Thursday, January 29, 2015

Wrestling: P'burg wins division title, eyes No. 900

Phillipsburg's wrestling can team add another chapter to its tradition-rich program when it hosts High Point on Friday at 4 p.m.. The Stateliners will be seeking their 900th win overall.

"It's really special, anytime you can reach a big milestone" coach Dave Post told's Mike Moore following Thursday night's 58-6 pasting of Warren Hills that clinched the Skyland Conference Raritan Division title -- the 19th division championship for P'burg in 20 seasons since joining the conference in 1995-96.

"Our kids understand and respect the history involved in our program."

Post also was a big part of the Stateliners' success on the mat as a former state placewinner for the Warren County school. During his tenure as head coach, P'burg (11-1 overall, 6-0 division) is 71-14 overall in the last five seasons. The 'Liners are 899-260-7 in their 67 seasons -- a .776 winning percentage -- and 196-35-2 vs. Hunterdon-Warren opponents.

High Point (4-3) comes into this one as a heavy underdog after winning back-to-back Group 2 championships under John Gardner, the Sussex County program's all-time coaching wins leader with 289. The Wildcats have not been in action since a 39-19 win over Hackettstown on Thursday, Jan. 22, due to the recent snow.

In addition, High Point is shorthanded and young, with seniors Dom Gallo (126) and Mike Derin (132) both nursing injuries.

Gallo (12-3), a state qualifier and Region 1 finalist last season, has been sidelined by an elbow injury and his status for this one is unknown. Derin (2-0), a two-time Region 1 champion and state placewinner as a sophomore, is likely done for the season with a knee injury.

Ironically, this season marks the 20-year anniversary of Phillipsburg's 49-13 win over High Point in the 1995 Group 3 final -- a match that was marred with a melee between 'Cats coaches and some P'burg fans at the conclusion of the final bout. Then Stateliners coach Rick Thompson refused to take part or let his kids participate in the postmatch handshake.

Phillipsburg holds a 16-1 lead in the all-time series, including last season's 52-13 rout in Wantage. The series began in 1989 with P'burg's 31-18 win in the Group 3 final and was continuous through the 1998-99 season. After a three-year hiatus, the 'Liners scored a 45-22 victory in the 2003 Group 3 semifinals in Trenton.

The regular-season rivalry resumed on Jan. 31, 2009, as High Point ended a 15-match skid with a 30-22 victory at The Pit. Last season's match was the first between the schools since '09.

P'burg is on top of its game right now with blowout wins this week over Skyland Conference Raritan Division rivals Warren Hills and Hunterdon Central (42-12 on Wednesday). The 'Liners are led by 100-match winners Max Elling (24-2) and Jimmy Schuitema (24-3), who rotate between 160 and 170 pounds.

Post was extremely pleased with the win over Warren Hills (5-6, 0-5) -- P'burg improved to 54-14 all-time in the series dating to 1948 -- as his squad yielded just two regular decisions, including a loss by freshman backup Cullen Day at 106. Juniors Kyle Nothnagel and DJ Wissing pulled off the upsets of the night against the Streaks' top two wrestlers.

Nothnagel, a transfer from Pennsylvania, scored a 6-1 win in overtime against state placewinner Andrew Pacheco at 285 with a five-point move in the second rideout. Wissing scored a 6-4 win over three-time Region 1 finalist Max Nauta, who decked Wissing earlier this month in the Hunterdon-Warren-Sussex semifinals at 138 pounds.

Nauta dropped to 9-3 all-time vs. P'burg opponents. As was the case last season, Nauta, who is 108-25 overall and a two-time District 1 champion, dropped the rematch in the dual meet after an HWS tournament win over Corey Zinsmeister. Nauta's only other loss to a Stateliner was 10-6 to Steve Friedman in the 2012 District 1 finals.

Making matters worse for Warren Hills is that sophomore 120-pounder Matt Valli, a District 1 champ, missed this match after sustaining a knee injury in Wednesday night's loss to North Hunterdon.


182 -- Sr. Jimmy Schuitema (23-3), P, p. So. Brody Oberly (2-15), 2:49.
195 -- So. Drew Horun (19-6), P, p. Jr. Kurt Nemeth (10-11), 4:43.
220 -- So. Robert Melise (21-5), P, p. So. Taylan Zafis (1-12), :40.
285 -- Jr. Kyle Nothnagel (5-0), P, d. Sr. Andrew Pacheco (13-1), 6-1 OT3.
106 -- Fr. Jacob DiNapoli (7-11), WH, d. Fr. Cullen Day (1-1), 4-3 OT3.
113 -- So. Tom Kosar (4-6), P, md. Fr. Codey O'Rourke (4-11), 16-7.
120 -- Jr. Tyler Agans (10-12), P, p. Fr. Pedro Cruz (0-5), 1:12.
126 -- Sr. John Fluck (12-6), WH, d. Fr. Brian Meyer (9-11), 7-6.
132 -- Sr. Donald Agans (10-13), P, d. So. Zach Nauta (9-9), 6-4.
138 -- Jr. DJ Wissing (19-7), P, d. Sr. Max Nauta (16-5), 6-4.
145 -- Sr. Steve Friedman (17-7), P, p. Sr. Austin Pidoto (7-10), 3:23.
152 -- Sr. John Kaluzny (14-6), P, d. Fr. Jarod Ostir (11-7), 5-2.
160 -- Sr. Max Elling (24-2), P, p. Jr. Anthony Roessner (8-12), 1:34.
170 -- Sr. Yann Ondele (5-1), P, forfeit.
Records -- Warren Hills 5-6, 0-5; Phillipsburg 11-1, 6-0.
Official -- Russ Scorese.
Note: Phillipsburg earned its 899th victory.

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