Region VI wrestling meet wide open

Region VI wrestling meet wide open


Region VI wrestling meet wide open


Region VI does not have the stars like it had during its dominant run from 2007-2010.

There is a good chance that next weekend at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, there may not be a state champion or even a state finalist from Region VI.

However, what Region VI does have is a lot of depth. Many of the weights here are filled with solid wrestlers and wide open.

The tournament resumes today at 5 p.m. with the quarterfinals at Pine Belt Arena on the campus of Toms River High School North. The tournament concludes Saturday beginning at 10 a.m. with the semifinals and wrestleback quarterfinals. The wrestleback semifinals and third-place bouts will follow. The championship bouts will be at 5 p.m.

The top three in each of the 14 weight classes advance to the NJSIAA Individual Championships at Boardwalk Hall.

Here is the Asbury Park Press’ brief synopses of each weight class followed by the top three selections at each weight.

106: This is a very contentious weight.

Jackson Memorial’s Fred Terranova is the top seed. He wrestled much of the year at 113 and does have wins over No. 5 seed Peter Dee of Howell and No. 6 seed Giovanni Ghione of Brick Memorial.

Sebastian Rivera of Christian Brothers Academy, is unbeaten, but is only the No. 4 seed because he has no past region criteria. He, too, has wins over Dee and Ghione and wrestles Dee tonight with the winner likely to wrestle Terranova in the semifinals.

The bottom half of the bracket features upperclassmen in Brick’s Daniel Rackliffe, Barnegat’s Jeff DeLuise and Ghione, who is a freshman. Rackliffe and DeLuise are the No. 2 and 3 seeds respectively.

The picks: 1. Rivera; 2. Rackliffe; 3. Terranova.

113: The top three seeds here, Toms River South’s Owen McClave, Freehold Township’s Nick DePierro and Wall’s Denzel Tovar, were all state qualifiers last year.

McClave beat DePierro twice during the season. They were both one win short of being state medalists last year.

An interesting bout tonight could be Tovar against St. John Vianney’s Paul Piccione.

Southern’s James Knoeller, the No. 4 seed, has had a solid season.

The picks: 1. McClave; 2. DePierro; 3. Knoeller.

120: Jackson Liberty’s Mike Russo, the top seed and unbeaten, was the state fourth-place finisher and region champion at 106 last year.

Point Boro’s Daniel Nobbs, who is also unbeaten and missed time during the season because of injuries, is the No. 2 seed. He was a state qualifier in 2012.

Ocean’s Max Rallo, the No. 3 seed and a state qualifier in 2012 at 106, has been hot the last six weeks. He pinned No.4 seed Jimmy Slendorn of Howell in mid-January in an entertaining bout. Slendorn was fourth here last year at 106 and is a four-time region qualifier.

Southern’s Chris Crane and Long Branch’s Andy Hernandez, the No. 5 and 7 seeds, are dangerous. Slendorn wrestles Crane tonight. He has two wins over Crane this year — 1-0 and 7-3 in overtime.

The picks: 1. Russo; 2. Nobbs; 3. Rallo.

126: A case could be made for seven wrestlers having a chance to qualify here.

Point Boro’s Ryan Budzek, the defending champion who was one win from being a state medalist last year, is the No. 1 seed. His only loss is to Neptune’s No. 3 seed Nasiyr Brown on Jan. 11. Budzek avenged that loss in the District 23 final when he was leading 7-3 when Brown injury defaulted late in the second period.

Brown, the state eighth-place finisher at 113 last year, is talented enough to win this, but he has just 13 bouts this year because he has battled physical ailments and had a personal issue.

Colts Neck’s Nick Ottaviano pinned Brown in January and his only loss was to Jackson Liberty’s Matt Russo at 132.

Middletown South’s Dominic Franciosi, Toms River South’s Brandon Murray, who wrestled much of the year at 132 and 138, Southern’s Andrew Tonnessen and Howell’s Anthony Gagliano are all dangerous.

Franciosi and Murray wrestle tonight.

The picks: 1. Budzek; 2. Ottaviano; 3. Murray.

132: This weight figured to be the most contentious in the region through much of the season.

However, with several wrestlers having moved to either 126 or 138, this weight is not as strong as it once looked.

Southern’s Bryan Brown is the No. 1 seed because of his two wins over Howell’s Kris Lindemann, who has two wins over Jackson Liberty’s Matt Russo. Russo is a two-time third-place finisher in regions. He was one win short of being a state medalist last year.

Rumson-Fair Haven’s Marcus Iwama was a state qualifier last year at 126. He has not lost since the first weekend of the season.

Ocean’s Andrew MacNeille, who wrestles Russo tonight, is dangerous. He has majored Brown, lost 10-7 to Lindemann in a bout he was winning 6-5 in the third period and lost in overtime to Iwama in the District 22 final.

The picks: 1. Iwama; 2. Russo; 3. MacNeille.|

138: The question here is the following: Is Brick Memorial’s Joe Ghione, a two-time state sixth-place finisher, two-time region champion and three-time state qualifier, 100 percent? He missed six weeks of the season from late December until early February with an elbow injury. He has just 10 bouts on the season.

CBA’s Erik Beshada, a four-time District 22 champion and a state qualifier at 113 in 2012, has been the best in the region at this weight throughout the season.

Southern’s Matt Wilhelm has had a very good season after wrestling just two scholastic bouts last year.

Middletown North’s Paul Capaldo is a dangerous No. 5 seed and Pineland’s Thomas Poklikuha wrestled Wilhelm tough in the District 24 final and has just one loss.

The picks: 1. Ghione; 2. Beshada; 3. Wilhelm.

145: This might be the best weight here. All eight quarterfinalists have been to regions in the past.

Brick Memorial’s Alec Donovan is unbeaten and as tough-minded as they come. He has two wins over No. 2 seed William Scott of Brick and a win over No. 3 seed Zach Wilhelm of Southern by a combined six points. Donovan was one win short of being a state medalist last year at 138.

Scott beat Wilhelm, who was the state eighth-place finisher at 112 in 2011, 6-2, in January. Wilhelm has not been back to states since his freshman year.

The picks: 1. Donovan; 2. Scott; 3. Wilhelm.

152: This is a wide-open weight.

Brick’s Kyle Wojtaszek, who was a state qualifier last year at 132, is the top seed and spent much of the season wrestling at 160 and 170.

Southern’s Nick Racanelli also wrestled some at 160. Toms River North’s Dylan DaSilva lost twice by one point to Racanelli, including the District 24 final, and by one point to Wojtaszek during the season. St. John Vianney’s Terrence Davis is talented and tough to score on. He lost 3-1 in overtime to DaSilva two weeks ago and also lost to Donovan, 3-1, in overtime during the season. He wrestles Middletown South’s Matt Best tonight in an intriguing bout.

The picks: 1. Racanelli ; 2. Wojtaszek; 3. DaSilva.

160: The decision by Howell’s Joey Schultz to drop in here after wrestling much of the dual-meet season at 170 made this weight a lot tougher. Schultz was the runner-up here a year ago.

Wall’s Brett Donner was third at 152 a year ago. Toms River South’s Joe Salvato did not wrestle in the postseason the last two seasons because of injuries. He is capable of making noise here, as is Jackson Liberty’s T.J. Liquori and Brick Memorial’s Cliff Ruggiero. Liquori and Ruggiero wrestle tonight.

The picks: 1. Donner; 2. Schultz; 3. Liquori.

170: Schultz’s decision to go 160 opened up this weight.

Brick’s Dean Sherry, the No. 2 seed, is unbeaten and defeated No. 3 seed Gerardo Jorge of Southern, 5-3, in January.

Jorge, who wrestles a lot of close bouts, has wins over Schultz and Jackson Memorial’s Connor Bohringer, a contender at 182. He split two bouts with Antrez Clagon of Toms River South. Clagon’s win over Jorge on a penalty point for a third caution in the third overtime in the District 24 final earned him the No. 1 seed.

Middletown North’s Anthony Fabiano and Matawan’s Chris Hartigan have both been in regions before and wrestle tonight.

Wall freshman Joseph McKenzie is a dangerous No. 7 seed. He wrestles Sherry tonight in a rematch of the District 23 final, won by Sherry, 2-0.

The picks: 1. Sherry; 2. Clagon; 3. Jorge.

182: The top four here, Brick Memorial’s Nick Costa, Raritan’s Kyle Lynch, Middletown North’s Chad Fresnock and Jackson Memorial’s Connor Bohringer, are all good enough to be on the podium in Atlantic City.

However, one of them will not be making the trip to Boardwalk Hall.

Costa was seventh in the state last year. His one loss this year is to Keansburg’s talented Tyree Sutton at 195. He will likely meet Bohringer in the semifinals.

Lynch, who is unbeaten, and Freshnock will likely meet in the other semifinal. Lynch beat Freshnock, who wrestled much of the season at 195 and was a semifinalist here last year at 195, 3-1, in the District 22 final.

The picks: 1. Costa; 2. Lynch; 3. Bohringer.

195: There is big-time intrigue here.

CBA’s Mike Oxley won here last year with dramatic wins in both the semifinals and final. He beat Sutton, 3-1, in double overtime in the District 22 final.

Jackson Memorial’s Ken Bradley, who was one win away from being a state medalist at this weight last year, is kind of flying somewhat under the radar with all the talk about Oxley and Sutton. Oxley defeated Bradley, 5-3, in late December.

Barnegat’s unbeaten Greg Moran, the No. 5 seed, could be a dark horse.

The picks: 1. Oxley; 2. Sutton; 3. Bradley.

220: A case could be made for the top five here qualifying for the state tournament.

Brick Memorial’s Tyler Poling was second here and one win away from being a state medalist a year ago.

Southern’s Jesse Bauta is making his third trip to regions and would be a feel-good story after he was shockingly pinned by Phillipsburg freshman Robert Melise in the Rams’ loss to the Stateliners in the Group IV championship match. He split two bouts with Toms River North junior Mike Siwiec, with Siwiec pinning in a regular season bout and Bauta winning 12-5 in the District 24 final. Bauta wrestled a lot of the year at heavyweight.

Siwiec was a Nevada state fourth-place finisher last year and has over 170 career bouts even though he is just a junior. He wrestles Manalapan’s Ben Aquilina tonight. Aquilina has had a terrific season and pinned Oxley during the season.

Red Bank Catholic’s Shawn McCord was two wins short of being a medalist here last year at 195.

The picks: 1. Poling; 2. Bauta; 3. Aquilina.

HWT: This is one of the most open weights here.

Raritan’s Pat Toal is the top seed by virtue of his 6-5 win over Central’s Atanaccio Carrillo on Feb. 1. That win avenged a loss to Carrillo from the region preliminary round last year. Carrillo was two wins away from being a state qualifier last year.

Howell’s Kyle Cocozza weighed in much of the season at 220, but had two big wins over Brick Memorial freshman Nick Rivera in the Rebels’ wins over the Mustangs in the Shore Conference Tournament and Central Group IV championship matches.

The picks: 1. Toal; 2. Cocozza; 3. Rivera.


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