The Mendham High School wrestling team might not have the depth necessary to topple teams such as Delbarton, Hanover Park, or Roxbury at this weekend’s Morris County Tournament at Mount Olive High School, but the Minutemen have some wrestlers capable of contending for titles such as Sam Button (182) and Eric Friedman (138).
Then there are several unheralded wrestlers such as Chris Schlegel (126), Dylan Bluestone (120) and Troy Navarino (145) — all of whom will try and make an impact.
Schlegel won 20 matches last year (16 by pin) and has shown great improvement thus far. He began the year by winning the Mount Olive Christmas Tournament and is 14-9. Schlegel drew the 10th seed at the MCT seeding meeting and will face No. 7 seed Michael Glasser (17-5) of Montville.
“As for the counties, districts, and regions, we have high hopes for Chris,” coach Steve Baig said. “I believe if Chris wrestles up to his full capabilities, he will no doubt place in the county this year. Hopefully that will catapult him into wrestling a solid district tournament in which he can place. After that, the regions are tough, but that is a tournament that can make or break wrestlers’ career.”
Bluestone (10-12) has made rapid improvement over the last two years. Two years ago, he was thrown into the lineup as a 106-pounder. He made some progress last year, but not as much as he would have liked. So Bluestone hit the weights and added 10-15 pounds of muscle and began attending Ken Chertow Wrestling Camps, which improved his technique.
Bluestone drew the 13th seed and will face Pequannock’s Ron Aiosa (2-3) in a preliminary bout. The winner will draw fourth-seeded Aric Imhoff (12-11) of Parsippany Hills.
“Dylan took his lumps that first year, but it did not deter him from the sport,” Baig said. “He is now wrestling at 120 and had to cut to that weight. His off season dedication to these two key components in wrestling have really helped him have a much better and more successful season. He is not just beating below average wrestlers, he is now beating district place winners.”
Navarino (9-12 at 145) has hit his stride lately. He will face Jefferson’s Anthony Avellone (1-6) in a prelim with the winner facing Mountain Lakes’ Nick Fiacco (16-6) in the first round.
“Troy is a freshman who is a product of our youth program,” Baig said. “At the youth level, Troy was very successful. However, at the beginning of the year Troy got beat up quite a bit. He had to transition from a youth wrestler to a high school wrestler. This took time, but his transition to high school wrestling has started to truly show over the past few weeks. Over those two weeks he has gone 6-2 and lost a close decision (6-5) to Dave Migliaccio (West Morris). That match showed Troy’s capabilities. Down the remaining stretch of the season, we expect Troy to continue his success and continue to improve.”