Thursday, July 27, 2017

Wrestling: P'burg tops Washington in Pin Cancer tilt

LOPATCONG TWP. -- Summer wrestling is merely the process in building toward success during the high school season. But wins still matter, especially for a Phillipsburg team that didn't forget taking a loss one year ago.

Led by state placewinner Brian Meyer, one of five seniors in the lineup, Phillipsburg won 11 of 14 bouts in cruising to a 54-10 win over Washington on Thursday night in the sixth annual Pin Cancer match before a crowd of about 800 at Phillipsburg High School.

Last year, Washington earned a 28-24 victory at home, handing P'burg its first loss in this outstanding event that raises money for a very worthy cause.
Travis Jones seals a 12-6 win over Logan Nauta.

"We might have talked about it [the loss in 2016] in the practice room this week," P'burg coach Dave Post said with a smile. "We mainly tell the kids that this is a charity event, so represent your town and team with pride and in a good manner. It's a fun summer thing, but when we go places, we always want to win."

Unfortunately, it was the second straight year that this designed outdoor event was forced inside due to rain -- which never came on this night -- in the forecast. Post made sure to thank the entire custodial staff, as well as new superintendent Greg Troxell and athletic director Tom Fisher for the making the shift in venue earlier in the day be as seamless as possible given that everything was stationed and ready to be set up at Maloney Stadium just down the road.

"It was all hands on deck," Post said. "Fisher is on vacation and was in touch with people to help get things set up. It's the summer, and people have plenty of things on their plate. The school recognizes what a great event and charity this is. We just couldn't take the chance [of being outside]. If it rains, it ruins the whole event. Even the threat of bad weather might have kept people away."

Meyer, who placed third in the New Jersey State Championships this past season, has been working hard in the offseason with his sights set on being two steps higher on the podium next March. He racked up three takedowns and two sets of back points off tilts, a move he used for a third time to pin Pedro Cruz in 3:27. All three periods as in years past were 1 1/2 minutes in length.

"This is summer stuff, but it gets you ready when it comes to the season," said Meyer, who missed out on back-to-back medals recently in the Cadet Junior Freestyle Tournament in Fargo, N.D. "You always want to win. Last year, we came up short [at Pin Cancer] and we took it to [Warren Hills] during the season [a 37-24 win]. This is entertainment, you get to kick back a little and have fun. We want to peak during the season."

Meyer's victory gave P'burg a commanding 34-7 lead with five bouts left. Lance Wissing's 25-second pin of freshman Logan Polcari in the next bout sealed the team win. Wissing should help solidify this season's lineup which was expected to be a little green up top -- making the jump from 138 to 170 pounds.

In one of the most exciting bouts, senior Shamyr Brodders came back from an early deficit for a 6-5 win over Nick Hildebrant in the 11th bout (there were no assigned weights). Tied at 4 after two periods, Brodders gave up an escape to start the third and converted a single-leg attempt for a takedown with 16 seconds left to win it.

Washington, which only had 12 of its own wrestlers, needed some help filling the lineup with Shane Reynolds of Delaware Valley and Brandon Prados of Pocono Mountain East coming aboard a day prior to the match.

Senior Kyle Wulff, along with juniors Chris Ostir and Nick Galka, were the only winners for the visiting team.

Down 21-0 after four bouts, Wulff racked up five takedowns in a 12-4 major of talented freshman Tyler Marason to get Washington on the board.

"Kyle was very aggressive on his feet," Washington coach Jarrett Hosbach said. "Which is what we wanted him to do. One of the things we stress is being aggressive. We think Kyle [sixth in Region 3 last season] can be [at the states] in Atlantic City. He just needs to keep working and improving."

Ostir hit a five-point move in the first period en route to a 5-2 win over Jared Kukor in the next bout. Galka's 10-5 win over Cody Cruts ended Phillipsburg's run of six straight victories.

"I thought we wrestled well in spots. It's July, and in some bouts, we looked like it's July," Hosbach said. "There were some good scrambles on both sides. This is a great event. Our numbers are a little down and Dave sought out two kids. It was nice that they joined in this event."

In what was the most entertaining matchup, Travis Jones scored a 12-6 win over fellow mat wrestler Logan Nauta. Tied at 2 after one period, Jones got a reversal and two back points for a 6-2 lead. In the third, Jones gave up his second takedown takedown -- making it 6-4 -- before escaping and hitting a headlock for a takedown and three back points to seal the win, giving up a late reversal for the final points.

Jones handed Nauta a 17-4 loss during last season after Nauta scored an 8-7 win in the Pin Cancer matchup.

"You never know, either one can hit a five-point move," Post said. "That's why we preach to stay in good position. Travis wanted that one. He has gotten immensely better on his feet. He's a student of the game. His goals are to be a state placewinner and contend for a state title."

PHILLIPSBURG 54, WARREN HILLS 10

Fr. Logan Maczko, P, p. Fr. Walker Heller, :26.
Sr. Cullen Day, P, p. So. Greg Slivka, 4:27.
Jr. Luke Hardin, P, p. So. Shane Reynolds, 1:29.
Jr. Travis Jones, P, d. So. Logan Nauta, 12-6.
Sr. Kyle Wulff, W, md. Fr. Tyler Marason, 12-4.
Jr. Chris Ostir, W, d. So. Jared Kukor, 5-2.
Jr. Kyle Tino, P, d. Sr. Cameron Nauta, 8-4.
Jr. Jayson Zinsmeister, P, md. So. Geir Nemeth, 9-1.
Sr. Brian Meyer, P, p. Sr. Pedro Cruz, 3:27.
Sr. Lance Wissing, P, p. Fr. Logan Polcari, :25.
Sr. Shamyr Brodders, P, d. So. Nick Hildebrant, 6-5.
Jr. Austin Roth, P, tf. Jr. David Shafer, 16-1, 2:40.
Jr. Nick Galka, W, d. So. Cody Cruts, 10-5.
Sr. Patrick Sharpe, P, p. Jr. Brandon Prados, 1:13.
Officials -- Joe Benvenuto, Chip Castner and Frank Leitner.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Wrestling: Streaks-'Liners set for Pin Cancer clash

The must-see high school wrestling event of the summer in our area is on tap for Thursday as the sixth annual Pin Cancer match between Washington and Phillipsburg will be held at Phillipsburg High School due to rain in the forecast.

There will be 14 junior high bouts starting at 5:30 p.m., with the high school match to follow. Doors open at 5. Ticket price is $5. All proceeds go to cancer research and development. Check out http://www.pincancer.org/ for more information about this tremendous organization.

Phillipsburg defeated Warren Hills, 37-24, when the teams met during the 2016-17 high school season.

Phillipsburg won the first four Pin Cancer matches before Washington ended that run with a 28-24 victory last year at Warren Hills Regional High School's auxiliary gym. The event was moved indoors for the first time due to rain.

This year's clash features three New Jersey state qualifiers in Phillipsburg's Cullen Day (112), Travis Jones (119) and Brian Meyer (155). Two others who earned trips to Atlantic City, Phillipsburg's Cody Harrison and Washington's Jarod Ostir, will not compete due to injuries.

Harrison (26-8) won a District 9 title, finished third in Region 3 and placed eighth in the state tournament last season at 126 pounds as a sophomore. Ostir (30-11) won a District 12 title and placed second in Region 3 at 170 as a junior.

Meyer (39-8), who won district and region titles and has 92 career wins, finished third in the state at 145 pounds, while District 9 champions Day and Jones finished second and fourth at 106 and 113, respectively, in Region 3.

Both team's lineups will likely look vastly different come this winter. P'burg coach Dave Post, whose team is gearing for the upcoming 1,000 Island Duals in New York, provided a sneak preview of what the 2017-18 lineup may be at this mid-summer stage for his defending Group 4 champions.

106 -- Fr. Logan Maczko or Fr. Jason Tino; 113 -- Sr. Cullen Day; 120 -- Jr. Travis Jones; 126 -- Jr. Brenden Fox; 132 -- Fr. Tyler Marason or Fr. Sean Ricker; 138 -- Jr. Kyle Tino; 145 -- Jr. Cody Harrison; 152 -- Jr. Jayson Zinsmeister; 160 -- Sr. Brian Meyer; 170 -- Sr. Lance Wissing; 182 -- Sr. Shamyr Brodders; 195 -- Jr. Austin Roth; 220 -- So. Cody Cruts; 285 -- Sr. Pat Sharpe

Tentative Pin Cancer matchups (Washington listed first)

Walker Heller vs. Logan Maczko
Greg Slivka vs. Cullen Day
TBA vs. Travis Jones
Logan Nauta vs. Luke Hardin or Jones
Kyle Wulff vs. Tyler Marason
Chris Ostir vs. Jared Kukor
Cameron Nauta vs. Kyle Tino
Geir Nemeth vs. Jayson Zinsmeister
Pedro Cruz vs. Brian Meyer
Logan Polcari vs. Lance Wissing
Nick Hildebrant vs. Shamyr Brodders
Dave Shafer vs. Austin Roth
Nick Galka vs. Cody Cruts
TBA vs. Pat Sharpe

(Box from last season's high school dual)

PHILLIPSBURG 37, WARREN HILLS 24

126 -- Cody Harrison, P, md. Codey O'Rourke, 10-0.
132 -- Matt Valli, WH, d. Kyle Tino, 18-11.
138 -- Zach Nauta, WH, d. Lance Wissing, 8-4.
145 -- Jayson Zinsmeister, P, d. Cameron Nauta, 7-6.
152 -- Brian Meyer, P, p. Rashon Wade Taylor, 3:16.
160 -- Shamyr Brodders, P, d. Ryan Beckler, 3-1 SV.
170 -- Jarod Ostir, WH, p. Cody Cruts, :24.
182 -- Nick Galka, WH, d. Dan Fisher, 3-2.
195 -- Drew Horun, P, p. Ethan Young, :21.
220 -- Robert Melise, P, p. Brody Oberly, :29.
285 -- Taylan Zafis, WH, p. Justen Caraballo, 5:47.
106 -- Cullen Day, P, tf. Greg Slivka, 17-1, 6:00.
113 -- Travis Jones, P, md. Logan Nauta, 17-4.
120 -- Kyle Wulff, WH, d. Tyris Manley, 5-1.

(2016 Pin Cancer results)

WASHINGTON 28, PHILLIPSBURG 24

105 -- Cullen Day, P, p. Greg Slivka, :57.
112 -- Logan Nauta, W, d. Travis Jones, 8-7.
119 -- Kyle Wulff, W, p. Tyris Manley, 4:23.
125 -- Cody Harrison, W, md. Brenden Fox, 10-0.
130 -- Matt Valli, W, d. Kyle Tino, 9-4.
135 -- Pedro Cruz, W, d. Ryan Mitzak, 2-1.
140 -- Cameron Nauta, W, d. Lance Wissing, 4-3.
147 -- Zach Nauta, W, d. Jayson Zinsmeister, 5-1.
155 -- Brian Meyer, P, p. Rashon Wade Taylor, 2:22.
167 -- Shamyr Brodders, P, d. Kyle Henderson, 11-4.
177 -- Austin Roth, P, d. Ryan Beckler, 4-1.
190 -- Drew Horun, P, d. Nick Galka, 4-2.
220 -- Robert Melise, P, d. Brody Oberly, 5-1.
285 -- Taylan Zafis, P, d. Justen Caraballo, 3-2.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Field hockey: Potter eager to take over Blue Streaks

Josie Potter walked away from the Warren Hills field hockey program two years ago in order to spend more time with her family.

Until recently, she had no intention of making a return to the sidelines. But coming back to be the head coach at her alma mater proved to be an opportunity she couldn't pass up.

Josie Potter
Potter was officially named the eighth head coach in the program's 53-year history during a Board of Education meeting on June 6, as previously reported by Open Mike. She succeeds Kate Rothman, who guided Warren Hills to a mark of 43-8 the last two seasons, along with back-to-back North 1, Group 3 sectional titles and its second straight Group 3 title in 2015. In '16, the Blue Streaks went 20-5 and earned a return trip to the Group 3 championship game -- a 5-0 loss to nemesis Ocean City.

"Two years ago, I resigned [as an assistant coach] because of my kids," said Potter, who lives in Palmer Township (Pa.) with her husband, Ian, and their sons, Brayden (8) and Owen (4). "[Athletic director] Geri McKelvey approached me about coming back. She said, 'We need you.' I [thought] about it for two weeks. I talked it over with my husband to make sure it was the right decision for me and my family. My boys are my No. 1 priority. But I'm a Blue Streak through and through."

McKelvey could not be reached for comment.

Potter, 34, a Health and Physical Education teacher at Warren Hills, previously served as an assistant under former coach Laurie Kerr for 11 seasons from 2004-14. Potter resigned, along with Kerr, after the Streaks won their first Group 3 title in '14, the school's first state championship in any female sport.

Kerr, also a star player at Warren Hills and 1987 graduate, turned the program into a powerhouse during her 15 seasons at the helm. Her teams went 264-71-12 overall and won or shared six Skyland Conference Delaware or Raritan Division titles, while capturing four of their five county championships in 2009, '11, '13 and '14.

In addition, the Streaks claimed eight of their 14 sectional titles and appeared in the Group 3 finals seven times under Kerr, who surpassed her predecessor and coach Luanne Ferenci (226-101-41 from 1981-99) as the winningest coach in program history.

Potter, then known as Josie Schantzenbach, is a 2000 graduate and played on Ferenci's teams from 1996-99, scoring 10 goals and earning MVP honors during her senior season in '99. The Blue Streaks lost a heartbreaker in the Group 3 final that year -- 2-1 in overtime to Ocean City on a controversial goal. The '96 team was the first to reach the state finals. She went on to play and graduate from East Stroudsburg University.

"Luanne is one of the best coaches around, and I learned a lot coaching with Laurie," Potter said.

Potter knows full well what she is getting into by taking over a program that is regarded as one of the best in New Jersey and is expected to win. Potter feels she is up for the challenge, and she is also hoping to bring some stability to a program that has remarkably changed coaches twice since 2014, despite winning two state titles.

"I can't answer how long I will coach, but my goal is to bring Warren Hills field hockey back where it needs to be," Potter said. "Player first, person first and then team. The focus should be on the kids, not the coach, and that hasn't been there [the last two seasons]. I tend to focus on the positives as opposed to the negatives. We will work on fixing those, not dwell on what went wrong. Nobody plays to lose. If we win it's because of [the players] not me.

"I don't want to be a coach who is one-and-done. That's not fair to the program or the girls."

Potter's coaching staff includes former standout player Erica Russell and newcomer Sarah Kaufman. Russell is moving up from the middle school program to coach the junior varsity, while Kaufman was recently hired by the school as a Health and Physical Education teacher, filling one of the vacancies created by Ferenci's retirement from teaching. A huge loss on the middle school level occurred when highly-regarded coach Laura Blackwell stepped down due to family reasons. And while Kaufman has no field hockey background as either a player or a coach, Potter said she will be a big asset.

"She has coached softball, volleyball and basketball and is a very confident coach, so I'm excited about that," Potter said. "You can teach the game."

Warren Hills, which is expected to contend for another Group 3 championship in 2017, returns seven starters, including seniors Tali Popinko (13 goals, 9 assists), Rebecca Sigman (17 goals, 10 assists) and Alyssa Appleby (14 goals, 3 assists) who combined for 44 of the team's 84 goals in '16. Senior midfielder Mikayla Dugan (6 goals), along with senior backs Sydney Moskal and Rebecca Lezon, as well as talented sophomores Kate Fenner and Sam Dugan, who both saw a lot of playing time as a freshman, are also key returning players.

Senior Maggie Titus, who Potter calls a "solid goalie," will start in the cage after seeing limited time as a backup in 2016.

"I coached this senior class, and I had some other players in class or coached them in track," said Potter, who will have about 20 incoming freshmen players, including a few blue-chippers expected to make an immediate impact. "I know the personalities, but I haven't seen some of them play."

Having been away for two years from a sport that is always changing and evolving, Potter has spoken with referee and former Blue Streaks coach Genya Pantuso about rules changes over the last few seasons and for 2017, while also relying on Russell's coaching experience.

"Erica is a great resource so I'm not too worried about [having been away]," Potter said.

Going into its 53rd season, Washington/Warren Hills is 644-256-92 overall. The program has won at least 20 games in six straight season, including a school-best 23 wins in 2014 and '15.

The schedule, as always, is challenging with independent games against state powers West Essex (last year's Group 2 champion and winner of the TOC) and Madison. And of course a rugged Skyland Conference slate including nemesis Voorhees and Hunterdon Central, as well as perennial Group 4 runner-up Bridgewater-Raritan. A season-opening game vs. powerhouse Oak Knoll was originally slated for Tuesday, Sept. 5, but Potter said that one has since been removed from the schedule. The Streaks will instead play their annual rivalry contest against Hackettstown on a date to be determined.

Warren Hills' second game at home against Hunterdon Central should be fun. After all, it was the Red Devils who ended the Streaks' three-year reign as Hunterdon-Warren-Sussex Tournament champions last season with a 2-1 win in the title game played at Hackettstown.

Another one to watch will be on Saturday, Sept. 30, when Warren Hills hosts Phillipsburg. Former Streaks star Toni Popinko, Tali's oldest sister, was recently named the new head coach of the Stateliners after previously serving as an assistant.

2017 schedule

(Times subject to change)

(Raritan Division games in bold)

Thursday, Aug. 24 (scrimmage) -- Easton (Pa.) 
Saturday, Aug. 26 (scrimmage) -- at Rumson-Fair Haven
Monday, Aug. 28 (scrimmage) -- Mount Olive
Thursday, Aug. 31 (scrimmage) -- at Newton
Thursday, Sept. 7 -- Montgomery, 4 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 9 -- Hunterdon Central, 1:30 p.m.
Tuesday, Sept. 12 -- at Watchung Hills, 3:45 p.m.
Thursday, Sept. 14 -- West Essex, 3:45 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 16 -- North Hunterdon, 11 a.m.
Tuesday, Sept. 19 -- Hillsborough, 3:45 p.m.
Wednesday, Sept. 20 -- Madison, 6:30 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 23 -- Hunterdon-Warren-Sussex Tournament first round, TBD
Tuesday, Sept. 26 -- at Ridge, 3:45 p.m.
Thursday, Sept. 28 -- at Voorhees, 3:45 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 30 -- Phillipsburg, 11 a.m.
Tuesday, Oct. 3 -- Bridgewater-Raritan, 3:45 p.m.
Thursday, Oct. 5 -- at Montgomery, 3:45 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 7 -- Hunterdon-Warren-Sussex Tournament quarterfinals, TBD
Tuesday, Oct. 10 -- at Pingry, 3:45 p.m.
Thursday, Oct. 12 -- Watchung Hills, 3:45 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 14 -- Hunterdon-Warren-Sussex Tournament semifinals, TBD
Tuesday, Oct. 17 -- at North Hunterdon, 3:45 p.m.
Thursday, Oct. 19 -- at Phillipsburg, 3:45 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 21 -- Hunterdon-Warren-Sussex Tournament final, TBD
Saturday, Oct. 21 -- Voorhees, 3:45 p.m.
Monday, Oct. 23 -- NJSIAA sectionals first round (Groups 2 and 3)
Thursday, Oct. 26 -- NJSIAA sectionals second round
Tuesday, Oct. 31 -- NJSIAA sectional semifinals (Groups and 3)
Thursday, Nov. 2 -- NJSIAA sectional finals (Groups 2 and 3)
Tuesday, Nov. 7 -- NJSIAA state semifinals
Saturday, Nov. 11 -- NJSIAA state finals at Bordentown Regional High School
Monday, Nov. 13 -- Tournament of Champions play-in game
Wednesday, Nov. 15 -- Tournament of Champions semifinals
Friday, Nov. 17 -- Tournament of Champions at Kean University

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Wrestling: Flynn resigns as North Hunterdon coach

For 35 years, wrestling and Tim Flynn have gone hand-in-hand. But as the saying goes, all good things must end.

Flynn, 40, is stepping down following eight seasons in charge of the North Hunterdon program after being appointed as the school's vice principal during Tuesday night's board of education meeting. Flynn previously had been approved as the head wrestling coach for the 2017-18 season in a previous meeting.

Tim Flynn
"It's what I have wanted to do eventually, the last year or two for sure," Flynn said of taking an administration role. "Things seemed to work out at the [school] district level. I met with the team [on Wednesday] to let them know."

North Hunterdon is coming off a surprising 17-6 campaign after going a disappointing 9-10 in 2015-16, a rare losing season and the program's first since 2003-04. Under Flynn, the Lions went 118-48 overall, capturing the North 2, Group 5 title in 2015, their 14th sectional championship overall.

Before taking over in 2009-10, Flynn served as former head coach Jason Hawk's top assistant for four seasons. Under their guidance, along with several other highly regarded assistants, North Hunterdon earned statewide respect from opponents and coaches.

"I've been in wrestling forever, since age 5," said Flynn, a social studies teacher at North who was a former state placewinner for Phillipsburg High School and a four-year varsity letterwinner at James Madison. "I've been at North for 18 years, and a head coach for eight."

Flynn's departure is a bit surprising considering the talent level rising through a solid feeder system. He insists it was a career move that was too good to pass up.

"I've been very fortunate. I've had a lot of good kids and from parents [buying into the program]. I've been very spoiled," said Flynn, who praised Mike Cole for working at the youth level and during the busy offseason. "I never thought about walking away, even [during a frustrating 2015-16 season]. Last year, we overachieved, and it kind of got the juices flowing again. This was just the right time and place."

There have been many memorable moments during Flynn's time with North Hunterdon, including winning the Group 3 title in 2002, the school's fourth and last championship. Individually, Flynn points to coaching two-time state champion Ricky Frondorf and three-time placewinner Ryan Pomrinca, the Lions' all-time wins leader (155-13 from 2011-15) and current Lehigh University wrestler as career highlights.

"We had some stud teams my first couple of years as an assistant," Flynn said. "The 2003 team was probably better than '02, but we got beat in the [Group 3 final]. All four Hunterdon County schools winning [sectional titles] in 2015, that was fun."

The search for Flynn's successor is already underway. Current assistant coach Chris Hrunka, who has served on the staff for the last six years and is a Health and Physical Education teacher at North Hunterdon, is certainly a leading candidate.

"He'd be a good choice," Flynn said.

For now, Flynn will get to spend more time with his wife Brooke and their two children, Jack (7) and Lindsey (4). But he admits, things will be strange when practices start around Thanksgiving.

"It will definitely be weird. My wife will hate me being around," he joked. "But my son will be getting involved in wrestling. I will still be around."

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Source: Potter new Blue Streaks field hockey coach

For the second time in three years, one of New Jersey's premier high school field hockey programs has a new leader.


Josie Potter
According to multiple sources, Josie Potter, a former star player and assistant coach for Warren Hills, is expected to be named the next Blue Streaks head coach -- the eighth in the program's 53-year history -- during a Board of Education meeting on Tuesday.

Potter succeeds Kate Rothman, whose two-year tenure ended abruptly in December, when athletic director Geri McKelvey informed Rothman that she would not be recommended for the job in 2017.
Rothman guided Warren Hills to an overall mark of 43-8, back-to-back North 1, Group 3 sectional titles and its second straight Group 3 title in 2015. Last season, the Streaks went 20-5 and earned a return trip to the championship game -- a 5-0 loss to nemesis Ocean City.


All fall coaching positions at the Warren County school, per its policy, were opened up at season's end and the appointments for 2017 will be made official on Tuesday.


Potter, 34, a Health and Physical Education teacher at Warren Hills, previously served as an assistant under former coach Laurie Kerr for 11 seasons from 2004-14. Potter resigned, along with Kerr, after the Streaks won their first Group 3 title in '14, the school's first state championship in any female sport.

Kerr, also a star player at Warren Hills and 1987 graduate, turned the program into a powerhouse during her 15 seasons at the helm. Her teams went 264-71-12 overall and won or shared six Skyland Conference Delaware or Raritan Division titles, while capturing four of their five county championships in 2009, '11, '13 and '14.

In addition, the Streaks claimed eight of their 14 sectional titles and appeared in the Group 3 finals seven times under Kerr, who surpassed her predecessor and coach Luanne Ferenci (226-101-41 from 1981-99) as the winningest coach in program history.

Potter, then known as Josie Schantzenbach, is a 2000 graduate and she played on Ferenci's teams from 1996-99, scoring 10 goals and earning MVP honors during her senior season in '99. The Blue Streaks lost a heartbreaker in the Group 3 final that year -- 2-1 in overtime to Ocean City on a controversial goal. The '96 team was the first to reach the state finals. She went on to play and graduate from East Stroudsburg University.

Going into its 53rd season, Washington/Warren Hills is 644-256-92 overall. The program has won at least 20 games in six straight season, including a school-best 23 wins in 2014 and '15.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Wrestling: Paulsboro joins rugged Boresch Duals

State wrestling powers just seem to keep finding their way to Newton High School.

Paulsboro, the reigning Group 1 champion and longtime South Jersey powerhouse, will join a stellar field for the 13th annual Henry Boresch Duals to be held on Jan. 6, 2018.

"We are very excited about the 2018 field," said Newton coach Eric Bollette, who has guided the Sussex County program for the past 16 seasons and a runner-up finish in the Northwest Jersey Athletic Conference Freedom Division in 2016-17.

"Since we started this tournament, we have set out to bring in a field that covers all areas of New Jersey. With the addition of Paulsboro and Northern Highlands, we now have teams from Bergen County to Salem and Burlington counties. We look forward to an exciting day of wrestling."

South Plainfield, last season's Group 3 champion, has been a regular in this event -- winning four of the last six championships, including back-to-back titles in 2016 and '17, and finishing second in '15.

Also returning is Hanover Park, the Group 2 runner-up, which dropped a 43-23 decision to South Plainfield in last season's Boresch Duals title match. Coach James LaValle's Hornets won their only championship in this event in 2014.

Caldwell, Morris Hills, Northern Burlington, Northern Highlands return to round out the eight-team field.

South Plainfield (30-1), which returns state placewinners Joe Heilmann (third at 120 pounds) and Zach DelVecchio (fourth at 220), finished as the highest-ranked public school at No. 3 in the final New Jersey Wrestling Writers Association Top 25 poll. Paulsboro (23-0) was No. 9, followed by No. 10 Hanover Park (17-5), which features 126-pound state champion Nick Raimo.

Paulsboro, which will return nine starters and celebrate its 75th season in 2017-18, is a nice get by Bollette for this event. The Red Raiders, who have gone 656-42-4 in 31 seasons under coach Paul Morina and 1,133-88-12 overall, rarely venture to Northwest Jersey, and have not done so since their series with Phillipsburg ended in 2014 -- a 38-21 loss at The Pit.

"We are extremely excited to have perennial Top 10 teams," Bollette said. "Add in Caldwell and Northern Burlington, which have been consistent winners and teams that are on the cusp of the [NJWWA Top 25], and we have a very competitive field with some great potential team and individual matchups."

Newton has won its event four times -- 2007-10 -- and most recently made the championship match in 2011, a 41-24 loss to Raritan.

Memory lane of champions

2006 -- Don Bosco 50, Haddonfield 24

2007 -- Newton 54, Pequannock 9

2008 -- Newton 36, Haddonfield 31

2009 -- Newton 43, Haddonfield 18

2010 -- Newton 34, Don Bosco 32

2011 -- Raritan 41, Newton 24

2012 -- South Plainfield 47, Raritan 18

2013 -- South Plainfield 62, Raritan 8

2014 -- Hanover Park 35, Raritan 29

2015 -- Howell 40, South Plainfield 15

2016 -- South Plainfield 45, Howell 20

2017 -- South Plainfield 43, Hanover Park 23

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Wrestling: Phillipsburg sets schedule for 2017-18

Phillipsburg coach Dave Post confirmed on Wednesday that his schedule for the 2017-18 season is nearly complete, with the exception of two dates -- Dec. 20 and Feb. 1, 2018 -- that have yet to be determined. 

Phillipsburg celebrates its fourth straight Group 4 title in February.
The Stateliners, who finished 16-1 this past season and won their fourth straight Group 4 title for the program's 21st state championship overall, will open next season by returning to the King of the Mountain Tournament at Central Mountain (Pa.) High School, where they competed from 2010-13. Post's teams had opened the past two seasons at the Beast of the East Tournament in Newark, Del., since the Warren County school was unable to attend King of the Mountain, which ran the weekend before the season officially opened in New Jersey.

"We are really excited to go back," said Post, whose 2014-15 team went to the Reno Tournament of Champions. [King of the Mountain] finally moved [the dates] back this past year so we could go, but we unfortunately sent the Beast of the East contract in already."

In addition to its mandated six dual meets against Skyland Conference Raritan Division opponents, Phillipsburg, which is 112-18 overall in Post's seven seasons, will once again face Raritan, Cranford, Kittatinny and Hanover Park in independent matchups. All four of those teams appeared in the final New Jersey Wrestling Writers Association Top 25 poll for 2016-17.

One notable addition is Newton, which owns a 9-6-1 edge overall against P'burg dating to 1947. The Braves are the only program in the Hunterdon-Warren-Sussex area that leads in an all-time series vs. the 'Liners, including a 31-27 victory in the last meeting on Dec. 30, 2009. P'burg, which is 260-52-3 against HWS teams in its 71-year history, won the six previous matchups from 1956-2008.

P'burg, which returns 10 starters, including state medalists Cody Harrison (eighth at 126) and Brian Meyer (third at 145), will square off against Ocean Township for the first time in its final dual meet of the regular season on Feb. 3, 2018. The 'Liners are 41-15 overall against Shore Conference schools.

The annual matches against Pennsylvania's District 11 are also on the docket -- Easton (Jan. 20) and Parkland (Jan. 25). The 'Liners have beaten Easton in three of the last four seasons, including a 40-27 victory on Jan. 21 -- the most points ever scored against the Red Rovers in the series. However, Easton still has a 63-17 overall lead since the storied rivalry began in 1947.

Here's the complete P'burg schedule:

Dec. 15-16 -- at King of the Mountain Tournament (Mill Hall, Pa.)
Dec. 20 -- TBD
Dec. 22 -- Delaware Valley
Dec. 23 -- Newton
Dec. 28-29 -- at Bethlehem (Pa.) Holiday Classic (Liberty High School)
Jan. 3 -- at Bound Brook
Jan. 4 -- Raritan
Jan. 6 -- Cranford
Jan. 10 -- at Hunterdon Central
Jan. 11 -- at Kittatinny
Jan. 13 -- Hunterdon-Warren-Sussex Tournament (at Phillipsburg)
Jan. 17 -- at Warren Hills
Jan. 18 -- at Hanover Park
Jan. 20 -- at Easton (Pa.)
Jan. 24 -- North Hunterdon
Jan. 25 -- Parkland (Pa.)
Jan. 27 -- Southern
Jan. 31 -- Voorhees
Feb. 1 -- TBD
Feb. 3 -- Ocean Township
Feb. 5 -- Sectional first round
Feb. 7 -- Sectional semifinals
Feb. 9 -- Sectional finals
Feb. 11 -- Group championships at Toms River North
Feb. 17 -- District 9 Tournament at Phillipsburg
Feb. 21, 23-24 -- Region 3 Tournament at West Orange
March 2-4 -- State Tournament at Atlantic City

Note: Bold indicates Skyland Conference Raritan Division matches.