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DePaul's Mott wins Region 1 title;
six JSN-area wrestlers qualify for Atlantic City

Region 1 Wrestling tournament consolations & finals

Six Jersey Sports Now-area wrestlers punched their tickets to Atlantic City by finishing in the top three at the brutal Region 1 wrestling tournament.  DePaul's A.J. Mott was the headliner, as he captured the 189-pound title with a 7-3 victory over Russell Jones of Pope John.  Luke Rigoglioso of Wayne Valley took second place at 140 pounds, while four Montville wrestlers battled through the consolation brackets to take third place and also advance.

Seeded third in the Regions, Mott was efficient and effective in all three matches at Wallkill Valley High School.  He cruised by Eric Bach of Kittatinny in the quarterfinals, 11-4, then took down second seed Jared Crouse of Phillipsburg 6-3 in the semifinals.  In the unexpected final against fourth seed Jones, Mott scored three takedowns and didn't allow any.  He credited his work on technique to help him make a big step up in this, his junior year.

"Most people probably didn't think I could do it at the beginning of the year," Mott said.  "I knew in my mind if I kept plugging, I could pull it out.  I worked hard and it really paid off."

Mott is looking forward to his first trip to the state wrestling finals in Atlantic City.  "I feel like I can make some noise down there," he said.  "Placing top 8 would be really huge for me."

Rigoglioso got the first seed at 140 pounds despite wrestling at 135 for much of the season.  He reached the final with a quarterfinal pin and a 9-6 win in the semis.  But in the final against second seed Joe Gaccione of High Point, Rigoglioso couldn't make anything happen.  Gaccione scored two back points late in the second period and added an escape to post a 3-0 win.  Still, Rigoglioso was pleased to achieve his main goal of returning to Atlantic City after missing out last year.

"Coming into the match I felt I had nothing to lose," said Rigoglioso.  "After that loss, I realize I have things to work on to prepare me for when I get down to AC."

Joining him there will be four members of the Montville team that won its first-ever sectional wrestling title this year.  Mike Polizzi at 112 pounds, Mike Intile at 130, Shane Parcel at 160 and Greg Barnish at 171 all won consolation finals to take third place at the Regions.  All but Polizzi had to bounce back from losses in Friday night's quarterfinals and win three consolation bouts to do so.  "To be able to battle back after losing on Friday night and winning this morning, that says a lot about the kids on my team," said Montville coach John Krip.

Six other JSN-area wrestlers just missed out on an Atlantic City trip, falling in the consolation finals.  Pompton Lakes had two of those near misses:  Mike Ward at 160 and Matt Grosser at 189.  West Milford also had two wrestlers finish fourth:  152-pounder Taylor Pevny and 215-pounder Will Weaver.  R.J. DeGeorge of Pequannock at 112 and Clint Donnelly of Kinnelon at 125 also settled for fourth place.

At Region 4 at West Orange, three Passaic Valley wrestlers moved on to Atlantic City.  Ryan Dunphy won the title at 140 pounds with a 6-4 win over Fabian Rosario of Bloomfield.  Dunphy is considered a contender for the state wrestling crown at that weight class.  He's joined by teammates Frank Crocco (145) and John Irwin (215), who both placed second in the Region.

Two other area wrestlers will also make the trip south after qualifying at Region 3 at Union.  Steve Godine of Whippany Park placed second at 112 pounds and will make a return trip to Atlantic City.  Meantime, Austin DiMarco of Mountain Lakes grabbed third at 189 to become the first Laker in several years to qualify.

The state finals run Friday through Sunday at Boardwalk Hall.   -- Paul Mencher for Jersey Sports Now



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