Local wrestlers excel at the Region 4 competition in Union

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UNION, NJ — What will it take this weekend in Atlantic City for Cranford High School sophomore 157-pounder Jordan Chapman, a first-time Region 4 champ, to become Cranford’s fifth state champion and first since senior Pat Hogan won at 171 pounds in 2006?

“High pace, high speed, high intensity,” Chapman said. “Show no remorse.”

Chapman is one of four Cranford wrestlers who advanced out of Region 4 at Union High School last weekend and into this weekend’s final competition of the season: the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association Tournament at Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall.

Chapman, who finished second at Region 4 at North Hunterdon Regional High School as a freshman last year, was seeded 16th at 157 pounds a year ago. Chapman won a preliminary round major decision by a score of 12-2 against 17th-seeded Phillipsburg High School junior Hunter Cleaver on the first day of the states. Later that day, Chapman was defeated by top-seeded and eventual state champion Simon Ruiz of Delbarton School by major decision in the quarterfinals. Ruiz, a junior last year, topped Chapman 10-1.

On the second day of the tournament last year, Chapman won two more matches and was then edged in the round of 12 by a score of 6-5 to Shane Cartagena-Walsh of Ocean Township. Chapman just missed placing among the top eight at 157 pounds.

“Jordan had a good freshman campaign,” Cranford head coach Pat Gorman said, after last year’s NJSIAA Tournament concluded. “We expect to see him on the podium and making it all the way to the finals in the years to come.”

One of those three years to come has arrived for Chapman, who last year finished 35-5, with four of his losses coming to opponents who finished in the top eight of the state.

Chapman starts this weekend’s NJSIAA Tournament with a record of 37-3 and lifetime mark of 72-8.

“I need to concentrate on my shots and fakes to make easier matches for me,” Chapman said.

Earlier this year, Chapman was defeated at the Beast of the East, but that might not have been such a terrible outcome after all.

“Finishing sixth at Beast was a big wakeup call,” said Chapman, who also won his first Union County Tournament championship in January. “It meant that I have to keep on working. I can’t sleep on anyone.”

Chapman expected to be seeded fourth or fifth for this weekend’s NJSIAA Tournament.

“I’m going to wrestle my match and be just as prepared mentally for whoever I go up against,” Chapman said.

NJSIAA Tournament schedule
Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City

Thursday, March 2

Session 1 begins at 1 p.m. on eight mats:
Preliminary round — round of 32
Pre-quarterfinal round — round of 16

Friday, March 3

Session 2 begins at 9 a.m. on eight mats:
Wrestleback round 1 — on all eight mats
Quarterfinals at approximately noon
on center four mats, Nos. 3, 4, 5, 6
Wrestleback rounds two and three
Session 3 begins at 6 p.m. on six mats:
Semifinals — on center two mats, Nos. 3, 4
Wrestleback rounds four and five

Saturday, March 4

Session 4 begins at 9 a.m. on four mats:
Wrestleback round six
Third-, fifth- and seventh-place medal rounds
Session 5 to follow on one mat
Awards, presentations
Parade of placewinners
Girls finals — not before 1:30 p.m.
Boys finals — not before 4 p.m.

Cranford High School has the most representation of any Union County school in Atlantic City, with four wrestlers who qualified. In addition to Chapman, the other three are freshman Ryder Connors, fourth in Region 4 at 113 pounds, and seniors Shane Kanterman, third at 190 pounds, and Lucas Esposito, fourth at 175 pounds.

Kanterman, who recently won his 100th match, previously qualified for the NJSIAA Tournament both as a sophomore and junior.
Cranford’s four state champions include: Pat Hogan at 171 pounds in 2006, Willie Carpenter at 112 pounds in 1990, Dick Prior at 123 pounds in 1961 and George Craft at 158 pounds in 1959.

St. Peter’s Preparatory School had the most Region 4 champions this year with six, while North Hunterdon had two. The following schools had one champion: Roselle Park High School, South Plainfield, Cranford, Westfield High School, Colonia High School and Watchung Hills Regional High School.

Eight top seeds won, with three placing second and another finishing third. The only top seeds not to advance were Millburn High School junior Brett Molka, who was eliminated in the wrestleback quarterfinals at 175 pounds, and St. Peter’s Prep junior Domenick Lettini, who was ousted in the wrestleback quarterfinals at 215 pounds by Cranford senior Dylan McDonald. The fifth seed, McDonald, pinned Lettini in 2:26 and ultimately finished sixth.

St. Peter’s Prep scored the most points with 268, Delaware Valley High School was second with 132, North Hunterdon was third with 114 and Cranford finished fourth with 97.5.

Other schools that scored points included St. Thomas Aquinas High School 82, South Plainfield and Westfield 68, Watchung Hills and Governor Livingston High School 66, Ridge High School 61, Roselle Park 58, Voorhees High School 43, Somerville High School 36, Bridgewater-Raritan High School 28.5, Arthur L. Johnson High School 28, Colonia 26, Bernards High School 25, Bound Brook High School 23.5, Plainfield High School 22, The Pingry School 15, John F. Kennedy Memorial High School 14, Summit High School 11, East Side High School 9, David Brearley High School 7, Rahway High School 6, Irvington High School 3 and Bayonne High School and New Providence High School 2.

North Plainfield High School, Abraham Clark, Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School, Union, KIPP Newark Collegiate Academy, Carteret High School, Elizabeth High School, Hillside High School, J.P. Stevens High School, Linden High School, Millburn High School and Weequahic High School did not score any team points.

Union County high school wrestlers
who advanced to NJSIAA Tournament
out of Region 4 at Union — 14

First place

120: 3-Matthew Griffin, Roselle Park, senior, (31-6)
157: 1-Jordan Chapman, Cranford, sophomore, (37-3)
165: 1-Michael Murphy, Westfield, senior, (38-4)

Second place

138: 2-Ethan Composto, Westfield, senior, (34-9)
144: 1-Mayson Harms, Roselle Park, senior, (32-5)
HWT: 2-Josue Cordoba, Plainfield, junior, (19-3)

Third place

113: 3-Brandon Rayack, Governor Livingston, sophomore, (22-4)
150: 3-Joey Ortega, Arthur L. Johnson, junior, (36-5)
190: 3-Shane Kanterman, Cranford, senior, (35-6)

Fourth place

113: 4-Ryder Connors, Cranford, freshman, (32-8)
126: 2-Brandon Ribiero, Westfield, senior, (33-11)
157: 5-Jake Kreisberg, Governor Livingston, sophomore, (26-6)
175: 2-Lucas Esposito, Cranford, senior, (30-9)
190: 6-Nathan Faxon, Governor Livingston, sophomore, (29-6)

Another wrestler from Union County that advanced to the NJSIAA Tournament out of Region 4 was Kenilworth resident Carmen Marano, a St. Peter’s Prep freshman who placed third at 175 pounds.

Marano is the son of Carmen Marano Jr., a 1993 Union High School graduate who teaches and coaches at the school. Marano played football at Union and was on the first team Monmouth University had in 1993. Marano was a state champion football player at Union his junior and senior seasons of 1991 and 1992 and is also a state champion assistant football coach at Union, with the Farmers winning their last state championship in 2019.

The ninth seed at 175 pounds, Marano pinned Union junior Daniel Collin, the eighth seed, in 3:38 in the preliminary round.
Collin advanced to Region 4 competition for the second straight season and was Union’s only grappler who made it that far this season. Collin was second in District 14 at South Plainfield.

To place third, Marano edged second-seeded Lucas Esposito of Cranford 3-2 in the third-place bout.

Union County High School NJSIAA Tournament qualifiers by school

Cranford: Jordan Chapman, Shane Kanterman, Ryder Connors, Lucas Esposito.
Westfield: Michael Murphy, Ethan Composto, Brandon Ribiero.
Governor Livingston: Brandon Rayack, Jake Kreisberg, Nathan Faxon.
Roselle Park: Matthew Griffin, Mayson Harms.
Arthur L. Johnson: Joey Ortega.
Plainfield: Josue Cordoba.

Ortega also qualified for the NJSIAA Tournament last year. His father, Rick Ortega, is the head coach at Governor Livingston and a one-time state champion 30 years ago. Ortega won at 130 for GL back in 1993.

Murphy is the only wrestler from a Union County high school that won Region 4 titles last year and this year. The Westfield standout was the only grappler from a Union County high school to win a Region 4 title a year ago.

Championship bouts — first and second qualify for states

106: 1-Logan Wadle, North Hunterdon, dec. 2-Salvatore Borrometi, St. Peter’s Prep, 5-3.
113: 1-Jake Talarico, St. Peter’s Prep, dec. 2-Jake Taylor, Delaware Valley, 6-0.
120: 3-Matthew Griffin, Roselle Park, pin 4-Sean Markey, Bound Brook, 2:39.
126: 1-Caedyn Ricciardi, St. Peter’s Prep, maj. dec. 3-Matt Roche, Delaware Valley, 14-2.
132: 1-Donovan Chavis, St. Peter’s Prep, dec. 2-Nick Villani, Bernards, 10-6.
138: 1-Angelo Pellicci, St. Peter’s Prep, dec. 2-Ethan Composto, Westfield, 1-0.
144: 2-Jonathan Fuller, St. Peter’s Prep, dec. 1-Mayson Harms, Roselle Park, 3-1.
150: 2-Nicholas Campagna, South Plainfield, dec. 1-Landon Kearns, St. Thomas Aquinas, 5-2.
157: 1-Jordan Chapman, Cranford, TF, 1:46 6-Logan Wiecoreck, Voorhees 19-4.
165: 1-Michael Murphy, Westfield, dec. 3-Garrett Tettemer, Delaware Valley, 5-3.
175: 3-Michael Feliciano, Colonia, dec. 5-Adam Bowles, South Plainfield, 3-2.
190: 2-Anthony Harris, St. Peter’s Prep, pin 1-Alex Uryniak, North Hunterdon, :37.
215: 3-Brendan Raley, North Hunterdon, pin 4-Anderson Olcott, Delaware Valley, 1:35.
HWT: 1-Hunter Seubert, Watchung Hills, pin 2-Josue Cordoba, Plainfield, 2:25.

Third-fourth place matches — third and fourth qualify for states

106: 4-Anthony DiAndrea, Watchung Hills, pin 3-Beniamino DiCocco, St. Thomas Aquinas, 3:41.
113: 3-Brandon Rayack, Governor Livingston, dec. 4-Ryder Connors, Cranford, 6-2.
120: 1-Giovanni Schinina, St. Peter’s Prep, pin 10-Jahir Aguilar, St. Thomas Aquinas, 1:24.
126: 7-Gavin Duran, Ridge, dec. 2-Brandon Ribiero, Westfield, 6-5.
132: 3-Daniel Smith, Bridgewater-Raritan, dec. 4 Andrew Loniewski, South Plainfield, 4-2.
138: 3-Tim Kolshorn, Ridge, dec. 7-Jackson Bush, Delaware Valley, 4-1.
144: 3-Daniel DeLusant, North Hunterdon, dec. 4-Lucas Marchese, Somerville, 5-4.
150: 3-Joey Ortega, Arthur L. Johnson, pin 5-Chris Colasurdo, Delaware Valley, 2:19.
157: 2-Anthony Verdi, St. Peter’s Prep, dec. 5-Jake Kreisberg, Governor Livingston, 7-1.
165: 2-Max Nevlin, St. Peter’s Prep, pin 4-Justus Niemeyer, South Plainfield, 1:50.
175: 9-Carmen Marano, St. Peter’s Prep, dec. 2-Lucas Esposito, Cranford, 3-2.
190: 3-Shane Kanterman, Cranford, pin 6-Nathan Faxon, Governor Livingston, 2:23.
215: 2-Steven Coghan, St. Thomas Aquinas, pin 8-Christopher Oliver, Ridge, 2:57.
HWT: 5-Cameron Baumann, Voorhees, won by forfeit 3-Connor Reynolds, St. Peter’s Prep.

Fifth-place finishers from Union County high schools

Their seasons are complete
126: Luke Scholz, Cranford, freshman, (36-5)
144: Cristian Gioia, Governor Livingston, sophomore, (29-8)

Sixth-place finishers from Union County high schools

Their seasons are complete
106: Michael Daly, Cranford, freshman, (28-8)
120: Julian McGarry, Brearley-Dayton, junior, (26-10)
138: Angel Mejia, Roselle Park, senior, (30-9)
150: Dante Gioia, Governor Livingston, senior, (30-7)
175: Henry Nordstrom, Arthur L. Johnson, senior, (29-12)
215: Dylan McDonald, Cranford, senior, (23-11)
HWT: Samuel Henry, Summit-Chatham, sophomore, (23-13)

Photos Courtesy of Kristin Nunes