The Union County Wrestling Tournament should have a very familiar look today — will anyone have enough to topple Roselle Park?
For seven straight years — before last season — that team was David Brearley, which was unseated by the Panthers last year.
Governor Livingston senior Ryan Hoy (currently 14-0) won the UCT title at 132 pounds the past two years. He and Brearley’s Nick DeMarco (106 in 2012 and 113 last season), John Balboni (160 in 2012 and last season) and Joe Balboni (170 in 2012 and 2013) all are going for their third title today.
Westfield was third last season with 139½ points behind Roselle Park (172½) and Brearley (149½). Governor Livingston was fifth, Scotch Plains-Fanwood sixth and New Providence seventh.
New Providence returns three runnersup from last year in junior Carmine Boccellari, sophomore Tyler Gazaway and junior Dan Kourakos.
Westfield senior 152-pounder Matt Barber, whose brother, Christian, won the state title at 152 in 2011, and Colin, seventh in the state at 152 last season, is off to a 17-1 start. He was third in the county last year at 132.
Wrestling begins today at 9 a.m. at Union High School.
Dinmore can’t watch
Hunterdon Central senior 152-pounder Gary Dinmore has accomplished a lot in three years. Three Region V titles at 112, 126 and 138 and two state tournament runner-ups to South Plainfield’s four-time state champ Anthony Ashnault at 138 and 126 are at the top of the resume.
Dinmore said he hasn’t watched any video of last year’s state final. When told that Ashnault’s 4-2 win was exciting, Dinmore said “It was a little too exciting for me.”
He’s 15-0 this season.
“I’m trying to control matches more then just wrestle to win. I can definitely dominate, and hopefully I can transfer that into the state tournament,” said Dinmore after Thursday night’s loss to Phillipsburg, where he won by forfeit.
Phillipsburg coach Dave Post said after the 41-18 victory that he “hates to do that (forfeit) and deprive fans of another match, but we didn’t think it was fair to put the kid we have against one of the best in the state.”
Dinmore hopes its “the best” at his weight this year.
Cassar’s a champ
Montgomery unbeaten senior 195-pounder Anthony Cassar just might be somebody to take seriously. He became the Cougars’ eighth Somerset County Tournament champ and second in his family when he beat Franklin senior Ralph Normandia 6-3 for the title. Normandia, a defending Region V and District 18 champ, was third in the state last year.
Cassar, whose brother Nick won the 152-pound county title in 2009, was second last season and third two years ago. Cassar did win the District 18 title, but was fourth at Region V. His entire summer was shaped around making amends so that he could qualify for the state tournament and at least become Montgomery’s first-ever place winner.
“The goal from day one was to beat him (Normandia) and my goal is to win the states, so that is the first stepping stone to the top,” said Cassar, 15-0 thus far.
Rivalry’s helping hand
Money will be raised from the Scotch Plains-Fanwood and Westfield match Jan 31 in Scotch Plains.
The match starts at 7 p.m. and usually attracts a big crowd.
The proceeds will go toward the Pin Cancer Organization (www.pincancer.org).