2017 DISTRICT 18 PREVIEW
DISTRICT 18 @ Red Bank Regional
Teams: Bound Brook, East Brunswick, Hopewell Valley, Keyport, Manville, Montgomery, North Brunswick, Piscataway, Red Bank Regional, Rutgers Prep
You have four teams here coming off strong post-season runs in NJ2G5 champ Piscataway, NJ2G1 finalist Bound Brook, CJG3 finalist Hopewell Valley, CJG1 finalist Manville. When it comes to the team title race it could get interesting. Obviously Bound Brook has it's big guns who will rack up points, but East Brunswick has its share of solid scorers as well, as does Piscataway. Hopewell is balanced and could make things interesting if they can get the most placers.
106: Top-seeded Chris Lanciano of HV is a strong favorite here, he went 29-3 during the season wrestling up at 113 pounds. EB's Matt Wendell leap-frogged Jonathan Ahorrio of Manville for the #2 seed on the strength of 8-7 decision back at the East Brunswick Invitational 3rd place match in December. This will be a tough Top 3 for the rest of the field to crack.
113: EB's top-seeded Mitchell Polito is a 2-time District Champ, a returning R5 champ, and was a win away from a medal in AC last season. He enters the tournament undefeated and is a strong favorite to capture title #3 here.
120: Another accomplished entrant for the East Brunswick Bears. Mark Schleifer is a 2-time D20 champ, a 1-time R5 champ, a 2-time State qualifier, and a 6th place medal winner in last year's State Tournament. Another strong favorite here in a tournament where there will be a lot of them.
126: East Brunswick really brings it down low. Another top-seed for the Bears, this time it's Alec Gleason, a 2-time D20 runner-up, that placed 4th in R5 last season. There were a couple seed jumps here as Montgomery's Emmanuel Perera went from a #5 pre-seed to #2 after a 3-2 win over HV's Justin Venezia last Saturday. North Brunswick's Cesar Lopez climbed from #6 to #4 via a pinfall over Charles Phillips of Rutgers Prep.
132: No returning medal winners, and only the top 3 seeds have winning records: #1 Spencer Brost (HV / 15-13), #2 Shane Demeter (Manville / 23-7), and #3 Luke Devine (RBR / 19-13).
138: And here come the Bound Brook guys. #1 Robert Cleary, a 3-time District Champ, was a 3-time State-qualifier for Edison before transferring to Bound Brook this year. He placed 7th in last year's State Tournament, avenging a R5 final loss in his 7th/8th bout. #2 Ryan Butcavage of HV placed 3rd in D17 last year, and was a win away from a medal in R5. Piscataway frosh jumped EB's Trent Stocki for the #3 seed via a 1-0 win in the GMC Tournament.
145: BB junior is a 2-time District & Region champ, and placed 7th twice at States. He'll be the strong favorite here. He met #2 TJ Caswell of Manville in the finals of the Somerset County Tournament and scored a 7-0 win, one of only two losses for Caswell, who placed 3rd in D18 last year, and 4th in R5.
152: The top seed here is defending State Champion, and Rutgers-bound Stephen Glasgow of Bound Brook. Glasgow has not lost to an NJ opponent since the State Finals, his sophomore year. The rest of the field is very solid. #2 Joseph Hatcher of Piscataway, a sophomore, was a D19 champ and state-qualifier in 2016. He enters the tournament at a perfect 28-0. 20+ match winners are in the next three slots, they are: #3 Ray Laricella (20-11) of HV, #4 Cullen McCardle (23-7) of NB, and #5 Skye Blanks (21-4) of Keyport.
160: Another of Bound Brook's returning State Champs, Mekhi Lewis is undefeated and the obvious top-seed. For his career, Lewis has won 3 Districts, 3 Regions, and has finished 1st, 3rd, and 7th in AC. Not too shabby. At 28-1, Piscataway's #2 Michael Petite is having a strong season himself, after winning D19 last season, finishing 2nd in R5, and placing 8th in AC.
#3 Kyle Marrapoldi (22-8) of Montgomery and #4 Tyler Sober (24-9) have had solid seasons, but find themselves in an unsual situation as substantial underdogs with Lewis and Petite at the top of this bracket.
170: Very deep weight, with the top 7 seeds all over .500. Jason Minikel, a D20 runner-up in 2016, earned the top-seed and holds an 8-5 win over #2 Nick Recine of Piscataway from earlier this year. Recine jumped North Brunswick's Kenny Abode (2nd D20 in 2016) in seed because of a pinfall win in the GMC Tournament. HV's Josh deDufour is a tough 4-seed, having finished 2nd in D17 last season. He draws #5 Travis Hays of Bound Brook, who placed 3rd in D18 last year, in what should be a great opener.
182: A 2-time D20 champ, a defending R5 champion, and a 4th place finisher in the State in 2016, the top-seeded George Walton will be the strong favorite here.
195: HV's Ben Markulec placed 3rd in D17 in each of his first two seasons. He's the top seed here ahead of #2 Paris Foster of Piscataway, who finished 1.5 points ahead of #3 Manville's Matt Rogalski, a 3rd place D18 finisher last year.
220: Hopewell Valley's 30-2 senior, Will Ortman, jumped from the 3-seed to the top seed by virtue of a pinfall victory over the now #2, Nicolas Ipeker of Montgomery. The Top 4 here, that includes #3 Samuel Rogers of Piscataway and #4 Taylor Tiongson of East Brunswick, all placed 3rd at Districts last year.
Hwt: Good group of heavies here, with the Top 7 all having +.500 seasons. At the top is Montgomery's Dylan D'Amore, a 5th-place finisher at States, the R5 runner-up, and D18 champ a year ago. #2 Michael Tyle was defeated, 3-1, in last year's D18 final by D'Amore, and dropped a pair of bouts to him this season. At the #3 spot is Bound Brook sophomore, Jervey Sistrunk, who Tyle defeated in the ultimate tiebreaker at the Somerset County Tournament.