SOUTH BRUNSWICK, NJ – Seven East Brunswick wrestlers lived to see the second leg of the NJSIAA Individual Wrestling Championships.
Mitchell Polito (106 lbs.) and Mark Schleifer (120 lbs.) each took home District 20 first place medals, while five other Bear grapplers finished in the top three. Based on the complete standings, the entire program placed third in the district team championships.
Alec Gleason (126 lbs.), Jason Minikel (160 lbs.) and Damien Ruiz (195 lbs.) each took home second place medals, while Matt Miskanic (170 lbs.) and Taylor Tiongson (220 lbs.) won consolation final matches to finish third.
Top-seeded Polito had one of the easiest district tournaments a wrestler can have, finishing his run to the title with two pins in three matches. The lone non-pin outcome came in the 106 lb. championship match when the sophomore beat Old Bridge’s Jake Wiatroski by a 10-0 major decision.
In the 120 lb. bracket, Schleifer edged top-seed Stephen Nadera (Old Bridge) in a 4-3 decision to take home the district title. Earlier in the quarterfinal round, Schleifer picked up a quick pin in the first minute of the match, leading to a 7-0 decision in the semifinals to set up his heroic championship victory.
Gleason reached the 195 lb. finals after picking up two technical fall victories in his quarterfinal and semifinal matches before getting beat by Monroe’s Nick Lombard in the finals.
No. 4 seeded Minikel shocked the gym in the semifinals of the 160 lb. bracket when the East Brunswick junior beat top-seeded Quinn Ciesielski (South River) to advance to the district final. Minikel was pinned by Monroe’s Jared Parisen in the 160 lb. final.
Before falling to South Brunswick’s Max Rhoden in the 195 lb. final, Damien Ruiz upset No. 2 Javon Mercado in an “ultimate tie break” deciding semifinal match.
Miskanic earned his spot in the region tournament by pinning South River’s Kyle Baszak in the 170 lb. consolation final, while Tiongson won a 7-2 decision to receive his medal and advancement.
Overall in the tournament, half of East Brunswick’s participants placed in the top three of their weight class, advancing to the Region 5 tournament. To reach the NJSIAA Championships in Atlantic City, the Bears need to again place in the top 3 of their weight class in the region tournament.
The Region 5 tournament takes place this week at Hunterdon Central.