Balmaceda faced Paramus’ Brandon Lopresti in first wrestlebacks, earning an escape and a takedown in the second period and winning 3-1.
In second wrestlebacks, Balmaceda took Hunterdon Central’s Tyler Cote down with 24 seconds left in the match for a 6-4 decision.
Balmaceda came one match short of placing after an 11-6 decision loss to Nutley’s Brandon Keena. Balmaceda and Keena were tied 6-6 when Keena took Balmaceda down to his back with less than 10 seconds left.
Balmaceda’s strong efforts in the prequarterfinals weren't enough to knock off top-seeded Jonathan Schleifer from East Brunswick. Schleifer won by major decision 21-7.
The first Atlantic City wrestler at Boardwalk Hall since the 1970's earned a second-period pin in 3 minutes, 22 seconds over Kenny Long from Holy Cross.
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 gets to face top bracket No. 1 seed and defending state placewinner Jonathan Schleifer of East Brunswick.