Beyer, Chiellini move on to the state tournament

Chiellini was the 182 champion, while Beyer was the 152 runner-up


Ariela Alfonso

Tommy Chiellini wrestles Sebastian Ferminat during the District Tournament. After advancing to the Region Tournament and now the state tournament, Chiellini, along with teammate Matt Beyer, will return to wrestle in Atlantic City.

Jeremy Lessserson, Assistant Sports Editor

The Indians have two representatives at the big show in Atlantic City.

At the Region 1 tournament hosted at West Milford High School from Feb. 21 to Feb. 23, Tommy Chiellini won his second straight region title and is the only PV wrestler to win two regional titles since Stephen Hult did it in 1999 and 2002. At 152, Matt Beyer was the runner-up for the second year in a row. At 182, Chiellini defeated Ramapo’s Luke Brantly in a 6-3 decision. It is the second time this season that Chiellini defeated Brantly, the first time being in the Bergen County tournament. Beyer lost to Pope John’s Robert Garcia in a 9-7 decision in the finals.

Chiellini and Beyer will both return to Atlantic City this season after reaching the state tournament a year ago. Last year, Beyer was the runner-up at 138 while Chiellini was the 160 champion. Both wrestlers fell short of a state placement, and Chiellini was one win shy.

Before Chiellini defeated Brantly in the finals, Brantly beat top seeded Zach Mafaro by an 8-5 decision. Mafaro is a reigning state placewinner. Chiellini won his quarterfinal match in an 8-7 decision over St. Joes’ Scott Schlett. Then, he pinned Ramon Hernandez in 1:39 in the semifinals to avenge his only loss of the entire season. Hernandez pinned Chiellini in the finals of the Lakeland tournament back on Dec. 15. The top four finishers from each weight class in the Region Tournament move on to the state tournament, meaning that Chiellini, Brantly, Mafaro, and Hernandez all get a chance to compete in Atlantic City.

Going into Boardwalk Hall, Chiellini has said that he doesn’t feel any pressure. He wrestles to have fun and will make sure to do his best with his own mindset.

“I don’t want to make it any different than it was last year,” Chiellini said. “Last year I was just happy to be there, just going to wrestle to have fun. I think that’s the perfect way to go about it. I’m not going to make it a chore, I just want to do my best down there, have fun, and enjoy my last experience.”

Jeremy Lesserson

Before Beyer’s final match, he handily beat his earlier competition He pinned Passaic County Tech’s Alex Casiano in 1:48 and then won by technical fall against Glen Rock’s Greg Schlett in the semifinals. Garcia’s quarterfinal and semifinal matches were both won by major decision, as the second one came against District 4 runner-up Christian Jimenez, who lost to Beyer in that finals match.

Jimenez placed fourth, as he lost to St. Joe’s Jean Carlos Sanjuan in the third place match. Sanjuan also lost to Beyer in their bout on Feb. 1. Garcia, Beyer, Sanjuan, and Jimenez all move on to the big dance.

Beyer’s approach to this year’s states, unlike Chiellini’s, has been different from last year. He has been a little injured throughout the season, and said that he’s been “preparing smarter.” He’s also focusing on specific strategies that will get him the win, and is confident that with little refineries he can beat anybody in his bracket.

Chiellini and Beyer have been longtime wrestling partners and friends, and this is the last time that they will compete under the same roof in high school. Chiellini said how they often spend time off the mat as friends, as well as with the whole team. Even though they are multiple weight classes separated, they still wrestle in the practice room.

“We’ve wrestled our entire lives together,” Chiellini said. “Our goal has always been the same kind of things. If he gets to the finals, I want to get to the finals. It’s been a motivating relationship.”

Beyer said that they spend “a lot of time critiquing each other” and that it was “important” for them to both get to the state tournament again.

“[Chiellini and I] have always pushed each other to compete at our highest level,” Beyer said. “We spend a lot of time critiquing each other and working on specific positions. We’re great support systems for each other.”

PV’s other wrestlers in the regions included Jake Averna, Stephen Soravilla, Luke Petaccia, Jack Tsokanos, AJ Menendez, and Andrew Demboski. Soravilla, 160, injured his collarbone in his semifinal match and was forced to forfeit, but still wrestled his first wrestleback match. After losing that, he was bumped down to the fifth place match and had to forfeit, placing sixth. Petaccia placed sixth at 170, as he lost his semifinal to No. 1 seed Anthony Sciuto. Tsokanos placed fifth at 195 as he defeated West Milford’s Joey Heisler in the fifth place bout, who also fell victim to Tsokanos in the District 4 finals.

The state tournament starts Friday, Feb. 28 and continues until March 2.