March- Alexander “Lenny” Richardson
Lenny had one of the best months any wrestler could ask for. At the 2011 NJSIAA Wrestling Championships Lenny placed 5th. On the way to the podium Lenny knocked off number 1 seed and 12th ranked wrestler in the country Jeff Canfora. This past weekend Lenny traveled to the NHSCA Junior Nationals where he proved that he underperformed at the state tournament. In his first match Lenny squared off against James Dekrone of NY. Dekrone placed second in this years NYS Championships. In his following 4 matches Lenny had 2 pins, a major decision and a dominating 8-3 semi-final victory. In the finals he met Natrelle Deminson of Bakersfield, CA. Deminson, ranked 20th in the country at 130, was unable to deal with Lennys speed and strength. Lenny wore down his apponent and was able to earn a thrilling 5-3 victory overtime. Congratualtions Lenny on becoming Apex’s first NHSCA National Champion and the 2011 NHSCA Junior National Championa at 135lbs!
February- Matt Digiovanni
Matt won the Region 3 Wrestling Championships for the first time in his career. Matt who also earned his 100th Career victory at the Region 3 Championships and has had a tremendous season. Matt added to his success from the previous weekend where he won his District Championships. The senior from Cranford deafeated fellow Region 3 Champion Lou Mascola earlier in the season. In one of the toughest weigh classes in the Region mat battled to the finals where he had one of the most exciting matches of the season. Facing off against fellow Apex Wrestling School Member and 2010 8th Place NJ State Place Finisher, Dan Ries, Matt found himself down with just :20 seconds remaining in the match. Keeping his composure Matt was able to hit a standing Peterson for the win. Matt has outworked nearly everyone in the state at his weight, attending Apex 3 times a week, lifting with personal trainers at Champion Athletes and taking privates with Apex Wrestling School Staff members, throughout the entire season. You’re hard work has paid off this year Matt, good luck this weekend! Note: Matt was also accepted to the presitgious New York University where he will be attending school this coming fall.
January- Christian Barber
Congratulations to Christian Barber for being Apex’s January Athlete of the Month. Christian, ranked 3rd in the state at 152 by the Star Ledger, won his first Union County Championship. In the finals he dominated Diego Chavez who took 8th in the state in 2010. Christian also defeated Brick’s Connor Brennan at the annual NJ All-Star Invitational. Keep up the hard work Christian!
December 2010- James Fox
James Fox of Saint Peter’s Prep earns Apex’s Athlete of the Month for his outstanding perfromance in the 2010 Beast of the East Champships held in Newark, Delaware. James became only the second unseed wrestler to win the Beast of the East. James rolled through Brian Poling of Granet Valley, PA 4-0 in the first round. In the second round he ground out a tough 2-1 win over, #5 David Rech of Colonial Forge, VA. James then defeated David Farr of national powerhouse Blair Academy 9-2. In the quarter finals James ran into Dallas Winston of Jackson Memorial, NJ. Winston placed 7th in the state in 2010. James beat Winston 5-2 in a close, hardfaught match. The semi-final match was by far the most exiciting upset win of the entire competition. Fox defeated Kenny Courts of Central Daulphin, PA, who was seeded first and ranked number 1 in the country. Fox was able to use his great defense and positioning to defeat Courts 2-1. In the finals James faced the top ranked wrestler in NJ, #3 Dawud Hicks of Plainfield, NJ. Hicks a 2010 State Placer was the first and only person to take James down this season. An occasional Apex member Hicks was able to keep it close with James before having to withdraw due to injury. This tremendous performance earned James Fox the Most Outstanding Wrestler Award.
Other Apex wrestlers who placed in the 2010 Beast of the East are Sal Mastriani of Don Bosco Prep (5th at 145), Frank Mattiace of Don Bosco Prep (8th at 171) and Dead Sullivan of Delbarton (5th at 189.)
October- Anthony Ashnault
Anthony won 2 of the toughest pre-season tournaments in October. First he dominated the Iron Horse Invitational Tournament. He then went on to win the Super 32. On his way to his Super 32 title Anthony defeated 5 State Champions in a row! These wins included a dominating 11-1 decision over Michigan State Champion Jason Schmitt and a 5-4tb over formally number 1 ranked wrestler and Michigan State Champion Freddie Rodriquez. Congratulations Anthony!
June- Josef Johnson
Josef was undefeated at the Cadet Freestyle National Duals and posted a winning record in the Greco-Duals. Johnson also made the finals of 3 other tournaments this past month. In addition to being an outstanding wrestler Josef is a standout student. He was awarded several academic honors at his school including the National President Award for outstanding Academic Achievement. Look for Joesph to make some noise as a freshman this coming year at Delbarton High School in Morristown, NJ.
May- Matt Digiovanni
Matt had a break through performance at the 2010 Flo-Journeymen National Duals. Matt went 4-1 defeating two All-Americans and a couple of state place finishers from PA and NY. Matt had great intensity and impressed not only the Apex Coaches but also the several college coaches that were in attendance. Matt didn’t miss a single practice session this month and has been training regularly with Coach Logan and Crecca. He has also made huge gains with his strength and explosiveness as a result of his work with Coach Mat. Congratulations of being the May Athlete of the Month Matt!
MARCH 2010- KEITH LEMONGELLO
Keith Lemongello was selected Apex Wrestling’s athlete of the month for his outstanding performance at the Sophomore Nationals in Virginia Beach, VA. Keith placed 3rd in the nation and earned All-American status for the second straight year after placing 2nd and reaching the national finals as a freshman! Keith’s achievement is made more impressive since he won eight straight matches after dropping his first round match 2-1 in overtime to Jacob Davis from national powerhouse St. Edwards of Ohio. Adding to the adversity of the first round battle, Keith was struck in the face and broke his front tooth in half. After being upset in the first round, Keith’s wrestling was on another level. Keith dominated Taran Carr of Maryland 8-1. He then beat Alex Mickley of Ohio, Hunter Gamble of Georgia, and Riley Prentice of Washington 1-0. These three wins showed outstanding display of mat returns and single wrist riding while escaping to win two of three periods. Keith the dominated Zachary Vaverchak of New York 8-2. He then pulled out two wins over extremely game opponents in victories over Mccoy Newberg of Tennessee and Caleb Papek of Alaska 3-2. By par the highlight of the tournament was Keith’s final win over Jacob Davis of Ohio to avange his first round loss. Davis defeated two other New Jersey opponents enroute to the medal match (Ryan Harrington and VJ Del Monico). After three scoreless periods of regulation, Keith hit a picture perfect sweep single in the center of the mat the earn a clean 2 point takedown. This win capped off and eight straight win streak, avenged a previous loss, and earned Keith All-American status for the second year in a row! Congratulations Keith!
Also runner up for athlete of the month is Sal Mastriani who placed 2nd in the national tournament at 145. Sal had a record of 5-1 with highlight wins over Philip Bakuckas of New Jersey (F 1:27) and Clarck Glass of National Powerhouse Brandon, Florida (9-5). Sal had an extremely controversal loss in the finals to New York star Chris Nevinger.
Tony Pafumi also turned in a 5-2 performance that earned him a 4th place finish and his second straight All-American honors after placing 3rd in 2009. Pafumi reached the semi-finals before losing close to eventual champion Nikko Reyes of California.
February- Zach Hertling
Zack Hertling used his versatile and unorthodox never-say-die style enroot to his first national title at “The toughest tournament in the world.” After destroying his first four opponents, Zack registered perhaps the best upset win in the entire competition. It took seven intense periods for Hertling to outlast Keshawn Hayes of Kansas City, Missouri. Hayes in a multiple time national champion who has gone unbeaten winning every major event for the last few years. Hertling proved to be his kryptonite when he scored 2 near fall points in the seventh period ride out. That is heart! In what many would consider an extreme upset, Zack’s finals win was actually more of a likelihood. Just a few weeks before the Tulsa Nationals, Hertling lost to Hayes 4-2 in the finals match at the Kickoff Classic (considered either the second or third toughest tournament for kids). After trailing 4-0, Zack won the final two minutes of the match before time ran out on him. When Hayes came off the mat crying and Zack came off fired up, we knew he was beatable. Zack stayed low, kept shooting, and didn’t give up the early first period points this time around. The strategy change worked perfectly! Next, Zack will travel to Reno, Nevada for the Reno World Championships. This is the final leg in his quest to be the overall wrestler of the year. Good luck Zack.
Nick Suriano put on a performance of masterful speed, strength, aggression and most importantly technique to capture his second consecutive national title in the 12-and-under division. Although last year, nobody came close to threatening Nick’s run at a national championship, this year he was flawless. In fact, Nick was un-scored upon throughout the entire competition. He scored a pin in under a minute, an 18-2 technical fall, a 8-0 victory and a 6-0 win. The only points against Nick were optional escapes. Last year, Suriano won 15-2 in the final match against Jabari Moody, a multiple time national champion.
SHANE GRIFFITH- 6 year Apex member Shane Griffith turned in possibly the most outstanding performance of his career. While competing on Team TNT in the Virginia Duals at 75 pounds, Shane finished undefeated with 10 wins! Shane recordedfour pins against Jeremiah Brown of the Poquoson Bulls (:34), Josh Wyland of the Virginia Predators (1:50), Austin Cole of the Southside Scramblers (2:27), and Aaron Brooks of the Maryland Terps (3:04). He also recorded two shutout wins against Glen Beardsley of Team Michigan (5-0), and TK Megonigal of Virginia Powerhouse (6-0). The highlight of Shane’s performance was certainly a combination of four key wins. The first was a 3-1 victory over national standout Frankie Bruno representing the national powerhouse Brandon, Florida. The second was a hard fought 2-1 3OT victory over New Jersey rival Carlos Cuevas representing the NJ Scorpions. Even more impressive was Shane’s redemption win over Colin Cronin from Pennsylvania Blue 2-0. Hands down the most exciting and impressive match of the weekend was the 9-2 blowout over Eric Hong of Pennsylvania Gold. This is the first time Shane has beaten Hong in four meetings. The Apex coaching staff commends Shane for his outstanding achievement and milestone weekend in what will be a long and illustrious career. Keep up the hard work!
August Athlete of the Month
This month Chris won three tournaments posting a 9-0 record. He recorded three pins in an average time of 1:50. In matches not ending in a fall he recorded three technical falls and outscored his opponents 48-3.
Chris is an incoming Senior at Bloomfield High School. He was a NJ State Qualifier this past season.
Great job Chris!
July 2009 Athlete of the Month