South Plainfield’s junior Dan Hedden is back where he was a year ago at 126 pounds and the year before at 113. Now at 138, he’s in the quarterfinal round of the Region III Tournament at Union High School, working to get to Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City and the NJSIAA State Tournament next weekend.
The quarterfinals begin tonight at Union at 6 p.m. with semifinals scheduled for 9 a.m. Saturday, consolation finals at 2 p.m. and finals at 3 p.m.
The Region V tournament quarterfinals start at 5:30 p.m. tonight at the Hunterdon Central Fieldhouse. The tournament resumes Saturday morning with semifinals at 10 a.m. along with a first round of wrestle backs. Consolation finals should start at around 1:30 followed with finals at 3 p.m.
The top three in each weight class advance to the state tournament a week from today at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City.
On Saturday, New Providence junior Tyler Gazaway beat Hedden for the second straight time in overtime in the District 12 final at 138, a bout South Plainfield coach Kevin McCann said was very similar to last year. Last year Gazaway beat Hedden 4-3 in sudden victory, then beat Hedden again 4-3 a few days later in the region semifinals.
Hedden was thus relegated to a pre-quarterfinal round match for the seconed straight year. The Greater Middlesex Conference champ beat Delbarton’s Dan Deehan 5-0 and will face Hanover Park senior Gene Angelo in the quarterfinal round.
“He took it to him,” said South Plainfield coach Kevin McCann. “Danny was tough on his feet, tough on top and he was able to get out when he was bottom.
“Angelo’s tough, and there’s something about a senior wanting to keep his year going,” said McCann.
Hedden made the region final as a freshman, losing 12-4 to Delbarton’s two-time region champ Nick Farro. Last year, he finished third to qualify for his second state tournament. Gazaway was beaten in the region final by Delbarton’s Christian Innarella. Gazaway, the Union County Tournament champ, will face Cranford’s Dave Busch in the quarterfinals.
“The two matches Hedden has had with Gazaway were nearly exactly the same,” said McCann. “I don’t think it’s a question of him having some kind of mental block (against Gazaway), I just think he’s been unlucky.”
Scotch Plains-Fanwood senior J.T. Beirne and North Plainfield senior Dominick Mulhearn are the other locals in that weight. Both lost in the region quarterfinals last year at 138.
There are 41 returning quarterfinalists in Region V. Bridgewater-Raritan junior 132-pounder Kyle Adams 3-0 in pre-quartefinals after winning by fall Wednesday night. He’s 0-2 in quarterfinals, so a win over Princeton senior Patrick Sockler would be a milestone. Adams beat Sockler 4-2 at the season-opening Garden State Classic at Princeton in December.
Bound Brook senior Sean Glasgow, the top-seed at 152 pounds, is making his fourth quarterfinal appearance. He was beaten by graduated John F. Kennedy state runner-up Carl Buttitta 3-1 in overtime in the 145-pound final last year. Glasgow won the region title at 132 two years ago for East Brunswick and was fourth as a freshman at 132.
South River senior Tyler Burgess (126) and Voorhees junior Kyle DiNapoli (120) have made the quarterfinals for the third year and are both looking to advance to the semifinals for the first time. Burgess, who made it last year at 120 and 113 the last two years, will have to beat Somerville’s returning region runner-up Evan Drill to do it. DiNapoli, third at 113 last year, made the quarterfinals as a freshman 106-pounder. He will meet Manville’s Bobby Demeter in the quarterfinals. DiNapoli bumped up to 126 and beat Demeter’s brother Shane by technical fall Dec. 19 in the Vikings’ 33-30 season-opening win over Manville