EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP — Zach Valcarce knows how to win high-stakes wrestling matches.
The Lower Cape May Regional High School senior 120-pounder won Wednesday night at the Region 8 tournament for the third straight season.
Valcarce and the rest of Wednesday night’s winners advance to Friday’s quarterfinal round.
The losers’ seasons are over.
“This is just to get by basically,” Valcarce said. “It’s a lot of pressure because if you lose, you’re done. If you win, you get to wrestle at least two more matches.”
Valcarce, seeded third, won a 9-6 decision against Buena Regional’s Sal Marandino and will face sixth-seeded Mike McGeehan of Washington Township in Friday’s quarters.
Valcarce is a three-time District 32 runner-up and said he tries to look at the bright side of wrestling Wednesday.
“It may actually be better than not wrestling the whole week,” he said. “Sometimes when you don’t wrestle for a whole week, you get rusty.
“If you wrestle today, you get a day of practice to figure out what you need to work on.”
Cedar Creek’s Tommy Rheault took the opportunity on Wednesday to avenge a loss from the District 32 semifinals against St. Augustine Prep’s Cory Pietrzyk.
Pietrzyk won 6-4 in overtime at districts and quickly took Rheault down twice in Wednesday night’s prelim.
But the Cedar Creek senior wasn’t done.
Rheault took Pietrzyk down in the second and sent the match to overtime tied 6-6.
The two were scoreless in the first overtime.
In the second of two 30-second double-overtime periods, Rheault muscled Pietrzyk to his back and pinned him at the seven minute, 53-second mark.
“That felt good,” Rheault said of the pin. “I knew I had it.”
The 195-pound bracket was reseeded after Hammonton District 30 champ Brandon Beebe was forced to pull out of the tournament with a knee injury.
Rheault was originally supposed to wrestle somebody else and didn’t find out he was getting a rematch with Pietrzyk until he was at lunch Wednesday.
“My coach came up to me and said, ‘If you want that revenge, you got it,’ ” Rheault said. “I wanted the match.”
Rheault will face top-seeded Rory Bonner of West Deptford in the quarters. Bonner placed fifth in the state last season and is 29-0 this year.
Wednesday was Absegami freshman Yanni Patsaros’ first taste of regions and he took advantage of the opportunity, quickly headlocking Williamstown’s Jonathan Figueroa to his back and pinning him in just 34 seconds at 113 pounds.
“It was really great to wrestle here because I’ve been dreaming of wrestling in districts and regions since I was 5 years old,” Patsaros said.
Patsaros is mild-mannered and unassuming — at least until he steps on the mat.
He took the opportunity following his match Wednesday to thank each and every one of his wrestling coaches by name as well as his mom and dad and even his teachers in school, “for helping me get A’s and B’s,” Patsaros said.
“I never would have gotten this far if not for the help of a lot of people.”
Patsaros said he was mentally prepared for Wednesday’s match despite his youth.
“It’s a lot of pressure but if you get nervous you’re going to wrestle nervous,” he said. “You just have to breath it in, wrestle to the best of your ability and leave everything on the mat. Then no matter what you can’t be upset.”
Friday night’s quarterfinals begin at 5:30 p.m. with the semifinals, wrestlebacks and finals slated for Saturday.
Notes: A few top contenders were forced to withdraw from regions due to injuries. Hammonton’s Beebe would have been the No. 6 seed at 195 pounds but injured his knee while winning the District 30 title. Buena Regional’s Dillan Berghof, who was seeded third at 145, pulled out with a shoulder injury. Berghof, a two-time District 32 champion and 100-match winner during his career, re-aggravated his shoulder in his District 32 final loss to Absegami’s Jack Willette on Saturday.
Contact John O’Kane:
106—(5) Eric Pruszinski, Lower Cape May d. (12) Trent Tutko, Kingsway 5-1; (14) Daniel Moss, Williamstown p. (3) Griffin Bonner, West Deptford 4:00; (11) Andrew Tolbert, Clayton p. (6) Patrick Higgins, Woodstown :48; (10) Lucas Siegfried, Highland d. (7) Collin Donahue, St. Augustine 4-1.
113—(8) Zach Hicks, Lower Cape May d. (9) Dustin Zuzulock, West Deptford 9-5;(5) Yanni Patsaros, Absegami p. (12) Jonathan Figueroa, Williamstown :34;(6) Tom Carney, Delsea p. (11) Dillon Prendergast, Highland 1:15; (7) Matt Sparks, Gateway d. (10) Will Weber, Pennsville 3-1.
120— (8) Mike VanBrill, Clearview tf. (9) Josh Clark, Highland 16-1;(4) Tyler Kaminski, West Deptford p. (13) Daniel DeTetta, Vineland 5:40; (3) Zach Valcarce, Lower Cape May d. (14) Sal Marandino, Buena 9-6; (10) Stanley Atkinson, Kingsway d. (7) Joey DiMartino, Timber Creek 4-2 OT.
126—(9)Conor Stabile, Oakcrest d. (8) Zach Nealis, Vineland 10-4; (11) Charlie McLaughlin, Kingsway d. (6) Alex Eastlack, Gateway 5-3; (7) Ed Donahue, St. Augustine p. (10) Ronald Mestichelli, Clearview 1:24.
132—(9) Jarred Hodges, St. Augustine d. (8) Robby Wittman, Clearview 2-0; (12) John Pierson, Delsea p. (5) Chris Bucceroni, Triton 5:46;(7) Cory Jacobs, Clayton md. (10) Cliff Owens, Ocean City 18-9.
138—(8) Jon Lado, Gloucester City p. (9) Tayron Davis, Vineland 4:06; (5) Aaron Kolmetsky, Deptford utb. (12) Keshawn Branham, Winslow Township 6-5; (7) Nick Theisen, Highland d. (10) Jarett Pierotti, Buena 5-0.
145— (8) Kevin Keppler, Washington Township d. (9) Ty Altieri, Lower Cape May 6-4;(6) Adrian Feliciano, Pennsville sv. (11) Dom DeMarco, Delsea 10-8; (10) Zach Richard, Paulsboro d. (7) Bill Millward, Clayton 7-2.
152—(8) John Fitzpatrick, Mainland d. (9) Sheldon Morris, Highland 15-9; (5) Steminto Rowe-Atkins, Clayton p. (12) Nico Porretta,Hammonton 3:46; (13) Rory Bushby, Kingsway d. (4) Tom Paulsen, Paulsboro 9-6; (11) Joseph Cutugno, Atlantic City d. (6) Dylan Weiss, Woodstown 5-1.
160— (8) Ryan Bushby, Kingsway d. (9) David Robinson, Clayton 8-4; Kellen Whitney, Hammonton tf. (12) Jose Soto, Millville 15-0; (4) James Ingersol, Egg Harbor Township p. (13) James Brady, St. Augustine 5:02; (7) Lee Koller, Paulsboro p. (10) Anthony Masciocchi, Triton 5:42.
170—(5) Cooper Gallagher, Ocean City d. (12) Joe Sindoni, Clearview 6-3; (11) Tom Nolan, Highland d. (6) Tim Lenzsch, Mainland 3-2; (10) Nick Rodriguez, Clayton d. (7) Steffen Rodriguez, Vineland 11-10; (2) Nick Elmer, Penns Grove tf. (15) Jack Hartman, Hammonton 16-1.
182—(9) Victor DeFrance, Delsea d. (8) Ahmir Walker, Deptford 9-5;(5) John Benard, Oakcrest d. (12) Steven Calhoun, Washington Township 7-0; (11) Lierena Percy, Atlantic City d. (6) Tiawahn Cosby, Vineland 5-4; (7) Jordan Warren, Highland d. (10) Vincent Testa, Clearview 6-2.
195—(9) Thomas Rheault, Cedar Creek tb. (8) Cory Pietrzyk, St. Augustine 7:53; (5) Isaiah Coppage, Penns Grove d. (12) Benjamin Henderson, Vineland 8-1;(4) Gabe Sastre, Clayton md. (13) Timothy Brant, Overbrook 14-2; (7) Diego Gonzalez, Gloucester City d. (10) George Duddy, Highland 5-2.
220—(8) Mark Fischer, West Deptford p.(9) Zack Nesbitt, Deptford 3:30; (12) Tyler Nicolary, Williamstown p. (5) Jamal Clark, Lindenwold 5:49; (11) Obi Kali, Millville md. (6) Ty Warren, Buena 12-2;(7) Josh Johnson, Ocean City d. (10) Cylas Dorety, Woodstown 6-4.
285—(9) Brian Marzi, Triton utb. (8) Martel Harrison, Highland 2-1;(4) Davontae Randall, Paulsboro p. (13) Ronald Ippolite, Kingsway 2:18; (6) Ray Ellis, Holy Spirit p. (11) Roman Rudisill, Absegami :55; (7) Eric Weiss, Clayton d. (10) Greg Halikman, Delsea 5-1.