#1 Jack Zaleski (Middletown South) vs. #8 Henry Wilkinson (Hunterdon Central)
#4 Christian Micikas (Hopewell Valley) vs. #5 Dylan Acevedo (Sayreville)
#3 Vincent Nadera (Old Bridge) vs. #6 Joseph Giordano (St John Vianney)
#2 Harrison Gordon (Marlboro) vs. #7 Logan Wadle (North Hunterdon)
This is a pretty balanced weight, but Zaleski is the favorite. Quarters should be very good, especially the Nadera/Giordano match, which was the D17 Final in which Nadera won 2-1 in the tiebreakers.
Despo: 1. Zaleski / 2. Giordano / 3. Nadera / 4. Gordon
#1 Jacob Venezia (Hopewell Valley) vs. #8 Julian Irizarry (South Plainfield)
#4 Aidan Shaughnessy (Rumson) vs. #5 Nicholas Ammirati (Holmdel)
#3 Justin Schifter (Manalapan) vs. #11 Desmond Pleasant (Piscataway)
#2 David Rubin (Matawan) vs. #7 Nick DeLorenzo (North Hunterdon)
The potential semifinal matchup of Schifter and Rubin would be a rematch from the SCT, won by Rubin, 9-6. I was really impressed with Schifter at the Groups. Enough that I think he makes a run here and wins from the 3-seed.
Despo: 1. Schifter (Manalapan) / 2. Venezia / 3. Rubin / 4. Shaughnessy
#1 Dean Peterson (St John Vianney) vs. #8 Chris Balzano (Manalapan)
#4 David Hussey (Middletown South) vs. #5 Deon Pleasant (Piscataway)
#3 Frank DiEsso (North Hunterdon) vs. #6 Jacob DelVecchio (South Plainfield)
#2 Jack Maida (Shore) vs. #10 Tristan Izzo (Rumson)
Yeah, I'm not picking against Peterson.
Despo: 1. Peterson / 2. Maida / 3. DiEsso / 4. DelVecchio
#1 Tyler Sagi (Old Bridge) vs. #8 Kamrin O'Neil (Matawan)
#4 Nick Canonica (Hunterdon Central) vs. #5 Gage Crater (Delaware Valley)
#3 Kendall Jordan (Piscataway) vs. #6 Daniel Delusant (North Hunterdon)
#2 Nico Diaz (St John Vianney) vs. #7 Phil Stolfa (Red Bank)
Few have tested the unbeaten freshman Sagi, so you really can't pick against someone on this kind of roll, but he should get a very good test from O'Neil. Diaz and Stolfa met two weeks ago, with Diaz taking a 4-1 win.
Despo: 1. Sagi / 2. Diaz / 3. O'Neil / 4. Canonica
#1 Anthony White (South Plainfield) vs. #8 Jack Martin (Pingry)
#4 Connor Quinn (North Hunterdon) vs. #5 Vincent DePierro (Manalapan)
#3 Zach Vasile (Marlboro) vs. #6 Michael Holland (Middletown South)
#2 Zach Weiner (Spotswood) vs. #10 Darren Figueroa (Sayreville)
White is a returning champion who has twice finished just one win away from a State medal. He repeats here on his way to finally getting on the podium in AC.
Despo: 1. White / 2. Weiner / 3. Quinn / 4. Vasile
#1 James Rodriguez (Perth Amboy) vs. #8 Jaydin Mahon (New Brunswick)
#4 Drew Doscher (North Hunterdon) vs. #5 Owen Disbrow (St Thomas Aquinas)
#3 Tanner Peake (Hunterdon Central) vs. #6 Corey Crater (Delaware Valley)
#2 Al DeSantis (Shore) vs. #10 Tyler Balent (South Plainfield)
The potential final of Rodriguez vs. DeSantis would be a matchup of 3-time AC Qualifiers. There's plenty of landmines along the way, but I think we get that, and I think DeSantis gets Shore's first Region Title since 2002.
Despo: 1. DeSantis / 2. Rodriguez / 3. Peake / 4. Disbrow
#1 Max Brignola (Rumson) vs. #9 Jake Wagner (Sayreville)
#4 Hunter Konstantoulas (Manalapan) vs. #5 Connor Doherty (St Thomas Aquinas)
#3 Evan Klimas (North Hunterdon) vs. #6 Dominic Reindeau-Krause (Princeton)
#2 Colton Washleski (Hunterdon Central) vs. #7 Adam Coleman (Matawan)
Brignola topped Washleski in a 3-1 SV thriller in the D18 Finals. Both are 2-time State qualifiers. Klimas defeated returning State qualifier Konstantoulas, 5-0, in the D20 Final. This is going to be a tough Top 4 to crack, and I think the seeds hold.
Despo: 1. Brignola / 2. Washleski / 3. Klimas / 4. Konstantoulas
#1 Michael McGhee (Shore) vs. #9 Xavier Santos (South Plainfield)
#4 Tyler Brignola (Rumson) vs. #5 Kyle Anderson (North Hunterdon)
#3 James Romaine (Princeton) vs. #6 Owen Fitzgerald (Middletown South)
#2 Anthony Romaniello (Hunterdon Central) vs. #7 Mike Malucelli (Marlboro)
This is Romaniello's 4th trip to the Regions, and he hasn't gotten past the WB1 round. You have to think he's coming in here extra fired up to get that trip to AC in his last chance. That said, I think it's a big weekend for Shore Regional and they get 2 champs after the long streak without one.
Despo: 1. McGhee / 2. Romaniello / 3. Brignola / 4. Romaine
#1 Matt Benedetti (Manalapan) vs. #8 Shay Addison (Rumson)
#4 Tyler Lagun (Delaware Valley) vs. #5 Gilbert Sosa (Perth Amboy)
#3 Jarazell Bull (New Brunswick) vs. #6 Edward Jang (Marlboro)
#2 Norman Cella (Hunterdon Central) vs. #7 Alex Abrahamsen (Montgomery)
A 6th-place finisher in the State last season, Benedetti is unbeaten and is on a mission.
Despo: 1. Benedetti / 2. Cella / 3. Bull / 4. Lagun
#1 Jack Kelly (Rumson) vs. #8 Shane Lallkissoon (Manville)
#4 James Holder (North Hunterdon) vs. #5 Dylan Waller (Manalapan)
#3 Victor Wladika (Holmdel) vs. #6 Elijah Ade-Festus (Sayreville)
#2 Marcus Petite (Piscataway) vs. #7 Alex Ipeker (Montgomery)
Ya know, I picked the Piscataway kid over Kelly in last year's Districts, and Kelly won. I picked the Piscataway kid over Kelly in the Districts this year, and Kelly won. Let me give him a little more of my good luck!
Despo: 1. Petite / 2. Kelly / 3. Holder / 4. Waller
#1 Blake Clayton (St John Vianney) vs. #9 Michael Ponenti (Rumson)
#4 Josh Beigman (Hopewell Valley) vs. #5 Alex Abarca (Manville)
#3 Nicholas Lodato (Piscataway) vs. #6 Nick Jairdullo (South Brunswick)
#2 Nathaniel Fossett (North Hunterdon) vs. #10 Alejandro Avellan (Edison)
Despo: 1. Clayton / 2. Fossett / 3. Beigman / 4. Jairdullo
#1 Gavin Claro (Manalapan) vs. #9 Ryan Bouchard (Sayreville)
#4 Alex Uryniak (North Hunterdon) vs. #5 Brian LaCross (Hopewell Valley)
#3 Liam Horan (Rumson) vs. #6 Luke Tilton (Highland Park)
#2 Thomas Renna (South Plainfield) vs. #7 Zach Zuchowski (Delaware Valley)
Claro is the only one in this weight who has made it to AC previously, but it would not surprise me to see this weight go any way at all. It's a pretty balanced field.
1. Renna / 2. LaCross / 3. Horan / 4. Claro
#1 Ian Gaburo (North Hunterdon) vs. #8 Elijah Mack (Old Bridge)
#4 Bryand Garcia (New Brunswick) vs. #5 Michael Pavlinetz (Holmdel)
#3 Joseph Porcaro (Sayreville) vs. #6 Christian Cacciabaudo (Hopewell Valley)
#2 James Nnamdi (Franklin) vs. #10 Brandon Donoghue (Hunterdon Central)
Despo: 1. James / 2. Gaburo / 3. Porcaro / 4. Donoghue
#1 Marcus Estevez (Franklin) vs. #8 Abrahim Mohamed (Piscataway)
#4 Ryan Sutter (Delaware Valley) vs. #12 Ausin Scott (South Plainfield)
#3 Liam Akers (North Hunterdon) vs. #11 Wilber Ramirez-Gomez (Edison)
#2 Keshon Davila (New Brunswick) vs. #7 Vincent Rebak (Sayreville)Estevez's only loss this season is to the State's top-ranked heavyweight, Bardyl Gashi of West Essex. He has won with bonus against all but one of his other opponents. Davila is among those that Estevez has bonused.
Despo: 1. Estevez / 2. Davila / 3. Akers / 4. Sutter