The 132-pound weight class in Region VI was the most wide-open one in the region throughout the season.
Even with the decision of several of the wrestlers who either wrestled at 132 during the dual-meet season or perhaps figured to participate in the postseason at the weight, the 132-pound field was still a wild one when it came to seeding the 12 participants at that weight for the Region VI Tournament Monday morning at Toms River High School North at the seeding meeting for the tournament.
The Region VI Tournament begins at 5 p.m. Wednesday at Pine Belt Arena on the campus of Toms River North with the preliminary round. That round is for the second and third-place finishers at each of the 14 weight classes in Districts 21-24.
The winners of preliminary round then join the champions from Districts 21-24 in the quarterfinals at 5 p.m. Friday at Pine Belt Arena. The tournament concludes Saturday with the semifinals and wrestleback quarterfinals at 10 a.m., the wrestleback semifinals, the third-place bouts and the championship bouts at 5 p.m. The top three finishers in each weight class advance to the NJSIAA Individual Championships March 7-9 at Boardwalk Hall at Atlantic City.
There were several stages to the seeding process for the NJSIAA’s eight region tournaments.
First, the second and third-place district finishers were seeded based on the points they accumulated during the system and head-to-head results. The top four seeds amongst that group were then seeded 1-8 with the four district champions based on their past accomplishments in both the state and region tournaments and on head-to-head results.
The bottom four seeded wrestlers amongst the district runners-up and third-place finishers were then placed into the bracket with the highest-seeded second-place finisher wrestling the lowest-seeded third-place finisher, the highest-seeded third-place finisher wrestling the lowest-seeded second-place finisher, etc., etc.
The 132-pound weight class was one where several of the wrestlers had beaten each other during the season. Because of some of those head-to-head results, Rumson-Fair Haven’s Marcus Iwama, the District 22 champion and a state tournament participant in 2013, wound up as the No. 4 seed even though he has not lost to anyone in the tournament.
Jackson Liberty’s Matt Russo was the No. 1 pre-seed because he is a two-time state tournament participant and was one win away from being a state medalist last year. Iwama was the No. 2 pre-seed because of his past participation in the state tournament.
Howell’s Kris Lindemann, the No. 6 pre-seed, temporarily, moved into the No. 1 spot because he has two wins over Russo, including one in the District 21 final. Southern’s Bryan Brown, the No. 5 pre-seed, became the No. 1 seed because he has two wins over Lindemann and because his loss to Ocean’s Andrew MacNeille was part of a triangle involving Brown, MacNeille and Lindemann. Triangles get dropped when it comes to seeding.
The shuffling left Brown, who lost in the preliminary round at 113 in 2012, as the No. 1 seed. Lindemann, who did not participate in the postseason last year because of an injury, is the No. 2 seed, Russo is the No. 3 seed and Iwama is the No. 4 seed.
Another interesting situation came at 106, where one could make the argument the three best wrestlers at the weight are all in the upper part of the bracket.
Jackson Memorial’s Fred Terranova, who wrestled much of the season at 113 and has wins over the No. 2, 5 and 6 seeds, is the No. 1 seed. Christian Brothers Academy sophomore Sebastian Rivera is only the No. 4 seed even though he is unbeaten because this is his first time in the region tournament. Howell sophomore Peter Dee is only the No. 5 seed because this is his first time in the region tournament.
Brick’s Daniel Rackliffe and Barnegat’s Jeff DeLuise are the No. 2 and 3 seeds because they have participated in the region tournament in the past and didn’t lose to anybody pre-seeded below them.
At 126, Neptune’s Nasiyr Brown, the state’s eighth-place finisher at 113 last year, wound up being only the No. 3 seed because he lost by injury default to Point Boro’s Ryan Budzek in the District 23 final and was pinned during the season by Colts Neck’s Nick Ottaviano. Budzek’s win in the district final superseded his loss to Brown during the season because it was the latest meeting between the two. Budzek was one win away from being a state medalist last year at 126 and is the defending region champion. He wound up being the No. 1 seed and Ottaviano the No. 2 seed.
Toms River South’s Antrez Clagon was a wrestler who clearly benefited from a win in a district final as his three-overtime win over Southern’s Gerardo Jorge in the District 24 170-pound final enabled him to earn the top seed. Had Jorge won that bout, Brick’s unbeaten Dean Sherry would have been the top seed because of his win over Jorge during the season and Clagon would have been the No. 3 seed. Sherry is the No. 2 seed and Jorge, who was pre-seeded No. 1, is the No. 3 seed.
Christian Brothers Academy’s Mike Oxley, the Region VI champion at 195 last year, also benefited from a win in a district final. His 3-1 double overtime win over Keansburg’s Tyree Sutton in the District 22 195-pound final enabled him to be the No. 1 seed and have perhaps a slightly easier road to the final Jackson Memorial’s Ken Bradley and Sutton are the No. 2 and 3 seeds respectively and on course to meet in the semifinals.