Friday, February 7, 2014

Wrestling: 'Cats all American; 'Liners claim Raritan

High Point's wrestling team is so focused on making a championship run next week that it barely noticed a special moment on Thursday night.

Coach John Gardner's Wildcats claimed their fifth straight Northwest Jersey Athletic Conference American Division title with a 48-19 win over Morris Hills in Wantage. High Point (12-4, 7-0 division) is now 34-0 all-time in divisional matches and has won nine straight conference titles, including the last four Sussex County Interscholastic League crowns from 2006-09. The NJAC was formed for the 2009-10 season.

"I said something after [Thursday's match] to them, 'I told them, 'Congratulations.' They don't think about any of that stuff," said Gardner, now 280-77-2 in 16 seasons and eight wins shy of matching Jeff Hull for the most coaching wins at his alma mater. "Last year it wasn't a thought because we lost to Kittatinny. This year, we beat Kittatinny [48-18 on Jan. 24] so we're champs of two divisions. And we're champs at home. That's a big deal."

Speaking of Kittatinny, the Cougars can wrap up a fourth straight Freedom Division title on Friday with a win at home against Hackettstown. Prior to the match, Kittatinny will honor coach John Gill for his 500th career victory, which came against Jefferson on Jan. 27.

High Point, which earned the No. 1 seed in the North 1, Group 2 sectional tournament, won 10 bouts to easily dispatch Morris Hills (6-8, 1-4). Seniors Chris Auer (152) and Bobby McDonnell (220) and juniors Dom Gallo (120), Mike Derin (132), Ryan Cullen (138) and Jason Gaccione all had pins for the 'Cats. Gaccione (25-4) decked Justin Pichardo in 2:19 for his 92nd career victory.

High Point travels to West Morris on Friday for an independent match in the regular-season finale. The 'Cats will host either No. 4 seed Jefferson or No. 5 Parsippany Hills in the sectional semifinals on Wednesday to begin defense of their title as the Sussex County school eyes a run at back-to-back Group 2 titles.

Sophomore 126-pounder Jared Kobis (3-1), who missed over a month with a hand injury, has been cleared to wrestle. High Point will certainly need and hopes to have the District 3 champion back in the lineup at some point next week.

Sussex County has crowned at least one sectional champion every year since 1985 -- missing just twice, 1980 and '84, in the tournament's 35-year history. High Point, which has won a county-best 23 sectional titles, has won four in a row, including the last two in North 1, Group 2.

"We've been fortunate," said Gardner, who has guided the program to 11 sectional titles after winning four as a High Point wrestler from 1987-90. "I just hope we wrestle well enough to get back [to Toms River for Group 2]. When we come to wrestle, we're as good as anybody. The kids have been through the wringer. The fans are very supportive of the kids so it's nice for them, as well as us, to be home for sectionals."


152 -- Sr. Chris Auer (16-11), HP, p. Fr. Joey Schiele (5-12), 5:39.
160 -- Sr. Tommy Hooker (18-11), HP, d. Sr. Steve Acevedo (20-4), 11-8.
170 -- Sr. Colby Brands (12-15), HP, d. Sr. Jaime Tehuitzil (9-5), 6-0.
182 -- Sr. Jose Delgado (17-4), MH, d. Sr. Antonio Porraspita (18-11), 4-2.
195 -- Sr. Jhevan McCollough (5-7), MH, p. Fr. Richard Kinkead (0-1), 3:26.
220 -- Sr. Bobby McDonnell (16-13), HP, p. Sr. Derrick Kritz (12-10), 1:59.
285 -- Sr. Gunny Wassong (10-5), HP, d. Sr. John Reyes (7-13), 3-0.
106 -- Fr. Chase Babus (12-15), HP, d. So. Gersson Cifuentes (2-12), 8-2.
113 -- Sr. Gene Prisco (12-8), MH, p. Fr. Aric Wingle (9-9), 1:41.
120 -- Jr. Dom Gallo (22-5), HP, p. Fr. Maxwell Halkenhauser (3-12), 1:19.
126 -- Sr. Dylan Sullivan (20-5), MH, md. So. Garrett Fenlon (0-13), 17-3.
132 -- Jr. Mike Derin (23-6), HP, p. Sr. Derek Zacatenco (2-6), 1:39.
138 -- Jr. Ryan Cullen (12-11), HP, p. Jr. Steven Martinez (2-4), 4:59.
145 -- Jr. Jason Gaccione (25-4), HP, p. So. Justin Pichardo (4-11), 2:19.
Records -- Morris Hills 6-8, 1-4; High Point 12-4, 7-0.

'Liners lock down Raritan title

Phillipsburg also took care of some championship business on Thursday, as the Stateliners rolled to a 53-9 win over Voorhees at The Pit to wrap up the Skyland Conference Raritan Division title.

P'burg (14-0, 6-0 division), which has won or shared all but one of a possible 19 division titles and is 129-3 overall in those matches since joining the conference in 1995-96, makes it a clean sweep of Hunterdon County, with additional victories over North Hunterdon (42-13), Hunterdon Central (41-18) and Delaware Valley (52-12). Coach Dave Post's 'Liners won all but two bouts against Voorhees (17-5, 3-3), including pins by Garrett Wolfinger (152), Max Elling (160) and Jake Kocsis (182).

"It's great. The good thing with our guys is how loose they are before matches," Post said. "They're so relaxed. That's why they do so well."

In a good matchup at 145, P'burg junior Jimmy Schuitema earned an 8-0 major over senior Christian Okulicz in a battle of Hunterdon-Warren-Sussex placewinners. Schuitema won the county title, while Okulicz placed third. 

Sophomore Kyle DiNapoli (113) and senior Cody Ihling (120) were the only winners for the Vikings (17-5, 3-3), who are now 0-21 all-time against the 'Liners in a series dating to 1981.

P'burg unexpectedly received the weekend off with the cancellation of Saturday's scheduled independent match at South Plainfield. Post says he was informed by his athletic director, Tom Fisher, on Thursday morning that the Tigers bailed due to a conflict involving a rescheduled conference match that had previously been snowed out. At least, that's one version of it.

"We've actually heard two different stories," Post said. "The reason we were initially given is that [South Plainfield] had a league match that could only be made up on Saturday. Which is fine. All independent contracts mandate that league matches take precedent in that case. But then we heard that they had a match [a 61-7 win over Bishop Ahr on Thursday] and one for Friday [home against Old Bridge] and nothing is on their schedule for Saturday. Last year, they begged us for a match and wanted to wrestle at The Pit."
South Plainfield beat P'burg for the first time last season, 39-23, at The Pit. The teams had met just twice previously in the North 2, Group 3 sectional finals. P'burg won both -- 43-18 in 2004 and 34-21 in 2009, both at The Pit.

Post said despite the circumstances, he is trying to get another two-year deal signed with South Plainfield for 2014-15 and 2015-16. His 'Liners rated as a decided favorite this season to avenge that loss a year ago.

"I don't care where we wrestle, at their place or Madison Square Garden," Post said of the venue. "What's fair is fair. They're home-grown kids like us. Some schools pop up and then disappear. [South Plainfield] is coming right back. They have one hell of a middle school team."

P'burg, the top seed in North 2, Group 4, will begin a bid for its 33rd sectional title on Wednesday by hosting the winner of Monday's first-round matchup between No. 5 Edison and No. 4 Watchung Hills. The Stateliners, 32-2 overall in sectional history, came up short a year ago in a 30-29 loss to Hunterdon Central, just the second sectional final loss ever -- both on the road -- for the Warren County school. Warren Hills beat P'burg, 34-30, in the 1990 North 2, Group 3 title match.


113 -- So. Kyle DiNapoli (22-4), V, d. So. Tyler Agans (8-13), 7-1.
120 -- Sr. Cody Ihling (25-3), V, p. So. Tom Brescia (0-1), 2:26.
126 -- Sr. Tylor Petchonka (12-11), P, md. Jr. Jon Blunk (7-14), 16-3.
132 -- Jr. Steve Friedman (14-11), P, tf. Sr. Charles Shea (3-7), 15-0, 4:18.
138 -- Jr. Corey Zinsmeister (19-5), P, d. Sr. Mike Muscatello (15-4), 11-6.
145 -- Jr. Jimmy Schuitema (19-4), P, md. Sr. Christian Okulicz (18-7), 8-0.
152 -- Sr. Garrett Wolfinger (10-4), P, p. Jr. Tommy Riley (10-10), 2:34.
160 -- Jr. Max Elling (25-4), P, p. Jr. Devon Thomas (12-8), 2:09.
170 -- Sr. Broderick Bupivi (20-9), P, d. Sr. Jordan Juliano (21-6), 7-1.
182 -- Sr. Jake Kocsis (27-2), P, p. Sr. Cody Kubinak (11-15), :58.
195 -- Jr. Tim Hinkle (7-7), P, d. So. Derek Howerth (11-16), 4-3 UTB.
220 -- Jr. Joe Maso (17-6), P, forfeit.
285 -- Fr. Drew Horun (17-7), P, d. Sr. Merrit Francis (10-15), 3-2.
106 -- So. Brandon Paetzell (26-1), P, md. So. Harley Sacks (18-8), 17-6.
Records -- Voorhees 17-5, 3-3; Phillipsburg 14-0, 7-0.

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