Saturday, January 19, 2013

Wrestling: Derin back in the fold for High Point

High Point's wrestling team looks like it's about to get stronger with one key addition.

Sophomore Mike Derin, as expected, was back in the lineup, on Saturday morning when the Wildcats (10-3) competed in a triangular meet at Bergen Catholic that included Roxbury. Derin lost a 5-2 decision to Roxbury region qualifier Jake Legotte in the second bout of the opening match -- a 36-21 win for High Point.

High Point coach John Gardner confirmed on Friday night that Derin is indeed back with the team, but was not sure when the 132-pounder would get back on the mat. Derin was 3-2 this season before leaving the Sussex County program for undisclosed personal reasons in late December following a quad meet at Warren Hills.

Derin, one of the top wrestlers in the entire Hunterdon-Warren-Sussex area, went 32-6 as a freshman, capturing a district title and finishing third in Region 1. He went 2-2 in the state tournament, finishing one round shy of earning a medal at 120 pounds at Boardwalk Arena in Atlantic City.

High Point had won seven in a row -- before a 43-28 loss to Bergen Catholic on Saturday -- since back-to-back losses to Kittatinny (35-18 on Jan. 4) and Jackson Memorial (30-24 on Jan. 5). The 'Cats won a pair of Northwest Jersey Athletic Conference American Division matches this week -- 48-20 against Montville on Tuesday and 59-12 over Morris Hills on Thursday. The Wantage school has not lost a divisional match -- 25 straight wins -- since joining the NJAC for the 2009-10 season.

Prior to joining the NJAC, High Point won the final four Sussex County Interscholastic League titles before it folded after the 2008-09 campaign -- going 36-0 in league matches during those championship runs.

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