RARITAN TOWNSHIP The answer to who might be the outstanding wrestler at the Region V Tournament seemed to change from final to final at the packed Hunterdon Central Fieldhouse. Then Piscataway’s freshman ninth-seeded 160-pounder Michael Petite ended the debate.
Petite beat North Hunterdon’s second -seeded and returning state qualifier Mike Sicola 4-3 on a takedown on the edge of the mat with one second left in regulation. Petite pinned Ridge’s fifth-seeded Austin Oliver in the first period of the semifinal in the morning session and topped Hunterdon Central top-seeded senior Joe Scerbo 7-6 in Friday night’s quarterfinal.
Now he and the rest who placed in the top three in their weight classes in the eight regions throughout the state move on to the NJSIAA Individual Championships, starting next Friday and running through Sunday at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City.
Scerbo mentioned after that bout that Petite was an “excellent wrestler with a low center of gravity,” before adding that Petite ‘never stopped.’ That’s something Chiefs’ coach Bill Pavlak talked about after the thriliing win.
“He (Petite) just doesn’t stop,” said Pavlak. “We tell all our wrestlers to keep going, keep pressing. But he takes it to another level where he’s pushing the pace on the edge, when the whistle is blowing. He’s just relentless, and eventually it’s going to pay off. We just happened to get it right at the buzzer there.”
Petite was third at the Greater Middlesex Conference meet and second at the District 19 tournament to Carteret’s Elias Vega, who lost in the region wrestleback consolations.
“Coming in as a low seed, I knew it was going to be difficult, but I had to come in prepared, I had to come in excited, and that’s what I did,” said Petite, 33-5.
Piscataway had another winner in senior 182-pounder Etini Udott who avenged a regular-season and county tournament final loss to Old Bridge’s Mike Gargano with a 4-0 decision. The District 19 champ didn’t allow a takedown in his three region wins over Gargano, Delaware Valley’s Kyle Schlilttler and Spotswood’s Ejike Okafor. Udott worked with the Piscataway coaching staff to prepare for Gargano’s tie-ups and throws.
“From the day I lost in the counties, I just did everything I could,” Udott said. “I knew I was going to face him again (in the region) finals, so I was working hard every day in practice and I just did what I had to do.
Bound Brook wins six
Bound Brook had six champs highlighted by second-seeded sophomore 145-pounder Stephan Glasgow’s 7-5 win over Edison top-seeded senior Will Povalac. The two waged a wild back-and-forth duel with Glasgow winning 9-7. That was followed by senior 152-pounder Sean Glasgow – Stephan’s brother — who beat Woodbridge’s previously-unbeaten sophomore Bryan McLaughlin 7-2. That was Glasgow’s second region title. He was beaten in last year’s region final 3-1 in overtime by Carl Buttitta of John F. Kennedy. He won as a sophomore when he wrestled for East Brunswick.
Bound Brook senior 170-pounder Josh Ugalde beat Bridgewater-Raritan junior Kyle Murphy 1-0 in a replay of the District 18 final also won 1-0 by Ugalde
Bound Brook senior 195-pounder Aaron Saavedra qualified for his third state tournament by winning his first region title, a 1-0 victory over Hunterdon Central senior Nestor Crespo. Saavedra was third last year and second two years ago at the regions.
Crusader sophomore Meki Lewis (37-2) beat Hillsborough senior Jack Donnadio 4-1 for the 138-pound title after winning the region title at 132 last season. Bound Brook freshman 106-pounder Joe Casey opened the finals with a 6-5 win over Hunterdon Central freshman Hunter Graf.
Pomrinca takes another
After a second and third at the regions his freshman and sophomore seasons, North Hunterdon’s unbeaten senior 126-pounder Ryan Pomrinca finished the region part of his career with his second title. Pomrinca beat Somerville junior Evan Drill 3-1. Pomrinca was third in the state last season at 126 and was seventh as a freshman at 113.