Gary Dinmore of Hunterdon Central ready for return to Atlantic City

Gary Dinmore of Hunterdon Central ready for return to Atlantic City

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Gary Dinmore of Hunterdon Central ready for return to Atlantic City

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Groundhog Day or in this case the weekend has arrived for Hunterdon Central senior Gary Dinmore.

The four-time Region V champ and two-time state runner-up finds himself in the role of outstanding wrestler, but not on the level of somebody who happens to be in his weight.

Dinmore was the final piece last season for South Plainfield four-time state champ Anthony Ashnault, who completed a unbeaten high school career at the expense of Dinmore in the NJSIAA State Tournament 138-pound final. Ashnault also beat Dinmore for his third state title in 2012 at 126.

Dinmore is once again in similar surroundings. Hammonton’s unbeaten senior Jack Clark is a nationally ranked 152-pounder, unbeaten and a prohibitive favorite.

Dinmore will definitely show up as he did last year when he battled Ashnault in a 4-2 match that ended Ashnault’s career at 170-0.

“I feel it’s very similar because last year was my last chance to beat Ashnault and this year it’s the last chance to win a state title,” said Dinmore, who’s made a non-binding commitment to Penn State.

The state tournament at Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall begins tonight, resumes Saturday and is capped with state finals Sunday afternoon. The Asnault-Dinmore bout wrapped up last year’s event with Ashnault winning a tense decision that ended with a large portion of Boardwalk Hall rooting for Dinmore.

“It was funny because in the first period it was very quiet and some guys in the back was saying ‘Dinmore,’ ” said Dinmore, 36-2 and 131-14. “I’m glad I could wrestle 100 percent my style, not his, not somebody else’s.”

Dinmore said he knows of Clark, spending time with him in Fargo, N.D. at the USA Wrestling Nationals, then in a summer practice at the University of Maryland.

“Everybody was just scrapping there,” said Dinmore. “He was definitely heavier there. He must have been in the 160s.”

There are pre-quarter, quarterfinals and semifinals to win before Dinmore can at least say he was a three-time New Jersey finalist. But that’s not the objective.

“I’m never glad to just be there,” said Dinmore.

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