ATLANTIC CITY, NJ - Greetings from Boardwalk Hall, the site for the NJSIAA Wrestling State Championship.
On Friday night, 336 wrestlers came from all across the state to compete for a spot on the coveted eight-man podium. After two days of intense wrestling, only 112 wrestlers remain.
We will bring you continuous updates from today's consolation finals matches (ranging from 3rd place to 8th place competitors), as well as three state championship matches featuring Pat Glory from Delbarton (106 pounds), Craig De La Cruz from Summit (132 pounds) and Marc McDonald from West Essex (220 pounds).
Summit senior Craig De La Cruz had never lost a state title match in his four year career. That streak ended in Sunday’s 132-pound final, as De La Cruz failed to grab a reversal or escape point in the third period that would have tied the score.
The two-time state champion had an opportunity at an escape in the third, but chose to go for a reversal instead. His decision proved costly as he never gained control of the match in the period.
Delbarton freshman and Randolph native Pat Glory won both the Region 3 and District 9 championships by beating Hanover Park’s Gerard Angelo.
During Sunday’s 106-pound championship bout, Angelo got his revenge. Leading 4-2 after a third period takedown, Angelo survived a late Glory push for points to win the state final.
Glory never led in the match, but managed to tie the score in the opening seconds of the second period with a 1-point escape. Later in the third period, down a point with 30 seconds left, the Delbarton freshman couldn’t grab the tying point, leading to his defeat.
West Essex's Marc McDonald fell just short of winning the state championship in the 220-pound class, losing to Christian Colucci of St. Peter's Prep in the final, 3-0.
McDonald fell behind almost immediately. Colucci made a quick move five seconds in to grab the lead.
To start the second period McDonald fell behind 3-0 on a Colucci escape. Near the end of the second period, he was in position to get some points back but time ran out.
Neither wrestler was able to score in the third period.
State championship matches have begun at Boardwalk Hall.
The matches started with the 152-pound final and will continue all the way to the 145-pound championship.
West Essex’s Marc McDonald will wrestle for the top spot in the 220-pound bracket in approximately 15 minutes, followed by Delbarton’s Pat Glory (106 pounds), then finally Summit’s Craig De La Cruz will try and bring him his third straight state title.
All consolation final matches have been completed. The main floor is being setup for the state championship round, which will begin between 3 and 3:30 p.m.
Newton’s Gus Protogeropoulus waited until the final seconds of overtime to make one of the best moves of his high school career.
With time winding down to single digits, Protogeropoulus took down his opponent, Mauro Altamura from Hasbrouck Heights/Woodridge, as the pair were going out of bounds. The Newton senior kept himself in bounds just long enough to earn two points and the seventh spot on the podium in the 195 pound class.
Bridgewater-Rariton junior Kyle Murphy ended his season with a 3-1 win over Dominic Maniero of St. Joseph’s (Montvale) in the 170-pound seventh place match.
After a feeling each other out for most of the first period, Murphy looked to go ahead but his takedown was after they both left the circle. The first period ended in a 0-0 draw.
Murphy quickly fell behind 1-0 on an escape to start the second. Even he worked his way into position and with a leg-grab took Maniero down to grab the 2-1 lead.
Starting the third period down, Murphy went up 3-1 with an escape and kept Maniero from gaining an advantage to close out the match.
West Orange’s Chris Murphy ended his scholastic career with a 7-2 win in the 182-pound fifth place match over Vinnie Maniero from St. Joseph’s (Montvale).
Going up 4-2 after the first two periods, Murphy almost gave away the lead. Instead Murphy slipped his leg out of Maniero’s grasp for the escape to pull ahead 5-2.
With another takedown after a brief blood stoppage, Murphy was able to hold on to the win for his best finish at the NJSIAA Wrestling Championships.
Cranford’s Nico Cappello didn’t even have to wrestle for the seventh spot in the 182-pound class.
Cappello’s opponent Joe Salvato from Toms River South was injured in his final wrestleback match and was unable to continue in the tournament.
This was Cappello’s first Top 8 finish in two tries. The junior joins Gavin Murray as the second Cranford wrestler to place in the state championships. Murray finished fifth in the 152 pound bracket.
Cranford’s Gavin Murray did away with an escape point in the second period of his fifth place consolation match. Instead, from the down position, the senior reversed opponent Jake Maxwell to the floor, earning the match-changing two points.
Maxwell broke free a minute later to earn an escape point and cut Murray’s lead to 2-1.
In the third, Murray held Maxwell from getting tying the score by grabbing his opponent’s feet at the last second to seal a 2-1 fifth place finish.
Edison’s William Povalac fell one point short of Pineland’s Thomas Poklikuha in the third place consolation final.
Trailing 5-2 in the final minute, Povalac earned to separate escape points to the pull the match within a single point. However, he was never able to grab the tying tally.
After a scoreless first period, Poklikuha earned three points in the opening minute of the second on an escape then a takedown. Povalac managed an escape point in the final minute of the middle period leading to his comeback attempt.
Povalac finishes fourth in the class.
Delbarton’s Nick Farro couldn’t overcome an early deficit to lost 7-2 in the 132 pound fifth place match to Michael VanBrill of Clearview.
Tied through the first 90 seconds, VanBrill grabbed the first points of the match with a takedown and would lead 2-0 after the first period.
In the second, Farro struggled to gain position. VanBrill grabbed hold of Farro’s leg standing and was able to pick up another take down.
Farro went into the final period down 5-1 and was unable to get any momentum and was only able to escape once more before the match ended.
Roxbury’s Troy Stanich lost in his 120 pound fifth place match 7-4 to Tom River South’s Owen McClave.
Stanich was shaken up in the first minute after a McClave takedown, with upper chest discomfort and down 7-1 after the first period.
Slowly working his way back in the match Stanich caught a break with the match stopping with McClave’s nose bleeding for an extra break.
Immediately out of the break Stanich got a takedown and was in position to attempt a pin but time ran out of the second period, still trailing 7-3.
Starting the third period down, Stanich got a point for getting out but could not complete the comeback to lose to McClave 7-4.
Randolph senior AJ Vindici picked up an double overtime victory over Jackson Liberty’s Michael Russo.
After wrestling to a scoreless tie through regulation, Vindici picked up three back points in the final 10 seconds of the first overtime period. Leading 3-0 in the second extra period, Vindici kept Russo away from any scoring chances.
Vindici’s victory reciprocate’s Russo’s quarterfinal win over the Randolph senior on Saturday.
Next update will be the 120 pound bout featuring Roxbury’s Troy Stanich.
Morris Knolls’ junior Garrett O’ Shea took Mat 3 for his third place match against St. Peter’s Prep junior Alec Kelly.
The first period was mostly neutral, with Kelly getting slight control in the final 30 seconds, but failed to register a point.
Kelly started the second frame in the down position, where he earned the match’s first point on an escape. He added a two point takedown with less than a minute to go in the period.
In the third, O’Shea tried to reciprocate the escape, but never broke free from Kelly. The St. Peter’s Prep grappler held O’Shea to the ground following a neutral restart and ultimately won the match 3-0.
O’Shea finishes in fourth place.
Update 11:20 a.m.
The consolation finals have begun with the 106 pound weight class. Our first update will come when Morris Knoll's Garrett O'Shea wrestles Alec Kelly for third place in the 113 pound class.