Seven South Jersey wrestlers advance to state finals

Posted: March 10, 2013

ATLANTIC CITY - Paulsboro's Ron Gentile was 23 seconds away from losing a chance at a state championship.

After squandering a late 6-4 lead on an escape and a takedown by Livingston's Jason Estevez, Gentile found himself down on the mat and trailing by a point late in a 132-pound state semifinal Saturday at Boardwalk Hall.

But Gentile (38-1) pulled off a reversal to take the lead and went on to win, 11-7, and advance to Sunday's NJSIAA finals.

"You know, down or not, you have to wrestle all six minutes as hard as you can," Gentile said. "Down with 30 seconds left doesn't matter. Down by one doesn't matter. You have to try and score points."

Gentile had to fight through more than just 4-3 and 7-6 deficits in the third period. He also had to battle through a dislocated finger on his left hand. He suffered the injury in the pre-quarterfinals against Delbarton's Nick Anderson on Friday.

An athletic trainer popped the finger back in place, and Gentile went back out.

"There's no way a finger is going to keep me out of this tournament," Gentile said. "It's going to take a lot more than that."

Gentile was one of seven South Jersey wrestlers to advance to the state finals. Among the others were Camden Catholic's Chad Walsh and Northern Burlington's Wayne Stinson.

Walsh (40-1) defeated South Plainfield's Dylan Painton, 4-2, in the 152 semifinals. On the other side of the bracket, Stinson (40-4) won an 8-7 decision over Northern Highlands' Nick Gravina.

Walsh and Stinson will face off in the final. It's a rematch of last weekend's Region 7 final, in which Walsh won by a 4-2 decision.

"It was a tough region final. It's going to be a tough state final," Walsh said. "It was nice to get a win on him last week, but that doesn't mean anything right now."

"It was a real close match," Stinson said of the region final. "I feel like if I get the first takedown and get more takedowns like I know I can, then I will win it for sure."

Hammonton's David Williams reached his first state final. Wrestling at 182, Williams (41-0) pinned Newton's Josh Sibblies in 55 seconds.

Delsea's Bryan Dobzanski, who finished third in states last year, also stayed unbeaten. Dobzanski (41-0) pinned Mauro Correnti in 3 minutes, 1 second to reach the 220-pound final.

It will be an all-South Jersey affair in the heavyweight final.

Camden Catholic's Jeff Miller advanced on a 3-2 ultimate decision over St. Joseph's Roy Lucas in the semifinals. Miller (33-4) will face Haddon Heights' Alex Thompson (37-0), who won a 3-2 decision against Manalapan's John Appice in the other semifinal.

Sunday's action will begin with fifth-round wrestlebacks at 10 a.m., and consolations for third, fifth and seventh places will start at 11 a.m. The tournament will culminate with the championship round, set for 3 p.m.


Contact Christian Hetrick

at chetrick@philly.com.

Follow on Twitter @_Hetrick.

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