Kingsway's Quinn Kinner captures fourth Region 8 wrestling title

At 185 lbs., Kingsway’s Quinn Kinner points to the stands after pinning St. Augustine’s Connor Kraus during the Region 8 wrestling finals at Egg Harbor Township on Saturday.

It never gets old for Quinn Kinner.

It only gets better.

“Every time, it’s a little sweeter,” the Kingsway senior said after winning his fourth consecutive Region 8 title on Saturday night.

Kinner earned the Most Outstanding Wrestler award after pinning St. Augustine’s Connor Kraus in the second period to capture the 138-pound title before a near-capacity crowd at Egg Harbor Township High School.

Kinner, who won the 132-pound state title last season, advanced to the state championships next weekend in Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City. He improved his season record to 39-0 and his career mark to 164-6.

But Kinner won’t soon forget his four appearances at the region competition, each of which ended with him on the top step of the podium.

“Every time, it’s a different story,” Kinner said. “It might seem the same, but it’s always different. Nothing is ever the same.”

Kinner was one of three defending state champions to capture a region title, along with Delsea 182-pounder Billy Janzer and Gateway 120-pounder Antonio Mininno.

Janzer, who was injured as a freshman, won his third consecutive region title with a 23-12 decision over Holy Spirit’s Mike Waszen. He improved to 28-0 this season and 130-8 for his career.

“I don’t think I performed my best,” said Janzer, who won the 170-pound state title in 2017. “I wanted to score more. I’m proud to win three titles. I wanted to be a four-time champion, but I wasn’t here as a freshman. Every time I came here, I won.”

Mininno won his second region title with a 12-2 decision over Kingsway’s Cheyney Kinner, Quinn’s younger brother. Mininno improved to 37-0 this season and 149-7 for his career.

“I feel like I’m peaking at the right time,” said Mininno, who won the 113-pound state title last season.

In other highlights, Williamstown senior Bryan Martin and Pennsville senior Kody Wood preserved perfect seasons with regional titles.

Martin, who sat out most of the last two seasons with injuries, improved to 36-0 with a 6-3 decision over Delsea’s Tommy Maxwell at 195 pounds.

Wood improved to 40-0 by decking Cumberland’s Bryce Dunn in 52 seconds.

“This is awesome,” Martin said. “There’s nothing better.”

In his first three seasons, Quinn Kinner competed at regions with his older brother Trace. Both won region titles in 2015. The next year, Trace Kinner lost his championship bout by injury default after suffering a concussion, with Quinn Kinner taking the mat in the next bout.

“That was the hardest thing I ever had to do in my life, wrestling after watching Trace get a concussion,” Kinner said. “This place, EHT, has been one of the greatest places in my life and one of the lowest places of my life.”

As a sign of how much things have changed over the course of his career, Quinn Kinner was the older brother in competition on Saturday night, watching anxiously as Cheyney Kinner competed for the 120-pound title.

“I get so nervous watching him, I can’t even tell you,” Quinn Kinner said. “I make fun of my dad [Bill] for jumping around and yelling and I think I’m worse than him.”

Although he has his sights set on a second state title, Kinner said he will cherish the rare accomplishment of winning four region titles.

“I like to stake a step back and look at things,” Kinner said. “Winning four region titles, that’s special. That’s something I’ll always hold close to my heart.”

Region 8 championship bouts

132: Matt Barnett, Southern, d. Justin Cariss, Highland, 3-2; 138: Quinn Kinner, Kingsway, pin Connor Kraus, St. Augustine, 3:49; 145: Nick Bennett, Delsea, d. Jacob Rodriguez, Clayton,  7-3; 152: Nick O’Connell, Southern, d. David McCullough, Clearview, 7-2; 160: Tim Fitzpatrick, Holy Spirit, pin Joe Colon, St. Augustine, 3:35; 170: John Stout, Southern, d. Mason Maxwell, Delsea, 5-3; 182: Bill Janzer, Delsea, d. Mike Waszen, Holy Spirit, 23-12; 195: Bryan Martin, Williamstown, d. Tommy Maxwell, Delsea, 6-3; 220: Devon Starks, Highland, d. Tyreke Brown, Penns Grove, 4-3; 285: Kody Wood, Pennsville, pin Bryce Dunn, Cumberland, 0:52; 106: Carmen Giumarello, Clearview, d. Cael Aretz, Buena, 4-0; Dante Mininno, Gateway, d. McKenzie Bell, Kingsway, 10-9; 120: Antonio Mininno, Gateway, d. Cheyney Kinner, Kingsway, 12-2; 126: Steve Schwab, St. Augustine, d. Shamun Smith, Williamstown, 6-1.