CELEVLAND-- It’s no secret that South Plainfield has a habit of producing highly talented wrestlers. This week, two South Plainfield High School products have been proving that fact on the biggest stage of American scholastic wrestling.
Troy Heilmann and Scott DelVecchio, both graduates of South Plainfield’s 2013 class, started off their journey in the 2018 NCAA Wrestling tournament on Thursday, and both are still competing. Strong performances from Heilmann has kept the University of North Carolina grappler alive in the championship bracket and has also secured his first ever All-American honor. DelVecchio is vying for a spot on the podium through the consolation brackets.
Heilmann was coming off winning an ACC Championship title when he entered the NCAA tournament as the fourth-seed at 149 pounds. The North Carolina wrestler powered through Tyshawn Williams of Southern Illinois University in the first round of the bracket with a 9-0 major decision. Heilmann advanced to take on Iowa State’s Jarret Degen and the former Tiger prevailed once again, this time via a 7-5 decision win.
The quarterfinals pitted Heilmann against fifth-seeded Ohio State grappler Ke-Shawn Hayes. The two battled evenly through regulation periods, and the match was eventually sent to a tiebreaker with a 1-1 scoreline. Heilmann looked to have maintained top position throughout the tiebreaker, but Ohio State threw out a challenge, arguing that Hayes should’ve earned two points for a reversal for a move early in the period. It took several minutes for the referees to come to a conclusion, but the call was upheld, and Heilmann was able to advance with a 2-1 win.
The quarterfinal win, and the All-American honors, are just another moment in a story-book season for the South Plainfield product. Heilmann went 15-15 last season, and has made the most of his senior season by going 32-4 and picking up his first ACC individual title.
Heilmann will face Penn State’s top-seeded two-time national champion Zain Retherford in the semifinals on Friday night.
DelVecchio, a senior for Rutgers University, started off his tournament in the 133-pound bracket with a 4-0 decision loss to 14th-seeded Korbin Myers (Edinboro), but the Scarlet Knight certainly bounced back from the early setback. The South Plainfield product matched up with Stanford’s Mason Pengilly in the first round of consolations and walked away with an 8-4 decision win.
Delvecchio then took on Buffalo’s 13th-seeded Bryan Lantry. Two takedowns and an escape gave the Scarlet Knight a 5-3 win. Delvecchio’s next match didn’t last very long, as he used a cradle to score a one minute pin over University of Northern Colorado’s Rico Montoya. DelVecchio will face seventh-seeded Drexel grappler Austin DeSanto in the round of 12.
Rutgers will have three other wrestlers competing in the fourth session as well. Fourth-seeded Nick Suriano will be looking to make history for the Scarlet Knights as he will be facing top-seeded Darian Cruz in the semifinals of 125 pounds. If Suriano advances he will become Rutgers’ first ever national finalist.
Sixth-seeded Richie Lewis will take on Chance Marstellar (Lock Haven) in the consolations at 165 pounds, while 15th-seeded John Van Brill will face fourth-seeded Joshua Shields at 157 pounds.