Hopewell Valley sends three to Atlantic City; Princeton’s Romaine places second at Region 5

Princeton High School wrestler James Romaine blocks a takedown attempt by Hunterdon Central High School's Anthony Romaniello during their 152-pound semifinal match at the NJSIAA Region 5 Tournament on Feb. 29. Romaine won the match in overtime with an 11-10 decision to qualify for the state tournament.

A handful of Mercer County wrestlers punched their ticket to Atlantic City, the site of the state wrestling tournament this week, during the NJSIAA Region 5 Tournament at Franklin Township High School on Feb. 29.

The state tournament will be wrestled at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City from March 5-7. The top four finishers from each weight class from each of the eight region tournaments that ended on Feb. 29 qualified for the state tournament.

Hopewell Valley Central High School had three wrestlers qualify for the state tournament.

Hopewell Valley’s 220-pounder Christian Cacciabaudo made a stunning run from the No. 6 seed to the final for the Bulldogs.

Cacciabaudo upset the No. 3 seed, Joseph Porcaro from Sayreville War Memorial High School, in the quarterfinals with a 5-3 decision to advance to the semifinals.

Facing off against Franklin’s Nnamdi Jones in the semifinals, Cacciabaudo scored a pin to qualify for the state tournament and advance to the region final.

Cacciabaudo fell to Holmdel High School’s Michael Pavlinetz in the final by a 7-2 decision.

In the 182-pound bracket, Josh Beigman placed fourth for the Bulldogs to qualify for the state tournament.

Beigman advanced to the semifinals with a 3-1 decision over Manville High School’s Alex Abarca and secured a spot in the state tournament with a 7-2 decision over South Brunswick High School’s Nick Jairdullo in the consolation round.

Beigman currently stands at 35-5 on the season.

Hopewell Valley’s 195-pounder Brian LaCross battled back after falling in the quarterfinals with two straight victories to round out the trio of Bulldogs heading to Atlantic City this week.

LaCross pinned Sayreville’s Ryan Bouchard with six seconds left in his first consolation round match and then defeated Liam Horan of Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School by a 4-1 decision to qualify for the state tournament.

Romaine silver medalist at Region 5 Tournament

Princeton High School had two wrestlers competing at the Region 5 Tournament.

Princeton’s 152-pounder James Romaine placed second in his bracket to become Princeton’s only state qualifier this winter.

Romaine, the No. 3 seed, pulled off an 11-10 overtime victory over second-seeded Anthony Romaniello of Hunterdon Central Regional High School to qualify for the state tournament.

In the region final, Romaine came up just short of winning gold, losing to Shore Regional High School’s Michael McGhee by a 7-5 decision.

Romaine heads into the state tournament with a 24-4 record.

Dominic Riendeau-Krause advanced to the quarterfinals in the 145-pound bracket for Princeton, but fell in his next two matches to finish the season with a mark of 28-10.

Follow Steven Bassin on Twitter @SBassin_Sports