. That’s why I’m looking to win the regions. I definitely think I’m capable.”

Meytrott was joined as a district champion by 145-pound Jordan Marks, who beat Morris Knolls’ Luke Drugac in the finals, 5-3. Marks came into the 2012-13 season wondering where he was as a wrestler. Now, the confidence is growing.

“I worked very hard and I got results,” he said. “Now, I think I can do something at the regions.”

Marks took third at the Morris County Tournament and that also gave him a psychological lift.

“Confidence is the key,” he said. “I definitely want to use all of this momentum at the regions. I want to stop here.”

Burns on fire

Morris Knolls’ Michael Burns (182) had two first-minute pins and captured a District 2 crown when he beat Roxbury’s Peter Sutton in the finals, 3-1. Burns is now 35-1 but doesn’t want to look too far down the road — even with Region 1 looming.

“They’re all good competitors, so I’ll just have to wrestle the way I have all year,” said Burns, whose lone loss was when he was pinned by Pompton Lakes’ Hunter McConnell in 2:40. “People have been telling me the names up there, but that doesn’t mean anything to me. Just wrestle. All I know is that it is a good weight, a tough weight. It’ll be a good test of my skills.”

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