What a crazy night at Region 4 in West Orange.
While most of the top seeds advanced, as expected, to the semifinals, there was also plenty of drama in the quarterfinals on March 1.
Let’s start at heavyweight, where Patrick Andriani, my choice to win the title, needed every bit of perseverance to edge Belleville’s Nate James, 7-6, in overtime.
Andriani, the third seed, trailed, 6-4, in the closing seconds of the third period before gaining two points on a fourth stalling call against James to tie it and go into overtime.
A new rule this season says if a wrestler is tagged with four stalls, and the match goes into overtime, then the wrestler who benefited from the stalls gets to choose position, as opposed to the normal first overtime, where both wrestlers begin in neutral.
Andriani chose bottom and escaped 15 seconds into the extra session for a 7-6 win.
“That was crazy,” Passaic Valley coach Joe Benvenuti said. “But that’s the rule this year, and it helps the more aggressive wrestler.”
Livingston’s Brad Krosser, the top seed at 152, trailed Andrew Ulloa, 5-4, in the closing seconds of a 152-pound quarterfinal. He escaped in the last second to tie it, then won on a take down in the first overtime, 7-5.
Newark West Side’s Samuel Jackson defeated second seeded Joseph Velardi of West Essex, 9-5, in a 160-pound bout. Jackson will be in the semifinals on Saturday morning.
A surprise at heavyweight, where top seeded Jose Marrero of Passaic Tech lost by forfeit.
West Orange and Passaic Valley each advanced four to the semifinals.
Andriani, Jala’a Darwish, Nick Armagno and Tom Dunphy all advanced for the Hornets.
Here are the semifinal matchups for Saturday. The semis start at 9 a.m., with concurrent wrestlebacks. Two more rounds of wrestlebacks will be contested, culminating with the dramatic third place bouts, before the championship round starts at 6 p.m., which is ridiculous, but what can you do? (There’s no reason to wait until 6 p.m. to start the championships).
106-Anthony DeLorenzo, Nutley, vs. Dean Caravela, Caldwell. Alec Kelly, St. Peter’s Prep vs. Isaiah Adams, West Orange.
113-Michael Russo, St. Peter’s Prep, vs. Brendon Seyfried, Newark Academy. Eric Hicks, Ft. Lee, vs. Jean DuBois, Clifton.
120-Robert Trombetta, Nutley, vs. Jordan Velez, West Orange. Tommy Heller, Livingston, vs. Marc Mastropietro, Hasbrouck Heights/Wood Ridge.
126-Anthony Giraldo, North Bergen, vs. Steve Bonsall, Newark Academy. Sonny Simonetti, St. Peter’s Prep, vs. Mohamed Farhan, Clifton.
132-Jason Estevez, Livingston, vs. Tom Dunphy, Passaic Valley. Matthew Joskowitz, Cliffside Park, vs. Connor Burkert, St. Peter’s Prep.
138-Ryan Burkert, St. Peter’s Prep, vs. Jala’a Darwish, Passaic Valley. George Lui Terrero, West Orange, vs. Roy Forys, Becton.
145-Mike Marotti, West Essex, vs. Nathaniel Garcia, Bloomfield. Chris Fitzgerald, Ridgefield Park, vs. Patrick Gerish, Newark Academy.
152-Brad Krosser, Livingston, vs. Tyler Loughlin, Becton. Carlo Zazzara, West Essex, vs. John Faugno, Glen Ridge.
160-Brandon Keena, Nutley, vs. Nick Armagno, Passaic Valley. Sean Roesing, Secaucus, vs. Samuel Jackson, Newark West Side.
170-James Kellner, St. Peter’s Prep, vs. Christopher Morgan, West Orange. Kyle Christiansen, Bloomfield, vs. Nathan Bueno, Becton.
182-Vin Mainiero, Nutley, vs. Jordan Fox, St. Peter’s Prep. Charles O’Connell, Secaucus, vs. Frank Greco, Verona.
195-Jake Regina, Rutherford, vs. Marc McDonald, West Essex. Mauro Altamura, Hasbrouck Heights, vs. Christian Colucci, St. Peter’s Prep.
220-Armond Cox, St. Peter’s Prep, vs. Peter Burbank, Nutley. Emmanuel Soriano, PCT, vs. Vin Cordasco, Cedar Grove.
HWT-Jose Palomino, St. Peter’s Prep, vs. Nathanael Louis, West Orange. Patrick Andriani, Passaic Valley, vs. Adrian Oceguera, Union City.