Star Ledger Athlete of the Week: Apex Wrestling’s Joey Balboni
Junior, 5-10, 170 pounds
JUST THE FACTS: The junior captured his second Union County Tournament championship this past weekend with a 22-7 technical fall victory over Roselle Park’s Phil Woods in the 170-pound final at Union High. Prior to the finals, Balboni won both his quarterfinal and semifinal bouts via fall. He is 21-2 on the season through Tuesday. Balboni was a state tournament qualifier a season ago. He finished fifth in his weight class at the prestigious Beast of The East Tournament in Newark, Del., last month.
BROTHERS IN ARMS: Balboni’s older brother, John, also wrestles for the Kenilworth school. John Balboni, a senior, also captured his second UCT title at this year’s tournament with a victory in the 160-pound final, earning the tournament’s Outstanding Wrestler honor for upper weights. Brearley finished second in the team competition at the UCT behind Roselle Park. Coming into the tournament, Brearley had won the last seven UCT team titles.
ON HIS UCT FINALS WIN: “I went out there and worked hard. I tried to push the pace against a great wrestler for six minutes.”
ON HIS BEAST OF THE EAST PERFORMANCE: “I was looking to win it, but it was definitely a great way to get prepared for the season.”
ON THIS YEAR’S STATE TOURNAMENT: “I’m looking to take home the gold. I’ve really been working hard. I’m going to do the best I can, and just wrestle.”
FAVORITE FOOD: Tacos.
FAVORITE MUSIC: R&B.
FAVORITE WRESTLER: Jordan Burroughs (Sicklerville native and Olympic Gold Medalist at 74 kilograms in London this past summer).
PARENTS’ INFLUENCE: “They are always motivating me to work hard and do the right thing, all the time.”
FAVORITE SCHOOL SUBJECT: Physical education.
FAVORITE MOVIE: “Caddyshack.”
FAVORITE TV SHOW: “Keenan and Kel.”
FOUR FOR DINNER: “Anthony Rice (his teammate), Johnny Balboni (his brother) and (Brearley) coach (Scot) Weaver.”
SUPERSTITIONS: “I look away when I shake my opponent’s hand in the beginning of a match.”
FAVORITE PRO TEAM: New England Patriots.
To read more or see other Star Ledger Athletes of the week visit: http://www.nj.com/hssports/blog/wrestling/index.ssf/2013/01/high_school_top_performer_–_week_3_joey_balboni_wrestling_brearley.html