Nottingham, Steinert combine to send seven (maybe eight) wrestlers to Region 6 Tournament

Sylvester Freeman shown against Princeton earlier this season, was one of two District 24 champions for Nottingham on Saturday along with teammate Jerry Andulaz. Photo by Michael A. Sabo

By Rich Fisher

Feb. 18: Two champs, three runners-up and two third-place finishers made it a pretty decent day for Hamilton Township high school wrestling teams at their respective district tournaments Saturday.

Nottingham had two champions, three finalists and four top-three finishers advance to the Region 6 Tournament at Brick Memorial High School next weekend, while Steinert had two finalists and three wrestlers (possibly four) advance.

At the District 24 Tournament at Freehold Township High School, Nottingham’s Jerry Andaluz won the 152-pound title while Sylvester Freeman claimed the heavyweight crown. Andaluz pinned Red Bank Catholic’s Jace Fanelli in the first period of the semifinals and took a 12-2 major decision over CBA’s Christian Recantini in the finals. Freeman won a 13-4 major decision over Ocean Township’s Joseph Teresi in the semis, and pulled out a sudden death, 7-6 decision over Michael Griggs in the championship bout.

Steinert senior Keon “Son of Cooperazzi” Cooper displays his award for taking second place at 182 pounds in the District 23 Tournament at Long Branch High School Saturday. Cooper and six other Hamilton Township wrestlers advanced to next weekend’s Region 6 Tournament (Photo by Doug “Cooperazzi” Cooper).

Marc Jordine won his 220 semifinal by claiming a 3-2 decision on the ultimate tie-breaker rule over Freehold Township’s Austin Colbert, and finished in second place after dropping a major to CBA’s Cameron DiGiorgio.  After falling in the 170-pound semi, Joshua Almanzar came back to pin Ocean Township’s Ryan Moran in 1:44 in the third-place bout.

For the Spartans, Keon “Son of Cooperazzi” Cooper took second at 182 pounds while Nick Pasqua did likewise at 195 at the District 23 Tournament at Long Branch High School. Cooper won a 10-2 major over Delran’s Zach Bohn in the semis before falling to Hightstown’s Johnny Andre in the title bout. Pasqua also majored a Delran guy in the semis, taking a 9-0 major over Sean Theis but dropping a 12-3 major to Long Branch’s Peter Wersinger.

After falling in the heavyweight semifinals, Tom Wasylenko came back for a 3-2 decision over Delran’s Anthony Grozozski in the third-place finals to punch his ticket to Brick Township. Brendon Redondo suffered a 12-3 loss to Delran’s Berkant Haliloglu in his 170-pound third-place bout, but Haliloglu suffered a broken wrist and a decision will be made on Monday if he will wrestle in regions. If not, Redondo will head for the Brick.

It was a nice showing for the Spartans considering they did not advance one wrestler last year after having Brandon Cray win state titles the previous two seasons.

“Our heavyweight was kind of hurt,” coach Adam “The Postmaster General” Jankos said. “He wasn’t even gonna wrestle in the consolation finals because of his shoulder. But I was telling him about the kid, showing him the kids he lost to, we had common opponents that he did better against. The kid was about 50 pounds lighter than Wasylenko, I was telling him ‘You could beat this kid, I know your shoulder is hurting now, but that kid’s giving up 50 pounds. We ended up getting the winning takedown for the win so he moves on.

“I’m definitely satisfied. It’s funny, last season we were 9-10, and we qualified for states and had no one go to regions. This year we’re 14-10, we didn’t qualify for states and we had more guys go to regions. It’s just odd how it works.”

About The Author

Rich Fisher has been around the Hamilton Township sports scene for so long that he actually got Rich Giallella’s autograph when Giallella was still a player! Proud product of Hamilton YMCA and Lou Gehrig baseball leagues and former teammate of Jim Maher on a very average Barton & Cooney rec basketball team, Fish graduated from Nottingham Junior High and Steinert High school and has covered township sports since 1980. His goal in life is to convince Maria Prato that Jersey tomatoes are at least 100 times better than California tomatoes.