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What I Learned at New Jersey States this Week

Special report by Josh Liebman

The High Point in the season

The High Point Wrestling team accomplished something that had not been done in New Jersey in over 70 years! They went 4-0 in the state finals to cap off another great season in impressive fashion. The night started off when Rutgers recruit Billy Smith (Hwt) secured a late takedown when countering a Jack Delia (North Hunterdon) shot to win the match 3-1. Smith’s win over the returning finalist gave him the perfect ending to an undefeated season.

Next up for High Point was Nick Frankivilla (125) who controlled his competition all weekend in route to his third New Jersey State Title with a 3-0 victory over Southern Regional’s Kyle Casaletto. Surprise finalist Drew Wagonhoffer made it to the final after upsetting Beast of the East finalist Devon Gobbo in the semi-finals and the knocked off former State Champion Joe Orecchio 6-2 in the finals. Finally was top prospect Ethan Orr. Orr had a back and forth struggle with Piscataway’s Tevin Shaw before he was able to take control in the third period to secure a 6-3 victory. What impressed me with this group was that although they all had individual goals, the history mad as a team, seemed to be the highlight of their night as they celebrated with teammates and fans.

Still Under the Radar

If you are still sleeping on James Fox of St Peters Prep it’s time to wake up! I was impressed with Mr. Fox at the Beast when he made a name for himself by defeating Kenny Courts of Central Dauphin and winning the Beast of the East. But, what I was surprised and impressed by was how much he has improved since Delaware. If it wasn’t for a certain 215 pound wrestler, Fox probably had the most dominating tournament defeating Jackson’s Dallas Winston 7-0 in the finals. With his athleticism and mat savvy I really believe he can be a top contender on the next level.

Green Pastures

Willingboro ha their first ever State Champion when James Green scored a dominate 16-4 victory over surprise finalist Nick Alper of Paramus. Green had a scare in the quarter finals with his 6-5 victory. Green used some of the quickest takedowns I have ever seen and used his much improved top game and gas tank throughout the tournament. Green was seconds away from winning a state championship last season and wanted to make sure this one was never in doubt as he continued to attack and attack. Nebraska looks to have picked up a gem and with workout partners like coach Bryan Snyder and Jordan Burroughs, who is expected to stick around Nebraska while preparing for an Olympic run.

Welcome to the Camp show

Andrew Campolattano is a rock star! He doesn’t act like it though. Andrew always makes himself available to shake a hand or sign an autograph for a young kid. He actually was running around the arena most of the weekend like a kid at the first day of School, excited and saying hello to old and new friends alike. He actually reminds me of his friend and coach Andrew Flannigan who was the same way enjoying it all and soaking it in.

Campolattano went about his business all weekend clearly a man amongst boys wasting no time Pinning Cherokee’s Mike Zeuli in just 47 seconds putting him on his back with a textbook inside trip. He accomplished a lit this weekend securing his fourth title, a new state record for wins and was still able to talk to the guys cleaning up the arena. As most of you know Campolattano has decided to not play football in college. That decision makes him one of the top prospects in the Country. It should be an interesting spring as we wait to see where he ends up. Could he be the final piece to the Penn State Championship puzzle? Maybe he stays home and joins a Rutgers team that is ascending up the rankings; he can join his friend James Green at Nebraska, who knows! I was one of the last people to leave boardwalk hall this Sunday, but I noticed someone else that was sticking around, it was Camp he was soaking it in even saying goodbye to the old building. He left a bit of history in the arena and joined other New Jersey wrestling legends. Camp may never perform at the New Jersey states again, but I think it’s safe to say for now that the old arena is Camp’s place.

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