LCM's Damiana and Ziegler, MT's Mallett win district titles

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GALLOWAY – The Lower Cape May Regional and Middle Township high school wrestling teams produced a combined three District 32 wrestling champions Saturday evening at Absegami High School.

Lower’s Cory Damiana, at 195 pounds, and Frank Ziegler, at 182 pounds, and Middle’s John Mallett, at 152 pounds, each emerged as winners of their respective weight classes.

The three will each receive byes for the opening round of the Region 8 Tournament on Wednesday at Egg Harbor Township High School. Second-place and third-place finishers at district tournaments also move on to the region level.

Damiana is a district champion for the second straight year after rolling through his bracket with three wins by fall. The junior recorded two first-period pins in early rounds before decking St. Augustine Prep’s Cory Pietryzk at 4:49 in the championship bout.

Ziegler, who came out late to the team after competing in a national level football all-star game in January, scored the decisive takedown with four seconds to go in his match with Oakcrest’s John Bernard and won a 3-1 decision. Ziegler improved to 14-0 for the season.

Mallett rushed out to leads of 5-0, 7-2 and 11-6 over Mainland’s John Fitzpatrick before holding on for a 13-10 victory in his championship bout.

The tournament was certainly a success for Lower Cape May, which placed a total of five wrestlers in finals and had a sixth wrestler finish third. Eric Pruszinski (106), Zach Hicks (113) and Zach Valcarce (120) all lost championship bouts in their respective weight class. And Ty Altieri (145) won his third-place bout by injury default.

Lower’s effort was good for a second-place finish in team scoring, behind champion St. Augustine Prep.

Ocean City had three wrestlers move on to regions. Cooper Gallagher lost in the championship bout at 170 pounds to Tyler Sentman of St. Augustine, and Josh Johnson (220) and Cliff Owens (132) both won consolation bouts for third place.

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