Undefeated Peterson, record-setting Klinsky are crowned state wrestling champions


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There has been no wrestler over the past two years in the state of New Jersey who has been able to defeat Dean Peterson of Saint John Vianney High School.

As a sophomore in 2019, Peterson rolled to a 35-0 record and won his first state tournament championship with a 3-2 decision over Emerson-Park Ridge High School’s Nick Babin in the 113-pound state final.

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On March 7 in the 120-pound championship match at Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall, Peterson wrapped another perfect season to become a two-time state champion.

The junior defeated Brick Memorial High School’s Vincent Santaniello by a 1-0 decision to win his second straight state championship and finish his season with a perfect 37-0 record.

Peterson is currently on a 73-match winning streak and is 109-2 in his high school career going into his senior year at the Holmdel school.

The Princeton University commit was joined by teammate Blake Clayton in the placement circle for the Lancers. The senior finished third in the 182-pound bracket.

Klinsky reaches the top of the podium

Ever since falling in the 106-pound championship match last year at the state tournament, Middletown High School North’s Tyler Klinsky made it his mission to come back stronger for his senior season and make it back to center stage at Boardwalk Hall.

Klinsky achieved his mission by becoming this year’s 113-pound state champion when he scored a 6-3 decision over Don Bosco Prep’s Kelly Dunnigan to cap his terrific career with a state title.

The senior becomes the second wrestler in Middletown North history to win a state championship.

Ken Hopfsensperger won Middletown North’s first state championship in 1974.

Klinsky went 41-3 during his senior campaign and finished his career as the Shore Conference’s all-time winningest wrestler with 169 victories.

Klinsky also ended his high school career as a four-time district and region champion.

Rada and Reitsma place second

Luke Rada of Colts Neck High School became the second state finalist in program history, putting together a stellar performance in the tournament to advance to the 182-pound final.

During his semifinal match against Wall Township High School’s Jake Whitworth, Rada came up with a huge takedown in overtime for the 5-3 victory to seal his spot in the final.

Rada would go on to lose to Colonia High School’s John Poznanski by a pin at 3:31 in the 182-pound state championship match. The dominating Poznanski went on to receive the state tournament’s Outstanding Wrestler award

Rada finished his high school as a career three-time state qualifier, three-time district champion and two-time region champion.

Shane Reitsma of Howell High School became a two-time state finalist as the senior out dueled Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School’s Jack Kelly by a 6-4 decision in the semifinals to advance to the 170-pound state championship match.

Reitsma’s second straight appearance in a state title bout ended in a hard-fought 3-1 loss to DePaul Catholic High School’s Connor O’Neill.

It was a storied career for Reitsma at Howell. He leaves as the program’s all-time victory leader with 165 career victories.

Reitsma also finished as a three-time state medalist, three-time region champion and four-time district champion. His Howell teammate, heavyweight Justin Wright, placed sixth in the state tournament.

Jackson Memorial High School’s Kyle Epperly claimed fifth place at 195 pounds.

Three earned medals for Rumson-Fair Haven

Kelly ended up finishing fifth after his semifinal appearance for Rumson-Fair Haven, as did his teammate Shay Addison at 160 pounds.

Junior Max Brignola was a state-medalist for Rumson-Fair Haven with an eighth-place finish in the 145-pound bracket.

Allentown’s Lamparelli medals to cap off career

Joseph Lamparelli of Allentown High School achieved his goal of standing on the podium at the state tournament.

Lamparelli secured a seventh-place finish in the tournament at 120 pounds with a 3-1 victory over Middletown North’s Fred Luchs, capping off a spectacular career at Allentown.

The senior finished in an elite club with 160 career victories, the most ever won in Allentown history. He also claimed four district and four Mercer County championships.

Lamparelli is also Allentown’s only two-time region champion.

Manalapan’s Johnson repeats as girls’ state champion

Jessi Johnson of Manalapan defeated West Orange High School’s Precious Opara by a 7-2 decision in the 151-pound final to win her second state championship during the girls’ state tournament that was also wrestled and completed on March 7 at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City.

Johnson won the 136-pound state title at the NJSIAA’s first ever girls’ state wrestling tournament last year at Boardwalk Hall.

Other state placewinners

Manalapan High School’s Matt Benedetti capped his career off with a fourth-place finish in the 160-pound bracket to make him a two-time state medalist.

Jackson Memorial High School’s Kyle Epperly claimed fifth place at 195 pounds.

Jack Zaleski, Middletown High School South’s 106-pounder, earned fifth place as a freshman, while Freehold Borough High School’s Nico Messina placed sixth in the 126-pound bracket.

Follow Steven Bassin on Twitter @SBassin_Sports

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