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  • Writer's pictureDan Russoman

HHS turns in strong showing at District 30

Courtesy photo. Hammonton’s Shane Way was named District 30’s Most Outstanding Wrestler on February 17 after winnintgthe title at 113 pounds.

WILLIAMSTOWN—Junior Shane Way scored a late pin against top-seed Dom DiGiacomo to win the District 30 title at 113 pounds, earning Most Outstanding Wrestler honors as Hammonton placed second in the team standings and advanced seven wrestlers into the Region 8 tournament.

Camden Catholic entered the district tournament on February 17 as heavy favorites, and the Irish not only won the team title but saw six wrestlers win individual championships and 10 advance to regionals.

Hammonton may have been runner up to Camden Catholic, but the Blue Devils turned in an impressive performance of their own, as Way and Luca Giagunto each won titles while Logan Walters finished second and four more Blue Devils moved on to regionals with third-place medals.

Hammonton coach Dave Mauriello was chosen as the district’s Coach of the Year, and honor he shared with Camden Catholic’s Bill Heverly.

While many wrestlers enjoyed strong performances, the day belonged to Way, who pinned his way to the title at 113 pounds, stunning many with his late victory against DiGiacomo, who was favored to take the championship.

Way has sometimes been overshadowed by Blue Devils teammates this season, but has been a key contributor this winter. He opened the district tournament with a first period pin, taking down Overbrook’s Michael Mahon in 1:37.

In the semifinals, Way needed only 59 seconds to pin Williamstown’s Adam Froehlich, setting up a showdown with DiGiacomo in the finals.

The match went back and forth for much of three periods, and Way came out on top literally, pinning the Camden Catholic junior with just 12 seconds remaining in the match.

Also winning a district title for Hammonton was junior Luca Giagunto. Giagunto, who a week before districts notched the 100th victory of his career, delivered his second-straight district title, posting two victories in the tournament last weekend.

After taking a bye in the quarterfinals, Giagunto scored a 13-4 major decision win in the semis, defeating Highland/Triton’s Isaiah Garcia.

Wrestling for the championship at 138 pounds, Giagunto scored a 12-5 win against Williamstown’s Tyler Devers.

Logan Walters was second for Hammonton at 126 pounds. The senior pinned St. Joseph’s Mason Hollywood in 55 seconds to open the tournament, then earned a 16-5 major decision in the semifinals against Eastern’s Jayden Jardine. In the finals, Walters was pinned by Camden Catholic’s Sammy Spaulding in 58 seconds.

Gavin Morris, Eddie Niedoba, Vincent Palermo and Mark Hartley all placed third for Hammonton, earning berths in the Region 8 championships this weekend.

Wrestling at 120 pounds, Morris placed third. The junior had been sick for much of the week, but took the mat and won his quarterfinal match, pinning Williamstown’s Joseph Lascala in 2:00.

In the semifinals, Morris lost 9-1 to Camden Catholic’s Lazarus Joyce, but he bounced back in the consolation finals, topping Overbrook’s Khy’Ree Hines 12-6 to take third place.

Niedoba wrestled up at 150 pounds, pinning St. Joseph’s Anthony Afanador to open the day before being taken down by Camden Catholic’s Austin Craft in 3:17 in the semifinals.

Wrestling for third place, Niedoba pinned Williamstown’s Franco Mavilla in 3:00.

At 157, Palermo began the tournament by pinning St. Joe’s Bobby Butkus in 57 seconds. In the semis, he was pinned by Williamstown’s Keaton Ancello in 5:46 before taking down Eastern’s Gavin Buniak in 2:30 for third place.

Hartley was third at 215 pounds, starting his run with a pin in 2:56 against Williamstown’s Logan Kennedy. In the semifinals, Hartley lost 11-6 to Highland/Triton’s Xavier Velez, but came back to defeat Winslow’s Ethan Alexander 13-9 in the consolation round.

Three Blue Devils fell a victory short of advancing to regionals, placing fourth in District 30.

At 106, Tyler Police scored an 11-2 major decision against Timber Creek’s Ryan Pancoast, but lost by fall in 1:31 to Williamstown’s Tyler Hildebrand in the semis before getting pinned in 3:56 against Highland/Triton’s Erek Schwinge in 3:56.

Frank Italiano was fourth at 144 pounds. He pinned St. Joe’s Colin Steiner in 4:15, then lost 18-3 to Highland/Triton’s Michael Williams in the semifinals. In the third-place match, Italiano was defeated 5-2 by Eastern’s Cole Pettet.

Michael Ryan started the day by defeating Timber Creek’s Zyer Green 11-7, but lost 11-7 to Eastern’s Nikita Alcoba in the semis and was pinned by Williamstown’s Deryk Hannold in 4:54 in the consolation round.

Other wrestlers competing for Hammonton included Gavin Kovacs, Julius Witcher, John Kane and Camryn Broadnax.

Kovacs won an opening round match at 132, pinning St. Joseph’s Joe Gregory in 37 seconds.

In the quarterfinals, he was taken down in 43 seconds by Williamstown’s Jackson Slotnick.

At 165, Witcher lost in the quarterfinals, dropping a 5-1 decision to Winslow’s Nakeem Powell.

Kane lost his quarterfinal match, as he was pinned by Winslow’s Michael Horsey in 1:30.

Wrestling at 285, Broadnax lost in the quarterfinals, 6-3, to Camden Catholic’s Lars Stegner.

Mauriello shared Coach of the Year honors after leading Hammonton to a 20-9 record and a spot in the South Jersey Group 4 finals.


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