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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

C3

WRESTLERS TO WATCH STEFFEN RODRIGUEZ
Vineland Grade: Senior Weight: 170 On the cusp of making states last year, Rodriguez is fired up for his senior season.

SCHEDULES

VINELAND
Date Opponent Time 9am 6pm 9am TBD 7pm 9am 6pm 9am 6pm 9am 6pm 10am 6pm 10am Dec. 15 at Paulsboro Tournament Dec. 19 at St. Augustine Dec. 28 at Egg Harbor Township Tournament Jan. 5 Jan. 8 at North Stafford (Va.) Duals at Buena

Jan. 12 Holy Spirit, Schalick, Highland Jan. 17 Winslow Jan. 19 at Oackrest with Cedar Creek Jan. 23 Millville Jan. 26 at Hammonton with Mainland, Middle Township Jan. 30 Atlantic City Feb. 2 Feb. 4 Feb. 9 at Clearview with West Deptford at Egg Harbor Township Lower Cape May, Mainland, Delran

ED SHOCKLEY
Millville Grade: Junior Weight: 195 Big jump from 152 to 195 this year, but the talented athlete should be able to handle it.

MILLVILLE
Date Opponent Time 10am 10am 10am 5pm TBD 5pm 10am TBD 6pm 10am 6pm 10am 5pm 10am 6pm 5pm Dec. 15 at Wildwood Tournament Dec. 22 at Lower Cape May with Williamstown, Cinnaminson Dec. 28 at Overbrook Tournament

DILLAN BERGHOF
Buena Grade: Senior Weight: 145 On pace for 100 victories and a real threat to do damage in Atlantic City.

Buena’s Billy Ward (top) wrestles Timber Creek’s Ricky Carter during the Region 8 finals last year. STAFF PHOTO/CHARLES J. OLSON

Jan. 3 Jan. 5 Jan. 9

Egg Harbor Township at Kingsway Duals Atlantic City

DYLAN DOBZANSKI
Delsea Grade: Senior Weight: 170 Got a couple matches on the boardwalk last year and is poised for a big senior campaign.

Lots of optimism from local wrestling teams
By Patrick Buganski
pbuganski@thedailyjournal.com

Jan. 12 at Oakcrest with Mainland, Clearview Jan. 14 at Pennsville Jan.16 at Cumberland Jan. 19 Middle Township, Rancocas Valley, Penns Grove Jan. 23 at Vineland Jan. 26 at Kingsway with Seneca Jan. 30 St. Augustine Feb. 2 Cedar Creek, Audubon, Woodstown at Absegami Feb. 6

A team-by-team look at high school wrestling in the Greater Cumberland County area:

VINELAND
Coach: Dave Homiak (5th year) Conference: Cape-Atlantic League American Conference Group: IV South Last year: 12-9 Returning letterwinners: 10 Key returners: Josh Pineda (Soph., 106); Jor-EL Cartegena (Sr., 113); Zach Nealis (Soph., 120); Danny DeTetta (Sr., 126); Josh Rizzo (Soph., 132); Luis Andrion (Sr., 138); Devin Cloud (Jr., 170); Steffen Rodriguez (Sr., 170/182); Tiawahn Cosby (Soph., 182/ 195); Ben Henderson (Sr., 220). Top newcomers: Raekwon Ortiz (Jr., HWT); Kevin Forcinito (Jr., 152). Outlook: Optimism is very high in the Fighting Clan wrestling room. Four 20-win wrestlers return from last year and there’s around seven who could hit that mark this season. In all, Vineland returns five region qualifiers, including District 31 champion Rodriguez, who is going to try to make a run at 170 this winter. The strength of the lineup is down low. From 106 to 138, the Fighting Clan boast plenty of experience. Pineda, Nealis and Rizzo each made it to Region 8 as freshmen. But when it comes to freshmen, no one was as impressive as Cosby last year. He won 28 matches as an upperweight. Homiak said Cosby has slimmed down but added muscle at the same time, and could even drop down to 182, where he will be an imposing physical presence. There are still holes to fill throughout the lineup. Vineland lost a pair of 20-win wrestlers in Jonathon Rodriguez and Eugene Maisonave from last year. The good news is the depth and numbers are the best Homiak has seen, so there’s plenty of flexibility in the lineup. After a near miss on qualifying for the postseason on a paperwork technicality, Vineland is as hungry as ever too. Prediction: Vineland should be a muchimproved team and the record should show it. The playoffs are within reach and the individual part of the season should be very fun for the Fighting Clan.

TOM GATTINELLA
St. Augustine Grade: Senior Weight: 120 Senior leader for the Hermits and a returning state tournament qualifier.

JESSE SWOPE
Cumberland Grade: Senior Weight: 120 If healthy, the former district champion could have a nice senior season.

Key returners: Luis Rivera (Soph., 113); Sal Marandino (Sr., 120); Billy Ward (Sr., 126); Chaz Bramble (Soph., 132); Jarrett Pierotti (Sr.,145/152); Dillan Berghof (Sr.,145); Kris Albert (Jr., 160); Elijah Brown (Sr., 170); Joe Fabrizio (Soph., 182); Nick Sherman (Sr., 195); Nick Caporale (Jr., 220). Top newcomers: Justin Inman (Fr.,120/126); Ty Warren (Sr., HWT); Ronnie Hawk (Fr., 106). Outlook: Buena came together late last year to make a nice run in the playoffs, nearly upsetting Delsea in the Group II South finals. It’s typical for a Buena team to bloom late, but this year, most of those wrestlers who starting kicking it into gear are back. Castellari, who notched his 300th career victory last year, is excited about the overall experience and depth of the team. Of course there’s Ward, a former state place winner who won his 100th match last season, and Berghof, who is on pace for his 100th win this season. This is Ward’s last chance to become Buena’s first state champion. There’s also a host of solid returners like Marandino, Rivera and Bramble. But what gives the Chiefs the most hope is that most of the upperweights return with a year of experience under their belts. Warren is a newcomer to the high school mats but he’s an experienced wrestler and should provide a nice boost up top as well. At Buena, holes in the lineup don’t stay holes for long. Castellari always finds a way to make his kids wrestle tough by the end of the year, and with so many kids who were new for the varsity lineup last year returning now, hopes are high. Prediction: Buena will be a contender throughout the year, but a drop down to Group I puts them in the cross hairs of Paulsboro when the playoffs roll around. Still, Buena should be a strong team with plenty of individuals making deep runs.

As for this year, the Hermits have a couple major holes to fill with the school’s all-time wins leader — Joe Esposito — and a 100match winner in Mark Patterson now graduated. St. Augustine has quality returners up and down the lineup though, led by Gattinella, a returning state qualifier. Wrestlers such as Sentman, Donahue and Bennett were on the cusp of making it to Atlantic City last year too and will look to take the next step this winter. Numbers are the problem right now for the Hermits. There’s a body at every weight, and every wrestler has some level of experience, but the depth isn’t quite where Ward would like it to be. Two question marks are 113 and 195 right now. Still, the Hermits are looking to not only reach their second straight sectional final, but to win this time. Last year, the Prep fell to Christian Brothers Academy in the final. Prediction: The Hermits should be about where they were last year, and in the CAL, it’s hard to predict how many wins that will give them because it’s a grind. Don’t sleep on the Prep though, and expect a nice individual showing.

Feb. 13 Schalick

BUENA
Date Opponent Time 4pm 9am 7pm 9am 9am 9am 7pm 7pm 7pm 10am 7pm 7pm 7pm 7pm TBD TBD 10am Dec. 14 at Battle at the Beach at Indian River H.S. (Del.) Dec. 15 at Battle at the Beach at Indian River H.S. (Del.) Dec. 19 Holy Spirit Dec. 22 at Beast of the East at Univ. of Delaware Dec. 23 at Beast of the East at Univ. of Delaware Dec. 28 at Hunterdon Central Tournament Jan. 2 Jan. 8 Jan. 9 Ocean City Vineland St. Joseph

Jan. 12 at Absegami with Jackson, Kingsway Jan. 14 at Middle Township Jan. 16 at Lower Cape May Jan. 19 at Haddonfield Jan. 23 Cedar Creek Jan. 25 at Moorestown Duals Jan. 26 at Moorestown Duals Feb. 2 at Southern with Williamstown, Raritan

SCHALICK
Coach: Mike Cullen (1st year) Conference: Tri-County Classic Group: Group I South Last year: 16-6 Returning letterwinners: Key returners: Newt Richardson (Jr., 126); John Gallo (Soph., 120); Carl Hitzelberger (Sr., 160); Pat Burns (Soph., 113); Josh Zeeman (Soph.,195); Deon Henry (Sr.,145); Dylan Manno (Sr., 145). Top newcomers: Joe Pyfer (Soph., 170); Nick Crisafulli (220); Ryan Cartwright (HWT); Tyler Castellini (Soph., 195); Ben Beckett (Fr., 106); Justin Rahl (132); Cosmo Pirozzi (Fr., 135); Gerald Gilchrist (130). Outlook: Cullen inherits a team in pretty good shape after winning 16 matches last year. Former coach Justin Martin is now at Cumberland. The Cougars actually return quite a bit despite losing state place winner Nick Pustizzi. Richardson and Gallo are the team’s best hopes for state qualifiers and both are returning district champions. But with seven solid returners throughout the lineup, Schalick isn’t looking like a team that’s going to slump after a strong season. Most the returning wrestlers are in the lower weights and a lot of the upper weights are actually first-year wrestlers, so matchups could play a key role for the Cougars in close matches. The middle weights might not be household names, but they are experienced wrestlers and should be able to pick up plenty of points. Because of the lack of experience outside the lowerweights, depth could be an issue, and the Cougars will need to stay healthy if they want to pick up where they left off a season ago. Prediction: The Cougars are excited about who is returning and with good reason, so expect the win total to be about the same and look for more Schalick wrestlers to make deep individual runs.

DELSEA
Date Opponent Time 7pm 7pm 10am TBD 7pm TBD 7pm 10am 7pm TBD 3pm TBD TBD Dec. 19 Triton Dec. 21 at West Deptford Dec. 22 Pennsville, Washington Township, Barnegat Dec. 28 at Brick Memorial Mustang Classic Jan. 4 Jan. 5 Jan. 9 at Paulsboro at Kingsway Duals at Clearview

NEWT RICHARDSON
Schalick Grade: Junior Weight: 126 Two-time fourth-place finisher at regions is hungry to make his first trip to the state tournament.

DELSEA
Coach: Greg Saywer (10th year, 152-47) Conference: Tri-County Conference Royal Division Group: Group II South Last year: 22-2 Returning letterwinners: 10 Key returners: Tom Carney (Soph., 113); John Hennelly (Sr.,152); Dylan Dobzanski (Sr., 170); Bryan Dobzanski (Jr., 220); Victor DeFrance (Soph., 160); Kevin Huck (Soph., 113); David Gresk (Sr., 160); John Pierson (Jr., 138). Top newcomers: John Hassett (Fr., 106); Dom DeMarco (Fr., 145); Cody Ruppert (Sr., 195); Rian Lamanteer (Sr., 132). Outlook: Most teams are considered to be stacked when they return three state tournament qualifiers like Delsea does. But considering the Crusaders lost two more, it’s not as if the lineup is devoid of question marks coming off a state final appearance and conference title. Still, Sawyer likes his squad. There are no real holes in the lineup despite losing seven seniors from a year ago. Also, the kids waiting in the wings for those spots to open up are some pretty good wrestlers. That’s what happens when you’ve built a program such as Delsea’s. Hennelly and the Dobzanski cousins return with Atlantic City experience. Bryan Dobzanski was third in the state at 195 last year as a sophomore and likely represents the area’s best chance at a state champion. All three could be on the podium in March though. Cumberland transfer Lamanteer is a nice boost in the middleweights and Delsea should also see an immediate impact from the couple of freshman in the lineup with Hassett and DeMarco. The only thing really working against Delsea is the Crusaders’ title run in football. Six starters were on the Group III South championship squad and played their final game on Saturday, so they won’t be where Sawyer wants them in the lineup for a few weeks into the season. Prediction: This could be Delsea’s most balanced team in a while, and with a few hammers in the lineup to pick up six points nearly every time they step onto the mat, Delsea could make another state title run.

Jan. 12 Lenape, Willingboro, Moorestown Jan. 16 Kingsway Jan. 19 at Passaic Valley with Bound Brook, St. Peter’s Jan. 26 at Woodstown with Schalick Jan. 30 at Williamstown Feb. 2 at Middle Township with St. Augustine, Absegami

MILLVILLE
Coach: Scott Stay (9th year, 80-115) Conference: CAL American Group: IV South Last year: 15-9 Returning letterwinners: 8 Key returners: Fred DeMary (Sr., HWT); Zach Goranson (Soph., 113/120); Chad Kahn (Jr., 126/132); Obi Kali (Jr., 220); Rico Rivera (Sr.,152); Ed Shockley (Jr.,195); Sean Platt (Jr., 160); Joe Heaton (Sr., 132). Top newcomers: Javier Colon-Rivera (Sr., 182); Josh Forand (Fr., 106); Keith Mahoney (Fr., 145). Outlook: Coming off a 15-win season, the Thunderbolts are excited about their prospects. Five wrestlers who won at least 18 matches last year are returning, however, just one of those, Shockley, qualified for the Region 8 tournament. Stay is happy with the work his kids put in during the offseason though, and he is expecting plenty of improvement from his returners. Shockley, who won 27 matches last year, will likely carry the flag individually, but he’s making a big jump from 152 to 195. Stay is also expecting big things from Goranson, who is fresh off a 23-win freshman campaign. Millville’s top wrestlers are spread throughout the lineup, but depth isn’t necessarily strong, meaning the team’s hands might be tied when it comes to playing matchups when the score is tight. Stay is excited about the team chemistry though and feels the competition in the room will lead to steady improvement throughout the lineup. The Thunderbolts will need some improvement as they have beefed up the schedule a bit by adding Hunterdon Central, Williamstown and Lower Cape May. Prediction: Millville shouldn’t take a step back at all team-wise, and should fare much better when the individual part of the season rolls around. Look for multiple Millville wrestlers still alive during the weekend at regions.

ST. AUGUSTINE
Date Opponent Time 9am 7pm 10am 10am 10am 10am 7pm 7pm 10am 7pm 2pm 7pm 10am 7pm Dec. 15 at Garden State Classic at Princeton Dec. 19 Vineland Dec. 22 at Watchung Hills with Haddonfield, Raritan Dec. 28 at Brick Memorial Mustang Classic Jan. 5 Jan. 12 Jan. 14 Jan. 16 Jan. 19 Jan. 23 Jan. 26 Jan. 30 Feb. 2 Feb. 6 at Escape the Rock Tournament at Council Rock North (Pa.) Lower Cape May, West Deptford, Penns Grove Mainland at Atlantic City at Hammonton with Williamstown, Paulsboro at Egg Harbor Township Shawnee, Clearview, Pennsville Millville at Middle Township with Absegami, Delsea at Oakcrest

MATCHES TO WATCH
l Dec. 19: Vineland at St. Augustine, 7 p.m. — It’s only the first week of the season, but this one could go a long way in deciding the Cape-Atlantic League American Conference. Vineland has high hopes for the season with plenty of returners and the Hermits have to be ready to perform despite losing a couple 100-match winners and gaining a new head coach. l Jan. 4: Delsea at Paulsboro, 7 p.m. — This battle between two of South Jersey’s top programs is always a treat. It’s the first week of January, but the individual matchups could go a long way in determining seeding later in the season. l Jan. 8: Vineland at Buena, 7 p.m. — Despite their proximity, these two teams don’t wrestle often. This one could be a very exciting match as well, even though it won’t have any bearing on conference standings. l Jan. 23: Millville at Vineland, 6 p.m. — Typically this is one of the most exciting dual meets of the year regardless of what the two sides’ records are coming into the night. Last year, however, Vineland won by a healthy margin, 39-21. The Bolts are going to be out for revenge. l Feb 2: St. Augustine, Delsea, Absegami at Middle Twp. — The Hermits against Absegami is always a marquee matchup, but throwing Delsea into the mix makes this the must-see quad match of the weekend. Being so late in the season, there is likely to be plenty on the line as well.

CUMBERLAND
Coach: Justin Martin (1st year at Cumberland, 5th overall) Conference: Tri-County Royal Group: Group III South Last year: 3-18 Returning letterwinners: 7 Key returners: Jesse Swope (Sr.,120); Dan DeLuke (Sr., 152); Hector Marrera (Jr., 106); Joe Roman (Sr., 145). Top newcomers: Andrew DiJoseph (Fr., 106/113); Raymond Fralick (Fr., 145); MarQuay Richmond (Fr., HWT); Nick Andersen (Soph., 145); Dennis Garcia (Soph., 145). Outlook: Martin moves from Schalick to Cumberland, replacing Carmine Davis at the helm. He inherits a pretty young, inexperienced team, so it’s going to be a bottom-up rebuilding effort. The good news is he did basically the same thing with the Cougars and handed that program over after a 16-6 season, so history is on his side. Swope is perhaps the top returning wrestler, but he only wrestled a couple matches last season while dealing with a shoulder injury. If he can stay healthy, he is the Colts’ best chance for someone to make a deep individual run. The bulk of the returning wrestlers are in the lower weights, so that seems to be where the Colts’ strength lies. Some newcomers and younger guys will need to step up in the upper weights. Numbers are decent and the team is coming together nicely according to Martin. So the atmosphere for improvement is right. Prediction: Don’t expect the Colts to set the world on fire just yet as real improvement starts below the high school level. A good first year would include advancing a couple kids to regions and improving in the win column.

SCHALICK
Date Opponent Time 9am 6:30pm 10am 10am 6:30pm 10am 6:30pm noon 7pm 3pm 6:30pm 10am 6:30pm 6pm Dec. 15 at Pine Barrens Tournament at Shawnee Dec. 19 at Gloucester Dec. 28 at Egg Harbor Township Tournament Jan. 5 Jan. 9 Jan. 12 Jan. 16 Jan. 19 Jan. 23 Jan. 26 Jan. 30 Feb. 2 Feb. 7 at Rancocas Valley with Deptford, Audubon Penns Grove at Vineland with Holy Spirit, Highland Pitman at Kingsway with Sterling at Pennsville at Woodstown with Delsea Clayton Mainland, New Egypt, St. Joseph BCIT

ST. AUGUSTINE
Coach: Bill Ward (1st year) Conference: CAL American Group: Non-Public A South Last year: 21-9 Returning letterwinners: 9 Key returners: Tom Gattinella (Sr., 120); Jarred Hodges (Soph., 132); Ed Donahue (Jr., 126); Brandon Cirrillo (Soph., 132/138); Bill Rodgers (Soph.,152); Tyler Sentman (Sr., 170); James Bennett (Jr., 182); Tom Lynd (Soph., HWT); Patrick Russomanno (Jr., 220/HWT). Top newcomers: Colin Donahue (Fr., 106); Aaron Denesevich (Jr., 145); Jose Tabora (Fr., 152); James Brady (Fr., 160); Nick Clark (Fr., 138), Justin Welsh (220). Outlook: Ward takes over for legendary wrestler Joe Melchiore, who was relieved of his duties over the summer. It’s big shoes to fill, but Ward, a Prep graduate, has been around the sport and is well connected at the junior level, so he has what it takes to build a program.

BUENA
Coach: Doug Castellari (24th year, 30749-3) Conference: CAL National Group: Group I South Last year: 16-8 Returning letterwinners: 12

Feb. 13 at Millville

CUMBERLAND
Date Opponent Time 9:30am 7pm 9am 9am 6:45pm 10am 6:45pm 7pm 9am 5pm 9am 6:45pm 6:30pm 8am Dec. 15 at Nottingham Tournament Dec. 19 at Woodstown

PLAYOFF INFORMATION
Team playoffs: Teams will be ranked and seeded based on a power point system that judges their in-state competition. The top six rated teams in each group with at least a .500 record at the Feb. 2 deadline will qualify for the playoffs. Sectional tournaments are scheduled for Feb. 11, 13 and 15 with the team state championships on Sunday, Feb. 17 at the Pine Belt Arena at Toms River North High School. Individual tournament: Every school can enter one wrestler in each weight class, regardless of record. Districts will be held Feb. 22 and 23 with the region tournament to follow on Feb. 27, March 1 and 2.The state finals are March 8-10 at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City.

Dec. 29 at Palmyra Tournament Jan. 5 Jan. 9 Jan. 12 Jan. 16 Jan. 23 Jan. 26 Jan. 30 Feb. 2 Feb. 6 Feb. 8 Clayton, Atlantic City, Lindenwold Highland at Hammonton Tournament Millville at Deptford at Triton with Highland, Gloucester Catholic at Mainland at Overbrook with BCIT, Pitman Gloucester at Pennsville

Feb. 16 at Gateway with Pennsville, Woodstown

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