Saturday, February 15, 2014

Wrestling: Blue Streaks fall short; Cougars claim title

Warren Hills' wrestling team knew there was little margin for error in its quest for the North 2, Group 3 sectional championship. The Blue Streaks took the good with some bad early on, but it was Roxbury that came away with a 37-28 victory and the title on Saturday in Roxbury Township.

The Gaels (15-4), who claimed their fifth sectional championship and first since 2011, advance to Sunday's Group 3 semifinals in Toms River and a matchup with Brick Township, the Central Jersey champion. Clearview will oppose Wayne Valley -- a 36-29 winner over Paramus in the North 1 final on Saturday -- in the other semifinal. The winners will battle for the Group 3 championship at 6 p.m.

Warren Hills (11-11), which was aiming for its sixth sectional title and first since 2007, will now prep for next weekend's District 1 Tournament at Phillipsburg. The Streaks won six bouts against the Gaels, but lost key matchups at 170 and 120. Down 25-24 after Zach Nauta's 5-3 loss to Tanner Morgan at 120, Hills dropped three of the final four bouts.

"We knew coming in that if some things didn't go our way it would be tough for us to win," said Streaks coach Jarrett Hosbach, now 8-7 overall in sectional matches in nine seasons. "We knew it would be a pretty tight match. [Roxbury] deserves it. They outwrestled us today."

After Max Nauta's 6-2 win over Devon LaFranco in a battle between Region 1 finalists at 132, Jake Legotte and Craig Roumes sealed things for the Gaels with a pin and a major decision at 138 and 145, respectively. Nauta (25-5), who really needed bonus points to keep the Streaks in the hunt, trailed 2-1 after giving up a takedown with 59 seconds left in the second period, but LaFranco got greedy and locked up a nearside cradle near the edge. That played right into Nauta's hands, as the outstanding mat wrestler turned that move into five points with a reversal and three back points -- nearly decking LaFranco in the process.

A pin there would have put Warren Hills in a little better positing with four-point lead instead of a one-point advantage, but Legotte decked Carsen Johnson at 138 and Roumes worked Anthony Roessner for a major to end the suspense. It was certainly sweet redemption, as the Gaels dropped a 31-30 heartbreaker to the Streaks in last year's semifinals -- a match in which Roxbury lost a team point late to ultimately decide the outcome.

"We knew going in it was going to be one of these old-fashioned slugfests -- back and forth," said Roxbury coach Jim Dolan, whose team won five of the last seven bouts. "[Warren Hills] has great kids and a great program. Last year in the semis, that was a tough one to take. We had a few opportunities last year and didn't get the job done."

Warren Hills started the rematch off on a downer in the opening bout at 152 pounds, where Roxbury's Tommy Miller turned what was a tight bout early against Shane Deemer into a pin with 29 seconds left in the third period.

"Getting bonus points in a match like this is huge," Dolan said. "Whether it's getting them or not giving them up."

Senior Ryan Ostir pulled off a 3-2 win over Richard Day at 160 behind a first-period takedown to cut the deficit in half. In a tossup at 170, Justin Bacilo made it 9-3 in Roxbury's favor with a 10-5 decision over Kurt Nemeth. That was another tight one, with Bacilo nursing a 2-1 lead heading into the third period, before hitting a five-point move early in the third. Nemeth rallied to make it a 7-5 match with under a minute left, but waited too long to cut Bacilo in order to try for a tying takedown in the final 25 seconds. Bacilo got one himself at the buzzer.

The Streaks won the toss and were able to move Steve Cleaver away from state champion Dillon Artigliere at 182, giving him a forfeit win. Cleaver rallied from a 4-0 deficit to build an 8-4 lead before decking Peter Sutton in a matchup of Region 1 qualifiers at 195. Sutton was clearly gassed in the second, as Cleaver converted a takedown and got three backs late to grab a 6-4 lead heading into the final period.

Ryan Witner followed with a win by injury default at 220 and Andrew Pacheco pinned at 285 to give Warren Hills a 21-15 lead through seven bouts. Roxbury sophomore Troy Stanich stopped the run by decking Ryan Mosher at 106, but talented Streaks freshman Matt Valli scored an impressive 9-1 major over Richard Reimers at 113. But the loss at 120 all but ended the Blue Streaks' chances -- leading 25-24 with four bouts to go and only Max Nauta left as a favorite.

Kevin Hernandez, who has been in and out of the Gaels' lineup due to a shoulder injury, worked Austin Pidoto for a 7-2 decision at 126 to help set the stage in the final three matchups.

In the key bouts, such as 120, Zach Nauta, much like Nemeth at 170, was in the position of needing to cut his opponent to try for a takedown in the third period. But when you lose the takedown battle 17-8, that's a tough spot to be in.

"Momentum is only as good as the next bout and we had some situations where we forgot the score or lost focus, and didn't make the best decisions," Hosbach said. "This absolutely hurts. We have a group of seniors that aren't going to wrestle another dual meet, and we'll miss them. We had the mindset all year about winning a sectional title and see what we could do [in the Group 3 championships at Toms River]."

152 -- So. Tommy Miller (21-8), R, p. So. Shane Deemer (10-14), 5:31.
160 -- Sr. Ryan Ostir (15-11), WH, d. Jr. Richard Day (18-12), 3-2.
170 -- Jr. Justin Bacilo (6-2), R, d. So. Kurt Nemeth (1-2), 10-5.
182 -- Sr. Dillon Artigliere (32-0), R, forfeit.
195 -- Sr. Steve Cleaver (18-7), WH, p. Sr. Peter Sutton (12-10), 4:47.
220 -- Sr. Ryan Witner (19-9), WH, injury default over Jr. Clayton O'Leary (15-16), :29.
285 -- Jr. Andrew Pacheco (27-2), WH, p. Sr. Anthony Infermo (7-19), 1:56.
106 -- So. Troy Stanich (25-5), R, p. Fr. Ryan Mosher (6-21), 1:21.
113 -- Fr. Matt Valli (22-7), WH, md. Fr. Richard Reimers (21-8), 9-1.
120 -- So. Tanner Morgan (14-14), R, d. Fr. Zach Nauta (17-8), 5-3.
126 -- Sr. Kevin Hernandez (7-3), R, d. Jr. Austin Pidoto (17-13), 7-2.
132 -- Jr. Max Nauta (24-5), WH, d. Sr. Devon LaFranco (24-8), 6-2.
138 -- Sr. Jake Legotte (20-11), R, p. So. Carsen Johnson (2-10), 1:18.
145 -- So. Craig Roumes (17-8), R, md. So. Anthony Roessner (12-17), 9-0.
Records -- Warren Hills 11-11; Roxbury 15-4.

Cougars claim 19th sectional title

Kittatinny has some aces in the hole late against Emerson-Park Ridge, as seniors Kieran Gerrity (170), Dylan Wunder (182) and Garrett Armstrong (195) all came through with bonus-point victories to help Kittatinny earn a 44-30 win in the North 1, Group 1 final in Hampton.

The Cougars (18-2) claimed their 19th sectional championship overall and third in a row to earn another trip to the Group 1 semifinals at Pine Belt Arena. Coach John Gill's squad will face two-time defending champion Bound Brook, while Paulsboro takes on Roselle Park in the other semifinal at 10 a.m. The winners meet in the title match at 3:30.

Emerson Park-Ridge (18-4) built an early 15-6 lead behind pins from state qualifier Robbie Maggiulli at 220 and sophomore Sam Schneider, fourth in Region 2 last year, at 113. Nick Klinger (120) and Jake VanWingerden (126) got Kittatinny going briefly, but senior Christian Silva, who bumped up from 126, dropped a 4-2 decision at 132 to Scott Galdi. After trading pins at 138 and 145, senior Nick Romyns gave the Cougars a 28-24 advantage by decking Jordan Giacomelli in 2:51 for his 100th career victory.

Nick Mazzeo's pin at 160 gave Emerson its final lead at 30-28, before Kittatinny, which was appearing in its 22nd straight sectional final. swept the last three bouts to win the title. Gerrity started the run with a major, as Wunder and Armstrong followed with falls to seal the victory.

220 -- Sr. Robbie Maggiulli (25-0), EPR, p. Jr. Kyle Cornman (2-3), 2:20.
285 -- Sr. Tom Smith (23-7), K, p. So. Dominick Petillo (4-7), 1:24.
106 -- So. Paco Robles (29-2), EPR, d. Fr. Kasey Hotz (19-11), 10-4.
113 -- So. Sam Schneider (30-2), EPR, p. So. Taylor Molfetto (15-12), 1:26.
120 -- So. Nick Klinger (27-4), K, md. Jr. Brian DiGuilmi (25-6), 12-3.
126 -- So. Jake VanWingerden (4-5), K, p. Fr. Yusuf Pavlin (0-1), 1:38.
132 -- Jr. Scott Galdi (23-9), EPR, d. Sr. Christian Silva (20-12), 4-2.
138 -- So. Austin Scrivani (25-6), K, p. Fr. Brendon Kelly (4-18), :23.
145 -- Fr. Josh Lewis (18-7), EPR, p. Sr. Nick West (11-16), 5:24.
152 -- Sr. Nick Romyns (18-3), K, p. So. Jordan Giacomelli (22-9), 2:51.
160 -- Jr. Nick Mazzeo (25-7), EPR, p. Fr. Josh Klimek (9-10), 1:06.
170 -- Sr. Kieran Gerrity (29-3), K, md. Sr. Joey Fisco (2-3), 14-1.
182 -- Sr. Dylan Wunder (24-8), K, p. Sr. Jules Grom (14-9), 3:10.
195 -- Sr. Garrett Armstrong (27-5), K, p. Jr. Zachary Schechtman (9-11), 1:06.
Records -- Emerson Park-Ridge 18-4; Kittatinny 18-2.

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