In a quarterfinal match, Ward trailed North Bergen’s Anthony Giraldo 2-0 after the first period and was pinned 40 seconds into the second.
Ward, who took third in the state his sophomore season, came one match short of placing with a 6-2 loss to Jackson Memorial’s Alec Huxford in his wrestleback.
Billy Ward started the prequarterfinal match against Point Pleasant Boro’s Ryan Budzek with a takedown in the first period, followed with a reversal late in the second for a 7-4 decision. Ward moved on to the quarterfinals for the fourth straight year.
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 March 2.
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.