Thursday, January 3, 2013

Wrestling: Random thoughts from Delbarton-P'burg

Have to say I was disappointed that Delbarton had to forfeit a pair of bouts in Wednesday's 37-30 loss to Phillipsburg at The Pit. The lack of depth in high school wrestling -- even with the top teams in the state -- is just a bad sign for wrestling.

More on that in the coming weeks as I pose the question: Is team wrestling all but dead except for the all-star outfits and a handful of homegrown schools?

Here we go with some thoughts and observations on the match:

1. Sophomore Corey Zinsmeister is a heck of an addition to the P'burg lineup. He really opened some eyes with an 8-0 major of Delbarton's Matt Davis, who placed at the Beast. Expect Zinsmeister to make some noise in March. He's that good.

2. The home Pit advantage that usually favors P'burg worked against the Stateliners a bit in this one. Some of the younger wrestlers were competing in their first big one at home and probably got a little overanxious during warmups, according to coach Dave Post's post-match assessment. Post knows something about what it takes to win at The Pit. As a star wrestler for P'burg, the two-time state placewinner never lost a match in his own gym in four years on the varsity level.

3. What is it with wrong weigh-in sheets? For the second time in just a few weeks -- this also happened at the Voorhees-Warren Hills match that was wrestled below the Mason Dixon Line opening weekend -- a Delbarton wrestler was written in at the bottom of the sheet. According to several coaches, a wrestler's name must be typed in on the sheet, not handwritten, to be eligible to wrestle. That wrestler was Travis Vasquez, a good-looking sophomore who posted a 4-0 win over P'burg state qualifier Max Elling at 138 pounds.

In addition, Nick Anderson's weight was incorrectly recorded on the sheet which had him at 133.5. With a one-pound allowance, he could not weigh more than 133 in order to wrestle at 132. P'burg coaches could have made a fuss when Anderson checked in at the scorer's table, but did not as they claimed he did in fact make weight to wrestle 132.

Remember that fiasco at Toms River a few years back when Brick Memorial used an ineligible wrestler against North Hunterdon in the Group 4 semis? Might be time to make the varsity official present at weigh-ins to make sure info is entered correctly.

4. Both Delbarton and Phillipsburg are going to be handfuls with their lineups intact. The Green Wave got district placewinner Josef Johnson back on Wednesday, while the Stateliners got a nice boost with the addition of sophomore Joe Maso at 182. P'burg is still missing Region 1 runner-up Anthony Johnson at 132, as he's expected back sometime early next week after sitting out due to disciplinary reasons.

5. An odd situation occurred during the 220-pound bout between Delbarton's James Grogan and P'burg sophomore Tim Hinkle. The score was tied at 5 after two periods, when in fact Grogan held a 7-5 lead. Green Wave coach Bryan Stoll approached the table to question referee Lou Riccardi about the score, which Stoll perceived -- and correctly -- to be wrong.

Riccardi gave back points to Grogan in the second period, which I missed, and apparently so did the scorekeepers for both teams, during a flurry of action. Riccardi even said he awarded them during the discussion with both coaches. Hinkle led, 2-1, after one period. In the second, Grogan started on bottom and rolled Hinkle for a reversal and two back points to go ahead, 5-2, before Hinkle escaped to make it 5-3. A takedown for Grogan made it 7-3 before a Hinkle reversal should have made it 7-5.

As it turned out, Grogan pinned and the bout score was moot. But it was odd that Riccardi said the score was 5-5.

Hey, it's New Jersey wrestling. We're bound to see even more bizarre things this season.


  1. Is it up to the opposing team to contest a weight, or eligible wrestler discrepancy (this case Pburg)?

    Or is it an officials call?

  2. Hard to say the atmosphere in the vaunted pit worked against Phillipsburg, when not one Delbarton wrestler has ever wrestled there. Delbarton started 3 freshmen (won one, lost 2), and 2 sophes (1 and 1)

  3. So not buying the assertion that the atmosphere helped Delbarton.

  4. Dave;

    I don't think it's hard at all to say the younger P'burg kids got overexcited during warmups. Half of this team was JV last year and this was the first big one at home.

    Conversely, I thought Delby's young guns handled themselves very well.

    Thanks for reading.