Brearley grapplers will be going for a record 8th straight UCT championship Saturday at Union

Returning champions include Brearley's DeMarco, GL's Mele, Summit's Abbott, GL's Hoyt, Brearley's John Balboni, Brearley's Joe Balboni and Scotch Plains heavyweight Tufaro

PHOTO BY JR PARACHINI - Which grapplers will win the coveted Outstanding Wrestler awards at Saturday's UCT at Union?
PHOTO BY JR PARACHINI – Which grapplers will win the coveted Outstanding Wrestler awards at Saturday’s UCT at Union?

UNION – Will Brearley make it a record eight in a row?

Or will Roselle Park capture its first county crown in a decade?

Those questions and more will be answered Saturday when the 38th annual wrestling Union County Tournament takes place at Union High School’s Louis J. Rettino Gymnasium, beginning at 9 a.m.

The seeding is to take place Thursday at Union.

Brearley has won the last seven titles, which are all seven championships the Bears have won.

Roselle Park last won the crown in 2003, which was for the seventh straight season.

No team has won the title eight years in a row.

Returning champions include Brearley junior Nick DeMarco, Governor Livingston senior Jon Mele, Summit senior Nick Abbott, GL junior Ryan Hoy, Brearley junior John Balboni, Brearley junior Joe Balboni and Scotch Plains senior Anthony Tufaro.

State-ranked Union County wrestlers according to as of Tuesday included Brearley junior John Balboni third and Westfield senior Colin Barber fifth at 160, Brearley junior Joe Balboni fourth at 170, Summit senior A.J. Iarussi eighth at 195 and Scotch Plains senior Anthony Tufaro second at heavyweight.

Governor Livingston senior Jon Mele was ranked fifth at 120, Brearley senior Anthony Rice fifth at 132 and Iarussi – who will play football in college at Colgate – fourth at 220 in the Jan. 9 rankings.

Rice won at 119 as a freshman in 2010 and at 125 as a sophomore in 2011. He missed last year, out for the season with a torn ACL from football.

In the 119 final in 2010, Rice defeated Jabari Shults of Rahway 7-4.

In the 125 final in 2011, Rice defeated Dan Pisauro of Roselle Park 6-2.

Roselle Park began the week with a record of 8-0.

The Panthers have won the most county crowns, with a total of 11 championships.

Other top Union County wrestlers include Cranford’s Gavin Murray at 132, Rahway’s Justin Becker at 160, Roselle Park’s Phil Woods at 170, Cranford’s Corey Markovitch at 170, Westfield’s Brian Bulger at 182, Brearley’s Jeff Velez at 182, GL’s Shane Haddad at 195 and Westfield heavyweight Kyle Kania.

GL’s Rick Iacono, the Union County Coach of the Year in 2010 and 2011, is in his 39th and final season as a head coach. He won his 300th match last season.

Iacono started as an assistant coach under Buddy Frezza for three years at Rutgers Prep from 1971-1972 to 1973-1974.

His first head coaching position was at Dayton, which lasted 23 years from 1974-1975 to 1996-1997.

Iacono was then the head coach at Middlesex for four years from 1997-1998 to 2000-2001.

This is his 12th and final season at GL, with the Highlanders posting winning seasons every year since the 2006-2007 campaign.

Iacono also won his 200th game as a head softball coach last year. He guided GL to back-to-back UCT titles in 2011 and 2012, which was a program first.




Brearley junior Nick DeMarco

Captured his first title last year, winning at 103.

Now wrestling at 113.


Gov. Livingston senior Jon Mele

Captured his first title in 2011, winning at 103

and won his second crown in 2012, winning at 113.

Now wrestling at 120.


Summit senior Nick Abbott

Captured his first title last year, winning at 126.

Now wrestling at 138.


Gov. Livingston junior Ryan Hoy

Captured his first title last year, winning at 132.

Now wrestling at 138.


Brearley junior John Balboni

Captured his first title last year, winning at 160.

Still wrestling at 160 – ranked third in state.


Brearley junior Joe Balboni

Captured his first title last year, winning at 170

Still wrestling at 170 – ranked fourth in state.


Scotch Plains senior Anthony Tufaro

Captured his first title last year, winning at heavyweight.

Still wrestling at heavyweight – ranked 2nd in state.



2012: Brearley.

2011: Brearley.

2010: Brearley.

2009: Brearley.

2008: Brearley.

2007: Brearley.

2006: Brearley, first time.

2005: Rahway.

2004: Scotch Plains, first time.

2003: Roselle Park.

2002: Roselle Park.

2001: Roselle Park.

2000: Roselle Park.

1999: Roselle Park.

1998: Roselle Park.

1997: Roselle Park.

1996: Rahway.

1995: Rahway.

1994: Union.

1993: Roselle Park.

1992: Roselle Park.

1991: Union.

1990: Westfield.





TEAMS: 1-Brearley 180. 2-Westfield 153. 3-Roselle Park 146.5.

4-Scotch Plains 139. 5-Gov. Livingston 129.5. 6-Cranford 107.5.

7-Linden 86.5. 8-Rahway 65. 9-Elizabeth 55. 10-Plainfield 52.

11-Union 50. 12-Johnson 49. 13-Summit 46.

14-New Providence 35.



182 – Vic Pozsonyi, Roselle Park, dec. Zach Heissler, GL, 7-1

195 – Anthony Tancs, Brearley, dec. A.J. Iarussi, Summit, 1-0

220 – Andrew Jacobs, Scotch Plains, pin Jeff Weiss, Cranford, 5:19

HWT – Anthony Tufaro, S. Plains, dec. Mike Christian, Brearley, 3-0

106 – Nick DeMarco, Brearley, dec. Nick Tekula, Linden, 5-3

113 – Jon Mele, Gov. Livingston, pin Gabe Magalhaes, Linden, 1:25

120 – Mike Kalimtzis, Westfield, dec. Ryne Morrison, GL, 2-1

126 – Nick Abbott, Summit, dec. Isaac Valentin, Rahway, 3-0

132 – Ryan Hoy, GL, pin Brendan Leary, Roselle Park, 5:34

138 – D’ondre Floyd, Elizabeth, dec. Nick Rotondo, Westfield, 8-3

145 – Nick Lospinoso, Brearley, dec. Justin Becker, Rahway, 6-1

152 – Sean Cannon, S. Plains, dec. Brian Merkle, Roselle Park, 10-9

160 – John Balboni, Brearley, dec. Shane Haddad, GL, 8-6

170 – Joe Balboni, Brearley, dec. J.P. Christiano, Cranford, 5-2



106 – John Devito, Roselle Park

113 – Tommy Cunningham, Scotch Plains

120 – Gavin Murray, Cranford

126 – Brian Lapham, Scotch Plains

132 – Mike Disko, Brearley

138 – Dominick Natale, Scotch Plains

145 – Ellis Opoku, Westfield

152 – Colin Barber, Westfield

160 – Mike DeLouisa, Wesfield

170 – Travis Foster, Linden

182 – Jeff Velez, Brearley

195 – Joshua Knight, Plainfield

220 – Jake Cocchiarella, Union

HWT – Kyle Kania, Westfield



106 – John Devito, Roselle Park

113 – Jon Mele, Governor Livingston

120 – Mike Kalimtzis, Westfield

126 – Nick Abbott, Summit

132 – Brendan Leary, Roselle Park

138 – Nick Rotondo, Westfield

145 – Nick Lospinoso, Brearley

152 – Brian Merkle, Roselle Park

160 – John Balboni, Brearley

170 – J.P. Christiano, Cranford

182 – Vic Pozsonyi, Roselle Park

195 – Anthony Tancs, Brearley

220 – Andrew Jacobs, Scotch Plains

HWT – Anthony Tufaro, Scotch Plains


T. Ralph Williams Award: Summit parent Jim Abbott


Coach of the Year: Glenn Kurz, Westfield


Most falls in least amount of time: Jon Mele, GL, 3 in 8:08


Outstanding Wrestler (106-145): D’ondre Floyd, Elizabeth, 138


Outstanding Wrestler (152-HWT): Sean Cannon, Scotch Plains, 152




Larry Guarino, Union, class of 1988

1985 – won championship at 158

1986 – won championship at 158

1987 – won championship at 170

1988 – won championship at 171


Dave Bubnowski, Union, class of 1996

1993 – won championship at 103

1994 – won championship at 103

1995 – won championship at 121

1996 – won championship at 135


Craig Frost, Roselle Park, class of 1999

1996 – won championship at 103

1997 – won championship at 112

1998 – won championship at 130

1999 – won championship at 135


Dan Appello, Roselle Park, class of 2002

1999 – won championship at 103

2000 – won championship at 112

2001 – won championship at 119

2002 – won championship at 125


Darrion Caldwell, Rahway, class of 2006

2003: 103 final: pinned Rob Mench of Westfield in 1:05.

2004: 119 final: pinned Ross Baldwin of New Providence in 2:44.

2005: 135 final: pinned Steve Mineo of Scotch Plains in :54.

2006: 160 final: pinned Hany Elshiekh of Brearley in 1:26.


Jesse Boyden, Brearley, class of 2008

2005: 215 final: decisioned Julio Loperena of Linden, 10-4.

2006: 215 final: pinned Trevor Martin of New Providence in :43.

2007: 215 final: major dec. Richard Tabor of Elizabeth, 12-3.

2008: 215 final: decisioned Mike Lefano of Roselle Park, 5-2.


Kenny Knapp, Brearley, class of 2009

2006: 103 final: pinned Juan Herrera of Rahway in 3:46.

2007: 103 final: pinned Anthony Casselli of Roselle Park in 4:23.

2008: 119 final: pinned Anthony Zangari of Roselle Park in 3:40.

2009: 130 final: major dec. John Barnes of Westfield, 9-1.


NOTES: Eric Swick, who wrestled collegiately at Harvard and last year was the head coach at Johnson, is a 1998 Roselle Park graduate who won three county titles without losing a UCT match. Swick won crowns his freshman year in 1995, his sophomore year in 1996 and his senior year in 1998. He could not compete his junior year in 1997 because of a broken hand.