UNION, NJ - The NJSIAA Region 3 wrestling tournament got underway Wednesday with the preliminary round held at Union High School. 122 wrestlers competed in 14 weight-classes to try to advance to the quarterfinals on Friday.
“The tournament is always very difficult,” New Providence head coach Gary Bremer said. “It’s that time of year where anything can happen, so you work hard all year, you catch a little luck and hope for the best.”
Starting with the 106 lbs. weight-class Pioneer freshman Tyler Gazaway walked away with the win after pinning his opponent in the second period. Chatham sophomore Emanuel Rodriguez took his match into double-overtime but fell to his opponent by a score of 9-5.
The 113 lbs. class saw another match go into double-overtime with Governor Livingston’s Joe Colder advancing to the next round with an 8-6 decision. Millburn freshman John Serruto also advanced with a 6-2 victory, and will face the top seed in the weight-class.
Governor Livingston had junior Ryan Hoy competing in the 132 lbs. class but Hoy lost in a 10-5 decision to Highland Park’s Joseph Zecca.
Chatham’s head coach, Brian Cassera, had high expectations for junior Dylan Mulcahy and Mulcahy came away a winner in the round by way of pin with only a second left in the second period. Mulcahy will now face undefeated Anthony Ashnault of Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School in the next round.
“Dylan has had a great year,” Cassera said.
Senior Dan Smith from New Providence (145 lbs.) found himself behind his opponent from Barringer High School but rallied for an 8-4 decision.
“Dan is a hard worker in practice so we knew he would be ok,” Bremer said. “He works hard and has always been so dedicated and he doesn’t give up.”
The 160 lbs. weight-class saw Summit’s first wrestler of the day hit the mat - - junior Colum Dougerty. However, Dougerty was shut out by Cranford’s James Dwyer, 5-0.
Joe Cirrocca of New Providence in the 170 lbs. class fell to his opponent from Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School by an 8-4 decision.
Madison's Matt Fastiggi, a senior in the 182 lbs. weight-class was pinned 1:42 into his match against the top seed.
Millburn junior Matt Policarpio, in the 195 lbs. class, was pinned 85 seconds in to his match.
Madison junior, Donovan Mantone, in the 220 lbs. weight-class, came away with a 9-0 victory.
In the highest weight-class (285 lbs.), Millburn’s Josh Jimenez fell by a score of 6-2, eliminating him from further consideration.
Four wrestlers per weight-class received a bye into the quarter-finals including Governor Livingston seniors Jon Mele (120 lbs.) and Shane Haddad (195 lbs.), Summit seniors Nicholas Abbott (132 lbs.) and Aanthony Iarussi (220 lbs.), and Millburn senior Dylan Pollock (138 lbs.).
Mele, Haddad and Iarussi all hold the top seed in their respective weight-classes with Iarussi going into the tournament with a 39-0 record.