Sunday, January 13, 2013

Wrestling: Hunterdon-Warren-Sussex recap

What an unbelievable two days of wrestling at Hopatcong High School. The fourth annual Hunterdon-Warren-Sussex Tournament did not disappoint wrestling diehards.

The championship round featured some great action, including the 285-pound final between Warren Hills sophomore Andrew Pacheco and Phillipsburg senior Jarrett Williams. Pacheco won, 12-10, in the ultimate tiebreaker. Yes, you read that correctly.

Unfortunately, I was scrambling around for interviews and missed a lot of this one that will have people talking about it for years to come. Pacheco hit a big five-pointer in the first period and nearly had Williams flat for the pin. Credit Williams, who has been wrestling a short time, for getting off the mat and mounting one of the best comebacks in recent heavyweight tussles. He trailed, 7-1, at one point.

Before I run down some of my observations and favorite moments, I would ask every fan, coach or wrestler who enjoyed the weekend at Hopatcong to bombard your athletic directors, principals, coaches, etc., to keep this event at the Sussex County school. What a great job they did and what a pleasure it was to cover this event. I don't have to rehash how bad it's been at Hunterdon Central the previous two years it hosted -- super rush job on six mats -- no rhyme or reason and impossible to follow -- not to mention the disgrace of  finals on two mats.

If the HWS association is serious about making this a premier event, it will not make the mistake of going back to the Field House. If it does return there, I will not attend. That I can promise.

On with this weekend's notes and tidbits:

1. Voorhees senior Jadaen Bernstein -- no disrespect to anyone else -- was the best wrestler in the gym this weekend. The 170-pounder cruised to his third title as he became the first to win three HWS championships in the tourney's brief four-year history. He had my vote for OW.

Bernstein, who is heading to Naval Academy in Annapolis, is the only wrestler in school history to win three county titles dating to the old days of Hunterdon-Warren. Matt Brienza (1999-00) and Kyle Honickel (2004-05) are the only other Vikings with multiple titles. "He's such a great kid and a hard worker," said Vikings coach Eric Hall, a Hunterdon-Warren champion in 1995 at 152 pounds.

2. Quick trivia question, which team has crowned the most Hunterdon-Warren-Sussex champs? Phillipsburg? No. High Point? No. It's North Hunterdon with eight after Ryan Pomrinca (120) and Mike Ciavarro (152) struck gold on Saturday for the second-place Lions. Delaware Valley and Phillipsburg are next with seven apiece, followed by Hunterdon Central with five. Amazingly, Kittatinny still has only one county champ (Garrett Scrivani in 2011) as it went 0-for-3 in the finals.

3. You have to be happy for Newton senior Josh Sibblies, who captured the 182-pound title with a 1-0 win over Kittatinny's Jake Brook. Sibblies, whose father, Ted, was a state runner-up for Newton in 1989, lost most of the last two seasons with knee injuries. He won 12 matches as a junior before going down. He had quite the tournament with wins over two state qualifiers -- North Hunterdon placewinner Liam Korbul (5-3 in SV in the semis) and Brook. The Braves have had at least one finalist in all four HWS tourneys.

4. Reversing previous losses was the quite the trend this weekend. In addition to Sibblies avenging a loss to Korbul in the John Goles semifinals, Belvidere's J.B. Lawson turned the tables on Kittatinny's Garrett Armstrong with a 3-2 win in a rideout in their 220-pound final. Armstrong beat Lawson, 2-0, a few weeks ago at the Cougar Classic. At 170, Kittatinny's Kieran Gerrity earned a 3-1 win in sudden victory against Hunterdon Central's David Fenton in the semifinals. Fenton won their first meeting, 11-3, in the Caldwell Tournament finals.

5. Phillipsburg, to no one's surprise, rolled to its third team title in four years. The Stateliners placed all 14 wrestlers in the quarterfinals and sent six to the championship round. Freshman Brandon Paetzell (106) and junior Jake Kocsis (160) won their first titles, while Zach Fisher (113), Andrew Kaluzny (145), Jimmy Schuitema (152) and Jarrett Williams (285) finished second.

The fifth-seeded Kaluzny was involved in one of the most controversial bouts in the semifinals -- getting a takedown at the buzzer to beat Hackettstown's Tyler Kozimor, the No. 1 seed and a Region 1 champ last year. Kaluzny locked up a merkle near the edge for the winning points in a 5-3 win.

Here are the placement results:

Team standings: 1. Phillipsburg 269; 2. North Hunterdon 204.5; 3. Warren Hills 191; 4. High Point 186.5; 5. Voorhees 184; 6. Kittatinny 172.5; 7. Hunterdon Central 159; 8. Delaware Valley 153; 9. Belvidere 141.5; 10. Lenape Valley 139; 11. Hopatcong 86; 12. Sparta 84; 13. Hackettstown 73; 14. Newton 63; 15. Pope John 50; 16. (tie) North Warren and Vernon 47; 18. Wallkill Valley 39.

Placewinners by team (top six)

Phillipsburg 2+4+0+3+3+0=12Voorhees 1+0+1+4+2+1=9; North Hunterdon 2+2+0+1+1+3=9; High Point 1+1+2+0+2+1=7; Kittatinny 0+3+2+1+1+0=7; Lenape Valley 0+2+1+2+0+2=7; Warren Hills 3+0+1+0+1+2=7; Hunterdon Central 1+1+3+1+0+0=6; Belvidere 2+0+2+0+0+1=5; Delaware Valley 1+1+0+1+1+1=5; Hopatcong 0+0+0+0+2+2=4; Hackettstown 0+0+1+0+0+1=2; Newton 1+0+0+0+0+0=1; Sparta 0+0+1+0+0+0=1; Pope John 0+0+0+1+0+0=1; Vernon 0+0+0+0+1+0=1; North Warren 0+0+0+0+0+0=0; Wallkill Valley 0+0+0+0+0+0=0.


106 -- 5-Fr. Brandon Paetzell (15-5), Phillipsburg, md. 6-So. Paul Robinson (10-5), North Hunterdon, 13-5.
113 -- 1-So. Max Nauta (12-4), Warren Hills, md. 2-Sr. Zach Fisher (14-5), Phillipsburg, 16-2.
120 -- 1-So. Ryan Pomrinca (16-1), North Hunterdon, d. 3-Fr. Jared Kobis (20-1), High Point, 3-2 UTB.
126 -- 3-Sr. Joe Kratochvil (16-1), Warren Hills, d. 1-Jr. Dylan Nace (9-6), Hunterdon Central, 2-1 SV.
132 -- 1-Sr. Mike Pongracz (11-0), Delaware Valley, p. 2-So. Glenn Haines (9-5), Lenape Valley, :39.
138 -- 1-Jr. Gary Dinmore (13-0), Hunterdon Central, md. 2-Sr. Matt Benvenuto (10-2), Lenape Valley, 11-3.
145 -- 6-Sr. Jesse Thorsen (16-0), Belvidere, d. 5-Sr. Andrew Kaluzny (13-7), Phillipsburg, 3-1.
152 -- 1-Jr. Mike Ciavarro (16-2), North Hunterdon, won by forfeit over 2-So. Jimmy Schuitema (14-3), Phillipsburg.
160 -- 4-Jr. Jake Kocsis (13-5), Phillipsburg, d. 3-Jr. Kody Eichlin (10-2), Delaware Valley, 4-3.
170 -- 1-Sr. Jadaen Bernstein (20-0), Voorhees, d. 3-Jr. Kieran Gerrity (18-2), Kittatinny, 12-5.
182 -- 5-Sr. Josh Sibblies (16-2), Newton, d. 3-Sr. Jake Brook (17-3), Kittatinny, 1-0.
195 -- 2-Jr. Kyle Stoll (16-3), High Point, d. 1-Sr. Dan Pepe (10-5), North Hunterdon, 3-1.
220 -- 2-Sr. J.B. Lawson (13-3), Belvidere, d. 1-Jr. Garrett Armstrong (16-3), Kittatinny, 3-2 OT (rideout).
285 -- 7-So. Andrew Pacheco (15-4), Warren Hills, d. 4-Sr. Jarrett Williams (16-4), Phillipsburg, 12-10 UTB.

Third-place consolations

106 -- Dom Gallo, High Point, d. Austin Sisco, Pope John, 4-2.
113 -- Christian Silva, Kittatinny, d. Cody Ihling, Voorhees, 8-2.
120 -- Peter Lipari, Lenape Valley, d. Steve Friedman, Phillipsburg, 7-2.
126 -- Ian Burke, Sparta, forfeit over Corey Zinsmeister, Phillipsburg.
132 -- Collin Boylan, Hunterdon Central, d. Tyler Yarnell, Voorhees, 5-0.
138 -- Tom Murphy, Kittatinny, d. Max Elling, Phillipsburg, 4-2.
145 -- Tyler Kozimor, Hackettstown, d. Tim Higginson, Hunterdon Central, 11-5.
152 -- Evan Butka, Warren Hills, d. Dominic LaBell, Lenape Valley, 4-1.
160 -- Tyler Cote, Hunterdon Central, d. Joe LaBell, Lenape Valley, 3-2.
170 -- David Fenton, Hunterdon Central, d. Luke Zehnbauer, Delaware Valley, 5-2.
182 -- Evan Bray, Belvidere, d. Liam Korbul, North Hunterdon, 7-5.
195 -- Kyle Levy, Voorhees, d. Dylan Wunder, Kittatinny, 6-3.
220 -- Bobby McDonnell, High Point, d. Emilio Guevara, Voorhees, 5-1.
285 -- Ryan Appleby, Belvidere, p. Alex Fischetti, Voorhees, :31.

Fifth-place consolations

106 -- Kyle DiNapoli, Voorhees, d. Joe Aumann, Hopatcong, 8-1.
113 -- Derek Ciavarro, North Hunterdon, d. Joey Ioffredo, Hopactong, 8-3.
120 -- Joe Spaziani, Hopatcong, d. Joe Renne, Hackettstown, 5-3.
126 -- Austin Scrivani, Kittatinny, d. Matt Moncourtois, North Hunterdon, 8-7.
132 -- Anthony Johnson, Phillipsburg, d. Brian Smolinsky, North Hunterdon, 12-6.
138 -- Kevin Bundschuh, Warren Hills, d. Christian Okulicz, Voorhees, 6-4 SV.
145 -- Jason Gaccione, High Point, d. Holden Baker, Delaware Valley, 7-1.
152 -- Tommy Hooker, High Point, d. Kenny Kane, Belvidere, 5-4.
160 -- Ryan Ward, Vernon, d. Joe Guzzo, North Hunterdon, 9-2.
170 -- Broderick Bupivi, Phillipsburg, d. D.J. Barrett, Lenape Valley, 9-6.
182 -- Nick Ruggiero, Voorhees, md. Steve Cleaver, Warren Hills, 13-5.
195 -- Kyle Kinney, Phillipsburg, d. Ryan Witner, Warren Hills, 2-1 OT (rideout).
220 -- Brian Baehr, Delaware Valley, p. Dante James, Lenape Valley, 2:46.
285 -- Victor Burgos, Hopatcong, d. Gunny Wassong, High Point, 3-1.

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