Sunday, March 31, 2013

Baseball: Sussex County preview capsules

High Point Wildcats

Coach: Mickey Thomas (239-117, 16th season, third stint).

2012 record: 10-11, 6-8 NJAC American Division (tied fourth).

Key returnees: Sr. Mike Ragnetti P-OF; Jr. Kyle Adams INF-P; Jr. Jon Stone P-INF; Preston Rowan INF-P; Brandon Carr INF; Matt Valente C.

Key losses: Brett Fundell P-INF; Ryan Conklin P-INF; Ryan Shulok OF; Luke Loughery Utility.

Promising newcomers: Tyler Bahr INF; Ken Christensen OF-P; Bayley Hickey INF; Matt Magura OF-P; Brandon Potucek OF; Trevor Risdon INF-P; Tyler Saczawa INF-P; Tyler Shulok INF-P.

Coach's comment: "We're looking pretty competitive in gymnasium baseball."

Outlook: Wildcats are looking to rebound from a sub-.500 season, but the losses of Fundell, Conklin and Shulok will be tough to overcome, as well as a potentially season-ending injury to Rowan. Ragnetti and Adams should be good atop the rotation, but the rest of the arms are young and inexperienced. A lot of the offense from a year ago is gone, so the 'Cats will have to swing the bats in order to approach last year's win total.

Hopatcong Chiefs

Coach: Chris Buglovsky (66-75, seventh season).

2012 record: 14-8, 8-2 NJAC Freedom Division (first).

Key returnees: Sr. Ryan Frace (.288, 20 runs) 3B-P; Sr. Adam McLagan (.404, 13 SBs) OF; Sr. Rick Prestifilippo C; Jr. Pat McNamara 3B; Jr. Pat Stanton P.

Key losses: Scootie Fischer SS-P; Ray Annett 1B; Hunter Guard 3B-P; Frank Fendrock C; Matt Cautero P; Dillon DelRosso P; Ben Colabella 2B; Dave Testa OF; John Loscalzo P.

Promising newcomers: Jr. Kevin Mulharin OF; So. Shea Bongiovanni SS; Fr. C.J. Robertson 2B; Fr. P.J. Rodick OF; Fr. Christian Ammiano 1B; Fr. Brandon Vanderhoof 1B; Fr. Brennan Dickens P; Fr. Vince Giordano OF.

Coach's comment: "Frace, McLagan, and Prestifilippo are guiding up to six freshman on the varsity squad, so the future looks set for the years to come."

OutlookAfter winning their first division championship in 14 years, the Chiefs graduated another talented group so this figures to be a bit of a rebuilding year. Frace will likely be the staff ace. This year's version is young and will need some time to jell, but the program is well coached and this could be a team to watch by season's end.

Kittatinny Cougars

Coach: Brian Bosworth (11-10-1, second season).

2012 record: 11-10-1, 6-3 NJAC Freedom Division (third).

Key returnees: Jr. David Moyer (3-4, 2.16 ERA) SS-P; Sr. Kyle Potten (.350, 2-3, 3.00 ERA) SS-P; Jr. Joe Repasy (2-2, 2.69 ERA) INF-P; Sr. Matt Moszczynski OF; Sr. Casey McArdle (2-0, 2.25 ERA) OF-P.

Key loss: Greg Orlando C; Dan Chernati 2B; Brendan Ullmann 1B; Dustin Sallitt 3B; Jordan Murch OF-P; Cory Zervas OF-P; Brian Frawley OF; David Coombs INF.

Promising newcomers: Sr. Nick Pastor Poe INF; Sr. Dan Rosica 1B; Jr. Mike Dispoto INF-OF; Jr. Adam Goriscak OF; Jr. Dan Imperiale OF; Jr. John LaFiura C; Jr. Brian Reznik OF-P; Jr. Scott Sponder C; So. Cowan Sikora INF.

Coach's comment: "We graduated nine seniors from last year’s team, so our younger guys will have to elevate their games very quickly. There are some underclassmen who are excited for their opportunity to contribute at the varsity level. We do have the luxury of returning most of our pitchers. They pitched well last year and will be asked to shoulder a bigger load this season."

Outlook: Cougars finished over the .500 mark -- a step in the right direction -- and finished third in the division in Bosworth's first season in charge. Pitching is scarce in the area, so with four pretty good arms, this team should be competitive in most of its games this season. If the offense can contribute, the Cougars could be one of the teams to beat in the division race.

Lenape Valley Patriots

Coach: Bob Klinck (60-64, sixth season).

2012 record: 12-12, 4-6 NJAC Freedom Division (fourth).

Key returnees: Sr. Drew Burke P; Sr. Ken Costa P; Sr. Bryan Falato OF; Sr. John Leyden P-1B; So. Jim Fluke SS-P; Sr. David Kain OF; Sr. Greg Walker C; Sr. Mike Deerfield P.

Key losses: Bob Pregno C; Carmen D'Aiuto OF; Zack Samiljan INF; Kyler Houser 1B; A.J. Nolan 3B-P; Will Portington OF-P.

Promising newcomers: Sr. Anthony Basciano P-1B; Jr. David DelSontro C; Jr. Tyler Rogers INF-OF; Jr. Dan Rafferty INF; Jr. Nick Sabatini OF; So. Pat Togno P-OF; So. Rob Sparacino C; So. Nick Leonard OF; So. Cole Swanson P-1B.

Coach's comment: "We return some very good pitching that should determine our success this year.  We have great competition at all positions, which will hopefully make us stronger. We expect to be competitive every game and have a successful season." 

Outlook: Patriots reached the sectional semifinals a year ago and return their No. 1 pitcher in Burke, who was 6-1 with a 2.07 ERA as a junior. Costa is the No. 2, so the pitching staff is in good shape. The question is offense, as Pregno and D'Aiuto were major losses from the lineup. Expect this team to make a run at the division title and compete in the sectional playoffs.

Newton Braves

Coach: John Selitto (48-111, eighth season).

2012 record: 6-17, 2-8 NJAC Freedom Division (sixth).

Key returnees: Sr. Anthony Morro (.362, 20 RBIs) P-1B; Sr. Chris Branham (3.41 ERA, 41 K's) P-3B; Sr. Ryan Vasquez OF; So. Nick Grant (3.50 ERA, 28 K's) P-OF-1B; Sr. Joey Selitto 2B; Jr. Ben Cramer OF; Sr. Brady Castle OF-SS-P; Jr. Casey Thomas SS-OF-P; Jr. Joey Maker 3B-C; Jr. Charlie Grotyohann C.

Key losses: Sammy Hontz OF-1B-P; Jim Papis C.

Promising newcomers: Jr. Luke Leifken P-1B; Jr. Justin Smith OF; Jr. Steve Kelly P-3B-1B; Jr. Anthony Brown SS-2B; So. Jon Bernotas INF; Jr. Ryan Hattersley 2B-P; Sr. Quinn Kramer P-OF.

Coach's comment: "This is a team that should compete at the top of the conference. Pitching and defense will be the strength of the team with good senior leadership. [We] have experienced the growing pains over the last two years and they're eager to prove themselves as a legitimate contender for the conference title. We have the ability, attitude and desire to be very good."

Outlook: Braves, who went 9-34 overall the last two seasons, are coming off four straight losing campaigns, but optimism for a banner season remains high. The loss of Hontz, a four-year starter, hurts, but Selitto believes this should be a turn-around campaign for a tradition-rich program. Morro, Branham and Grant are a formidable group on the mound and also should help the Braves with their bats. This club is anxious to register a few overdue winning moments on its timeless home field at Memory Park.

Pope John Lions

Coach: Vin Bello (215-134-1, 14th season).

2012 record: 16-9, 12-2 NJAC American Division (second).

Key returnees: Jr. Dan Cunico P-3B; So. Jay Sanford SS; So. Ethan Collins P; So. Matt Piwko P; Sr. Ken Mott P; Sr. Anthony Gignatelli P; Sr. Rob Sanders 1B; So. Zack Leach C; Jr. Connor Kopnik INF; Jr. Mike Young OF; Jr. Axel D'Addario P-2B.

Key losses: Matt Tietz SS; Matt McNally OF; Glen Gavan 3B; Sam Redwood OF; Jack Meehan P; Colin McGivney P; Jay Newman INF.

Promising newcomers: Sr. Steve Tummenello 2B; Sr. John Fierro OF; So. Austin Bailey OF; So. Cyrus Ahmadi; Sr. Graham Jensen OF; So. Jack Nelson 3B.

Coach's comment: "We are playing a very tough [non-conference] schedule."

Outlook: The loss of Tietz, a slick-fielding shortstop and the top player in Sussex County last year, is a big blow to the offense, which is a big question mark heading into this season. If this team hits, the Lions will be tough to beat once again, as they feature several of the area's best arms in Cunico, Collins and Piwko. The hard-throwing D'Addario was a big bonus in the bullpen last spring. Young, the leadoff man, Sanders, Leach and Sanford are the only starting position players returning for the Lions.

Sparta Spartans

Coach: Sam Slobodzian (251-162-2, 17th season).

2012 record: 12-12, 6-8 NJAC American Division (tied fourth).

Key returnees: Jr. Thomas Ruddy (.443, 23 SBs) OF; Sr. Peter Forman C; Sr. Sean Dilger (.363, 22 RBIs) 1B-P; Jr. Austin Unglaub 2B; Jr. Kevin Foulds (3-3, 3.15 ERA) 3B-P; Jr. T.J. Estanislau 3B; Jr. Matt Chemis OF; Sr. Grant Hagedorn OF; Sr. Codie Aromando OF-P; Sr. Jon-Karl Widuch OF.

Key losses: Devon Livingston C-P; Jason Postorino 3B-P; Sr. Derek Tappen 1B-P.

Promising newcomers: So. Dillon Mendel 3B-P; Jr. Michael Meisel C-DH; Jr. Nick Shlala OF-P; Jr. Matt Pampin P; So. Connor VanKampen P; Jr. Drew Garger P.

Coach's comment: "We are extremely excited about this season. We return seven out of our nine starting positions. This includes three-year starter Thomas Ruddy, an All-NJAC center fielder and last year’s team MVP, and Kean University-bound Sean Dilger. Six out of the seven returning starters hit better than .300 and we look to improve on those numbers this year. I really like this group this year."

Outlook: Based on what they have returning, the Spartans are clearly the team to beat in Sussex County. Slobodzian, who doesn't over rate his teams, is excited about the season and with good reason. Ruddy, Forman and Dilger are an extremely talented trio, while Foulds is the team's ace on the mound. If the rest of the staff provides consistent pitching, the Spartans could make a deep run in the postseason.

Sussex Tech Mustangs

Coach: Brad Szatkiewicz (first season).

2012 record: 10-8 Independent.

Key returnees: Sr. Jimmy Crumb 1B-P; Sr. Chris Manzi C-P; Sr. Chris McNulty 2B-P.

Key losses: Dempsey Walters P-1B; Mike Hough OF-SS-C.

Promising newcomers: So. Paul Caron SS-P; So. Austen Campbell 3B-P.

Coach's comment: "I'm excited and so are my players. We have a mix of good leaders, strong newcomers and important role players. Along with staying healthy, this could help lead to being a very competitive team."

Outlook: Szatkiewicz, a former standout player for High Point who played college ball at Ramapo, takes over the coaching reins from Howard Drake, who spent the last six seasons at the helm. The Mustangs lost their best player in Dempsey Walters, who was the team's best hitter and pitcher. After going 10-8 last year and 10-9 in 2011, it's not a stretch to see the 'Stangs reach double digits in wins if the pitchers perform.

Vernon Vikings

Coach: Scott Berge (28-57, fifth season).

2012 record: 5-16, 2-11 NJAC American Division (eighth).

Key returnees: Sr. John Lipari 1B; Sr. Kevin Berge C-P; Sr. Ryan Duvall 2B-P; Sr. Kevin Ufferfilge OF-P; Sr. Michael Franklin 2B-P; Jr. Anthony Germinaro P-INF; Jr. Mike Harboy INF-P; Sr. Tyler Kart 3B; Jr. Chris Pontus OF-INF.

Key losses: Steve Fitzsimmons OF; Brian Vinniski 3B-C; Evan Schilling OF-P; Joe LoPicolo OF; Alex Hoffmann 1B-P; Mike Annunziata DH-C.

Promising newcomers: So. Riley Keenan Utility; Sr. Max Schriner OF; Sr. Sam Vitellaro OF-P.

Coach's comment: "[We have a] good nucleus of the team back and we're looking on improving from last years record."

Outlook: Vikings went 5-17 in 2010 and approached the .500 mark in 2011 at 7-11, before finishing 5-16 last season. Lipari is one of the top players in the county and will look to carry the offense again this spring. Of course, like most teams in the area, pitching is a big question mark. If the arms can keep the club in games, a finish around the .500 mark is not out of the question.

Wallkill Valley Rangers

Coach: Kevin Lukich (47-57, fifth season).

2012 record: 14-11, 7-3 NJAC Freedom Division (second).

Key returneesSr. Joe Hocking 3B-P; Jr. Brandon Grabkowski OF-P; Sr. Brian Niedergall 2B; Sr. Casey Jervis (3-3, 1.71 ERA, 30 K) P-SS; Sr. Rob Stecher P-1B; Sr. Alex Reiman C.

Key losses: Brendan Drexler C; Tommy Sweller 2B-P; Owen Law OF-P; Brandon Moore OF-P; Mike Penque 3B-2B; Eric Blain 1B; A.J. Castelucci OF-P

Promising newcomers: Jr. Nick McWilliams C; Jr. Brett Hill 1B-P; So. Kyle Rosencranz SS; So. Michael Armstrong OF; Fr. Richard Stecher OF; Fr. Wes Walton OF-P; Sr. Jim Lodema OF; Sr. Josh Todd OF.

Coach's comment: "After losing seven starters from last year, we will rely heavily on our returning pitchers.  With seven underclassmen, the development of the pitchers and team defense will determine our success."

Outlook: The Rangers doubled their win total and reversed their division record a year ago from the previous season. The program went 7-17 in 2011 and is now four years removed from a run to the North 1, Group 1 semifinals in '09. Last year figured to be a bounce-back season in Hardyston and it was. Lukich says this year's version is talented but young. He's regarded as one of the top coaches in the tri-county area, so look for this team to make some noise in what should be a wide-open division race with the additions of Jefferson and North Warren in the NJAC Freedom.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Wrestling: Bernstein, Pongracz win in Lions Classic

State medal winners Jadaen Bernstein of Voorhees and Mike Pongracz of Delaware Valley earned victories for New Jersey in the 33rd annual Easton Lions Club All-Star Classic on Monday at Easton Area High School's 25th Street Gym.

Pennsylvania won nine of 14 bouts en route to a 32-15 win, and now leads the all-time series, 20-13, dating to 1981. New Jersey won last year's event, 28-15, and had won three straight and four of the previous five classics.

Wilson's Jaryd Flank was named the Outstanding Wrestler by virtue of his 12-10 win over Phillipsburg's Zach Fisher.

Pongracz, a three-time state placewinner and the Terriers' all-time wins leader, earned a 1-0 decision over Parkland's Ian Evans, a district finalist, at 132.

Bernstein, a two-time state finalist, followed with a 3-0 win over Blue Mountain's Mitch Myers at 170.

Other winners for New Jersey included Belvidere's J.B. Lawson (220) and Ryan Appleby (285). The Warren County school had four representatives on the mat, as Evan Bray (182) and Jesse Thorsen (152) dropped one-point decisions. Hunterdon Central's David Fenton (160) was the other winner for the Garden Staters.

Pennsylvania also won the youth match, 39-20, that preceded the high school event.

138 -- Ryan Todora (Bethlehem Catholic), Pa., d. Nick Matthews (West Morris), 1-0.
120 -- Darian Cruz (Bethlehem Catholic), Pa.,  p. Corey Fleming (West Morris), 3:23.
145 -- Blake Bowman (Tri-Valley), Pa. md. Tim Higginson (Hunterdon Central), 10-2.
182 -- Tyler Greene (Easton), Pa.  d. Evan Bray (Belvidere), 4-3.
220 -- J.B. Lawson (Belvidere), NJ, d. Evan Kauffman (Freedom), 5-2.
132 -- Mike Pongracz (Delaware Valley), NJ, d. Ian Evans (Parkland), 1-0.
170 -- Jadaen Bernstein (Voorhees), NJ, d. Mitch Myers (Blue Mountain), 3-0.
113 -- Jaryd Flank (Wilson), Pa. d. Zach Fisher (Phillipsburg), 12-10.
285 -- Ryan Appleby (Belvidere), NJ,  d. Shaun Heist (Parkland), 6-4.
126 -- Grimaldi Gonzalez (Liberty), Pa. md. Joe Kratochvil (Warren Hills), 9-1.
195 -- Josh Alpha (Bethlehem Catholic), Pa. d. Liam Korbul (North Hunterdon), 3-2 UTB.
210 -- Ray O'Donnell (Saucon Valley), Pa. d. Anthony Messner (Franklin), 2-0.
160 -- David Fenton (Hunterdon Central), NJ, d. Evan DiSora (Easton), 4-3.
152 -- Ty Herzog (Northern Lehigh), Pa. d. Jesse Thorsen (Belvidere), 3-2.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Baseball: Hunterdon-Warren-Sussex weekly schedule

Note: Games are 3:45 and 4 p.m. weekdays, Saturday time vary, so check your team's official schedules for times.

Monday, April 1 


Delaware Valley at Hopatcong
Vernon at Jefferson
Morris Tech at Sussex Tech
Roxbury at Pope John
Warren Hills at Pius X (Pa.)

Skyland Conference

Belvidere at Bound Brook
Manville at South Hunterdon


Ridge at Phillipsburg

Tuesday, April 2

Northwest Jersey Athletic Conference

Newton at Wallkill Valley
Lenape Valley at Kittatinny
Hackettstown at Hopatcong
North Warren at Jefferson
Pope John at High Point
Vernon at Morris Knolls
Sparta at Mount Olive

Skyland Conference

Voorhees at Delaware Valley
Montgomery at Phillipsburg
Watchung Hills at Hunterdon Central
North Hunterdon at Bridgewater-Raritan
Warren Hills at Somerville

Wednesday, April 3


Newark Tech at Sussex Tech
Phillipsburg at Wilson (Pa.)

Skyland Conference

Belvidere at Gill St. Bernard’s
South Hunterdon at Bernards

Thursday, April 4

Skyland Conference

Warren Hills at Voorhees
North Hunterdon at Hunterdon Central
Hillsborough at Phillipsburg
Ridge at Delaware Valley

Northwest Jersey Athletic Conference

Wallkill Valley at Kittatinny
Newton at Hackettstown
North Warren at Lenape Valley
Jefferson at Hopatcong
Sparta at Vernon
Pope John at Morris Hills
High Point at Morris Knolls


Notre Dame at Sussex Tech

Friday, April 5

Skyland Conference

North Plainfield at South Hunterdon


Warren Hills at Montgomery
Newton at Dover
Lenape Valley at Boonton
Hanover Park at North Warren
Moravian Academy at Belvidere
Mountain Lakes at Hackettstown
Hopatcong at West Morris

Saturday, April 6


Voorhees at Phillipsburg
Chatham at Sparta
Pope John at Demarest
Morris Hills at Kittatinny
Nottingham at Hunterdon Central
Bernards at Delaware Valley
North Hunterdon at Steinert

Sunday, April 7


Pope John vs. Middlesex at Diamond Nation
Delaware Valley vs. Delran at Trenton's Riverfront Stadium

Monday, April 8

Northwest Jersey Athletic Conference

Hopatcong at Wallkill Valley
Lenape Valley at Newton
Kittatinny at North Warren
Hackettstown at Jefferson
Vernon at High Point
Morris Hills at Sparta
Montville at Pope John

Skyland Conference

Belvidere at Manville


Hun at Hunterdon Central
Hillsborough at Warren Hills
New Hope Solebury (Pa.) at South Hunterdon

Tuesday, April 9

Skyland Conference

Voorhees at Somerville
Phillipsburg at Watchung Hills
Hunterdon Central at Immaculata
Delaware Valley at Franklin
North Hunterdon at Montgomery
Ridge at Warren Hills


Somerset Tech at Sussex Tech
Parsippany at Hopatcong

Wednesday, April 10

Northwest Jersey Athletic Conference

Wallkill Valley at Hackettstown
North Warren at Newton
Hopatcong at Lenape Valley
Kittatinny at Jefferson
Mount Olive at Vernon
Pope John at Sparta
Montville at High Point

Skyland Conference

Bernards at Belvidere
South Hunterdon at Pingry

Thursday, April 11

Skyland Conference

Delaware Valley at Warren Hills
Franklin at Voorhees
Phillipsburg at Immaculata
Hunterdon Central at Montgomery
North Hunterdon at Hillsborough

Northwest Jersey Athletic Conference

Jefferson at Newton


Butler at Hopatcong
Boonton at Sussex Tech

Friday, April 12

Northwest Jersey Athletic Conference

Lenape Valley at Wallkill Valley
Kittatinny at Hopatcong
Hackettstown at North Warren
Vernon at Pope John
High Point at Sparta

Skyland Conference

Belvidere at South Hunterdon


Pius X (Pa.) at Phillipsburg
Ridge at North Hunterdon

Saturday, April 13


Wallkill Valley at New Egypt (DH)
Newton at Vernon
Verona at Sussex Tech
Sparta at Goshen (N.Y.)
Pope John at Bergen Catholic
Lenape Valley at Delaware Valley
Kittatinny at Parsippany
Stroudsburg (Pa.) at Phillipsburg
Randolph at Hunterdon Central
North Hunterdon at Edison
Whippany Park at North Warren

Monday, April 15

Skyland Conference

South Hunterdon at Bound Brook


North Hunterdon at Warren Hills
Wallkill Valley at High Point
Warren Tech at Sussex Tech
Kinnelon at Sparta
Morristown-Beard at Lenape Valley
North Warren at Blair
Hackettstown at Belvidere
Mount Olive at Hopatcong

Tuesday, April 16

Northwest Jersey Athletic Conference

North Warren at Hopatcong
Wallkill Valley at Jefferson
Newton at Kittatinny
Hackettstown at Lenape Valley
Vernon at Morris Hills
Sparta at Montville
Pope John at Morris Knolls
High Point at Mount Olive

Skyland Conference

Ridge at Voorhees
Hunterdon Central at Phillipsburg
Somerville at Delaware Valley
Watchung Hills at North Hunterdon
Warren Hills at Franklin

Wednesday, April 17

Skyland Conference

Pingry at Belvidere
Gill St. Bernard’s at South Hunterdon

Thursday, April 18

Northwest Jersey Athletic Conference

Wallkill Valley at North Warren
Montville at Vernon
Morris Knolls at Sparta
Mount Olive at Pope John
Hopatcong at Newton
Jefferson at Lenape Valley
Kittatinny at Hackettstown
High Point at Morris Hills

Skyland Conference

Delaware Valley at Voorhees
Bridgewater-Raritan at Phillipsburg
Hunterdon Central at Hillsborough
North Hunterdon at Immaculata
Somerville at Warren Hills


Sussex Tech at Glen Ridge

Friday, April 19

Skyland Conference

North Plainfield at Belvidere


Vernon at Hopatcong
Sussex Tech at Lenape Valley
Sparta at Newton
Kittatinny at Boonton
Morris Catholic at Hackettstown

Saturday, April 20


Pequannock at Wallkill Valley
Sussex Tech at Belvidere
Warwick (N.Y.) at Sparta
Pope John and Warren Hills at Millburn Tournament
Whippany Park at Newton
Montgomery at Voorhees
Phillipsburg at Easton (Pa.)
East Brunswick, Rancocas Valley, Robbinsville at Hunterdon Central Tournament
South Hunterdon at Delaware Valley

Monday, April 22

Northwest Jersey Athletic Conference

High Point at Pope John
Wallkill Valley at Newton
Hopatcong at Hackettstown
Kittatinny at Lenape Valley
Jefferson at North Warren
Morris Knolls at Vernon
Mount Olive at Sparta

Skyland Conference

Bound Brook at Belvidere
South Hunterdon at Manville


Warren Hills at Phillipsburg
Rutgers Prep at Hunterdon Central
North Hunterdon at Manalapan

Tuesday, April 23

Skyland Conference

Voorhees at Warren Hills
Phillipsburg at North Hunterdon
Hunterdon Central at Bridgewater-Raritan
Delaware Valley at Ridge


Bloomfield Tech at Sussex Tech
Sparta at Jefferson

Wednesday, April 24

Hunterdon-Warren-Sussex preliminaries


Skyland Conference

Gill St. Bernard’s at Belvidere
Bernards at South Hunterdon

Thursday, April 25

Northwest Jersey Athletic Conference

Kittatinny at Wallkill Valley
Hackettstown at Newton
Lenape Valley at North Warren
Hopatcong at Jefferson
Vernon at Sparta
Morris Hills at Pope John
Morris Knolls at High Point

Skyland Conference

Somerville at Voorhees
Phillipsburg at Montgomery
Hunterdon Central at Watchung Hills
Franklin at Delaware Valley
Bridgewater-Raritan at North Hunterdon
Warren Hills at Ridge


Dover at Sussex Tech

Friday, April 26

Skyland Conference

South Hunterdon at North Plainfield


Hopatcong at Phillipsburg
Hunterdon Central at Edison
Belvidere at Somerset Tech
Columbia at Sparta
West Orange at Newton

Saturday, April 27

Hunterdon-Warren-Sussex first round


Monday, April 29


North Warren at Warren Hills
Wallkill Valley at Morris Hills
Manville at Sussex Tech
Peddie at Hunterdon Central
Belvidere at Moravian Academy
Mount Olive at Hackettstown

Tuesday, April 30

Northwest Jersey Athletic Conference

Wallkill Valley at Hopatcong
Newton at Lenape Valley
North Warren at Kittatinny
Jefferson at Hackettstown
High Point at Vernon
Sparta at Morris Hills
Pope John at Montville

Skyland Conference

Voorhees at Franklin
Phillipsburg at Hillsborough
Hunterdon Central at North Hunterdon
Warren Hills at Delaware Valley
Manville at Belvidere


Sussex Tech at Somerset Tech
Pennington at South Hunterdon

Wednesday, May 1


Hackettstown at Warren Hills
Kittatinny at High Point
Sparta at Morris Catholic
Delbarton at Pope John
Randolph at North Hunterdon

Thursday, May 2

Skyland Conference

Voorhees at Ridge
Watchung Hills at Phillipsburg
Immaculata at Hunterdon Central
Delaware Valley at Somerville
Montgomery at North Hunterdon
Belvidere at Bernards
Franklin at Warren Hills
Pingry at South Hunterdon


West Milford at Vernon
Lenape Valley at North Plainfield

Friday, May 3


Phillipsburg at North Warren
Sussex Tech at Perth Amboy Tech
Newton at Blair
Kittatinny at Parsippany Hills
Lenape Valley at Dover
Mount Olive at Voorhees

Saturday, May 4

Hunterdon-Warren-Sussex quarterfinals



Belvidere at Lenape Valley

Monday, May 6

Northwest Jersey Athletic Conference

Hackettstown at Wallkill Valley
Newton at North Warren
Lenape Valley at Hopatcong
Jefferson at Kittatinny
Sparta at Pope John
Vernon at Mount Olive
High Point at Montville


Hunterdon Central at Voorhees
Delaware Valley at Blair
South Plainfield at North Hunterdon
Belvidere at Notre Dame-ES (Pa.)
Watchung Hills at Warren Hills
Sussex Tech at Newark Tech

Tuesday, May 7


Newton at High Point
Morris Catholic at Hopatcong
Bloomfield Tech at Sussex Tech

Skyland Conference

Immaculata at Phillipsburg
Montgomery at Hunterdon Central
Hillsborough at North Hunterdon
South Hunterdon at Belvidere

Wednesday, May 8

Northwest Jersey Athletic Conference

Newton at Jefferson
Wallkill Valley at Lenape Valley
Hopatcong at Kittatinny
North Warren at Hackettstown
Sparta at High Point
Pope John at Vernon

Thursday, May 9


Delaware Valley at Lenape Valley
Kittatinny at Morris Catholic
Voorhees at West Morris
Parsippany at Belvidere
Sussex Tech at Warren Tech

Skyland Conference

Phillipsburg at Hunterdon Central
North Hunterdon at Watchung Hills
Bound Brook at South Hunterdon

Friday, May 10 
(state playoff cutoff)


Belvidere at Warren Hills
Phillipsburg at Delaware Valley at Riegel Ridge Park
Notre Dame-ES (Pa.) at North Warren
Hopatcong at Whippany Park
Mendham at Sparta
Vernon at Snyder

Saturday, May 11

Hunterdon-Warren-Sussex semifinals



Vernon at Kittatinny
Pius X (Pa.) at North Warren
Hackettstown at Butler

Monday, May 13

Northwest Jersey Athletic Conference

Jefferson at Wallkill Valley
Hopatcong at North Warren
Kittatinny at Newton
Lenape Valley at Hackettstown
Morris Hills at Vernon
Montville at Sparta
Morris Knolls at Pope John
Mount Olive at High Point

Skyland Conference

South Hunterdon at Gill St. Bernard’s


Hunterdon Central at Warren Hills
Delaware Valley at North Plainfield

Tuesday, May 14

Skyland Conference

Phillipsburg at Bridgewater-Raritan
Hillsborough at Hunterdon Central
Immaculata at North Hunterdon
Belvidere at Pingry


Boonton at Newton
Sussex Tech at East Brunswick Tech
Pius X (Pa.) at Delaware Valley

Wednesday, May 15

Northwest Jersey Athletic Conference

Newton at Hopatcong
North Warren at Wallkill Valley
Lenape Valley at Jefferson
Hackettstown at Kittatinny
Vernon at Montville
Sparta at Morris Knolls
Pope John at Mount Olive
Morris Hills at High Point


Sussex Tech at Dover

Thursday, May 16


Voorhees at North Warren
Wallkill Valley at Mountain Lakes
Pope John at Wayne Hills
Kittatinny at Dover

Skyland Conference

North Hunterdon at Phillipsburg
Bridgewater-Raritan at Hunterdon Central
Belvidere at North Plainfield

Friday, May 17


Belvidere at Delaware Valley
Lenape Valley at Sparta
Newton at Kinnelon
Vernon at Newark Tech
Randolph at Pope John
North Hunterdon at West Morris
Whippany Park at Hopatcong

Saturday, May 18

Hunterdon-Warren-Sussex final

TBA, at Diamond Nation


Sussex Tech at Notre Dame

Monday, May 20

NJSIAA playoffs 

TBA, sectional first round


Don Bosco at Pope John

Tuesday, May 21


Mount Olive at Lenape Valley
Kittatinny vs. Wayne Valley at William Paterson University

Thursday, May 23


Piscataway Tech at Sussex Tech

Friday, May 24

NJSIAA playoffs

TBA, Public sectional second round
TBA, Non-Public sectional first round

Tuesday, May 28

NJSIAA playoffs

TBA, Public sectional third round
TBA, Non-Public sectional second round

Friday, May 31

NJSIAA playoffs

TBA, Public sectional finals
TBA, Non-Public sectional semifinals

Tuesday, June 4

NJSIAA playoffs

TBA, Pubic state semifinals
TBA, Non-Public sectional finals

Saturday, June 8

NJSIAA playoffs

TBA, Public and Non-public state championships at Toms River

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Wrestling: High Point adds Cheesehead, P'burg in '14

High Point's wrestling team is beefing up an already tough schedule by adding a trip to the prestigious Cheesehead Tournament for the 2013-14 season.

Wildcats coach John Gardner confirmed on Sunday that tournament officials accepted his team's bid to participate in the 16th annual event -- an individual tournament -- for the first time in program history. Gardner also said that an official contract has yet to be received and signed off on.

The 2014 tourney will be held on Friday, Jan. 3 and Saturday, Jan. 4 at Kaukauna High School in Wisconsin.

"I think it will be a great thing. Our kids still talk about attending the Clash [in 2009]," said Gardner, who opted for the Cheesehead over the Clash for next season.

According to the Cheesehead web site, 12 teams from Wisconsin and seven from Illinois, including nationally-ranked Montini Catholic, were among last year's field. National Minnesota powers, Apple Valley, winner of a record five Cheesehead team titles, and Simley, also attended in 2013.

The 2013 Cheesehead championship finals aired on FOX Sports North.

High Point will not be attending the much-publicized Newark Academy Invitational next season in light of its commitment to the Cheesehead. The 'Cats will compete in three other tournaments -- Colt Classic, Mustang Classic at Brick Memorial and the Hunterdon-Warren-Sussex -- and it will force them to go light on the dual meets with the 30-match limit.

P'burg heading to Wantage

Gardner also confirmed that High Point will host Phillipsburg in a dual meet on Saturday, Jan. 18 in Sussex County. This one will be an evening match, so the place should be packed. The two New Jersey powers have not wrestled since High Point's 30-22 victory at The Pit on Jan. 31, 2009.

Phillipsburg leads the series, 15-1, including six postseason meetings in the Group 3 semifinals and finals. The Stateliners' last win was 45-22 in the Group 3 semis on Feb. 22, 2003. The series began in 1989 and was continuous through '99. The schools have met just twice since, including that one regular season clash in '09. P'burg is 5-0 in High Point's home gym, including a 49-12 win in its last match there on Jan. 2, 1999.

Mugs Media Awards

The annual Mugs Media/Eastern Propane Winter Sports Banquet for Sussex County schools (Jefferson and North Warren also eligible) was held on Saturday at the Blue Ribbon Inn on Culver Lake.

The following took home awards in wrestling:

Team of the Year -- High Point.

The Wildcats finished 20-4 and ranked No. 11 in the New Jersey Wrestling Writers Association Top 20. Coach John Gardner's team captured the North 1, Group 2 sectional title and the Group 2 state title -- the program's third championship and first in Group 2 after winning Group 3 titles in 2008 and '11. The 'Cats also won their fourth straight NJAC division title and are 27-0 in those matches since joining the conference in 2009-10. High Point crowned five district and three region champions while having three wrestlers earn medals in the state tournament.

Coach of the Year -- Frank Battaglia, Sparta.

In his second season, Sparta finished 15-9, matching the program's combined win total for the previous three seasons in which it went 15-53. The Spartans qualified for the sectional tournament for the first time since 2000 with their berth in the North 1, Group 3 draw. Battaglia was named District 3 Coach of the Year and was among four finalists for Region 1 honors. After not having a wrestler win a bout at districts in 2010 and '11, the Spartans have sent three wrestlers to Region 1 the last two years, including sophomore Ian Burke (126) and freshman Al Falco (160) this season.

Wrestler of the Year -- Josh Sibblies, Newton.

The senior overcame season-ending knee injuries the last two years to win Hunterdon-Warren-Sussex and Region 1 titles, while placing fifth in the state tournament at 182 pounds. The District 3 runner-up, as the No. 7 seed, defeated the Nos. 2, 3 and 4 en route to becoming the Braves' 34th region champ, while joining his father, Ted, in winning the Outstanding Wrestler Award. Josh is also the first state semifinalist for Newton since his father finished second at 130 pounds in 1989.

Back points

There is serious discussion about realignment for the district and region tournaments in New Jersey. According to one apparent rumor, denied by one school official, Phillipsburg has been trying to move out of Region 1 for a few years now and could land in another region and district for the 2014-15 season. The request to move seems odd since P'burg would likely try to host Region 1 -- when and if its new high school along Belvidere Road is built. Mount Olive, which hosts District 1 along with P'burg and Warren Hills, also is still vying to become a host site for regions.

In addition, the Stateliners are entertaining the idea of a one-day District 1 Tournament when they host in 2014. Long travel considerations for Mount Olive, Mendham and West Morris are the genesis behind it. I can't imagine fans liking the idea, especially those from 'Liner Nation. We also used to have Saturday night finals, though a one-day event will likely push the championship round back to approximately 6 p.m.

Phillipsburg has informed the King of the Mountain Tournament that it will not be able to attend this season due to conflicts with official start dates in New Jersey. The Stateliners had competed in the rugged event the last four years, but because this year's tournament will be held on Dec. 13-14, a week before the Garden State opens, they will be forced to make other plans. Because Thanksgiving is late this year (Nov. 28) the first official practice in New Jersey is Monday, Dec. 2.

Looks like the Warren Hills quad, involving High Point, Howell and Timber Creek, is done after just one tremendous event. The John Goles Invitational will be on a Friday (Dec. 27) this year and according to coach Jarrett Hosbach, the Blue Streaks only have one Saturday date (Feb. 1) still open. There is a possibility of a quad with Warren Hills taking place that day at High Point, according to Gardner, but that is still in the discussion stages.

Newton coach Eric Bollette confirmed that South Plainfield, New Jersey's top team the last two years, will return to the Henry Boresch Duals next season on Saturday, Jan. 4. Raritan, Waldwick-Midland Park, Morris Knolls are also slated to attend. Hanover Park and Livingston have not committed to returning in 2014 as of yet, so there will be at least one opening to fill in the eight-team field.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Wrestling: Lions Classic now on Monday, March 25

The 33rd annual Easton Lions Club All-Star Wrestling Classic will be held Monday, March 25 at Easton Area High School's 25th Street Gymnasium. Originally scheduled for March 18, the event was postponed due to an impending bad weather forecast.

The match pits seniors from New Jersey against their counterparts from Pennsylvania's rugged District 11. The high school event, slated for 8 p.m., is preceded by a youth event at 6.

New Jersey won last year's event, 28-15, and has won three straight and four of the last five classics. Pennsylvania leads the overall series, 19-13, dating to 1981.

Bouts will be three periods of 2 minutes, 1 1/2  and 1 1/2 minutes in length.

Tickets, available at the door, are $6 for adults, $4 for seniors (65 and older) and $3 for students. There will be a food collection (peanut butter and jelly) at the door for local food banks.

Tentative high school matchups (New Jersey listed first):

113 -- Zach Fisher (29-10, D2, R4), Phillipsburg, vs. Jaryd Flank (32-4, D3, R2), Wilson.

120 -- Cory Fleming (31-9, D1), West Morris, vs. Darian Cruz (44-1, 153-8, D1, R1, S1), Bethlehem Catholic.

126 -- Joe Kratochvil (33-8, D1, R2), Warren Hills, vs. Grimaldi Gonzalez (33-4, D1, R1), Liberty.

132 -- Mike Pongracz (38-2, 148-16, D1, R1, S5), Delaware Valley, vs. Ian Evans (34-15, 112-58, D2), Parkland.

138 -- Nick Matthews (36-4, D2, R3, S6), West Morris, vs. Ryan Todora (46-8, D1, R1, S7), Bethlehem Catholic.

145 -- Tim Higginson (31-8, D1, R2), Hunterdon Central, vs. Blake Bowman (39-9, D2, R2, S3), Tri-Valley.

152 -- Jesse Thorsen (30-4, D1, R4), Belvidere, vs. Ty Herzog (31-6, D1, R1, S5), Northern Lehigh.

160 -- David Fenton (32-7, D2, R2), Hunterdon Central, vs. Evan DiSora (40-4, 114-28, D1, R1), Easton.

170 -- Jadaen Bernstein (42-1, 135-19, D1, R1, S2), Voorhees, vs. Mitch Myers (36-5, D3), Blue Mountain.

182 -- Kurtis Hewitt (35-12, D2, R3), Franklin, vs. Tyler Greene (39-6, 128-45, D2, R1, S3), Easton.

195 -- Liam Korbul (31-7, 104-40, D1, R4), North Hunterdon, vs. Josh Alpha (38-12, D1, R2, S5), Bethlehem Catholic.

210 -- Anthony Messner (40-2, 118-25, D1, R1, S2), Franklin, vs. Ray O'Donnell (44-3, 132-19, D1, R1, S1), Saucon Valley.

220 -- J.B. Lawson (31-6, D1, R1), Belvidere, vs. Evan Kauffman (38-3, D1, R1, S5), Freedom.

285 -- Ryan Appleby (31-6, D2, R1), Belvidere, vs. Daulton Romano (36-5, D3, R3), Southern Lehigh.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Wrestling: Active HWS wins leaders for 2013-14

(Minimum 50 victories)

Gary Dinmore
Hunterdon Central
Kieran Gerrity
Dylan Nace
Hunterdon Central
Nick Romyns
Ryan Pomrinca
North Hunterdon
Matt Ritchie
North Warren
Mike Ciavarro
North Hunterdon
Kyle Stoll
High Point
Jason Gaccione
High Point
Christian Okulicz
Austin Sisco
Pope John
Jimmy Schuitema
Kody Eichlin
Delaware Valley
Max Nauta
Warren Hills
Peter Lipari
Lenape Valley
Glenn Haines
Lenape Valley
Garrett Armstrong
Dylan Wunder
Ian Burke
Tom Murphy
Noa Merritt
Pope John
Max Elling
Luke Zehnbauer
Delaware Valley
Mike Derin
High Point
Dom Gallo
High Point
Jake Kocsis
Tai Adetula
Warren Hills