Belleville HS wrestler Rocco Negron excels at Region 3 tournament; qualifies for state championships in Atlantic City

BELLEVILLE, NJ — Belleville High School sophomore Rocco Negron took fourth place in the 132-pound weight class at the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association’s Region 3 tournament at West Orange High School on Friday and Saturday, Feb. 25-26.

Negron qualified for the NJSIAA’s state individual championships at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, Thursday to Saturday, March 3-5. The top four finishers in each weight class at the eight state regions qualified for the state individual championships.

Negron pinned Matthew Finer, of Hackettstown, in 1:29 in the first round, but lost a 4-0 decision to Derek Bernardino, of Verona, in the quarterfinal round on Friday. Negron won by injury default over Lorenzo Caamano, of Caldwell, in the wrestleback quarterfinal round and won a 4-2 decision over Brandon John Dean, of West Morris Central, in the wrestleback semifinal round on Saturday to guarantee a berth for the state individual championships. In the third-fourth place medal bout, Negron lost by injury default over Shawn Redfield, of Warren Hills.

Sophomore Jakob Ferrer, senior Lorenzo Tafuri, junior Matias Lopez, junior Fernando Collado and senior Ethan Lopez were the other Belleville competitors at the regions, which consisted of the top three finishers from the district 9, 10, 11 and 12 tournaments. Belleville competed in District 9 at Nutley.

Ferrer finished in fifth place in the 106-pound weight class. After pinning Sebastian Kristal, of Glen Ridge, in 5:41 in the first round, Ferrer was pinned by Aiden Scheeringa, of Hackettstown, in 3:17 in the quarterfinal round. Ferrer won a 13-4 major decision over Charlie Piccione, of Warren Hills, in the wrestleback quarterfinal round before losing an 8-0 major decision to Chase Quenault, of Delbarton, in the wrestleback semifinal round. In the fifth-sixth place medal bout, Ferrer pinned Adam Ramadan, of Kearny, in 3:37.

In the 138-pound weight class, Matias Lopez pinned Kayleb Egoavil, of Caldwell, in 2:51 in the first round. Matias then lost to Massimo Mancini, of Hanover Park, by pin in 3:07 in the quarterfinal round and was pinned by Dean Costantinos, of Secaucus, in 1:44 in the wrestleback quarterfinals.

In the 165-pound weight class, Collado pinned Thomas Montillo, of Lyndhurst/North Arlington, in 2:38 in the first round, but then dropped a 16-0 technical fall to Louis Cerchio, of Delbarton, in the quarterfinal round and lost a 5-3 decision to Louis Paradiso, of Hanover Park, in the wrestleback quarterfinals.

In the 175-pound weight class, Ethan Lopez was pinned by Ari Rosu, of West Orange, in 32 seconds in the first round. Tafuri was pinned by Michael Ferrante, of West Morris Central, in 5:04 in the first round in the 113-pound weight class.