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A look at the 19 local wrestlers who will compete in the state indivdual tournament in Atlantic City

Nineteen area high school wrestlers will compete this weekend at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City at the state individual tournament.

For more on the wrestling tournament go to www.NJwrestle.me on your mobile device or click here for our desktop site on the wrestling tournament.

Here's a quick glance at the locals:

106 pounds

Pat D'Arcy, Holy Spirit, So., (35-4)

Record vs. state qualifiers: 4-3.

Highlight wins: Won a 3-2 decision against Region 6 runner-up Owen McClave of Toms River South on Dec. 27. Won a 2-0 decision against Region 7 champ Louis Arensberg of Audubon on Feb. 16.

Seed: Top bracket No. 6 seed.

Back points: The two-time District 32 champ finds himself in the same quarter of the bracket as one of the country's top wrestlers. D'Arcy opens with Hillsborough senior Adam LaBracio and then would face No. 3 seed Ferdinand Mase of Eastern if the seeds play out. A win against Mase would mean a matchup with Bergen Catholic Beast of the East champion Nick Suriano, the No. 1 106-pounder in the country, according to InterMat.

Eric Pruszinski, Lower Cape May Regional, So., (30-10)

Record vs. state qualifiers: 0-3.

Highlight wins: Won a 12-6 decision against West Deptford's Griffin Bonner in the Region 8 consolation semifinals on Feb 27. Followed that up with a win by injury default (up 12-4 at the time) against Highland Regional standout freshman Lucas Siegfried in the consolation finals.

Seed: Unseeded in the top bracket.

Back points: Pruszinski will face top bracket No. 5 seed Dean Caravela of Caldwell in the prelims with the winner advancing to meet top bracket No. 4 seed and Region 3 champ Ty Agaisse of Delbarton.

113 pounds

Zach Hicks, Lower Cape May Regional, Sr., (29-10)

Record vs. state qualifiers: 0-2.

Highlight wins: Won a 7-1 decision against Vineland District 31 champ Steven Bergamo in the Region 8 consolation semifinals. Trailing 6-1 in the consolation finals, Hicks cradled Delsea Regional's Tom Carney and pinned him to advance to states.

Seed: Unseeded in the top bracket.

Back points: Hicks will face top bracket No. 4 seed Daniel Hedden of South Plainfield in the prelims. The winner would likely face No. 5 Nasiyr Brown of Neptune in the prequarterfinals.

120 pounds

Tom Gattinella, St. Augustine Prep, Sr., (35-3)

Record vs. state qualifiers: 2-2.

Highlight wins: Won a 3-2 decision against Lower Cape May's Zach Valcarce in the District 32 final for his third district crown. Avenged a loss from the region finals his junior season with a 2-1 decision against West Deptford's Tyler Kaminski in the Region 8 finals.

Seed: Bottom bracket No. 5 seed.

Back points: The three-time District 32 champ is making his third trip to states in Atlantic City and looking to reach the podium for the first time. Gattinella showed his propensity for winning close matches, winning three matches in the Region 8 tournament by a combined four points. Gattinella has a bye in the prelims and will face the winner of a preliminary-round match between bottom bracket No. 4 seed Jon Mele of Governor Livingston and unseeded Michael Lenahan of Bishop Eustace.

126 pounds

Billy Ward, Buena Regional, Sr., (30-3)

Record vs. state qualifers: 3-0.

Highlight wins: Won a 4-2 overtime decision against fellow state qualifier Anthony Racobaldo of Williamstown on Feb. 2. Won a 9-6 decision against Paulsboro's Sam Morina for his fourth Region 8 title on Feb. 27.

Seed: Bottom bracket No. 2 seed.

Back points: Ward finished third in the state as a sophomore but did not place last year. Ward has a first-round bye and will face Region 6 champ Ryan Budzek of Point Pleasant Boro in the prequarters. A win against Budzek would likely mean a rematch with North Bergen's Anthony Giraldo in the quarterfinals. Giraldo won two matches against Ward last season. Ward is a three-time District 32 and Region 8 champ.

132 pounds

Jarred Hodges, St. Augustine Prep, Soph., (28-11)

Record vs. state qualifiers: 1-4.

Highlight wins: Won an 8-7 decision against Region 8 runner-up (at 138) Juan Rivera of Paulsboro on Feb. 9. Won a 3-2 decision against top seed Steven Passarella in the Region 8 quarterfinals on Feb. 26.

Seed: Top bracket No. 8 seed.

Back points: Hodges has his work cut out for him. If he gets past Cliffside Park's Matt Joshowitz in the prelims, he would face unbeaten defending state champ Scott DelVecchio (40-0) of South Plainfield in the prequarters.

Shawn Bryant, Egg Harbor Township, Sr., (28-4)

Record vs. state qualifiers: 2-1.

Highlight wins: Won a 6-4 decision against fellow state qualifier Jarred Hodges of St. Augustine Prep in the District 32 final on Feb. 22. Won a 4-1 decision against Timber Creek's Isaiah DeGuzman in the Region 8 consolation finals on Feb. 27.

Seed: Unseeded in the top bracket.

Back points: Bryant opens his first trip to states with top bracket No. 6 seed Jake Legotte of Roxbury in the prelims. The winner will face Region 7 champ Justin McTamney of Bordentown in the prequarterfinals.

152 pounds

Chris Serpico, Southern Regional, Sr., (29-5)

Record vs. state qualifiers: 1-1.

Highlight wins: Won a 9-4 decision against second-seeded Cliff Ruggiero of Brick Memorial in the Region 6 semifinals. Won a 3-2 decision against Long Branch's Jake George to win his first Region 6 title on Feb. 27.

Seed: Top bracket No. 7 seed.

Back points: Serpico has a bye in the prelims and will face the winner of a prelim between top bracket No. 2 seed Wayne Stinson of Northern Burlington and unseeded Anthony Bassolino of Hanover Park.

160 pounds

Cesar Balmaceda, Atlantic City, Sr., (34-2)

Record vs. state qualifiers: 1-2.

Highlight wins: Won a 5-2 decision against fellow state qualifier Dan Wojtaszek of Brick Township on Feb. 2. Won a 10-6 decision against Hammonton's Kellen Whitney after trailing 5-0 in the Region 8 consolation finals.

Seed: Unseeded in the top bracket.

Back points: Balmaceda, the first Atlantic City wrestler to qualify for states since at least the 1970s, will face Region 7 runner-up Kenny Long of Holy Cross. The winner of the Balmaceda-Long prelim will face top bracket No. 1 seed and defending state placewinner Jonathan Schleifer of East Brunswick.

170 pounds

Tyler Sentman, St. Augustine Prep, Sr., (34-4)

Record vs. state qualifiers: 2-3.

Highlight wins: Won by a 15-0 technical fall against fellow state qualifier (at 182) Victor Defrance of Delsea. Won a 4-2 decision against second-seeded Nick Elmer of Penns Grove in the Region 8 semifinals on Feb. 27 to earn a spot in the final.

Seed: Bottom bracket No. 8 seed.

Back points: Sentman opens states with J.F. Kennedy's Brandon Simon in the prelims. The winner will face unbeaten bottom bracket No. 1 seed Ethan Ramos of Hawthorne in the prequarters. Ramos finished fourth in the state at 170 last season.

Luke Fernandez, Lacey Township, Sr., (34-2)

Record vs. state qualifiers: 1-2.

Highlight wins: Won a 3-2 decision against Region 6 champ Dae'Sean Brown of Neptune in a dual meet on Jan. 29. Won a 5-1 decision against Red Bank Regional's Dillon Stambaugh in the Region 6 consolation finals.

Seed: Unseeded in the top bracket.

Back points: Fernandez opens with Region 7 runner-up Rahmil Davis of Northern Burlington in the prelims with the winner advancing to meet defending state placewinner and top bracket No. 1 seed Jadaen Bernstein of Voorhees. Bernstein finished seventh in the state at 160 last season and is 39-0 entering states.

182 pounds

David Williams, Hammonton, Sr., (38-0)

Record vs. state qualifiers: 5-0.

Highlight wins: Won a 13-4 major decision against state qualifier Tyreek Smith of Moorestown in the Blue Devils' first-round South Jersey Group III playoff win on Feb. 11. Won a 11-5 decision against Kingsway's Billy Leone in the finals of the Region 8 tournament.

Seed: Bottom bracket No. 4 seed.

Back points: Williams is on the opposite side of the bracket from defending state champ Johnny Sebastian and would love nothing more than to meet the Bergen Catholic standout in the final. Williams has a bye in the prelims and awaits the winner of a prelim between St. Peter's Prep's Jordan Fox and Bound Brook's Isaiah Soto of Bound Brook. Williams is a two-time Region 8 champ making his second trip to states.

195 pounds

Ed Shockley, Millville, Jr., (31-3)

Record vs. state qualifiers: 2-3.

Highlight wins: Won a 3-1 decision against Isaiah Coppage of Penns Grove to take the District 31 title on Feb. 20. Shockley won a 10-9 decision against Lower Cape May's Cory Damiana in the Region 8 semifinals.

Seed: Top bracket No. 5 seed.

Back points: Making his first trip to states, Shockley will face Hasbrouck Heights' Mauro Altamura in the prelims with the winner advancing to the prequarterfinals and a match with Region 6 champ Mike Oxley of Christian Brothers Academy.

Cory Damiana, Lower Cape May Regional, Jr., (32-6)

Record vs. state qualifiers: 2-4.

Highlight wins: Damiana won a pair of matches against state qualifiers in one day on Jan. 26. Damiana won a 2-1 decision against Moorestown's Tyreek Smith and a 10-8 decision against Matt Correnti of Holy Cross.

Seed: Unseeded in the top bracket.

Back points: Damiana is making his second trip to states and will open this season with top bracket No. 2 seed Jake Regina of Rutherford in the prelims. If Damiana can get past Regina, he would likely face Moorestown's Smith.

220 pounds

Nigel Toussaint, Egg Harbor Township, Sr., (31-3)

Record vs. state qualifiers: 3-2.

Highlight wins: Won a 5-3 decision against Region 7 runner-up and fellow state qualifier Evan Wayns of Shawnee. Won a 3-1 decision against Millville's Obi Kali in the Region 8 semifinals. It was Toussaint's second win against Kali this season.

Seed: Bottom bracket No. 6 seed.

Back points: Toussaint is wrestling in the state tournament for the second straight season and opens with Hanover Park's Nicholas LaShell in the prelims. The winner will face the winner of another prelim between No. 3 seed Tyler Poling of Brick Memorial and unseeded Robert Levine of Wayne Hills.

Obi Kali, Millville, Jr., (32-6)

Record vs. state qualifiers: 0-3.

Highlight wins: Seeded 11th in his weight class, Kali won an 11-5 decision against third-seeded William Cioffi of Pitman in the Region 8 quarterfinals on Feb. 26. Kali won a 9-2 decision against Williamstown's Tyler Nicolary in the consolation finals a day later.

Seed: Unseeded in the bottom bracket.

Back points: Kali is making his first appearance in the state tournament and with no previous criteria past districts received an understandably tough draw. Kali will face bottom bracket No. 7 seed Evan Wayns of Shawnee with the winner to meet No. 2 seed Ralph Normandia of Franklin in the prequarters.

Pat Schinder, Lacey Township, Sr., (34-3)

Record vs. state qualifiers: 1-2

Highlight wins: Won a 9-3 decision against Moorestown state qualifier Tyreek Smith on Jan. 5. Won a 16-6 major decision against Ocean Township's Jacob Bell in the Region 6 consolation finals on Feb. 27.

Seed: Unseeded in the bottom bracket.

Back points: Schinder opens with High Point's Robert McDonnell in the prelims. The winner of the Schinder-McDonnell match will meet Region 2 champ and bottom bracket top seed Zach Chakonis of Don Bosco Prep. Chakonis finished sixth in the state at 220 last season.

285 pounds

Roy Lucas, St. Joseph, Sr., (37-0)

Record vs. state qualifiers: 3-0.

Highlight wins: Won a 1-0 decision against Camden Catholic Region 7 runner-up Jeff Miller on Feb. 13 in team sectionals. Won an 8-3 decision against Holy Spirit's Ray Ellis for his second Region 8 title and third trip to states on Feb. 27.

Seed: Top bracket No. 1 seed.

Back points: The only area wrestler to receive a No. 1 seed and one of just two (Hammonton's David Williams the other) entering the tournament with unblemished records. Lucas, who finished third in the state at 220 pounds last season, has a bye in the prelims and will face Region 4 champ Jose Palomino of St. Peter's Prep in the prequarters. Lucas is ranked 13th in the country at 220 pounds but decided prior to states to go heavyweight.

Ray Ellis, Holy Spirit, Jr., (32-8)

Record vs. state qualifiers: 1-2.

Highlight wins: Seeded sixth in his weight class, Ellis won a 3-2 decision against Pennsville Memorial's Cody Dooley in the Region 8 quarterfinals. Ellis followed that up with first-period pin against Gloucester City's Allan Westenberger.

Seed: Bottom bracket No. 8 seed.

Back points: Ellis makes his debut in the state tournament against Hanover Park's Nicholas LaShell in the prelims. The winner advances to face Region 7 champ Alex Thompson of Haddon Heights in the prequarterfinals. Thompson is the top seed in the bottom bracket.

Contact John O'Kane:

609-272-7210

JOKane@pressofac.com

 

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