ATLANTIC CITY--The first day of the 2017 NJSIAA wrestling tournament is officially in the books, and three South Plainfield wrestlers have done enough to compete in tomorrow’s matches at the Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City.
Joe Heilmann and Zach DelVecchio won their way through the preliminary and pre-quarterfinal rounds to advance to Saturday’s quarterfinals, while Jake Giordano is slated to take part in the consolation wrestleback rounds.
Heilmann, a fourth-seed in the 120-pound bracket, started his tournament by taking a 13-3 major decision win over Al Desantis of Shore Regional in the preliminary rounds. The win gave the 40-1 junior Tiger a pre-quarterfinal matchup against 13th-seeded Matt Armamento of Queen of Peace. Heilmann used takedowns and back points to dominate Armamento en-route to a 12-2 major decision win.
Heilmann will see familiar competition in the quarterfinals tomorrow, as he’s slated to wrestle fifth-seeded East Brunswick senior Mark Schleifer. Heilmann previously defeated Schleifer with a 4-3 decision in this year’s GMC tournament final.
At 220 pounds, seventh-seeded DelVecchio took care of business in the preliminaries by earning an 11-3 win over Shane Carcich of Emerson Boro. The sophomore standout took on Montclair’s 10th-seed Sam Mellow in the pre-quarterfinals, and used takedowns and a near-fall to take an 8-1 victory.
In tomorrow's quarterfinals, DelVecchio will matchup with last year’s tournament runner-up and second-seeded Phillipsburg wrestler Robert Melise.
Giordano, a tenth-seed at 126 pounds, started his tournament strongly with a 6-3 win over St. Augustine’s Connor Kraus in the preliminaries, but a takedown off a scramble led to the South Plainfield senior suffering a 3-0 loss to seventh-seeded Kyle Slendorn of Howell.
Luke Niemeyer, Joe Sacco, Alex Amato, and Kyle Bythell all fell in the preliminaries. Amato put on a valiant effort in his 10-3 preliminary loss to 113 pound's top-seed Antonio Mininno (Gateway/Woodbury). Niemeyer lost a tech fall to eigth-seed Michael Taulane (Collingswood) at 195 pounds, while Sacco lost at 138 pounds to 8th-seeded Matthew Kolonia of Delaware Valley. Bythell suffered a 6-0 decision loss to seventh-seeded Garrett Beam (Queen of Peace). The first wrestleback sessions are set to kick off at 9 a.m. tomorrow, and the quarterfinals are slated to begin at noon.