Monday, February 16, 2015

Wrestling: 'Liners 'take' it all in stride with G4 title

TRENTON -- Talk about sticking to the script. When needed most, Phillipsburg's wrestling team seems to find a hero when the stakes are high.

This time it was junior 106-pounder Kyle Markus to the rescue.

Markus' stunning pin helped pave the way to a 19th state championship as the Stateliners rolled to an impressive 38-12 victory over Jackson Memorial in the Group 4 final on Sunday at Sun National Bank Center.

P'burg (19-1) claimed back-to-back titles for the first time since winning three in a row from 1997-99, while earning its third in four years. Coach Dave Post's team wrestled with machine-like precision, especially from the neutral position. Including the 59-6 dismantling of Roxbury in the semifinals, the 'Liners produced a 49-5 edge in takedowns, going 26-0 vs. the Gaels, while racing out to a 9-0 advantage until the fourth bout vs. the Jags.

"Our kids are always pretty sound on their feet," said Post, whose teams have won three Group 4 titles and finished as the runner-up in 2011 -- losing 34-24 to Jackson in that title match -- in his five seasons at the helm. "I think the biggest differences [in today's matches] was executing the fine details. That can make a difference in big matches."

Leading 22-12 through 10 bouts, P'burg may have felt a bit uneasy when junior heavyweight Kyle Nothnagel sustained his first loss -- 1-0 to Broderick Graham -- in what many felt was a key bout. The 106-pound matchup also was a close one to call on paper, but Markus opened a 5-0 lead in the first with three backs off a cradle before using a cement job to deck Matt McGowen with one second left on the clock in the second period. The fall sent the P'burg faithful into a frenzy and all but spoiled any chances of a Jackson comeback.

It was Zach Fisher's clutch win in the final bout that gave P'burg a 29-27 win over Brick Memorial in the 2012 Group 4 final, while Robert Melise put the crowd on its ear in last year's final with a stunning pin to help the 'Liners earn a 32-21 win over Southern.

But Markus refused to take all of the credit for helping secure title No. 19.

"[Assistant] coach [Brad] Gentzle told me I would be the hero before the match," Markus said. "I had it in my mind that I would come out with a victory. We had a big lead, so I wouldn't say I am the hero. I can't describe it. This is just fantastic."

If there was any doubt that P'burg would retain its title, junior Tom Kosar ended the suspense with a 4-3 win over Michael Spino at 113 -- making it 31-12 on the scoreboard and sealing the win. As was the theme of the day, Kosar converted a takedown with 13 seconds left in the bout for the decisive points. Tyler Agans (120) and Brian Meyer (126) followed with wins to close out the proceedings.

Meyer, who is one tough freshman, got a reversal and three backs late in the third to ice a 7-1 decision over state qualifier Fred Terranova.

"We didn't think we had a chance in the world of [winning] the last three [bouts]," Post said. "Our kids refuse to get beaten. Tommy Kosar [in the lineup due to a season-ending hand injury for state runner-up Brandon Paetzell] is one match away from beating a good kid."

Donald Agans (16-15) also had a solid day with two wins, including a 6-3 decision over Jackson's Michael Christie at 132 to open the match. DJ Wissing (25-9) also came through with a key 4-1 win over Tim Hamann at 138.

"We thought 32 and 38 were tossups, and heavyweight and 106," Post said.

Against Roxbury, Meyer started things with a 7-2 victory over Region 1 qualifier Richard Reimers and P'burg never looked back, winning all 13 bouts contested on the mat. Region 1 runner-up Troy Stanich was awarded a forfeit in the final bout to account for the Gaels' points.

Interestingly, Roxbury coach Jim Dolan opted to give a forfeit win to P'burg star Max Elling at 160 and bump junior Craig Roumes, a state qualifier, up to 170, where he dropped an 8-2 decision to 2013 Region 1 champ Jimmy Schuitema. That was hardly a bargain, and the reasoning for the move was even more perplexing.

"All year, we've been doing some [shifting] with our upper weights, moving them around," Dolan said. "Today, we decided to go with that [lineup]."

Adding to the intrigue is that Roumes wrestled only one other match all season at 170 and weighed in at 158.5 for this one.

Nonetheless, Dolan was thoroughly impressed with P'burg, now 6-0 all-time vs. Roxbury, including wins in the 2001 North 2, Group 4 sectional semifinals and the 2004 Group 3 semifinals. The 'Liners got the opening takedown in the first period in 10 of the 13 bouts.

"They're one of the top teams in the state for a reason," said Dolan, who led the Gaels to back-to-back sectional titles for the first time in program history after winning the North 1 championship this season. "They're just tough top-to-bottom. They're aggressive and they attack, and put a lot of pressure on you right from the beginning."


132 -- Sr. Donald Agans (16-15), P, d. Jr. Michael Christie (12-15), 6-3.
138 -- Jr. DJ Wissing (25-9), P, d. So. Tim Hamann (24-7), 4-1.
145 -- Sr. Steve Friedman (24-8), P, md. Sr. Hunter Reese (11-16), 13-4.
152 -- Sr. Sean Leahey (20-7), J, d. Sr. John Kaluzny (20-7), 9-4.
160 -- Sr. Max Elling (32-2), P, p. Jr. Kyle Johnson (1-7), 5:09.
170 -- Sr. Jimmy Schuitema (31-3), P, d. Sr. Jarret Digiantomasso (14-8), 6-0.
182 -- Jr. Tanner Kelly (15-7), J, d. So. Drew Horun (25-8), 4-0.
195 -- Sr. Connor Bohringer (21-1), J, d. Sr. Mohamed Fouad (11-9), 2-1.
220 -- So. Robert Melise (28-6), P, d. Jr. Adante Davis (17-10), 5-1.
285 -- Jr. Broderick Graham (29-1), J, d. Jr. Kyle Nothnagel (12-1), 1-0.
106 -- Jr. Kyle Markus (22-12), P, p. So. Matt McGowen (23-6), 3:59.
113 -- Jr. Tom Kosar (9-9), P, d. Jr. Michael Spino (24-7), 4-3.
120 -- Jr. Tyler Agans (12-17), P, md. Fr. Ryan Bonringer (5-11), 8-0.
126 -- Fr. Brian Meyer (16-12), P, d. Sr. Fred Terranova (22-8), 7-1.
Records -- Phillipsburg 19-1; Jackson Memorial 19-5.



126 -- Fr. Brian Meyer (15-12), P, d. So. Richard Reimers (18-10), 7-2.
132 -- Sr. Donald Agans (15-15), P, d. Fr. Dominick LaRusso (19-7), 6-5.
138 -- Jr. DJ Wissing (24-9), P, tf. Fr. Michael Roumes (7-16), 17-1, 4:36.
145 -- Sr. Steve Friedman (23-8), P, p. Sr. Richard Day (17-11), 4:25.
152 -- Sr. John Kaluzny (20-6), P, d. Jr. Tommy Miller (22-4), 7-3.
160 -- Sr. Max Elling (31-2), P, forfeit.
170 -- Sr. Jimmy Schuitema (30-3), P, d. Jr. Craig Roumes (24-4), 8-2.
182 -- Sr. Tim Hinkle (11-13), P, d. Sr. Justin Bacilo (16-14), 9-3.
195 -- So. Drew Horun (25-7), P, d. Sr. Aaron Sanchez (14-14), 6-2.
220 -- So. Robert Melise (27-6), P, p. Jr. Todd Eckert (12-11), 4:06.
285 -- Jr. Kyle Nothnagel (12-0), P, p. Sr. Clayton O'Leary (17-11), 3:25.
106 -- Jr. Kyle Markus (21-12), P, p. Sr. Ryan Larrahondo (12-12), 3:15.
113 -- Jr. Tom Kosar (8-9), P, p. So. Tyler Lucas (4-5), 1:39.
120 -- Jr. Troy Stanich (27-1), R, forfeit.
Records -- Phillipsburg 18-1; Roxbury 15-4.

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