Trenton's Maaziah Bethea moves on to bigger goals after Region VII

Trenton's Maaziah Bethea pins Holy Cross's Avery DiNardi at 152 pounds Saturday in a Region VII final. (Trentonian photo/ GREGG SLABODA)

ROBBINSVILLE — When Maaziah Bethea won Saturday’s NJSIAA Region VII wrestling title at 152 pounds, he tied his brother, Raamiah, for the most victories in Trenton High history.

But Maaziah most wants to equal his brother in terms of winning a state championship.

“That’s the goal,” Bethea said after pinning Holy Cross freshman Avery DiNardi at 3:34 of the regional title bout at Robbinsville High School. “I have only one goal and we’ll see if I can accomplish that one.”

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Bethea was among three local wrestlers to win a title. Steinert’s Brandon Cray captured the crown at 106 and Robbinsville’s Chris Tan won at 113.

The top-three finishers in each weight class advanced to next weekend’s state tourney in Atlantic City. A total of 11 locals moved on, with Robbinsville and Steinert sending three apiece. Bordentown and Northern Burlington each had two qualifiers.

Raamiah Bethea won his state crown at 152 pounds in 2012. He finished his career as Mercer County’s winningest wrestler with 132 triumphs, but Hopewell Valley’s Mike Markulec eclipsed that mark this year.

Maaziah Bethea, who is 132-9 in his career and 33-0 this season, was a region champ in 2012 and runner-up last year. He is a two-time state place-winner, finishing seventh at 132 in 2012 and fifth at 145 in 2013.

“To get another region title, my confidence going into states is going to be big,” Bethea said. “It means a lot going forward. I felt good. I felt confident. I just want to keep pushing the pace and score as many points as I can and not give up any points.”

Cray, a sophomore, won his first region title by beating Northern Burlington’s Anthony Foggia, 7-0, in the final at 106. Cray won, 8-0, a week ago against Foggia for the District 25 crown.

A two-time state qualifier, Cray (34-1) finished third in the region last year. His only loss this season came the first weekend of the season to Brick Memorial freshman Ghione Giovanni, who won the Region XI title Saturday.

“It means a lot,” Cray said of his victory. “I’ve put in a lot of hard work. It gives me a lot of confidence, especially having that advantage of having been (to the state tournament) before. I know what it’s like and I’m ready to make some noise.”

Tan, a senior with a 39-2 record this season, won, 6-4, against Audubon’s Bill Henry for the crown at 113. Tan, who with 117 wins is Robbinsville’s all-time leader, makes his first trip to the state tournament. A two-time district champ, he finished fourth in the region in 2012.

In the semifinals, Tan defeated Northern Burlington’s Vincent Foggia, 3-1. It was the same outcome as their meeting in the District 25 final last week. Foggia wrestled back for third place.

“Champions are made in the training room, and this is a product of all the hard work and training that we’ve gone through,” Tan said. “It’s pretty special. It’s my last year and that’s been my goal that I’ve been building up to each year. I feel good to finally achieve that.”

Twelve schools had at least one champion, with Holy Cross and Camden Catholic tied for the lead with two each.

Tyler McBride (120) and Mark McCormick (132) won titles for Camden Catholic, with the fourth-seeded McBride also claiming the Outstanding Wrestler trophy after a 10-5 victory against Cherokee’s Alex Baider. Both McBride and Baider were former region champs and state place-winners. McCormick was a returning region champion.

Kenny Long (170) and Matt Correnti (195) won titles for Holy Cross. Both are two-time state qualifiers.

Riverside’s Christian Stackhouse (160), Collingswood’s Pat Miles (182), Moorestown’s Tyrek Smith (220), Camden’s Andrew Stevens (285), Cherokee’s Jimmy Goldschmidt (126), Shawnee’s Connor Muli (138) and Cherry Hill West’s Mark Papaneri (145) also won championships.

Muli, a senior, was a region champion as a freshman. He beat Bordentown’s Justin McTamney, 10-5, in the final. McTamney bested Muli, 9-2, a year ago for the crown.

Stackhouse is a three-time state qualifier with 137 career victories.

FINALS

152: Maaziah Bethea (Trenton) p. Avery DiNardi (Holy Cross), 3:34.

160: Christian Stackhouse (Riverside) tf. Kyle McIntyre (Lenape), 21-6, 2:54.

170: Kenny Long (Holy Cross) d. Mike Campbell (Collingswood), 11-5.

182: Pat Miles (Collingswood) md. James Potts (Cherry Hill West), 13-5.

195: Matt Correnti (Holy Cross) p. Alex Foley (Shawnee), 5:05.

220: Tyreek Smith (Moorestown) d. River Ullrich (Steinert), 3-2 UTB.

285: Andrew Stevens (Camden) d. Tyler Gildner (Robbinsville), 3-1.

106: Brandon Cray (Steinert) d. Anthony Foggia (N. Burlington), 7-0.

113: Chris Tan (Robbinsville) d. Bill Henry (Audubon), 6-4.

120: Tyler McBride (Camden Catholic) d. Alex Baider (Cherokee), 10-5.

126: Jimmy Goldschmidt (Cherokee) p. Colin Segan (Delran), 6:46.

132: Mark McCormick (Camden Catholic) d. Marcus Miraglia (Delran), 4-2.

138: Connor Muli (Shawnee) d. Justin McTamney (Bordentown), 10-5.

145: Mark Papaneri (Cherry Hill West) d. D.J. Mele (Cherokee), 9-3.

CONSOLATION FINALS

106: Wolf (Haddon Twp.) md. Hunt (Shawnee), 11-1.

113: V. Foggia (N. Burlington) md. Cosgrove (Cherokee), 16-7.

120: Barbella (Eastern) d. Chunko (Collingswood), 4-1.

126: DiPierro (Bordentown) d. Rodolico (Holy Cross), 7-2.

132: Brake (Cherry Hill West) d. Mitchell (Eastern), 7-5 SV.

138: Bossie (Robbinsville) d. Rogovich (Cherry Hill West), 11-4.

145: Worrell (Eastern) md. Smyth (Camden Catholic), 10-1.

152: Swenson (Cherry Hill East) d. Boyd (Delran), 6-3.

160: Humphrey (Shawnee) p. Faison (Haddon Heights), 2:47.

170: Wright (Lenape) d. Williamson (Moorestown), 6-4.

182: Modraza (Burlington City) d. DeBerardinis (Shawnee), 3-1.

195: Deaner (Collingswood) d. O’Shaughnessy (Allentown), 3-2.

220: Fortino (Haddonfield) d. Halecki (Cinnaminson), 6-5.

285: Remboski (Steinert) p. Diggs (Burlington City), 5:07.