WHRHS and NPHS Advance Wrestlers to Regional Tournament

Credits: Mak Ojutiku

SOUTH PLAINFILED, NJ - The path to the state championships began for New Jersey high school wrestlers this weekend, where 42 wrestlers from District 12 earned a right to move on to wrestle in the next weekend’s Region 3 tournament at Union High School.

Watchung Hills Regional High School advanced seven wrestlers including two District #12 Champions, Alex Murray at 145lbs and Michael Terpack at 170lbs.  North Plainfield High School advanced four wrestlers to the next round, including District #12 champion at 195lbs JT Valley.

District Tournament host South Plainfield dominated the weekend, winning their 31st straight District 12 Team Title. The Tigers will be sending 11 wrestlers to next week’s region tournament. South Plainfield tied with New Providence for the most individual district champions.

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See below the results of the District 12 State tournament finals. All Top 3 finishers advance to next weekend’s region tournament.


106 lb.: (1) Danny Miller (Watchung Hills) vs. (3) Joe Heilmann (South Plainfield)

South Plainfield’s Joe Heilmann scored two points on a takedown in the first period before Danny Miller scored two on a reveral. Heilmann added a 1-point escape to lead 3-2 after one.

Following a scoreless second period, Miller earned a point when heilmann was called for stalling, to tie the match at 3-3. Heilmann rebounded to score on an escape to win the match 4-3.

Top three finishers

1. Joe Heilmann, South Plainfield HS

2. Danny Miller, Watchung Hills HS

3. Tom Dinger, Middlesex/Dunellen


113 lbs.: (1) Nicholas Mele (Gov. Livingston) vs. (3) Luke Pero (Colonial)

Colonial High School’s Luke Pero opened the scoring in the second period on a 1-point escape.

The score remained the same until the third period when Mele reversed a Pero move, earning the two points and the district title, 2-1.

Top three finishers

1. Nicolas Mele, Governor Livingston HS

2. Luke Pero, Colonial HS

3. Jake Giordano, South Plainfield HS


120 lb.: (1) Carmine Boccellari (New Providence) vs. (3) Ryan Duhamel (South Plainfield)

New Providence’s Carmine Boccellari and South Plainfield’s Ryan Duhamel wrestled to a scoreless tie through two periods until Bocdellari scored the match’s only point in the third.

Boccellari was credited with a 1-point escape in the final period to defeat Duhamel, 1-0, for the 120 lb. district championship.

Top three finishers

1. Carmine Boccellari, New Providence HS

2.Ryan Duhamel, South Plainfield HS

3. Christopher Fuschetto, Arthur L. Johnson HS


126 lb. (1) Ryan Walsh (South Plainfield) vs. (2) Jeff Johnson (Middlesex/Dunellen)

Ryan Walsh and Jeff Johnson’s 126 lb. final played out just the same as the Boccellari victory over Duhamel.

The match remained scoreless for the first two periods, with neither wrestler giving away any room to lose a point. In the third, Walsh escaped from Johnson, earning one point and the victory.

Top three finishers

1. Ryan Walsh, South Plainfield HS

2.Jeff Johnson, Middlesex/Dunellen

3. Justin Hayward, Watchung Hills HS


132 lb. (1) Kyle Bythell (South Plainfield) vs. (2) Bob Dinger (Middlesex/Dunellen)

South Plainfield’s Kyle Bythell scored two quick takedown points in the first period, but didn’t score again. Bob Dinger reciprocated Bythell’s takedown with a 2-point reversal that ended with a pin 1:52 into the match.

Top three finishers

1. Bob Dinger, Middlesex/Dunellen

 2. Kyle Bythell, South Plainfield HS

3. Austin Senkarik, Governor Livingston HS


138 lb. (1) Daniel Hedden (South Plainfield) vs. (2) Tyler Gazaway (New Providence)

Arguably the best match of the weekend occurred in the 138 lb. final between top-seeded Daniel Hedden and No. 2 Tyler Gazaway.

Gazaway trailed by as many as three points in the match. Down by two with just seconds left, the New Providence grappler took down Hedden to force overtime.

During the extra period, Gazaway scored another two points on a takedown to take the district title, 6-4.

Following the championship matches, Gazaway was awarded the District 12 Most Outstanding Wrestler award for the 2014-15 season.

"It geels good" Gazaway said "It's a tough district and it means a lot."

Top three finishers

1. Tyler Gazaway, New Providence

 2. Daniel Hedden, South Plainfield HS

3. Dominick Mulhearn, North Plainfield HS


145 lb. (1) Alex Murray (Watchung Hills) vs. (2) Turner Haddad (Gov. Livingston)

Watchung Hills’ Alex Murray dominated Gov. Livington’s Turner Haddad from the opening whistle. Murray took a 4-0 lead into the second period following a 2-point takedown and a 2-point cradle.

In the middle period, Murray scored nine more points on an escape, a takedown, and then six on different pinning maneuvers.

Murray ended up taking the match on a major decision, 15-0.

Top three finishers

1. Alex Murray, Watchung Hills HS

2. Turner Haddad, Governor Livingston HS

3. Frank Ferraro, South Plainfield HS


152 lb. (1) Neo Joe Lughas (Plainfield) vs. (2) Stephen Tyls (Watchung Hills)

Plainfield’s Neo Joe Lughas led from start to finish, taking down Tyls five times during the match, including twice in the first and second periods.

Trailing 4-1 in the second period, Tyls scored five points in the middle frame, but couldn’t hold Lughas away. Watchung Hills’s grappler topped Tyls total by added seven points.

Leading 11-6 in the third, Lughas earned escape and takedown points in the third. His takedown ended the match as Tyls was forced to forfeit due to an ankle injury suffered in the second.

Top three finishers

1. Neo Joe Lughs, Plainfield HS

2. Stephen Tyls, Watchung Hills HS

3. Connor Morang, New Providence HS


160 lbs. (1) Daniel Kouracos (New Providence) vs. (3) Jordan Handwerger (South Plainfield)

New Providence’s Daniel Kouracos took Jordan Handwerger down twice in the opening period, to cruise to his 100th career victory.

Kouracos added a reversal in the third, defeating Handwerger 6-1.

Top three finishers

1. Daniel Kouracos, New Providence Hs

 2. Jordan Handwerger, South Plainfield HS

3. Wilson Urgilez, Watchung Hills HS


170 lb.  (1) Michael Terpack (Watchung Hills) vs. Nicholas DiFrancesco (South Plainfield)

Michael Terpack scored three points in the second period on a takedown and an escape proved just enough to beat Nicholas DiFrancesco.

DiFrancesco attempted a comeback in the waning seconds of the middle frame and in the third, but only mustered two escape points, falling 3-2.

Top three finishers

1. Michael Terpack, Watching Hills HS

 2. Nicholas DiFrancesco, South Plainfield HS

3.  Azan Mohammed, North Plainfield HS


182 lb. (1) Rohan Phillip (Plainfield) vs. Christian Gonzales (South Plainfield)

Rohan Phillips scored two points on a reversal that led to a pin in the third period to defeat South Plainfield’s Christian Gonzalez.

Phillips led early on a first period takedown, but Gonzales fought back with an escape in the opener, then a takedown in the second period.

Trailing 4-3, Gonzales earned another escape point late in the period to tie the score at 4-4 going into the final period.

Phillips’ at the 4:11 point of the match.

Top three finishers

1. Rohan Phillip, Plainfield HS

2. Christian Gonzales, South Plainfield HS

3. Ben Gomes, Watchung Hills HS


195 lb. (1) James Valley (North Plainfield) vs. (2) Ajeet Seenivasan (Rutgers Prep)

North Plainfield’s James Valley led the 195 lb. final from start to finish, ending the match in the second period via pin fall.

Valley scored two points in the opening period with a takedown. Then in the second, was credited with a 1-point escape and a 2-point takedown. Seenivasan escaped another Valley attack, before eventually being pinned 3:29 into the match.

Top three finishers

1. James Valley, North Plainfield HS

 2. Ajeet Seenivasan, Rutgers Prep HS

3. Matt Hode,Middlesex/Dunellen


220 lb. (1) Amir Sa'id (North Plainfield) vs. (6) Dakota Pauls (South Plainfield)

South Plainfield’s Dakota Pauls never led in the 220 lb. final until the final whistle.

Amir Sa’id took a two point lead in the second period on a reversal before Pauls cut the lead in half a little while later with an escape point.

In the third period, Pauls earned a 1-point escape to force the match into overtime. In the extra session, Pauls took down Sa’id in the extra session to win 6-2.

Top three finishers

1. Dakota Pauls, South Plainfield HS

2. Amir Sa'id, North Plainfield HS

3. Jake Sweeny, Middlesex/Dunellen


285 lb. (1) Sean Tomlinson (Gov. Livingston) vs. (2) Edson Flores (Middlesex/Dunellen)

The 285 lb. final took four overtimes to decide, but in the end, it was Gov. Livingston’s Sean Tomlinson who took home the crown in the extra session technicality.

Starting in the down position during the fourth OT, Tomlinson won the match by not allowing Middlesex/Dunellen’s Edson Flores to escape or reverse the position, earning the 3-2 victory.

Flores held the early lead, grabbing a 1-point escape in the second period. Tomlinson tied the match in the third period with his own escape to force overtime.

The duo traded escape points in the second and third sessions before Tomlinson picked up the ultimate tie breaking victory.

Top three finishers

1. Sean Tomlinson, Governor Livingston HS

2. Edson Flores, Middlesex/Dunellen

3. Antwan Wilson, Plainfield HS

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