Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Wrestling: Hunterdon-Warren-Sussex rankings

Still recovering from wrestling overload this weekend at the fourth annual Hunterdon-Warren-Sussex Tournament. As a result, there were very few dual meets last week.

The biggest was Voorhees' thrilling 26-25 win on criteria over rival North Hunterdon on Thursday. The Lions seemed to have things going their way late until an upset loss at 106. Voorhees handed it back at 113, but the Vikings hung tough in the final few matches to pull it off. Senior Jadaen Bernstein's lone pin was the difference, as Voorhees won on most six-point victories.

I've said it before and I will continue to do so, we need one less weight class to make it an odd number and do away with this stupid criteria nonsense.

Phillipsburg, our No. 1 again this week, captured its third HWS team championship in four years. Not to be outdone was Warren Hills, which finished third and crowned the most individual champions with three. It was the second time in four years that the Blue Streaks had more HWS winners than the Stateliners, who were shut out in 2010 for the first time in county tournament history dating to the inaugural Hunterdon-Warren event in 1992.

Speaking of the early '90s, the last time Warren Hills beat P'burg was 1990 when the Streaks took down the 'Liners twice -- 32-31 at The Pit in the regular season and 34-30 at home in the North 2, Group 3 sectional final. Hard to believe it's been 23 years. P'burg would like to keep its series win streak intact on Thursday.

Get strapped in for a big week of wrestling on the local scene, starting with Warren Hills at Delaware Valley and Hunterdon Central at Phillipsburg on Wednesday. On Friday, North Hunterdon travels to Delaware Valley for a big Hunterdon County showdown, one night after hosting Central.

On with this week's rankings:

1. Phillipsburg (5-0) – Match with Somerville was postponed due to a water main break at the high school. Coach Dave Post's team finished first at the fourth annual Hunterdon-Warren-Sussex Tournament
(269-204.5) over second-place North Hunterdon and crowned two champions in Brandon Paetzell (106) and Jake Kocsis (160). Zach Fisher (113), Andrew Kaluzny (145), Jimmy Schuitema (152) and Jarrett Williams (285) finished second. Fisher recorded his 70th win in the semis. The much-anticipated return of senior Region 1 runner-up Anthony Johnson at 132 makes this lineup even stronger.

Up next: Hunterdon Central at home on Wednesday; Warren Hills at home on Thursday; Wantagh (N.Y.) at Easton Duals on Saturday.

2. Kittatinny (9-1) – Beat North Warren, 48-24, on Wednesday and finished sixth at Hunterdon-Warren-Sussex without two starters that likely would have placed. Coach John Gill's squad had three wrestlers in the finals, but zero champs. Kieran Gerrity (170), Jake Brook (182) and Garrett Armstrong (220) all finished second for the Cougars. Showdown with Jefferson on Tuesday should determine this year's NJAC Freedom Division champion.

Up next: at Jefferson on Tuesday; at Hackettstown on Thursday; Watchung Hills, North Bergen and Old Tappan at home on Saturday.

3. High Point (8-3) – Beat Vernon, 72-6, on Wednesday in an NJAC American Division matchup. Coach John Gardner's team finished fourth at the Hunterdon-Warren-Sussex Tournament with one champ and a runner-up and two thirds. Junior Kyle Stoll (195) was one of two champions for Sussex County. Freshman Jared Kobis was second at 120, while Dom Gallo (106) and Bobby McDonnell (220) finished third. 'Cats set for another big weekend on Saturday with Bergen Catholic and Roxbury.

Up next: Montville at home on Tuesday; at Morris Hills on Thursday; Roxbury at Bergen Catholic triangular on Saturday.

4. Warren Hills (9-2) – Beat Montgomery, 48-21, on Wednesday and finished third at the Hunterdon-Warren-Sussex Tournament with a tourney-high three champions. Max Nauta (113), Joe Kratochvil (126) and Andrew Pacheco (285) were the Warren County school's champions, joining 2010 winner Anthony Gaito as the only Blue Streaks to win county titles. In fact, Warren County led the way with seven champions, followed by Hunterdon (five) and Sussex (two).

Up next: at Delaware Valley on Wednesday; at Phillipsburg on Thursday; Hackettstown and West Morris at North Warren quad on Saturday.

5. Hunterdon Central (6-0) – Red Devils scored a big win over Delaware Valley before finishing seventh at the Hunterdon-Warren-Sussex. Junior Gary Dinmore (138) won his first county title in impressive fashion, while Dylan Nace (126) finished second. Collin Boylan (132), Tyler Cote (160) and David Fenton (170) placed third, while Tim Higginson (145) finished fourth.

Up next: at Phillipsburg on Wednesday; at North Hunterdon on Thursday; Delran and Glen Rock/Saddle Brook at Paramus quad on Saturday.

6. Voorhees (11-2) – Vikings are the criteria kings, losing to Hunterdon Central earlier in the season and beating North Hunterdon, 26-25. By the way, I’d like to see the 170-pounder that beats Bernstein in AC. Man he looks good. Finished fifth at the Hunterdon-Warren-Sussex Tournament with nine placers in the top six. Bernstein became the event's first three-time champion after winning titles at 160 the previous two seasons. Coach Eric Hall's squad had nine wrestlers in the top six at their respective classes.

Up next: Montgomery at home on Wednesday; Franklin, Ridge and St. Benedict's Prep at Easton Duals.

7. North Hunterdon (3-2) – Lost to Voorhees on criteria in its first action since Dec. 27. Finished second at the Hunterdon-Warren-Sussex Tournament with two champs and four finalists. Coach Tim Flynn's squad had nine wrestlers place in the top six, including champions Ryan Pomrinca (120) and Mike Ciavarro (152) and runners-up Paul Robinson (106) and Dan Pepe (195).

Up next: Hunterdon Central at home on Thursday; at Delaware Valley on Friday.

8. Delaware Valley (3-4) – Terriers fell, 34-27, to Hunterdon Central on Wednesday. Coach Andy Fitz's team won the flip and had the matchups it wanted, but it wasn't enough to hand the Red Devils their first loss. Finished eighth at the Hunterdon-Warren-Sussex Tournament, as senior Mike Pongracz (132) won his second straight title and Outstanding Wrestler Award. Kody Eichlin was second at 160. Big night on Friday as Del Val hosts North Hunterdon on the night it dedicates the gym in memory of the late Dan Hutchins.

Up next: Warren Hills at home on Wednesday; North Hunterdon at home on Friday; Manville, Somerville and Perth Amboy at home on Saturday.

9. Belvidere (5-2) – County Seaters defeated Pingry, 66-12, in a Skyland Conference Valley Division clash on Wednesday. Finished ninth at the Hunterdon-Warren-Sussex Tournament. Senior Jesse Thorsen won the 145-pound title, while senior J.B. Lawson finished first at 220. Senior Evan Bray finished third at a very tough 182-pound class.

Up next: at North Plainfield on Wednesday; at Iselin Kennedy on Saturday; Pius X (Pa.) at home on Monday, Jan. 21.

10. Lenape Valley (1-5) – Patriots won their first dual meet -- 50-21 against Newton on Wednesday -- and had a good showing at the Hunterdon-Warren-Sussex Tournament. Coach Doug Vetter's team finished 10th with seven placewinners in the top six, including runners-up Glenn Haines (132) and Matt Benvenuto (138). Peter Lipari (120), a champion last year, was third. Benvenuto went over the 90-win mark in the semifinals.

Up next: Hopatcong at home on Tuesday; Escape the Rock Tournament on Saturday and Sunday at Council Rock South (Pa.).

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