Saturday, July 25, 2015

Wrestling: P'burg-Washington impress in Pin Cancer

PHILLIPSBURG -- We may be in the heart of the summer season, but a balmy Friday night of wrestling certainly had a winter flavor to it.

Phillipsburg, for the second straight year, staged a late rally to earn a 40-24 win over Washington in the fourth annual Pin Cancer event before a crowd of about 800 at Maloney Stadium.

The upper weight trio of Drew Horun (197), Robert Melise (220) and Kyle Nothnagel (285) sealed a fourth straight P'burg win in this tremendous event, which raised a boatload of money for a worthy cause.

"This is amazing. Wrestling under the lights on our home football field with our fans," said P'burg senior Kyle Markus, who pinned Cody O'Rourke at 123 pounds. "This is such a great cause."

Phillipsburg coach Dave Post was extremely happy with his team's performance.

"I thought we wrestled awesome," said Post, who believes this Pin Cancer was the best one yet. "I bet if you count everyone who was here, we had close to 1,000 people. We had 40 cheerleaders and Washington brought its whole squad. The fans really get involved."

After a 7-3 loss in the opening bout of last year's event, Markus was determined to go out a winner in his final Pin Cancer match. In typical P'burg fashion, he scored three points with an escape and takedown in the final seven seconds of the second period after a tight first period against O'Rourke.

"I didn't want to go out on a bad note," said Markus, a District 1 champion and Region 1 third-place finisher at 106 pounds as a junior. "He took a bad shot. I was ready to defend it and swing behind."

In what became the marquee bout of the night after some lineup juggling just hours prior to the start of the main event, Washington sophomore Jarod Ostir scored an impressive 5-1 win over District 1 runner-up DJ Wissing at 162.

Ostir, who finished fourth in District 1 as a freshman, scored the opening points with a second period takedown and converted another in the third to ice the win. Ostir was extremely physical, returning Wissing to the mat with authority several times and nearly getting back points off the second takedown.

For the first time in the four-year history of this event, Washington finished with a 16-12 advantage in takedowns.

"I figured out my best chance to win was on my feet," Ostir said. "Hard work [in the offseason] has put me in a good state of mind. Working out and constant drilling. This really boosts my confidence a lot and I feel like I can go with anyone."

Ostir also enjoyed avenging a loss in last year's event.

"I love it. It's great wrestling out on the football field," he said. "It's a great experience for everyone."

Ostir's win started Washington on the comeback trail, closing its deficit to 27-12 through nine bouts. Anthony Roessner (173) and Nick Galka (185) followed with pins to make it 27-24 before the formidable group of P'burg uppers sealed it.

Horun racked up three takedowns in an 11-2 major of Brody Oberly, while state placewinner Robert Melise got a five-pointer with 31 seconds left in the third period for a 6-1 win over senior Kurt Nemeth. In the final bout, Nothnagel built a 5-0 lead before decking Taylan Zafis.

Washington freshman Cody Harrison was impressive with six takedowns in a 13-5 major decision over Cullen Day to kick things off at 107, while P'burg senior Tom Kosar converted two takedowns and a three-point nearfall for an 8-1 win over Wulff in a good matchup at 115. Washington junior Matt Valli scored a 17-2 technical fall win over freshman Kyle Tino at 135.

"I thought Tommy Kosar was really impressive," Post said. "Wulff is a solid wrestler. Tommy's offense was phenomenal and he was tough on top. I was most impressed with him."

Kosar burst onto the scene last season when two-time state placewiner Brandon Paetzell was lost for the season with a hand injury. Kosar finished second in District 1 at 113 pounds and helped the Stateliners claim their second Group 4 title in three years. Paetzell, a Rutgers recruit, did not compete on Friday but was in attendance. He projects to open his final season at 120-126 pounds.

In another entertaining bout, P'burg sophomore Brian Meyer held on for a 3-2 win over Zach Nauta at 145. Meyer was seemingly in control with a 3-0 lead in the second period before getting launched to his back. Nauta got a takedown to make it a one-point bout and a one count for backs, but he was ridden out in the final period.

In a special moment before the match, a moment of silence was held for longtime Phillipsburg fan Joe Kopesky, who died of cancer before last season. This was the first Pin Cancer without him in attendance. His son, Bryan, is an assistant coach for Phillipsburg.


107 -- Cody Harrison, W, md. Cullen Day, 13-5.
115 -- Tom Kosar, P, d. Kyle Wulff, 8-1.
123 -- Kyle Markus, P, d. Codey O'Rourke, 3-0.
130 -- Lance Wissing, P, p. Pedro Cruz, 2:03.
135 -- Matt Valli, W, tf. Kyle Tino, 17-2, 3:46.
140 -- Tyler Agans, P, p. Cameron Nauta, 2:25.
145 -- Brian Meyer, P, d. Zach Nauta, 3-2.
154 -- Chris Ruiz, P, p. Brandon Winger, 3:38.
162 -- Jarod Ostir, W, d. DJ Wissing, 5-1.
173 -- Anthony Roessner, W, p. Austin Roth, 1:38.
185 -- Nick Galka, W, p. Mario Higueros, 3:33.
197 -- Drew Horun, P, md. Brody Oberly, 11-2.
220 -- Robert Melise, P, d. Kurt Nemeth, 6-1.
285 -- Kyle Nothnagel, P, p. Taylan Zafis, 2:46.
Officials -- Chip Castner and Frank Leitner.

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