WEST ORANGE, NJ – The Seton Hall Prep wrestling team gave a record performance in the NJSIAA Region 4 Wrestling Tournament at Union High School, Feb. 21-23.
Under 10th-year head coach Jack Decker, the Pirates advanced a school-record six wrestlers to compete in the NJSIAA state finals at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, Feb. 28, March 1-2. The previous record was five in 2017. The top four finishers in each weight division from the region tournaments advance to the state finals.
Following the region finals, Decker commented, “We knew we had a lot of returning wrestlers that could qualify for the states and they stepped up to the challenge and really wrestled hard over the last three days. They also were very hungry as five of our six qualifiers had to wrestle back to earn their trip to Atlantic City.”
Sophomores Jack Wilt, at the 152-pound division, Connor Decker (132), and Cole Carroll (138) all earned their first trip to Atlantic City, as well as junior Michael Massa (170). Junior Larry Melchionda (120) and senior Niko Diakides (285) will be making their second trip. Junior Zach Merlino (182) was one win short of qualifying and finishing in fifth place .
The PIrates had 11 wrestlers at the region tournament, which consisted of the top three finishers from the district tournaments.
First round, Feb. 21
106: Nico Calello, Watchung Hills, technical fall over Joseph Sciarrone, SHP, 16-0, 5:45.
113: Justin Villani, Bernards, decisioned Gabe Jimenez, SHP, 3-1
120: Lawrence Melchionda, SHP, pinned Tylik Epps, Plainfield, 1:18.
126: Devon Capato, Ridge, major decisioned Dean Musialowicz, SHP, 10-2.
132: Conner Decker, SHP, bye.
138: Cole Carroll, SHP, bye.
145: Aidan Cunningham, SHP, pinned Mike Meola, Bound Brook, 4:57.
152: Jack Wilt, SHP, bye.
170: Michael Massa, SHP, major decisioned Donnell Doster, Rahway, 11-1.
182: Zachary Merlino, SHP, technical fall over Jonathan Estivene, Roselle Park, 15-0, 4:39.
285: Niko Diakides, SHP, bye.
Quarterfinals, Feb. 22
120: Melchionda decisioned Joe Innamorato, Phillipsburg, 11-5.
132: Decker decisioned Jake Stein, Ridge, 3-2.
138: Carroll decisioned Skyler Frye, Plainfield, 5-1.
145: Matt Sacco, Bridgewater-Raritan, pinned Cunningham, 3:23.
152: Wilt decisioned Luka Stepanashvili, J.P. Stevens, 3-2.
170: Massa decisioned Matt Brandner, Voorhees, 8-2.
182: Michael Afolabi, Linden, decisioned Merlino, 3-2.
285: Diakides pinned Richard Hererra, Somerville, 1:03.
Semifinals, Feb. 23
120: Patrick Adams, St. Peter’s Prep, decisioned Melchionda, 5-2.
132: Mark Montgomery, Roselle Park, major decisioned Decker, 8-0.
138: Kyle Tino, Phillipsburg, pinned Carroll, 2:28.
152: Wilt decisioned AJ Bencivenga, Cranford, 10-7.
160: James Cruz, St. Peter’s Prep, decisioned Massa, 6-2.
285: Jervey Sistrunk, Bound Brook, pinned Diakides, 2:58.
145: Julian Todd, St. Peter’s Prep, decisioned Cunningham, 5-1.
182: Merlino decisioned John Braun, Brearley/Dayton, 3-1 sudden victory.
120: Melchionda decisioned Aidan Taylor, Voorhees, 4-3.
132: Decker decisioned Connor Cortese, St. Peter’s Prep, 7-3.
138: Carroll decisioned Alejandro Leon, St. Peter’s Prep, 7-3.
170: Massa major decisioned Evan Kanterman, Cranford, 14-5.
182: Brett MacMath, Bridgewater-Raritan, pinned Merlino, 6:36.
285: Diakides decisioned Cody Cruts, Phillipsburg, 9-4.
Fifth-sixth place consolations
182: Merlino won by injury default over Jacob Wicks, Phillipsburg.
Third-fourth place consolations
120: Melchionda decisioned Chris Dalmau, Rahway, 5-2.
132: Xavier Pena, Bound Brook, major decisioned Decker, 11-0.
138: Nick Ciraulo, Watchung Hills, pinned Carroll, 2:43.
170: Massa decisioned Mike Winchock, Bridgewater-Raritan, 9-7 sudden victory.
285: Diakides pinned Nadeem ElMahroukey, New Providence, 2:50.
152: Cody Harrison, Phillipsburg, decisioned Wilt, 4-2.