So, finally, the 2012-2013 high school wrestling season in New Jersey reaches its apex at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City this weekend.
The state championships begin tomorrow at Boardwalk Hall, continue with a very busy Saturday which includes the quarterfinals and semifinals, along with numerous rounds of wrestlebacks and concludes on Sunday with two rounds of wrestlebacks and the 14 championship matches, which should begin around 3 p.m. Unlike previous years, this season’s tournament allows for an extra round of wrestlebacks, thus moving the finals back an hour from the traditional 2 p.m. start.
Locally, Nutley will send four wrestlers to the states, and based on the seeding, a few of them have an excellent chance to leave Boardwalk Hall on Sunday with state medals.
Let’s take a look at the 14 weight classes and make some predictions.
106: Absolutley loaded class this year. Many say it may be the deepest, with a pool of incredibly talented wrestlers vying for gold. Nick Suriano of Bergen Catholic is the early favorite, but watch for his Don Bosco Prep rival, Kyle Bierdumphel to be in the mix, too. Suriano has won three straight against Bierdumphel. This time, the choice will be the Don Bosco Prep wrestler.
113: Luis Gonzalez of Don Bosco Prep came close the past two years in AC, losing in 2011 in the state final and in 2012 in the state semi, both times to Brenden Calas of Seton Hall Prep, when Gonzalez was wrestling at North Bergen. This time, Gonzalez wins his state title, making Don Bosco 2-for-2. Locally, Nutley’s Joe Ferinde will seek a medal in this division.
120: Tough class, for sure. Calas seeks a third straight state title and is the top seed. Until someone beats him in A.C., have to believe he won’t do it again. Nutley’s Bob Trombetta will go after a third state medal in this class.
126: Would like to see Dave McFadden of Wayne-based DePaul win here.
132: A final between South Plainfield’s Scott DelVecchio and Jason Estevez of Livingston would have the crowd on its feet. The choice: Estevez.
138: Barring a strange turn of events, the coronation of South Plainfield’s Anthony Ashnault should be complete. He’ll finish as the first four-time, unbeaten state champion in state history.
145: A tough weight class features Bryant Clagon of Toms River South, T.J. Miller of Camden Catholic and South Plainfield‘s Troy Heilmann. The choice: Clagon.
152: This one is wide open. The choice: Chad Walsh, Camden Catholic.
160: There isn’t one that really stands out. Let’s go with the top seed, Jonathan Schleiferof East Brunswick. Nutley’s Brandon Keena could make some noise in this weight class.
170: Will go on a limb and predict Ethan Ramos of Hawthorne to take gold.
182: Difficult not to go with Johnny Sebastian of Bergen Catholic. Nutley’s Vin Mainiero could get a medal here.
195: Defending state champion Razhonn Gross could be the third state champion from Don Bosco Prep this Sunday.
220: Troy Russell of South Plainfield will be among the favorites.
HWT: Roy Lucas of St. Joseph (Hamm) is the pick.