Union senior David Brown waited a year for second chance to beat Cinnaminson’s Keith Swartley.
Not only did Brown, a first-time Region 3 champion, get the opportunity, but he made the most of it.
After getting pinned by Swartley in 1:41 in the states last year, Brown this time edged Swartley 2-1 in the March 4 pre-quarterfinals of the 83rd annual NJSIAA Tournament held at Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall.
It was the first NJSIAA Tournament victory for Brown, who qualified for the states last year for the first time after finishing third in Region 3. Brown lost both of his states matches a year ago.
Brown, the fifth seed on the bottom side of the bracket, advanced to the March 5 heavywight quarterfinals where he will wrestle Joe Longobardi of River Dell.
Union’s last state champion was 1988 senior Mike Ferroni at heavyweight.
The semifinals will also be competed March 5 and the finals March 6.
Three other grapplers from Union County advanced to the quarterfinals, including Vince Concina and Niko Cappello of Cranford and undefeated Tyler Gazaway of New Providence.
Cappello and Gazaway are two-time Region 3 champs, both winning last year and this season.
Concina is to face Michael O’Malley of Hasbrouck Heights and Gazaway is to tangle with Mohammed Farhan of Clifton in the 145 quarterfinals.
Gazaway is 40-0 and has 138 career victories. He is the winningest wrestler in New Providence history for both the regular season and all time.
Gazaway is attempting to become New Providence’s first state champion since Donnie DeFilippis in 1999 at 140.
Cappello, who placed seventh in the state last year at 182, will wrestle Kyle Murphy of Bridgewater-Raritan in the 182 quarterfinals.
Cranford’s last state champion was Pat Hogan in 2006 at 171.