Schade, Migliaccio, Matthews, Kratch --and WMC-- Win Silver
Cory Fleming and Jesse Windt won their first NJSIAAA District 1 wrestling championships Saturday, leading West Morris Central High School to a second place team finish. Nine Wolfpack wrestlers qualified for Regions.
John Schade, David Migliaccio and Adam Kratch took 2nds, as did two-time defending champion Nick Matthews.
Dylan Luciano, Brandon Carcuffe and John Sickles also advance to the Regions with 3rd place finishes.
Reflecting on his one-point loss in last year’s finals, Fleming said “it was very upsetting the way I lost, and I wasn’t going to let what happened last year happen again.”
“I have had only one goal this entire year and that is to wrestle in Atlantic City,” said Fleming. For the nine Wolfpack wrestlers advancing, it will take a top-3 finish at Regions this week to advance to the States in Atlantic City. As Fleming explained, “I don’t care where I place in Regions as long as it’s top 3.”
Fleming was also thrilled to have eight teammates join him at Regions. “Five years ago, nobody made it to Regions. So this just goes to show we have come a long way as a team, and that is thanks to [head Coach Ken] Rossi and all the coaches.” Jim Balella, Chris Marold, John Barnett and Jeremy Adickes are the WMC Assistant Coaches.
This is the first time in a decade that the Wolfpack could boast two District Champions. Justin Joyner and Jason Rodgers last accomplished the feat in 2002. Last year, Matthews was the first WMC wrestler to qualify for States since Jonathan Hey in 1995.
Windt adds the District crown to his Morris County Championship earlier this year. Both Windt and Fleming took gold in the West Morris Central Tournament.
Phillipsburg recorded its state-record 40th District crown by besting WMC 231.5-163 in team score. The home team, Warren Hills, placed third with 160.5. Belvidere had 109 team points, followed by Mount Olive (91), Mendham (64), Hackettstown (49) and North Warren (39).
WMC tied Phillipsburg in total qualifiers with nine, but the Warren County powerhouse took five gold medals, three silvers and one bronze.
In the finals, Fleming defeated North Warren’s Matty Ritchie 12-8, raising his season record to 33-7. Windt, also 33-7, triumphed over Warren Hills’ Ryan Witner with an 8-0 major decision.
Schade, who was a four-seed, defeated top-seeded CJ Miele from Mt. Olive in the semi-finals before falling to Phillipsburg’s Brandon Paetzell in the finals. Schade’s now 22-12 on the year – but he’s 16-7 since dropping from 113 lbs. to 106.
Migliaccio, now 27-11, pinned his way into the finals, defeating Phillipsburg’s Tylor Petchonka to secure silver.
Matthews, 36-4, defeated North Warren’s Mason Ryzoff Ryzoff for his silver, before being upset in the finals. But like Fleming, he’s stated that his goals focus on Atlantic City, and this 2nd place finish punches his ticket for the next leg of that journey.
Kratch triumphed over Ryan Ostir of Warren Hills to win silver, raising his record to 32-8 and sending him to Regions for the first time.
Luciano defeated Hackettstown’s Joe Renne by forfeit to take bronze, while Sickles pinned Belividere’s David Harris to qualify.
In perhaps the tournament’s toughest bracket, Carcuffe was predicted (as the 4th seed) to fall short of qualifying, despite his 30-7 record. But Carcuffe won the bronze in triple-overtime over Phillipsburg’s 2nd seeded Andrew Kaluzny, thrilling the Long Valley faithful.
On Friday, nine of 13 WMC wrestlers won their quarter-finals matches to stay alive in the tournament. On Saturday, all of the Wolfpack wrestlers accomplished their primary goal, as nine out of nine qualified for the Regions.
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