|Two local wrestlers place at state finals|
DePaul sophomore Dave McFadden and Wayne Valley junior Anthony Landberg both came home with medals from the New Jersey state wrestling championships in Atlantic City this weekend. McFadden placed sixth at 126 pounds while Landberg was seventh at 195.
Landberg took advantage of a new rule, put into effect this year, that gives wrestlers who fall in Friday night's preliminary round a second chance in the wrestlebacks. Previously, only wrestlers who reached the pre-quarterfinals, or second round, were placed into the wrestlebacks.
Landberg suffered a surprise 7-3 loss to Ken Bradley of Jackson in the preliminaries. But with the second chance in the wrestlebacks, he scored three straight impressive victories.
Landberg's bid to get as high as third place when he fell to Matt Moore of Brick Memorial, one of the pre-tournament favorites who also lost in the preliminaries but eventually wrestled back to place fourth. That defeat put Landberg in the 7th/8th place match on Sunday morning against Tyreek Smith of Moorestown. The Wayne Valley wrestler put up an impressive performance, winning 7-2 to end his season in style.
Unlike Landberg, McFadden headed to Atlantic City as a serious contender for the state title. And he looked the part in his first two matches, winning twice by pin to advance to the semifinals on Saturday evening.
That match pitted McFadden against Corey Stasenko of South Plainfield, considered by many the favorite at 126 pounds. Stasenko would dominate the match, winning 9-2 to reach the finals (where he would be upset by North Bergen's Anthony Giraldo).
McFadden, meantime, was sent to the wrestlebacks. Perhaps the disappointment of losing his shot at a state title was too much, as the DePaul wrestler would be defeated twice more and settle for sixth place.
Five more wrestlers from the Wayne area took part over the weekend but did not place, while two others who qualified had to drop out due to injuries.