Only 14 of the 336 wrestlers competing in this weekend's state individual wrestling championships will leave Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City as champions on Sunday.
Here's a look at the top seeds (top bracket No. 1 seed listed first, bottom second), returning placewinners (with last season's weight and place in parenthesis) and a few wrestlers to watch:
Top seeds: Brandon Paetzell, Phillipsburg, So. (36-1); Ty Agaisse, Delbarton, So. (37-0)
Outlook: Bound Brook's Gonzalo Limenza is the only senior out of the 24 in the weight class and Vineland's Steven Bergamo is one of only three juniors. A pair of nationally-ranked sophomores lead a group of contenders. Paetzell is No. 20 in the country and finished fifth at 106 last season. Agaisse is No. 4 in the country and finished seventh at 106 last season.
Returning placewinners: Paetzell (fifth at 106), Agaisse (seventh at 106).
Top seeds: Nick Suriano, Bergen Catholic, So. (37-0); Pat D'Arcy, Holy Spirit, Jr. (37-2)
Outlook: The 113-pound state title goes through Bergen Catholic sophomore Suriano. Suriano is a defending state champion and won the prestigious Beast of the East tournament. He's won the first 75 matches of his high school career and has already started to create buzz about possibly becoming the state's second unbeaten, four-time state champ. Holy Spirit's D'Arcy is Suriano's top challenger, but he has his work cut out for him. D'Arcy lost an 11-3 major decision to Suriano at the Beast of the East and dropped a 3-0 decision in last season's 106-pound state quarterfinal on his way to a third-place finish. D'Arcy broke into the national rankings this week for the first time in his career at No. 18.
Returning placewinners: Suriano (first at 106), D'Arcy (third at 106), Dean Caravela, Caldwell (eighth at 106).
Top seeds: Luis Gonzalez, Don Bosco Prep, Sr. (28-7); Anthony Cefolo, Hanover Park, Jr. (36-5)
Outlook: One of the deepest weight classes in the tournament with seven former state placewinners, including two former state champions. Gonzalez is a three-time state placewinner and won the 113-pound state title last season. Cefolo won the 106-pound state title in 2012. There are also two different Michael Russo's among the favorites. St. Peter's Prep's Michael Russo finished sixth in the state at 113 last season and Jackson Liberty's Michael Russo finished fourth at 106.
Returning placewinners: Gonzalez (first at 113 last season, fourth at 113 in 2012 and second at 103 in 2011), Cefolo (first at 106 in 2012), Michael Russo, St. Peter's Prep (sixth at 113), Michael Russo, Jackson Liberty (fourth at 106), Tyler McBride, Camden Catholic (eighth at 106 in 2012), Alex Baider, Cherokee (sixth at 120), Bryan Damon, Jefferson (fifth at 113).
Top seeds: Kyle Bierdumpfel, Don Bosco Prep, So. (20-6); Craig De la Cruz, Bound Brook, Jr. (34-3)
Outlook: Bierdumpfel and De la Cruz each reached the state finals last season. Bierdumpfel finished second at 106 pounds and De la Cruz won at 120. De la Cruz is a two-time state placewinner. Bottom bracket No. 2 seed Christian Innarella of Delbarton is looking to become a four-time state placewinner. Innarella finished third in the state at 120 last season.
Returning placewinners: Bierdumpfel (second at 106), De la Cruz (first at 120 last season, fourth at 106 in 2012), Marc Mastropietro, Hasbrouck Heights (eighth at 113), Ryan Pomrinca, North Hunterdon (seventh at 113 in 2012), Pete Lipari, Bergen Catholic (seventh at 120), Innarella (third at 120 last season, sixth at 113 in 2012 and seventh at 103 in 2011).
Top seeds: Anthony Giraldo, North Bergen, Sr. (37-0); Mike Magaldo, Watching Hills (35-1).
Outlook: A pair of former state champs each ranked in the top 10 nationally lead a deep weight class. Defending state champ Giraldo will wrestle at Rutgers next season and is ranked seventh in the country. Magaldo finished third in the state at 126 last season after winning the 120-pound state title in 2012. Magaldo is eighth in the country and will wrestle at Oklahoma State next season. Giraldo and Magaldo are each three-time state placewinners.
Returning placewinners: Giraldo (first at 126 last season, fifth at 120 in 2012 and fourth at 112 in 2011), Magaldo (third at 126 last season, first at 120 in 2012 and second at 112 in 2011), Mike Derin, High Point (eighth at 132).
Top seeds: Ronnie Gentile, Paulsboro, Jr. (37-1); Conner Burkert, St. Peter's Prep, Jr. (29-6)
Outlook: Gentile finished second in the state at 132 last season and leads a list of contenders in the mix for a state title. He is ranked 16th in the country and is one of four Region 8 wrestlers to receive a top seed along with D'Arcy, St. Augustine Prep's Jack Clark and Delsea Regional's Bryan Dobzanski. Gentile's first match is against Region 6 champ Matt Wilhelm of Southern Regional in today's pre-quarterfinals. Paramus' Joe Trovato and Brick Memorial's Joe Ghione are each two-time state placewinners.
Returning placewinners: Gentile (second at 132), Burkert, St. Peter's Prep (seventh at 132), Gordon Wolf, Lawrence (fifth at 132), Trovato (fifth at 120 last season, fifth at 106 in 2012), Joseph Oliva, Ridgewood (seventh at 126), Ghione (sixth at 106 in 2012 and sixth at 103 in 2011).
Top seeds: Carl Buttitta, JFK-Iselin, Sr. (32-3); David McFadden, DePaul Catholic, Jr. (38-1)
Outlook: Top seeds Buttitta and McFadden have each reached the state final before but each is looking for their first state title. Buttitta and McFadden are each two-time state placewinners. McFadden is No. 14 in the country. Southern Regional's Zach Wilhelm is seeded third in the bottom bracket and looking to reach the podium for the first time since taking eighth at 103 as a freshman. Wilhelm would likely face Clearview Regional's John VanBrill in the quarterfinals. VanBrill is a former state placewinner himself and the only unbeaten wrestler in the bracket.
Returning placewinners: Buttitta (second at 106 in 2012 and fifth at 103 in 2011), McFadden (sixth at 126 last season and second at 113 in 2012), Ryan Burkert, St. Peter's Prep (eighth at 138), Jason Gaccione, High Point (fourth at 145), VanBrill (fifth at 112 in 2011), Wilhelm (eighth at 103 in 2011).
Top seeds: Gary Dinmore, Hunterdon Central, Sr. (36-2); Maaziah Bethea, Trenton Central, Sr. (33-0)
Outlook: He may not be a No. 1 seed but St. Augustine Prep's Jack Clark is on a short list of favorites. Clark didn't have much state seeding criteria and got the No. 3 seed in the bottom bracket but the North Carolina commit is ranked fourth in the country and hopes to win a state title in his one and only trip to states. Clark brings a 160-15 career record into the tournament. Dinmore is a two-time state finalist in search of his first state title. Bethea is a two-time state placewinner. Southern Regional's Nick Racanelli is seeded seventh in the top bracket in his first trip to states and is a dark horse to make a run at a spot on the podium.
Returning placewinners: Dinmore (second at 138 last season, second at 120 in 2012), Bethea (fifth at 145 last season and seventh at 132 in 2012).
Top seeds: Jonathan Schleifer, East Brunswick, Sr. (34-0); Joshua Ugalde, Bound Brook, Jr. (32-3)
Outlook: If the seeds play out, Schleifer and Ugalde would wrestle in the finals in a rematch of last week's Region 5 finals, won by Schleifer. Schleifer finished second in the state at 160 last season and is a three-time state placewinner. The senior is ranked fourth in the country and will wrestle at Princeton next season. Bottom bracket No. 2 seed Christian Stackhouse is one of three unbeaten wrestlers in the bracket and could make a run at the title.
Returning placewinners: Schleifer (second at 160 last season, third at 152 in 2012 and eighth at 145 in 2011), Ugalde (sixth at 152).
Top seeds: Dillon Artigliere, Roxbury, Sr. (39-0); Luke Farinaro, Don Bosco Prep, Sr. (29-5)
Outlook: Overall No. 1 seed Artigliere is a defending state champ. The senior is ranked seventh in the country and will wrestle at Cornell next season. Farinaro finished fifth in the state at 170 last season and will wrestle at Duke next season. Hammonton's Kellen Whitney is one of four unbeaten wrestlers in the weight class and has a state-high 41 wins entering states. Whitney will try to make it three straight seasons that a Hammonton wrestler has reached a state final.
Returning placewinners: Artigliere (first at 160 last season and fifth at 152 in 2012), Farinaro (fifth at 170), Josef Johnson, Delbarton (seventh at 160).
Top seeds: Johnny Sebastian, Bergen Catholic, Sr. (29-2); Joey Balboni, Brearley, Sr. (37-1)
Outlook: Two-time state champion Sebastian is as close to a sure thing as there is in the tournament. He is ranked No. 1 in the country at 182 pounds and has already committed to wrestle at Northwestern next season. Sebastian beat Hammonton's Phil Bakuckas in the 160-pound state final in 2012 and Hammonton's David Williams in the 182-pound final last season. Balboni will try to spoil Sebastian's attempt at a third state title. Balboni is ranked 14th in the country and will wrestle at Old Dominion next season. St. Joseph's C.J. LaFragola is seeded fifth in the top bracket and Ocean City's Cooper Gallagher sixth in the bottom. LaFragola and Gallagher each have the talent to make a deep run in the tournament.
Returning placewinners: Sebastian (first at 182 last season, first at 160 in 2012 and fifth at 152 in 2011), Balboni (third at 170), Nick Costa, Brick Memorial (seventh at 182).
Top seeds: Matt Correnti, Holy Cross, So. (37-4); Ralph Normandia, Franklin, Sr. (37-3)
Outlook: Correnti finished eighth in the state at 182 last season as a freshman. Correnti was nationally ranked earlier this season, until losing to Lower Cape May's Cory Damiana. Damiana is seeded sixth in the bottom bracket and Region 8 champ Ed Shockley of Millville fifth in the top bracket. Normandia will wrestle at Rutgers next season. One of the most wide-open weights in the tournament this season with as many as a dozen wrestlers with a legitimate chance at winning the title.
Returning placewinners: Correnti (eighth at 182), Normandia (third at 220), Kyle Stoll, High Point (sixth at 195), Dominic Carfagno, St. Joseph-Montvale (sixth at 195 in 2012).
Top seeds: Bryan Dobzanski, Delsea Regional, Sr. (39-0); Zach Chakonis, Don Bosco, Jr. (36-1)
Outlook: Dobzanski and Chakonis are each two-time state placewinners and could meet in a rematch of last season's 220-pound state final. Dobzanski is a defending state champion and ranked second in the country. The senior has committed to Louisville on a baseball scholarship. Dobzanski enters states on an 85-match winning streak and hasn't been taken down a single time during the run. He has 29-first period pins this season and his 11-0 major decision against Millville's Obi Kali in the Region 8 final was only the third time this season Dobzanski went a full six minutes. Chakonis is ranked eighth in the country and lost 5-4 to Dobzanski in last season's final.
Returning placewinners: Dobzanski (first at 220 last season and third at 195 in 2012), Chakonis (second at 220 last season and sixth at 220 in 2012), Jordon Fox, St. Peter's Prep (sixth at 182), Mike Markulec, Hopewell Valley (fifth at 220), Tyreek Smith, Moorestown (eighth at 195).
Top seeds: Armond Cox, St. Peter's Prep, Sr. (31-2); Kevin Wilkins, St. Joseph-Montvale, Sr. (27-2)
Outlook: Brick Memorial's Nick Rivera is the only freshman in the 24-wrestler bracket along with 17 seniors and six juniors. Wilkins finished fourth in the state at 285 last season and is ranked 19th in the country. Camden's Andrew Stevens is one of the feel-good stories of the tournament. Stevens is seeded third in the bottom bracket with a perfect 33-0 record and is trying to become the first state champion in Camden history.
Returning placewinners: Wilkins (fourth at 285), Stephen Johnson, Bound Brook (fifth at 285).
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