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Surprise, surprise: wrestling state finals feature the unexpected
Written by Paul Mencher - Sunday, March 4 2012  

Projecting the winners of the state wrestling tournament can always be a tricky proposition. But the 2012 version of the event was a bit more unpredictable than most.

The event saw a number of surprise results, and NJAC wrestlers were in on the fun during the weekend in Atlantic City.

While 170-pound champ Ryan Harrington of Mendham (see separate article) brought some sanity to the proceedings, many of the other weight classes produced surprises.

At 106 pounds, Morris Knolls senior Jan Rosenberg was expected to emerge as champion. But Rosenberg was upset by Hanover Park freshman Anthony Cefolo in the semifinals, a reversal of the result when the two met in the Morris County tournament final.

Cefolo went on to face Carl Buttitta of JFK-Iselin in the finals, and the match went into overtime tied 1-1. That's when Cefolo came up with the winning takedown to land on top of the podium.

See video of Cefolo's winning move in the box at left via

Give Rosenberg credit, too, as he came back after his difficult defeat to win his final two high school matches and claim third place.

Another surprising weight class was heavyweight, where the Morris County and Region 1 champion did not make the final, but the wrestler he defeated in both of those tournaments did.

Jermaine Eluemunor of Morris Knolls, the runner-up in both the county and region events, battled all the way to the final. But his hopes of becoming a state champ ended in a tough 3-1 loss to Cody Melton of Northern Burlington.

Mike Spencer of Pequannock, who was considered a real title contender, also lost to Melton, dropping a 6-2 decision in the semifinals. Spencer ended up taking fourth place in the weight class.

One of the more pleasant surprises of the state tournament locally was Clarke Moynihan of Kittatinny at 152 pounds. Not ranked among the top eight in the state prior to the Region 1 tournament, Moynihan upset Dillon Artigliere of Roxbury in the region final. Then, after a tough quarterfinal loss, Moynihan met Artigliere in the wrestlebacks, and came out on top again.

Moynihan would finish fourth, the only Sussex County wrestler to reach the podium this year--a far cry from recent years which saw dominant performances by High Point. Artigliere, by the way, would take fifth, exactly where he had been ranked prior to the states.

As expected, Delbarton put multiple wrestlers on the medal stand, but it was still a somewhat disappointing tournament for the Green Wave. Their highest-placing wrestler was senior Jorge Lopez, who won a series of overtime matches to claim third at 138 pounds.

Christian Innarella, a title contender at 113, suffered a loss in the quarterfinals and had to be satisfied with fifth place. Two other Delbarton wrestlers, Max Rogers (120) and Nick Anderson (126) took seventh places.

Besides Delbarton, two other NJAC schools had multiple place-winners: Morris Knolls with Rosenberg and Eluemunor, and Pequannock, with Spencer and Keith Lemongello (4th place at 160 pounds).

Overall, the NJAC had a total of 12 placers , as A.J. Vindici of Randolph took 7th at 106. Not a bad performance, although a little less than had been anticipated coming into the weekend. A number of those medal winners, headlined by Cefolo, will be back next year to take another shot at the top step of the podium.

Watch more video of New Jersey State Championships 2012 on

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