Every year Apex Wrestling School makes a trip to the prestigious Super 32 tournament in Greensboro, North Carolina. If you’re unfamiliar with off-season high school wrestling tournaments then allow us to explain the significance of this event. Every year athletes from all over the country compete in what is generally accepted as the number one tournament in the country, in-season or out-of-season. There are several ways to get into the tournament: Place Top 4 in your High School State Tournament, Place Top 4 in a Super 32 Qualifier, be a previous Super 32 place finisher or register online on registration day. On registration day there may be as many as 2000 spots available and they will sell out in as little as 3 minutes!
This year Apex Wrestling School had 26 athletes compete in the High School division and 3 in the Middle School division, by far more than any other program on the East Coast. We also sent Coaches, Damion Logan, Matthew Wernikoff, Derek Francavilla, Frank Cagnina, and Dave Santamaria. Coach Cagnina recently graduated from Central Missouri where he was a two-time NCAA DII National Champion. He is also one of the original Apex Wrestling School members, a 3X NJ State Champion and former Super 32 Champion. His experience as a competitor and within the Apex system is a huge addition to the Apex coaching staff.
This year was the 4th year out of the last 5 that Apex was able to put a wrestler in the finals of this prestigious tournament. 3X State Champion, Nick Suriano, dominated the field on his way to earning his second championship in 3 finals appearances. Nick also earned MOW status and reclaimed his spot as the number 1 ranked wrestler at 126lbs in the country! Nick got off to a hot start with 3 consecutive pins in a combined time of just 3 minutes and 11 seconds. From there he moved into the pre-quarters where he majored South Carolina State Champion, Aj Leitten, 12-1. The quarters would see Nick take on Tariq Wilson, a multiple time state place finisher and state finalist from Ohio. Nick showed his championship poise after giving up the first takedown, coming back for a 4-2 victory. In the semi-finals Nick would meet Vito Arujau in a highly anticipated rematch. Vito and Nick had wrestled two weeks earlier in the Journeymen Invitational where Nick was on the wrong end of a controversial reversal call and a 3-1 loss. This time Nick would leave no doubt who the better wrestler was attacking Vito with leg attacks and counter offense picking up the 5-1 victory. The finals saw Nick take on Luke Karam, a multiple time PA State Champion. Karam had upset, Number 1 ranked, Daton Fix in the semi-finals, 9-3 and was looking for a chance to knock of Suriano for his first Super 32 Championship. Suriano would not be denied however, and he proved to be too much for Karam in a hard fought 5-1 victory. With the win Nick not only won the toughest weight class in the tournament, he earned MOW and joins just a select few as a 2X Super 32 Champion and 3X Finalist.
In addition to Nick we also had a finalist in Delbarton’s Pat Glory. Pat is a part time Apex member and Apex National Travel Team Member who trains at Apex and Buxton’s School of Wrestling. Pat, a returning NJ State Finalist, was an instrumental part of the Apex team that won the Pop-N-Flo National Dual Championships in Lake Placid, NY. Pat didn’t give up a single offensive point on his trip to the finals. Along the way he picked up a technical fall, a pin, 2 majors, 2 decisions, including the 12-1 major over returning Super 32 Finalist and NYS 3rd, Tommy Cox. In the finals Pat would fall just short against NJ’s Sebastian Rivera, in what was probably the most exciting and action packed bout of the finals. Sebastian Rivera is one of the top competitors in the country with a NHSCA All-American Performance and Journeymen title. So this match might very well have been a preview of what this years State Championship Finals appearance could end up looking like.
Apex’s final place finisher was Hanover Park Freshman Nick Raimo. Nick, a Cadet Freestyle and Greco-Roman National Champion, put on one of the most impressive performances of any underclassmen in the event. Raimo started off hot recording a technical fall win, followed by a pin, a 8-2 decision and another pin coming in OT. Nick’s overtime pin was in the pre-quarters over 10th ranked Paul Konrath. In the quarter finals Nick would take out Tyshawn White, the number 16th ranked wrestler in the country. Joseph Silva, ranked 12th at 126lbs, would be the one to stop Nick’s run to the finals with a 5-3 victory. Never one to give up Nick battled back and took 3rd in his first trip to the Super 32. In total Nick beat 5 state place finsihers, including a finalist, a state champion and 3 nationally ranked wrestlers and only lost 1 match to the 12th ranked wrestler at 126lbs.
We also had two wrestlers make the round of 16: Nick Santos and Nick McShea with 4-2 records. Chris Scorese and Matt Seitz also posted 4-2 records. Congratulations to all of the wrestlers who competed in this years event and good luck this season!
We also want to congratulate Shane Griffith, former Apex Wrestling youth wrestler, on his championship performance. Shane won the NJ State Tournament as a freshman and is one of the hardest working kids in the state. Also, congratulations to Sebastian Rivera on his commitment to Northwestern University! Sebastian trains at his fathers club, Elite Wrestling. We at Apex always like to see New Jersey kids doing well and continuing their education at top notch schools!
In the Middle School division we sent 3 wrestlers and all 3 placed. Leading the way was Ivan Garcia with an impressive 5th place showing. Ivan showed a lot of heart wrestling back after getting caught early in the tournament. CJ Composto also placed in the 85lb weight class with a 7th place finish. Both Ivan and CJ knocked off returning Super 32 place finishers on their way to the podium. Connor O’Niell took 6th at 112lbs. Connor lost to the eventual champion in the semi-finals of what was one of the toughest weight-classes in the tournament.