By BRIAN CUNNIFF
A combined eight wrestlers from Lower Cape May Regional and Middle Township high schools have qualified for the modified Regions 7-8 Tournament.
The tournament will be held this Saturday and Sunday, April 17-18, at Cherry Hill East High School.
Sixteen wrestlers in each weight class have qualified for the tournament. The top four finishers from each of the four region tournaments will move on to the state championships later this month at Phillipsburg High School for a total of 16 state qualifiers in each weight class. First-round region losers are eliminated. Those who lose in the quarterfinal round move to the wrestleback round in an effort to qualify for states.
Five Lower Cape May wrestlers have qualified for Region 7-8, led by unbeaten senior Shane Whitney at 220 pounds. Whitney is seeded third in the weight class and will face West Deptford’s No. 14 Mike Griffith in the opening round. Whitney is 8-0 on the season and has yet to wrestle the full six minutes. He has seven wins by fall and another by forfeit. Six of his seven pins have come in the first period. Whitney was a state finalist in Virginia at 195 pounds last year as a junior before transferring to Lower Cape May.
Also seeded third from Lower Cape May is junior Marcus Hebron at 195 pounds. Hebron (7-1) will face No. 14 Mason Brown of Williamstown in the opening round. If he advances as far as the semifinal round, Hebron could face No. 2 Cody Thurston of West Deptford with a chance to avenge his only loss of the season. Thurston pinned Hebron in 3:25 in the opening match of the season.
Caper Tiger senior Wesley Tosto is seeded eighth at 132 pounds and will face No. 9 Gavin Haegle of Eastern in the opening round. With a win, Tosto (7-0) would most likely take on No. 1 Ty Whalen of Clearview in the quarterfinal round.
Lower senior Christian Campanero (7-1) is seeded 10th at 160 pounds. He’ll face No. 7 Gavin Stewart of Pinelands in the opener, with the winner most likely seeing No. 2 Juris Clark of Camden Catholic in the quarterfinal round.
Rounding out Lower Cape May’s qualifiers is senior Sean Connelly, who’s seeded 11th at 182 pounds. Connelly (6-2) will wrestle No. 6 Daniel DiGiovacchino of Delsea in the opening round.
Middle Township has qualified three of its wrestlers for the Regions 7-8 Tournament.
Junior David Giulian (7-3) is the highest-seeded wrestler for the Panthers. He’s slotted fifth at 182 pounds and will face No. 12 Cole DuBois of Schlalick in the opening round. With a win, Giulian would most likely see No. 4 Dennis Virelli of St. Augustine Prep in the quarterfinal round.
Middle senior Mike Adelizzi is seeded 12th at 170 pounds. Adelizzi (2-4) will face No. 5 Ray Weed in the opening round.
Also qualifying for the Panthers is junior Evan Dugan (1-3), who will go up against No. 2 Taylor Robinson of Williamstown in the first round.
Lower and Middle also have six alternates for the tournament. These were wrestlers who made the opening cut for regions but ultimately were not seeded among the top 16 in their respective weight classes. Those wrestlers include Lower’s David Tosto (138), Devon Bohn (145) and Matt Craig (Hwt.) and Middle’s Alick Killian (145), Adrien LaBoy (152) and Jayden Matthews (195).