In all, 25 of the 28 top seeds advanced into the semifinals Friday night in the first two rounds of the Rothman Orthopaedic/NJSIAA Region 5 Tournament at Franklin.
But there were several wrestlers who defied their low seeds and dished out losses to some of the tournament’s highly seeded wrestlers.
None of the upsets were as big as the one logged by Red Bank Catholic’s Marco Conroy in his quarterfinal match at 144 pounds. The 9-seed, Conroy had already pulled off a mild upset in his preliminary round bout when he upended the 8-seed, Rumson-Fair Haven’s Evan Ridgway 5-1. Ridgway had defeated Conroy 5-3 in a season opening dual.
That put Conroy against top seeded Tyler Whitford of St. Joe’s Metuchen. Non-plussed by the seeding committee’s faith in Whitford, Conroy turned it on, picking up the opening takedown after an initial scramble and then grinding out a 13-2 major decision win. That sets Conroy up for a semifinal matchup against Hunterdon Central’s 5-seeded Rhett Washleski, who had registered a mild upset over 4-seed Vincent Kain of Manalapan in his quarterfinal.
“It was just putting a good six minutes together,” Conroy said of knocking off the top seed. “I got great coaches, they got me ready for this. I knew if I went out there and wrestled the best I could, I would get it done.
“I know he’s a tough kid. We trained a lot for years since we’ve been at Triumph (Wrestling Club). I knew it was going to be a hard one. I knew I was going to have to put six minutes together but the most important thing is keeping my head on straight and just staying focused throughout the match, figuring out a way to get the job done.”