SCOTT PILLING staff CBA’s James Beshada fights to escape the grasps of Jackson’s Corey Biscaha during their 125-pound Region VI final bout on Saturday in TomsRiver. When the state’s top wrestlers converge on Atlantic City this weekend seeking individual state champions, several of the local area’s top grapplers will be among them. The NJSIAA individual tournament continues through Saturday with the finals on Sunday afternoon. Atlantic City has been the goal and dream of every wrestler since November, when official practice started the day after Thanksgiving; and now, it is here. At 119 pounds, Raritan’s T.J. Mitchell bounced back from a tough 3-2 loss to Point Beach’s Matt Rega (now a two-time Region champ) to knock off Southern’s Nick Maugeri, 11-5, in a wrestleback and Central’s Brian Powers, 7-2, in their third-place bout on Saturday. CBA’s James Beshada lost a tight match to Jackson’s Corey Biscaha in the 125-pound final on Saturday after the Jaguar grappler was able to turn Beshada for two points late in the third period. Beshada would love to get another shot at Biscaha when the two head down to A.C. this weekend. At 140, Southern’s Frank Molinaro, a transfer from Middletown North, continued on his quest for a state title with a 12-2 victory over Howell’s Tom Tuminelli, while Monmouth Regional’s Anthony Bongarzone, who lost to Molinaro, 15-2 in the semis, bounced back with a 9-1 win over Central’s Len Forsyth in the semifinal wrestlebacks and a 4-2 third-place win over Raritan’s Dan Seidenberg to extend his season. CBA’s Anthony DeLeo was not able to take advantage of an ankle injury to Central’s Nick Weaver, dropping the 152-pound final, 7-2. Nonetheless, DeLeo heads to A.C. this weekend with plenty of confidence after a great run through Region VI. Howell’s Billy Woodward also advanced out of the 152-pound field, rebounding from a loss to Weaver in the semifinals to beat Ocean’s Gaetjens Lezins, 7-5, in a semifinal wrestleback and Brick Memorial’s John Barrett with a pin in the third-place match. Ocean’s Kyle Kiss entered the Region VI tournament as the overwhelming favorite to capture the 171-pound title, and he did not disappoint. He simply rolled through the bracket, putting an exclamation point of his run with a dominant 18-2 technical fall of CBA’s Anthony Chirichello in the final. The win was the 100th of Kiss’ brilliant career, and served notice that the Spartan grappler is heading to A.C. with a head of steam. While he is certainly accustomed to success on the football field, Middletown South senior Andrew Poulson is putting together quite a swan song on the wrestling mats this winter. The Eagle grappler won his third match of the season of Long Branch’s John Jasio, and this won earned him the Region title. Poulson clinched the win in when he stepped over Jasio just as the third-period buzzer sounded for a takedown. Keyport’s Derek Maldonado, who fell to Jasio, 1-0, in the semifinals, fought hard to advance, coming back to beat TR East’s Espada, 3-1 in a semifinal wrestleback before falling to Southern’s Glenn Carson, 3-2, in their third-place bout. Monmouth heavyweight Paul Scweighardt also fought hard to advance before falling one win shy. Scweighardt beat Raritan’s Jeff King with a pin in a semifinal wrestleback before falling to Central’s Sean DeDeyn in the third-place bout, 4-1. – Doug McKenzie
The new Shore Conference Divisional championships provided Christian Brothers Academy’s track and field team with another opportunity to win a championship, and the Colts delivered. CHRIS KELLY staff Middletown North’s Kelsey Lewis competes in the high jump during the Shore Conference Divisional Championships at the Bennett Indoor Athletic Complex in Toms River on Jan. 4. CBA had just one win Friday night at the A North meet held at the Bennett Indoor Complex in Toms River, but superior depth provided the difference as they turned back Manalapan, 83-64. The Colts’ lone win came in the 4×400, where they held off Freehold Township, 3:32.93-3:33.27. Although Manalapan’s Robby Andrews dominated the 800- 1,600- and 3,200- meter races, winning all three, the Colts still flexed their muscles there. Mark Weber (2:03.00) and Kyle Vitale (2:06.10) were third and sixth in the 800. CBA got 15 points in the 1,600 with Brandon Pierson placing second behind Andrews (4:33.46-4:34.57). Rich Grandelli was third (4:36.23) and Ben Horel was sixth (4:43.25). Horel was second in the 3,200 (9:57.75), with Greg Donnelly (10:09.05) and Christian LaMorte (10:13.576) fifth and sixth. CBA put four through to the 55-hurdles final, with three placing: Bart Henderson (8.07), Christian Yuskevich (8.59) and Chris Debski (8.71) taking third, fourth, and sixth. In the field, the Colts’ pole vaulters gave the team 15 points. James Miller was second (11-0), Patrick Larkin fourth (10-6), and Dan Gavin and John Keale tied for fifth (10-0). John Moran (39-11 ½) and Andrew Roahn (39-4 ½) helped out in the shot put circle, placing fifth and sixth. Middletown North picked up a win with Paul Muller winning the shot put. His 49-4 heave was almost 6 feet farther than the runner-up. The divisional championships were held over three days at the Bennett Complex on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. On Saturday, Matawan’s boys piled up 132 points to win the B North title. The Huskies’ Mike McGuiness cleared 13-0 in the pole vault to win the event, with teammate John Bartlett second at 12-6. Matawan also went one-two in the high jump with Kyle Robinson and Kevin Burns each clearing 5-10 – Robinson picked up the win on fewer misses. The Huskies had a field day in the distance events. They went one-two-three-six in the 3,200 with Jake McCormack leading the parade with his 10:23.56. Ryan Montaperto (10:25.86), Sean Donohue (10:28.17) and Pat Rindt (11:09.03) were second, third and sixth. In the 1,600, McCormack (4:489.36) and Montaperto (4:48.97) went one-two with Donohue fifth (4:51.75). Brian Ramcheran won the 800 meters (2:08.90). Neptune edged Matawan, 77-73, for the girls championship. The Huskies’ Mackenzie Chambers was the lone individual winner, taking the 55-meter dash (7.59). At the A Central Division meet held on Wednesday, Holmdel’s girls were second to Red Bank Catholic (116-78), while for the boys, Raritan (55) and Holmdel (54) were second and third behind Red Bank Regional. Paula Lobaccaro won the 55-meter dash for Holmdel’s girls (7.84) while the Hornets’ Gloria Wu (9.88) and Helen Wu (10.19) ran one-two in the 55-meter hurdles. Shannon Boyce of Raritan won the shot put (29-0 1/4). For the boys, Nicholas Dulin, 55-meter dash (6.89), Joseph Doerrer, 400 (54.63), and Patrick Connolly, shot put (41-8 ½) were Raritan’s champions. Winning for Holmdel was the 4×400 (3:44.73) Meet Director Bill Bruno said the idea for the divisional championships goes back to the mid-1990s with the Polar Bear Run, which was an outdoor dual meet among some Ocean County schools. Coaches began to throw around the idea of indoor divisional championships, and Bruno explained that once the Bennett Complex was completed, the idea had a venue. Since indoor track is limited to so few meets and the opportunity to compete as a team is so limited, the divisional championships are ideal for the athletes. It gives the athletes who wouldn’t be able to score points for their teams at county or conference championship, an opportunity to score points or even win. It’s all about the athletes, Bruno pointed out. The inaugural meet was well received by all and got off to a very promising start. “The kids really enjoyed themselves across the board,” said Bruno. Next up on the indoor calendar are the NJSIAA State Relays at the Jersey City Armory. Friday it’s Parochial A and B, Saturday is for Groups I and IV, and Sunday is for Groups II and III. BY TIM MORRIS Staff Writer
By Tim CoolingsSeveral of Manchester United’s major transfer window signings are set to make their debuts as the team seek a first competitive win under Louis van Gaal in Sunday’s Premier League visit of Queens Park Rangers.Colombia striker Radamel Falcao, a deadline day loan recruit from Monaco, Netherlands defender Daley Blind, signed from Ajax, and Argentina defender Marcos Rojo, brought in from Sporting Lisbon, are all expected to play against the promoted London club.With Spanish defensive midfielder Ander Herrera, signed from Athletic Bilbao, also returning after three weeks out with an ankle injury, United are hoping to kick-start their season after picking up two points from three league games and suffering a humiliating 4-0 League Cup exit at third-tier MK Dons.Club director Sir Bobby Charlton summed up the sense of anticipation at Old Trafford on Tuesday. “It’s going to be a great adventure of how we pull ourselves back around,” he told the club website (www.manutd.com).Dutch international striker Robin van Persie added: “I can’t wait to train and play with the world-class players we signed…“That feeling, that we are going to perform well, has only got stronger after the buying of players over the last weeks – I find it very exciting.”The United side is expected also to include Argentina winger Angel Di Maria, a 59.7 million pound British transfer record signing from Real Madrid and England left back Luke Shaw, signed from Southampton.The impending unveiling of United’s reshaped team for QPR’s visit eased fears on Tuesday about the fitness of defender Phil Jones, who limped out of England’s 2-0 Euro 2016 qualifying victory in Switzerland after 77 minutes on Monday evening.Jones was due to be examined by the medical staff in Manchester on Tuesday. If ruled out, he is likely to be replaced by Rojo, in the three-man defence used in manager Van Gaal’s 3-5-2 system.The arrival of Falcao roused most excitement. Spanish midfielder Juan Mata said the goal-scoring South American is “not just a player, but a fantastic striker whose ability to score is extraordinary.“I am sure he will give a lot to our group, as a person and with his goals.”United are 14th in the Premier League with two points and without a win while QPR are 12th with one win and three points.
WORLD number two Roger Federer edged past Ivo Karlovic 7-6(3) 7-6(4) on Saturday to reach the Halle Open final in Germany where he will face Italian Andreas Seppi, who went through when opponent Kei Nishikori retired injured.The Swiss top seed, eyeing his eighth title in the grasscourt Wimbledon warmup event, held serve throughout but was taken to two tiebreaks having failed to secure a single break point against the Croatian’s powerful serve.“It is always complicated to play against Ivo but I remained calm when it mattered,” Federer told reporters.“I was lucky in the first round (needing three sets against Philipp Kohlschreiber) so I am happy to have made the final.”It was always going to be a slugfest with Karlovic having fired a record 45 aces past Tomas Berdych on Friday.The Croat did not disappoint, racking up ten aces halfway through the first set.A sensational backhand return in the opening tiebreak gave Federer the slight edge he needed on his opponent’s serve and a double fault from the Croatian handed him the first set.The Swiss again had to stay patient, but won two points on the Croatian’s serve in the second tiebreak and sealed his win with a backhand volley after one hour and 28 minutes.Seppi advanced to his second final of the year after Zagreb when Japan’s Nishikori, the second seed, retired injured early in the first set.It was the second time in two days that the Italian had gone through thanks to an injury retirement, after he reached the last four on Friday when France’s Gael Monfils conceded in the second set.Nishikori, who was moving poorly with his left leg heavily bandaged, lasted only five games before quitting.
By Justin PalmerThe fallout from England’s World Cup demise continued on Monday with a nation coming to terms with their pool stage exit amid hot debate over coach Stuart Lancaster’s future.Lancaster’s position, and that of his coaching team, will not be decided until after their final pool game against Uruguay this weekend but the soul-searching from Saturday’s costly defeat by Australia, a week after their capitulation against Wales, has begun in earnest.Amid the stinging media criticism and apologies from players and management, England’s defence coach Andy Farrell found himself in the firing line after suggestions, said to have come from forward Billy Vunipola, that he had too much influence on team selection.The heavily bearded Farrell rebuffed such talk in backing Lancaster and urged the RFU to keep him in charge.“The four of us as coaches get together and have discussions and ultimately Stuart makes the call and we all buy into that,” he told reporters.“We’ve lost two games and people will try to define us by those two games but what Stuart has built is more than that.“This whole campaign and the three and a half years of his leadership has been built on rock solid foundations. He has done marvellous things for this country and this rugby team.”Japan coach Eddie Jones weighed into the debate in his Daily Mail column, saying Lancaster was entitled to a “proper review”. But that did not stop the Australian lining himself up as a possible replacement.“If England approached me, would I listen to them? Of course I would, but whether the RFU part ways with Stuart Lancaster is a big and difficult decision,” he wrote.England have already felt the reverberations of becoming the first former winners to go out in the pool stage when they slumped to eighth in the latest world rankings, equalling their lowest ever position.There could also be repercussions from governing body World Rugby who said in a statement on Monday they were probing an alleged “breach of the match-day communications protocol” by the England coaching team during the 33-13 loss to Australia.MIXED FORTUNESThere was good and bad news on Monday for the Wallabies, whose game against Wales on Saturday will decide who finishes top of Pool A.Australia winger Rob Horne’s shoulder injury is not as bad as feared but they could lose loose forward Michael Hooper who has been cited for charging into a ruck shoulder first against England.Samoans Alesana Tuilagi and Faifili Levave were also cited for foul play during the loss to Japan on Saturday and could miss their country’s final Pool B match against Scotland.Talk of South Africa’s demise after a shock defeat by Japan in their opening game has dissipated after wins over Samoa and Scotland and coach Heyneke Meyer played it safe by naming a strong side for the Pool B finale against the United States on Wednesday.With a victory still required to ensure they reach the quarter-finals Meyer has made just two changes, both due to injuries, to his starting lineup.Tighthead prop Frans Malherbe replaces Jannie du Plessis for his first start of the year, while speedster Lwazi Mvovo comes in for JP Pietersen, with Bryan Habana moving over to the right wing.The two matches on Tuesday offer four teams the chance of winning their first match of the tournament.Fiji, after spirited performances in defeat by England, Australia and Wales in Pool A, start as hot favourites to beat Uruguay while Canada face Romania in Pool D.
By Tim HanlonFrustrated Real Madrid coach Rafa Benitez felt they paid the price for not finishing off Atletico Madrid in the first half after Luciano Vietto hit a late equaliser in the 1-1 draw in La Liga on Sunday.The visitors looked comfortable with a 1-0 lead at halftime through an early Karim Benzema header, but Atletico came back at them in the final stages and Vietto scored with seven minutes remaining.“We dominated in the first half, we were in control of the game and we knew what we had to do,” Benitez told a news conference.“In the second half they (Atletico) raised their rhythm and while we had eight breakaways we were not accurate in the last or penultimate pass.”Real are joint second in the table with Celta Vigo and Barcelona on 15 points and a win would have seen them leapfrog Villarreal, who have a point more, into top spot.“We have lost two points here. We went ahead and then we committed errors, with the penalty and then the goal,” said Benitez, even though Atletico’s Antoine Griezmann missed the spotkick.“You have to give credit to Atletico as they pushed forward but still we were in control beforehand. I am happy with a lot of what we did in the first half.”Benzema has made his best ever start to a season at Real with seven goals from eight games in all competitions but he was surprisingly taken off with 15 minutes to go.“We were lacking a bit of freshness on the left wing,” said Benitez.“It was a case of adjusting by using the pace of (Gareth) Bale and putting Cristiano Ronaldo as centre forward who is a threat. It was a way of creating better balance.”
By Clare LovellJose Mourinho’s Chelsea earned much-needed relief from their domestic woes on Wednesday, beating his former club Porto 2-0 to top Champions League Group G.An 12th minute own goal which rebounded off Ivan Marcano under pressure from Diego Costa and a well-worked second half strike from Brazilian winger Willian ensured victory for the struggling English champions and sent Porto into the Europa League.Chelsea, cheered by a beaming owner Roman Abramovich, looked a different side from the one that have slumped to eight domestic defeats in 15 league games, including four at home.The result takes the pressure off Mourinho after intense speculation that the coach, who has won the Champions League with both Porto and Inter Milan, might lose his job if Chelsea failed to qualify for the knockout stages.Chelsea looked composed from the start and when Belgian forward Eden Hazard served Costa a perfectly weighted ball in the 12th minute, Iker Casillas in the Porto goal could only parry the Spain striker’s shot.With a slice of the luck that has deserted Chelsea so often this season, the ball rebounded off Porto defender Marcano and into the goal.Maicon dived desperately to try to clear the ball but the Turkish goal-line assistant referee signalled it had crossed the line and TV replays confirmed the decision.Chelsea began to play with more freedom and confidence and their impressive form paid off when a speedy passing move between Costa and Hazard in the 52nd minute found Brazilian Willian, who cracked a shot inside the near post beyond the diving Casillas.With Dynamo Kiev winning in the group’s other game, Porto needed to attack and Thibaut Courtois had to keep out strikes from Yacine Brahimi and Cristian Tello.A jubliant and relieved crowd celebrated a possible turning point in a turbulent season by chanting Mourinho’s name.
By Martyn HermanManchester United midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger will serve a three-match ban for violent conduct following a clash with West Ham United’s Winston Reid in the Premier League last Saturday, the FA said on Thursday.The German accepted the FA charge, relating to the incident where he appeared to floor Reid with his arm after the pair were jostling for space.Although missed by the match officials at the time, the incident was caught on video.United will be without Schweinsteiger for the Premier League matches at Bournemouth, at home to Norwich City and the Boxing Day fixture at Stoke City.
Leicester City eked out a critical win against struggling Norwich City with a very late winner from substitute Leonardo Ulloa that opened up a five-point lead at the top of the Premier League on Saturday.Following their crushing stoppage time defeat at Arsenal last time out, the Foxes had, according to manager Claudio Ranieri, been “ready for the fight” but for most of the match seemed curiously becalmed as Norwich enjoyed the best openings.Yet Ulloa’s 89th-minute winner, following one of Leicester’s flattest performances of their surreal season, demonstrated to him that his side has the patient, determined make-up of champions.“The conclusion I have drawn from this is that my players believe until the end,” a delighted Ranieri told the BBC.“That, for me, is very important. If the other teams start to win, they can win all the matches. But for us, the next match is always the final match. That is our mentality.”Ranieri reckoned he had been particularly worried about this match with his players having had two weeks since the deflation of their Arsenal loss to reflect on what might have been.“I was so worried about this match, because after two weeks, your players can lose their tempo, but now I am very relaxed, and now I start to think about the West Brom match (on Tuesday). It is a derby and a very, very, very tough match.”Cameron Jerome had squandered the outstanding chance of the game for the Canaries just before halftime, glancing a header wide, but though they laboured unimaginatively through much of the second half, Leicester sent the King Power Stadium wild in the dying seconds.For once, it was not Jamie Vardy or Riyad Mahrez who delivered the goods but unsung Argentine striker Ulloa, who was brought on in the 77th minute as Ranieri’s final gamble to take the points.It proved an inspired change, with the 29-year-old sliding in at the back post to latch on to Marc Albrighton’s cross and earn the result which leaves Norwich, who were worth at least a point, still in peril just above the relegation zone.
Diego Simeone has turned Atletico Madrid from a team teetering on the brink of relegation into European heavyweights.Avenging their 2014 Champions League defeat by Real Madrid on Saturday would complete the transformation.The former Atletico midfielder inherited a team that had just suffered early elimination from the King’s Cup when he succeeded Gregorio Manzano in December 2011.Five months later, Simeone led them to a fifth-place finish in La Liga and lifted the Europa League, the first of five trophies the team would win. Only the Champions League remains.In 2014, a header by Real Madrid’s Sergio Ramos during injury time snatched that prize from Atletico. It is testament to Simeone’s management that he has led them to another final two years later.“Diego Simeone is the perfect coach for Atletico Madrid,” said the club’s president, Enrique Cerezo, who had overseen 52 managerial changes before appointing the Argentine. “Football is his life and passion.”Cerezo once said he wished Simeone could have the same impact on his club as Alex Ferguson had with Manchester United.Simeone may still be a long way off Ferguson’s 27 seasons at Old Trafford, but he has already carved out his own legacy with Atletico.With 173 league games under his belt, Simeone is the club’s second-longest-serving coach behind the late Luis Aragones.Halting Real Madrid and Barcelona’s decade of dominance in La Liga by leading Atletico to the title in 2014 is his greatest achievement so far.Masterminding the club’s first-ever success in European football’s premier competition would surmount that. Victory in Milan would give Simeone a sixth trophy and equal Aragones’ record as the club’s most successful manager.Simeone is the longest-serving of all current coaches in La Liga and looks set to continue his stay. He has signed a contract until 2020 and, barring any surprises, will lead the club into La Peineta stadium at the start of the 2017-18 season.But perhaps Simeone’s most impressive achievement has been converting the team to his brand of high-intensity football. Now his players vigorously defend their hard-nosed style.“We’re a group of players who’ll fight to the death for our coach,” defender Diego Godin said. “We believe in what we do and we train hard to compete with the biggest teams.”“Every ball is a war we have to win, and I don’t see that as a bad thing,” midfielder Saul Niguez said. “We’re a strong team and we fight for every ball like it’s our last. That’s how we manage the toughest games and that’s how we’ve got to where we are.”