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LCM’s state qualifiers learn opponents for Boardwalk Hall

Posted: February 28th 2024

By BRIAN CUNNIFF

CapeAtlanticLive.com

Three Lower Cape May Regional High School wrestlers will compete at the prestigious state wrestling championships in Atlantic City beginning Thursday, thanks to their performances at last weekend’s Region 8 Tournament.

Those athletes are sophomore Chase Hansen and seniors Jahcere Harris and Ben Rue.

They’ll each compete with 31 other wrestlers in their respective weight classes at Boardwalk Hall.

Hansen, already considered one of the state’s top wrestlers, leads the way. The dynamic 132-pounder – he bumped down for the postseason from the 138 pounds at which he wrestled during the regular season – has matched his success from last season by entering the state tournament as an undefeated district and region champion.

Hansen, who placed seventh at last year’s tournament as a 126-pounder, is seeded sixth in the 132-pound weight class for states. He’ll wrestle No. 27 Jackson Weller of Delran in his opening match. A victory there would move Hansen into a pre-quarterfinal bout with either No. 11 Gavin Duran of Ridge or No. 22 Zavier Stokes of Delsea.

Hansen was dominant at the Region 8 Tournament last weekend. The top seed in the weight class, he posted first-period pins in both the quarterfinal and semifinal rounds before scoring a 7-0 decision in the title bout.

Harris is seeded 21st at 138 pounds for the state championships. He’ll face No. 12 Justin Holly of Pope John in his opener. An upset victory would place Harris into a pre-quarterfinal bout with No. 5 Anthony DePaul of St. Augustine or No. 28 Parker Quinn of Wall Township.

Harris enjoyed a thrilling ride at the Region 8 Tournament. Seeded sixth, he scored a 3-1 decision in his preliminary bout before a win by fall in 4:00 in the quarterfinal round. He then shocked second-seeded Luca Giagunto of Hammonton in the semifinal round through an 11-9 decision, before losing a close 4-0 decision to DePaul in the title bout.

Rue is seeded 28th at heavyweight for the state championships. He’ll face No. 5 Dan Elyash of Paramus in the preliminary round. An upset win would give him a shot at either No. 12 Mason Brancato of Pompton Lakes or No. 21 Jacob Howland of Christian Brothers Academy in the pre-quarterfinal.

At Region 8, Rue was seeded eighth and won his preliminary bout by fall before losing by 3-1 sudden victory to top-seeded Clifford Dirkes of Ocean City in the quarterfinal. Rue then went on a monster tear in the wrestleback rounds, posting pins over three different higher-seeded opponents to finish in third place in the weight class.

Wrestling is scheduled to begin at 10:30 a.m. Thursday. All matches through the semifinal round, including wrestlebacks, will be staged Thursday and Friday. On Saturday, third-, fifth- and seventh-place bouts will begin at 9:45 a.m., with boys championship bouts slated for later that day at 3:45 p.m.

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