EGG HARBOR TWP. – Moments after Quinn Kinner won his fourth Region 8 championship he was asked if the feeling ever gets old.
“The answer is no,” said the Kingsway High School senior 138-pounder. “If anything, it gets a little bit better every time. The stories get richer; the memories get sweeter. It’s a lot of fun to be here with all these guys.”
Kinner won his latest championship with a pin in 3:49 over St. Augustine’s Connor Kraus, an outcome that paved the way to be named the Region's Most Outstanding Wrestler.
He will now get a chance to repeat as the state champion, after he won the 132-pound title last year, when the competition is held next weekend in Atlantic City.
Two other defending state champions joined Kinner in adding to their Region titles totals with victories at Egg Harbor High School.
They were Gateway’s 120-pounder, Antonio Mininno, a 113-pound state champion last year, and Delsea’s 182-pounder Bill Janzer, who won the 170-pound state title.
Mininno and Janzer each won their third Regional titles. Mininno’s brother Dante, a 113-pounder, won his second regional title, and is still looking for his first state championship.
Considering that Kinner won the state championship last season, it would not have been unreasonable to expect him to lose some of his motivation for another one.
But he says, actually, just the opposite has happened. Each year, he said presents new challenges that he’s eager to meet.
“Every year is a different story,” Kinner said. “Sometime the results might be the same, and the storyline looks the same, but there are always little differences.”
Armed with a career load of experiences, Kinner goes onto the mat knowing he must anticipate any eventuality.
“I tell my teammates wrestling is a funny sport,” he said. “You have to go out there thinking I can beat anybody, while at the same time knowing anybody can beat me at anytime. It’s awesome. That’s why I love wrestling.”
Kingsway Coach Mike Barikian was not surprised to see Kinner turn in such a dominating performance. He says Kinner has been a tough competitor for a long time, and he knows that a lot is expected of him.
“I don’t know,” the Barikian said when asked if he thought Kinner was at the top of his game. “We’ll see next week. Going back to the Escape the Rock Tournament, every time he’s stepped on the mat he’s with someone who is overmatched.
“He’s a heckuva wrestler, and he’s going to have to be next week. It’s going to be a challenge, but he’s always up for it.”
Janzer won his third Region championship with a 23-12 decision over Holy Spirit’s Michael Waszen and then he said he could have done better.
“I was hoping to put a little more points on the boards, really,” Janzer said. “I was able to put up points when I wanted to, but I didn’t feel like I wrestled my best.”
From an outsiders point of view it was difficult to figure how Janzer could have been more dominating. The performance was made even more impressive when considering how hard it is to win three Region titles.
Janzer spoke about how he has high expectations for himself.
“(Winning three) feels good and I’m proud of myself for my career,” he said. “But honestly I could be a lot better than people think I can. I know people think I can lose, but in my head, I’m the best wrestler in the state. I can get the job done. I’m hungry to go out there and win the title in dominate fashion.”
Now a three-time Regional champion, Gateway’s Antonio Maninno came out of his 12-2 decision over Kingsway’s Cheney Kinner feeling confident another state championship was within his reach.
“I feel like I’m peaking this time of year,” he said. “I can feel good times coming next week. (Today) I felt very good in my top game. I felt good on my feet. I got some decent takedowns and that’s what was needed.”
However, his brother Dante was left feeling a bit disappointed, despite winning his second Region title with a 10-9 decision over Kingsway’s McKenzie Bell.
“I really like to go out there and have some fun and score my points, but I didn’t wrestle my best,” he said. “He’s a tough kid and a tough competitor and that’s what I want – I need battles out there.”
Region 8 Finals
106-Carmen Giulmariello, Clearview, dec. Cael Aretz, Buena, 4-0; 113-Dante Mininno, Gatesway dec. McKenzie Bell, 10-9; 120-Antonio Mininno, Gateway, dec. Cheney Kinner, Kingsway, 12-2; 126-Steven Schwab, St. Augustine, dec. Shamun Smith, Williamstown, 6-1.
132-Matthew Barrett, Southern, dec. Justin Cariss, Highland, 4-2; 138-Quinn Kinner, Kingsway, pin Connor Kraus, St. Augustine, 3:50; 145-Nick Bennett, Delsea, dec. Jacob Rodriguez, Clayton, 7-3; 152-Nicholas O’Connell, Southern, dec. David McCullough, Clearview, 7-2.
160-Tom Fitzpatrick Holy Spirit, pin Joseph Colon, St. Augustine, 3:36; 170-John Stout, Southern, dec. Mason Maxwell, Delsea, 5-3; 182-Bill Janzer, Delsea, dec. Michael Waszen, Holy Spirit, 23-12.
195-Bryan Martin, Williamstown, dec. Tommy Maxwell, Delsea, 6-3; 220-Davon Starks, Highland, dec. Tyreke Brown, Penns Grove 4-3; 285-Kody Woods, Pennsville, pin Bryce Dunn, Cumberland, :53.