Bobby Duffy of Christian Brothers Academy wrestling proves seeds do not matter
MIDDLETOWN - Sometimes wrestling seeds are just a number and do not mean anything.
Christian Brothers Academy freshman Bobby Duffy proved how meaningless seeds can be by storming from the No. 10 seed and winning the Shore Conference Tournament 113-pound championship Saturday at Middletown High School South.
Duffy (22-7) upended No. 1 seed and last year's NJSIAA 106-pound runner-up Patrick O'Keefe 6-1 in sudden victory in the final on a takedown off a scramble and three back points in the final 15 seconds.
He defeated the Nos. 7, 2, 3 and 1 seeds on his way to the title.
After the tournament was seeded this past Thursday, Duffy's placement raised some eyebrows. But, he understood it.
"I expected it to be low because I'm a freshman,'' Duffy said. "But, I knew I could hang with any of these guys and I could beat any of them. I tried to believe in myself and keep wrestling."
Duffy was actually first in qualifying points for the tournament. But, he feel to No. 10 for not having the past criteria others had because he is a freshman. CBA has also wrestled a schedule that consisted of mostly non-Shore Conference schools and several out of state schools.
He, did at least land on the opposite side of the bracket from O'Keefe, which made it possible for them to meet in the final.
"I didn't wrestle anybody in the Shore Conference so I knew it (the seed) was going to be low,'' Duffy said. "Kids around New Jersey who are all up there in New Jersey, I've wrestled and stuff. But, I didn't wrestle anybody who is at the top of the Shore Conference rankings.''
CBA assistant coach Vinnie DelleFave, who was a two-time state champion, three-time state finalist and four-time state top three finisher during his scholastic career at Toms River High School East and then a collegiate wrestler at Rutgers University, calls Duffy "The Iceman''.
"I know I'm dangerous,'' Duffy said. "I know I can put anybody on their back.''
The winning sequence started with O'Keefe getting in on Duffy's legs and looking he was going to score the winning takedown before Duffy countered and scored the takedown and put O'Keefe on his back.
"I knew that I could keep wrestling and scramble through those positions and keep going,'' Duffy said.
It is now likely Duffy will never be seeded 10th in a tournament again. This win makes him a legitimate contender for the state championship.
"I proved to myself today, I can beat anybody in New Jersey,'' Duffy said.
Duffy's win, which came in the final bout of the championship round, was the cap on CBA's team-winning performance. The Colts won the SCT for the second straight season, although under two different formats. Last year, they won the tournament when it was conducted as a dual-meet tournament. It is third time CBA has won the SCT. The Colts also won it in 2016, when it was a dual-meet tournament.
CBA finished with 196.5 points, 16 more than St. John Vianney and had four champions.
The Colts' other champions were returning state runner-up Julian George (144) and returning state third-place finishers Tyler Barrett (150) and Zander Silva.
George majored Long Branch's Joey Giordano 13-5; Barrett defeated Ocean's James Farina 3-1 on a takedown with 1:16 remaining and Silva defeated Middletown South's David Hussey 1-0 when he rode Hussey out in the third period.
Jasiah Queen a scoring machine
St. John Vianney senior 165-pounder Jasiah Queen kept the scoreboard operators busy during his four bouts in the tournament.
More:Shore Conference Wrestling Tournament Results
Queen, the state fifth-place finisher at 157 last season, racked up 84 total points, had three bouts where he scored at least 20 points and scored at least 18 points in every bout.
He recorded three wins by technical fall and a 20-8 major decision over CBA's Anthony Lawrence in the final.
"When I was a kid, I scored a lot of points,'' Queen said. "I stopped doing it, and then I just came back to it this year,'' Queen said. "Since it's always helped me, I thought I might as well go back to it.''
Queen was one of two St. John Vianney champions. The other was sophomore Anthony Knox, last year's NJSIAA 113-pound champion. Knox (120) defeated Howell's Xavier Ortega by technical fall. He had two pins and two wins by technical fall in the tournament.
The weight drop
Two Shore Conference state championships made a recent drop in weight class.
One was Brick Memorial's 2021 NJSIAA 120-pound champion and three-time state finalist Anthony Santaniello, who dropped from 138 to 132.
"It looks like I'm running (away from Delbarton's Tyler Vazquez at 138. Vazquez defeated Santaniello twice last season, including 2-1 in the state 132-pound final). I know a lot of people think that -- but it's team first, last and always. I've got to do what I have to do for my team. I want to win a group title. Our whole team does. It's going to help us a lot.''
Santaniello he will stay at 132 pounds for the individual portion of the season, when that begins with the district tournaments on Feb. 18.
The other was Middletown South's two-time state fourth-place finisher and three-time state top five finisher Jack Zaleski, who dropped from 132 to 126.
"My weight was getting really low and I was feeling really good, so I decided to go down,'' Zaleski said. "I know what I have to do make the weight and what I have to do the night before to be good for weigh-ins."
Among those who also dropped down to 126 recently were Roxbury's Luke Stanich, last year's 120-pound state runner-up and Southern's two-time state top three finisher and 2021 state 113-pound runner-up Conor Collins.
Both Santaniello and Zaleski won SCT titles. Santaniello, who had recorded two pins and a technical fall in his first three bouts, won by medical default in the final over Howell's Giovanni Scafidi. It was the second SCT title for Santaniello. He won at 106 in 2020, the last time the individual format was used before this season, with a 1-0 win over eventual two-time state champion Evan Tallmadge, who was at Brick at that time and transferred to Brick Memorial for his final two scholastic seasons.
Zaleski defeated 2021 NJSIAA 113-pound fifth-place finisher Sebastian Ortega.
The tournament's other champions were Middletown North's Brady Klinsky (106), Raritan's Zach Reilley (138), Brick Memorial's defending 175-pound state champion Harvey Ludington (175), Howell's D.J. Henry (190), Rumson-Fair Haven's Hudson Skove (215) and Jackson Memorial's Ryan Fischer (heavyweight).
Klinsky defeated St. John Vianney freshman Matthew Gould 3-2 on an escape with 1:45 left. He also had a takedown in the first period.
Reilley won by medical forfeit over Freehold's Angelo Messina; Ludington pinned Holmdel freshman Alexander Reyes and pinned in all four of his bouts in the tournament; Henry defeated Lacey's Matt Coon 6-4 to hand Coon his first defeat of the season; Skove defeated CBA's Rob Canterino 2-1 in tiebreaker period No. 1 when he rode Canterino out in the first part of the tiebreaker period and then escaped in the second portion of the period. It was Skove's second win of the season over Canterino. Fischer rode out Wall's top seed Kei'Sun Sanders in the third period to record a 1-0 win and improve to 23-0.
This article originally appeared on Asbury Park Press: Shore NJ Wrestling: Bobby Duffy of CBA shows seeds are just a number