Hackettstown at Caldwell
What: North 2 Group 2 final
When: Friday, 6 p.m.
Where: Caldwell HS, West Caldwell
Sectional seeds: Caldwell No. 1, Hackettstown No. 3.
How they got here: Caldwell defeated Rutherford 64-9 and Hanover Park 43-22; Hackettstown defeated Governor Livingston 47-20 and Elmwood Park 49-13.
What’s at stake: Winner advances to state Group 2 semifinal at Toms River North, Sunday (2 p.m.) against opponent TBA
Last sectional title: Hackettstown 2007 (N2 G2), Caldwell 2011 (N2 G1)
Admission: $5 adults, $2 students
Records: Hacketsttown 15-6, Caldwell 18-6
Regional rankings by lehighvalleylive: Hackettstown NR, Caldwell N/A
State rankings by NJWWA: not ranked
Projected lineups (Hackettstown wrestler listed first, records through Feb. 12, rankings by lehighvalleylive; HM=Honorable Mention)
106 pounds: So. HM Austin Zellars (19-7) v. Fr. Ian Flangan (15-10)
113: So. Matthew Finer (10-16) v. Sr. Ricardo Caamano (29-3) or Jr. Maurice Leonardo (1-4)
120: Fr. Matt Francis (3-11) v. So. Pasquale Cappozzoli (13-16) or So. Joshua Eng (14-14)
126: Fr. HM Joe Bencivengo (17-8) v. Caamano or Cappozzoli
132: Sr. Michael Sullivan (8-17) v. So. Kayleb Egoavil (6-8)
138: Sr. HM Christian Bremner (18-11) v. Sr. Dominic Perna (5-13)
145: Jr. Anthony Funes (3-7) v. Sr. Joseph Jenkins (12-11)
152: Sr. HM Garrett Meyer (13-12) v. So. Sean Haas (6-6)
160: Sr. HM Zeb Burke (21-5) v. Sr. Jack Askling (20-11)
170: Sr. HM Alejandro Castro (24-7) v. Sr. Luke Schaffer (25-7)
182: Jr. HM Tyler Yanoff (13-9) or Jr. Bruno Dougherty (3-1) v. Jr. Max Ruiz (19-11)
195: Jr. HM Matt Bremner (22-5) v. Jr. John Casale (23-7)
220: So. HM Jack Gordon (18-11) v. Sr. David Zerrei (6-10)
285: Sr. Cody Motto (7-7) v. Jr. Ben Rivera (25-5)
Brad Wilson’s analysis and prediction: Return of the native, or at least the resident, as veteran Hackettstown coach Frank Rodgers lives in the Caldwell district and his sons wrestled for the Chiefs. The Tigers have an excellent chance to win their second sectional championship, but need their hammers from 152 to 220 to prevail in what may be a succession of close bouts. Because Hackettstown may get fewer bonus points than it usually does from 160 to 220, some of the other Tigers have to make up for that by not getting decked, especially from 132 to 152. While, other than Christian Bremner, those bouts don’t have the bigger names, they may decide the match. Caldwell may use its top wrestlers not so much against the Tigers’ strengths but deploy them as much as possible to gain bonus points. There’s not a lot of maneuvering available to either coach, except for the Chiefs down low, so the match should be line-’em-up-and-slug-it-out. It’s not fanciful to say, simply, the most pins wins. Hackettstown will win that battle and the section, but in tense, tight fashion, Hackettstown, 37-35.
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