Earning the right to compete at the NJSIAA state wrestling tournament at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City is one of the best accomplishments you can earn wrestling at the high school level in the state of New Jersey.
Old Bridge High School wrestler Tyler Sagi and Sayreville War Memorial High School wrestlers Dylan Acevedo and Joseph Porcaro each got to experience the thrill of competing in the state tournament for the first time during the competition that was held on March 5-7.
Sagi, a freshman, put together a tremendous season in his first year for the Knights.
The freshman rung up a perfect 35-0 record heading into the NJSIAA Region 5 Tournament, rolling through the 126-pound bracket in the NJSIAA District 17 Tournament on Feb. 22 unscored upon to win his first district title.
A few weeks before districts at the Greater Middlesex Conference on Feb. 1, Sagi captured his first county championship, defeating Sayreville’s Darren Figueroa in the finals by a 11-4 decision.
Sagi suffered his first loss of the season in the quarterfinals of the Region 5 tournament.
The loss didn’t phase the freshman from keeping his focus on qualifying for the state tournament, a goal of his from the start of the season.
Sagi bounced back in the wrestleback consolations, winning his next two matches by an 8-5 and an 8-1 decision, respectively, to qualify for the state tournament.
In the third-place bout, Sagi defeated Hunterdon Central High School’s Nick Canonica by a 6-5 decision to win bronze in the Region 5 tournament.
“Achieving those goals feel really good,” Sagi said. “I’m proud of myself.”
At the state tournament, Sagi dropped his first match to Brick Memorial High School’s Michael Richardson by a pin, which put him straight into wrestlebacks.
Again, showing his maturity, Sagi didn’t panic and kept wrestling.
Sagi earned his only victory in the state tournament by edging Southern Regional High School’s Michael Brielmeier by a 4-3 decision.
Sagi finishes the season with a 39-3 record.
For the Old Bridge girls’ wrestling squad, 100-pounder Mandy Gavares placed sixth at the state tournament.
Porcaro kept a family legacy going by qualifying for the state tournament, joining his brothers Anthony and Michael as state qualifiers.
The 220-pounder snatched a third place finish at the Region 5 tournament, outdueling Franklin High School’s Nnamdi Jones by an 8-6 decision.
After losing his first round match at the state tournament to Burlington City High School’s Ameir Pittman, Porcaro bounced back with a 6-0 victory over Nutley High School’s Nicolas Polewka in wrestlebacks.
Porcaro finishes his senior season with a 30-6 record.
Acevedo dropped down from 113 to 106 pounds going into the District 17 tournament.
The junior placed third at districts and then battled to a fourth place finish at the Region 5 Tournament, defeating Old Bridge’s Vincent Nadera by a 2-1 decision in overtime to punch his ticket to Atlantic City.
Acevedo lost both his matches in the state tournament and finished the season with a mark of 35-7.
Three Monroe wrestlers compete in state tournament
Monroe Township High School had two members from its boys’ squad and one female wrestler compete at the state wrestling tournament.
Ian McCabe, a 152-pounder, became a three-time state qualifier for the Falcons, surging to the final round at the Region 6 tournament by going unscored upon in his first two matches.
McCabe rolled through his competition on the way to becoming a two-time district champion at the District 24 tournament.
The senior collected a pin and a 15-0 tech fall victory on his way to the final, where he defeated Delran High School’s Eren Ibas by a 8-2 decision to be crowned district champion for the second year in a row.
Taking home silver at the Region 6 tournament, McCabe started off the state tournament with a bang, roaring to an 11-0 major decision over Roselle Park High School’s Patrick Nevins in the first round of the tournament.
Falling to Paramus High School’s Aaron Ayzerov in the second round, he bounced back with a pin before being knocked out of the tournament.
McCabe finished with a 36-5 record this winter.
Senior Joseph Fiordaliso qualified for the state tournament for the second time in his career for the Falcons.
Missing out on competing in Atlantic City last year, the 132-pounder made sure he punched his ticket to the dance this season, pinning Hightstown High School’s Kether Thornton in the second period to advance to the finals of the Region 6 tournament.
Fiordaliso went on to place second at regions.
The senior bounced back after losing his first match in the state tournament by a strong showing in wrestlebacks, defeating Travis Brown of Pinelands High School by an 8-2 decision and then topping Connor Quinn of Northern Hunterdon High School by a 6-3 decision.
Like McCabe, Fiordaliso finished with 36 victories on the season for Monroe.
In the girls’ state wrestling tournament, Gabby Miller became a two-time state finalist for Monroe, pinning Mount Olive High School’s Carly Anderson to advance to the final of the 135-pound bracket.
Miller won the first ever 147-pound girls’ wrestling state championship last season.
The sophomore took home silver in the state tournament this season.
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