Friday, December 30, 2016

Wrestling: High Point, Central shake up the South

Looks like it's going to be another one of those head-scratching seasons.

And that was before High Point opened some eyes with a 32-24 victory over Southern on Friday. Also of note was Hunterdon Central scoring a 41-26 win over Delsea as we count down the hours to 2017.

"It's still early in the process and we have a long way to go in the season," said High Point coach John Gardner, whose team started its season with a 31-28 loss to West Morris just eight days ago. "But this [win] doesn't hurt. Either way it's not going to win a league or a section title. It's just another match against good competition, which is what you want to see."

High Point (1-1) is not yet settled in regard to its lineup due to the state's descent plan. A good portion of the team is still wrestling up one weight class. The 'Cats did enjoy a strong showing at the rugged Mustang Classic at Brick Memorial on Wednesday -- finishing in a tie for third place with St. John Vianney, although no official team scores are kept at the longtime event.

"Today was probably a little bit closer [to our regular lineup], but it's not what we're going to end up having," Gardner said.

The lower weights are essentially set with Brandon LaRue at 106, Devin Flannery at 113 and Maverick Liebl at 120. Blue-chip freshman Billy Talmadge will eventually drop to 126 and Derek Sarapuchiello will be at 132. Junior Shane Kobis will go to 138 and Trey Osborn will be at 145, with Trevor Kocher at 152 and Aric Wingle at 160. Cliff Rutter is also on the way down to 220.

Unfortunately for the 'Cats, junior Robbie Turro, a region qualifier last season, is done with a shoulder injury sustained playing football. Turro, who has a lethal crossface cradle, would have been the starter at 170. The loss of Turro makes Saturday's win even more impressive when you consider Southern was expected to be among the best teams in the Shore Conference.

Newcomer Grayson Sabo, now the starter at 170, scored a big 8-0 win to get High Point going after dropping two of the first three bouts against Southern. In all, the 'Cats benefited from two major decisions and two pins against a program that is known for being very stingy in that department. At 113, Flannery, a Region 1 qualifier as a freshman, also scored an important 10-5 decision against Owen Kretschmer, who placed fourth in Region 6.

"They usually don't give away a lot of points," said Gardner, whose team will travel to Lenape Valley on Wednesday for an NJAC Freedom Division clash. "For us to get some bonus points was good."

Winning the flip also allowed Gardner to bump Hunter Flores away from Region 6 qualifier Sean Bowker at 195. Instead of potentially losing 195 and 220, Flores decked Dan Lynch at 220 to start a run of five straight wins as the 'Cats took six of the last eight bouts.


145 -- Nicholas O'Connell, S, d. Shane Kobis, 6-2.
152 -- Dan Gorman, S, d. Trevor Kocher, 6-4.
160 -- Aric Wingle, HP, d. John Stout, 2-0.
170 -- Grayson Sabo, HP, md. Ryan Adams, 8-0.
182 -- Vin Miele, S, d. Matthew McDonnell, 4-2.
195 -- Sean Bowker, S, p. Andrew Lewis, :46.
220 -- Hunter Flores, HP, p. Dan Lynch, 4:23.
285 -- Cliff Rutter, HP, d. Evan Giberson, 3-0.
106 -- Brandon LaRue, HP, md. Jayson Scerbo, 13-3.
113 -- Devin Flannery, HP, d. Owen Kretschmer, 10-5.
120 -- Maverick Liebl, HP, p. Sebastian Delligatti, 5:20.
126 -- Nicholas Pepe, S, forfeit.
132 -- Billy Talmadge, HP, d. Ryan Thorn, 5-2.
138 -- Matthew Barnett, S, d. Trey Osborn, 3-2.

Red Devils cruise at home

In a morning affair while most were likely just waking up or still asleep, Hunterdon Central made a statement against a Delsea squad which is expected to challenge for the Group 3 title in February.

The Red Devils (2-1) won five of the last six bouts, but the outcome was not in doubt when senior Peter Nace scored an impressive 10-4 win over Region champ Edwin Echevarria at 126. Central is powerful in the lower weights and pretty balanced through its lineup.

Anthony Romaniello (106), Jack Bauer (113), Hunter Graf (120) and Vincent Romaniello (132) all won down low for the Red Devils. Another key win was Michael Iodice decking Vince DeGeorge, a fourth-place finisher in Region 8 last season, in 3:31 at 182.

Hunterdon Central, like High Point, was coming off a tough loss -- 39-30 to Bound Brook on Dec. 21. It's going to be real interesting in the Skyland Conference Raritan Division the next few weeks. Bound Brook travels to Phillipsburg on Wednesday, while Central takes on the Stateliners the following Wednesday on Jan. 11. Don't miss those two duals.


145 -- Mark Dellavalle, HC, d. Vito Genna, 9-4.
152 -- Kevin Ciresa, HC, md. Seth Summers, 11-0.
160 -- Mason Maxwell, D, p. Dan Furmato, 2:46.
170 -- Bill Janzer, D, p. Julian Heiligtag, 1:23.
182 -- Michael Iodice, HC, p. Vince DeGeorge, 3:31.
195 -- Tommy Maxwell, D, tf. Lukas Bakerian, 16-0, 3:03.
220 -- Victor Lacombe, HC, p. Malcom Henry, 5:24.
285 -- Justin Moore, D, d. Angelo Crespo, 2-1.
106 -- Anthony Romaniello, HC, p. Justin Dougherty, 2:29.
113 -- Jack Bauer, HC, md. Chris Recinto, 8-0.
120 -- Hunter Graf, HC, p. John Patterson, 3:33.
126 -- Peter Nace, HC, d. Edison Echevarria, 10-4.
132 -- Vincent Romaniello, HC, d. Tim Spatola, 6-3.
138 -- Nick Bennett, D, p. Bryce Hall, 2:41.

Holiday wrap

Delaware Valley won the team championship at the 59th annual John Goles Invitational for the 11th time in 19 years and for the first time since 2011 on Wednesday. A.J. DeRosa (120), Matt Kolonia (138) and Kyle Lightner (195) won titles, while Connor Mills (132) and Chase Bauberger (160) finished second for the Terriers.

Back in dual action on Friday, Del Val went 2-1 in a quad at Scotch Plains, including a 33-26 loss to nemesis South Plainfield, now 17-9 vs. the Terriers all time. The Hunterdon County school, which scored wins over Summit and the host team, will take on Warren Hills in a key division match on Friday, Jan. 6. Based off the Goles results, Del Val looks like a solid 12-15 point favorite on paper.

Phillipsburg had two individual champions in Drew Horun (195) and Robert Melise (220) in the always tough Bethlehem Holiday Classic at Liberty High School. All of their dual meets this season are big ones, but the 'Liners will travel to Raritan in what should be an interesting matchup on Tuesday before opening their new gym two days later against Bound Brook.

After missing last year, Newton had one champion in the John Goles Invitational at Warren Hills as Jonathon Borgognoni claimed the 160-pound title after finishing second in 2015. With 86 winners overall, the Braves are second only to the host Blue Streaks (179).

Donegal (Pa.) was a first-time participant in the John Goles Invitational, but it wasn't the first for head coach Barry Van Scoten and assistant Julius DiRisio. The former Warren Hills standouts combined to win five tournament titles in the late 1980s. Van Scoten has now appeared twice as a coach in this event -- bringing Cocalico (Pa.) home in 1996 and '97 and coaching two heavyweight champs in Kyle Andes and Jeff Martin. Donegal will return to Washington on Feb. 1 for a dual meet at 7 p.m.

Pope John crowned five champions en route to easily winning the team title in the 52nd annual Gary Vittorio Classic at Parsippany. Winning for the Lions were Mathew Garcia (106), Eddie Ventresca (113), Joe Aragona (120), Jake Rotunda (126) and Robbie Garcia (132), who was voted the outstanding wrestler. Missing in action once again was Jake Brown (195), a state qualifier last season who was hampered by a knee injury during this past football season.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Wrestling: John Goles Invitational preview, info

What: John Goles Invitational Tournament (59th annual).

When: Wednesday, 9 a.m.

Where: Warren Hills Regional High School, Washington Township.

Participating teams: Delaware Valley; Donegal (Pa.); Edison; Millburn; Newton; North Hunterdon; Sparta; Warren Hills; West Morris.

Returning champions (this year's weights): Shane Metzler, West Morris (126); Matt Valli, Warren Hills (132); Kade Loughney, West Morris (152); Peter Tomasino, Edison (152); Marco Gaita, West Morris (170).

Others to watch: A.J. DeRosa, Delaware Valley (120, Region 5 runner-up); Dylan Saggio, Millburn (126, District 10 champion); Andrew Gapas, North Hunterdon (132, District 17 runner-up); Connor Mills, Delaware Valley (132, Region 5 runner-up); Matt Kolonia, Delaware Valley (138, Region 5 third); Rhys Zigich, Delaware Valley (145, District 17 third); Wyatt McCarthy, Newton (152, District 3 runner-up); Cole Marra, North Hunterdon (152, Region 5 fourth); Jarod Ostir, Warren Hills (182, Region 1 third); Kyle Lightner, Delaware Valley (195, Region 5 runner-up); Robert Gennat, Sparta (195, Region 1 fourth); William Loewen, Sparta (220, District 3 champion); Zach Herbert, Sparta (285, District 3 runner-up); Charlie Tordik, North Hunterdon (285, Region 5 fourth).

Notes: Metzler and Valli, who missed the 2014 tournament due to an injury, are looking to win their third titles. Metzler is the lone returning state placewinner -- finishing fifth at 120 pounds in 2016. ... Sparta, which was a participant from 1998-2010 returns to this year's field. Keep an eye on its solid group of upper weights. ... It will be a homecoming for Donegal head coach Barry Van Scoten and assistant Julius DiRisio, both state placewinners and Goles champions for Warren Hills in the late 1980s. Van Scoten won holiday titles in 1988 and '89, while DiRisio, a four-time finalist, is among only 35 to win three or more titles, claiming the gold in 1985, '87 and '88. Warren Hills finished a distant second in 2015 and should give Delaware Valley and West Morris a run for the team title. The Blue Streaks have won or shared 22 championships since the tournament's inception in 1958. Delaware Valley has claimed 10 of the last 18 team championships, while West Morris shared its only title with Washington (now Warren Hills) in 1964. ... Newton has crowned at least one champion in all but three tournaments since 2000, missing in 2012 and '15. Speaking of which, assistant coaches Andy Iliff (1985-86) and Ted Sibblies (1987-88) were two-time winners for the Braves. Del Val assistant Gregg Wiseburn (1999-2000), Warren Hills assistant Dave Sbriscia (2004-05) and North Hunterdon assistant Chris Hrunka (2006) were champs for the Blue Streaks, while Terriers assistant Chris Cancelliere was a two-time champion in 2009-10 for North Hunterdon. Millburn coach Mike Artigliere was a two-time champ for Madison (1985-86).

Wrestling: HWS schedule for Dec. 27-31

Tuesday, Dec. 27

(All tournaments 9 a.m.)

Hackettstown at Hunterdon Central Invitational
Belvidere and North Warren in Linn Crawn Memorial Classic at Kittatinny
Voorhees and Wallkill Valley at Lenape Valley Tournament
Pope John at Parsippany Tournament


Vernon at Pompton Lakes, 10 a.m.

Wednesday, Dec. 28

(All tournaments 9 a.m.)

Delaware Valley, Newton, North Hunterdon and Sparta in John Goles Invitational at Warren Hills
High Point in Mustang Classic at Brick Memorial
Phillipsburg in Bethlehem Holiday Classic at Liberty (Pa.)


Hopatcong and Dover at Boonton, 9 a.m.
Vernon and Academy of Urban Leadership at Colonia, 11 a.m.

Thursday, Dec. 29

Phillipsburg in Bethlehem Holiday Classic at Liberty (Pa.), 9 a.m.

Friday, Dec. 30

(All events 9 a.m., unless noted)

Vernon, Wallkill Valley and Whippany Park at Hackettstown
Lenape Valley, Jefferson and Howell at Randolph
Delaware Valley and South Plainfield at Scotch Plains
Sparta, Mendham and Middletown North at Warren Hills, 10 a.m.


Southern at High Point, 1 p.m.
Delsea at Hunterdon Central
West Morris at Voorhees, 11 a.m.
Somerville at Pope John, 7 p.m.

Saturday, Dec. 31


Voorhees at Hopewell Valley, 9 a.m.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Wrestling: Phillipsburg at Delaware Valley preview

What: Phillipsburg Stateliners at Delaware Valley Terriers.

Where: Hutchins Memorial Gymnasium in Alexandria Twp.

When: Friday, 6:30 p.m.

Conference: Skyland Raritan Division.

Records: Phillipsburg 0-0, 0-0 division; Delaware Valley 2-0, 0-0.

Coaches: Dave Post (96-17, seventh season); Andy Fitz (158-53, 10th season).

Series history: Phillipsburg leads 34-6 dating to 1975, including last year's 37-31 win in The Pit, and has won nine straight. The teams did not meet during the 1978-79 or 2008-09 seasons. Del Val's last win in the series was 42-9 on Feb. 1, 2006. The other victories came in 1975, '82, '84, '93 and '05.

Note: Phillipsburg wrestlers listed first with season records in parentheses.

106 -- Jr. Cullen Day (2-2) vs. Jr. Peyton Mitchell (2-3).

113 -- So. Travis Jones (1-2) vs. Jr. CJ Heaps (3-2).

120 -- So. Brenden Fox (1-2) vs. So. A.J. DeRosa (3-1).

126 -- So. Cody Harrison (2-2) or Jr. Tyris Manley (0-0) vs. Fr. Gage Crater (2-1).

132 -- So. Kyle Tino (0-0) or Jr. Josh Ramos (1-2) vs. Sr. Connor Mills (3-1).

138 -- Jr. Lance Wissing (0-2) vs. Sr. Matt Kolonia (4-0).

145 -- Jr. Brian Meyer (4-2) vs. Sr. Tanner McLaughlin (3-2).

152 -- So. Jayson Zinsmeister (0-2) vs. Sr. Rhys Zigich (4-1) or Sr. Chase Bauberger (4-1).

160 -- Jr. Shamyr Brodders (0-0) vs. Bauberger or Zigich.

170 -- So. Austin Roth (0-2) vs. Sr. Sean Lessig (4-0).

182 -- Sr. Dan Fisher (0-0) vs. So. Shawne Ramsby (4-0).

195 -- Sr. Drew Horun (6-3) vs. Jr. Kyle Lightner (4-0).

220 -- Sr. Robert Melise (2-2) vs. Jr. Eli Kalfaian (4-1).

285 -- Sr. Justen Caraballo (1-2) vs. Sr. Josh LaDuca (3-1).

Breakdown: This is the first time in series history that these longtime rivals are squaring off in December -- the next earliest matchup took place on Jan. 2, 1990 -- a 35-13 victory for P'burg -- and you can expect a capacity crowd with plenty of student support. This one should be real entertaining and it looks like the Terriers' best shot at a win since a 26-23 loss in '07, as they are 0-8 in the series under Fitz. Last season's six-point loss was a bit deceiving due to an injury default win for Del Val at 106, where P'burg was a heavy favorite. On paper, this looks extremely tight. Another wrinkle is the lineup for P'burg, which was missing Tino, Brodders and Fisher over the weekend. Straight up, Del Val will have the edge from 132 through 170, except for 145, with potential for bonus points in a few of those bouts. P'burg will need to come through up top and in the lower weights, while being favored at 106, 126, 145 and 220. For Del Val to win, it will need bonus points at 120 and 138, and probably a win from an underdog. The marquee bout at 195 is pivotal, while 113 and 285 are close calls. Look for Wissing, Meyer and Zinsmeister to move up a weight to try and steal 145 and win at 152, while looking to keep it close at 160. The 'Liners will have strong chances to earn bonus points in at least four matchups where they're favored and that should be the difference in what shapes up to be a 7-7 split. Don't be surprised if this is decided on criteria. It's that close.

Prediction: Phillipsburg, 29-28.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Wrestling: Season's big meetings a gift in Skyland

We're off and running in the high school season around the Hunterdon-Warren-Sussex area. Although it was a bit of a stumble out the gate with the snowy weather on Saturday, which forced a number of teams to stay home and miss their respective tournaments.

This season is shaping up to be one of the best as far as the Skyland Conference Raritan Division is concerned. Undoubtedly the state's toughest division has several key matches on tap in the early going, starting with Hunterdon Central hosting Bound Brook on Wednesday and what should be a dandy on Friday night as defending champion Phillipsburg travels to Delaware Valley for a 6:30 p.m. contest. If you are thinking that it's awful early for that matchup, you are correct as it's the first December meeting in a series dating to 1975. The Terriers will have two duals under their belts -- rolling to a 72-3 win over Notre Dame on Monday and another Mercer County foe in Hopewell Valley slated for Tuesday -- while this will be the first of the season for the Stateliners.

We will take a closer look at that one later in the week, but this is probably Del Val's best shot to take down P'burg in about a decade. The Terriers have won just six times in the 40-year history of the series -- the last was a 42-9 victory at The Pit on Feb. 1, 2006, after winning at home in '05. The '06 match was the third road win in the rivalry for the Hunterdon County school, which also prevailed in 1982 and '84 at the former home gym of the 'Liners. The Terriers' other two wins came at home in '75 and '93.

Speaking of gyms, Phillipsburg will wrestle its first match in the school's spectacular new building with a division clash against Bound Brook on Jan. 4. That one could go a long way in deciding this season's champion. The Crusaders have reloaded with the addition of transfer Robert Cleary, a state placewinner from Edison, after losing four of six against Raritan opponents last season, including a 36-30 loss to the 'Liners.

"I thought it was tough last year," P'burg coach Dave Post said before the season. "We took the Top 14 [wrestlers regardless of weight class] to decide all-conference in our division. We used furthest advancement as the criteria, and you had to be Round of 12 [at states in Atlantic City] to be first team ... and this year is even better."

Phillipsburg, Delaware Valley, Hunterdon Central and Bound Brook all rate as the early favorites in their respective sections, while Warren Hills should be in the title hunt in North 2, Group 3. North Hunterdon and Voorhees, which are both in a bit of a rebuilding mode, will square off on Wednesday at 7 p.m.

'Liners in early Beast mode

P'burg got underway over the weekend with its annual trek to the Beast of the East Tournament on the campus of the University of Delaware.

After a pretty good showing on Day 1, the Stateliners struggled on Sunday, especially in the Blood Round. Only senior Drew Horun came away with a medal, finishing eighth at 195 pounds. Senior Robert Melise, a returning state runner-up, was eliminated one round shy of a medal with a 3-2 loss in overtime to Don Bosco Prep's Peter Acciardi, a returning state qualifier. Melise and junior Cullen Day at 106 were the only P'burg wrestlers to reach the quarterfinals.

"We battled really well on Day 1 in wins and losses," Post said.. "Day 2 just slipped away with a bunch of one-point losses in the Blood Round. We had four in the Round of 12, which was the same as last year, but this time we were in every single match."

Day also lost a tough one -- 4-3 to Bergen Catholic's Nick Kayal -- and finished a round away from a medal. Kayal went on to take seventh. Post said Day, down three with five seconds left, should have been awarded two and two back points, but the official said the second swipe didn't get in before the buzzer sounded, although Post said he heard the ref say, "Two."

P'burg was shorthanded with only 12 wrestlers entered in the tournament. Among the missing were Shamyr Brodders (160) and Dan Fisher (182) due to the decent plan under the state's weight management guidelines. Both are expected to be in the lineup for Delaware Valley.

My 2 cents

Those in these parts are still lamenting the radical realignment of districts and regions that was passed in the offseason and in play for 2016-17. Strictly looking at numbers, those in favor will say it was necessary to equalize the number of teams in each district and region. That's fine, but the landscape was drastically altered, particularly in the north. Consider the 18 schools in the Hunterdon-Warren-Sussex area are now spread out over 12 districts and five regions. That's insane. Likewise, the Shore area has 44 schools over 15 districts and four regions. Sister schools in both parts of the state are in different districts. Region 6 helped drive the bus on this proposal. When I spoke with Raritan coach Rob Nucci, who is a fine coach and a gentleman, two years ago, he admitted that no one on the committee was well-versed in the former Region 1 area. It shows. Region 1 as we knew it is over, blown up.

Who would have dreamed walking out of Wallkill Valley Regional High School last March that it would be for the last time after hosting Region 1 for 33 years. Daryl Jones, the school's AD, said he wasn't interested in hosting moving forward since it "no longer felt like Region 1." Jones certainly would know since he wrestled for Wallkill Valley -- finishing fourth in the region at 145 pounds his senior season in 1990.

The Region 1 Hall of Fame, which was to induct former Hopatcong state champion Zach Rey before the 2017 finals, is no more as well. Heck, the Sussex County school is no longer in Region 1, shifting to Region 2 with realignment. Unless you are from this area and have grown up with wrestling as previously constructed, you can't understand how much the history and tradition here means to fans, coaches and wrestlers. Sadly, this obviously was never a consideration in the process. The districts will change up every two years, or at least that's the plan, but the regions we have now are what we are stuck with for the foreseeable future.

Back points

Newton travels to Sparta on Tuesday as the Northwest Jersey Athletic Conference dual meet season gets underway in earnest. The Braves, seeking their first win over the Spartans since 2009, hold a 31-11-1 edge in the all-time series dating to 1961. The teams did not meet from 2010-13 after the Sussex County Interscholastic League folded following the 2008-09 season.

Warren Hills will also come calling to Sussex County on Tuesday for an independent showdown against Lenape Valley. The Blue Streaks will be opening their season as they were unable to travel to the Nottingham Tournament on Saturday. Maybe we get a matchup between Warren Hills senior and county champion Matt Valli and Jacob Falleni, a state qualifier, at 132?

Hunterdon Central has the talent to make this a special season in Raritan Township. The Red Devils would have been a strong favorite for the team race at the Caldwell Tournament on Saturday, but was not able to attend due to weather. Wednesday night's clash against Bound Brook will tell the tale.

Pope John also opened its season at the Beast and had two fourth-place finishers in freshman Eddie Ventresca (113) and sophomore Robbie Garcia (132). It was the Lions' first-ever appearance at the prestigious event.

Speaking of early-season duals between top teams, respected wrestling writer Steve Falk of the Asbury Press makes some solid points in this piece that hit the web on Monday.  It's funny, there's been a lot of talk lately on forums and in print of how the glut of tri-meets and quads and lack of featured duals in prime times are hurting the sport. This is nothing new if you have followed this blog as we've been talking about this very subject for years now. Tris and quads for the most part stink, especially for the fans. Give me a night time dual between top teams or local rivals in a packed house any day. Unfortunately, most schools have outlawed Saturday night events due to the cost of paying overtime for custodians and workers.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Wrestling: Preseason power points rankings

The top 60 teams in New Jersey based on preseason power points rankings by section. Non-public schools are mixed in. All other teams begin with a preseason ranking of 23.00.

Note: Hunterdon-Warren-Sussex schools in bold:

North 1
Bergen Catholic
Don Bosco Prep
North Bergen
Pope John
Wayne Valley
High Point
Emerson-Park Ridge
West Orange
North 2
Bound Brook
Hanover Park
St. Peter's Prep
Seton Hall Prep
Warren Hills
Queen of Peace
Roselle Park
Middletown North
Watchung Hills
Lenape Valley
Central Jersey
Hunterdon Central
South Plainfield
Brick Memorial
Wall Township
Delaware Valley
Brick Township
Bishop Ahr
Monroe Township
Christian Brothers
Jackson Memorial
Long Branch
St. John Vianney
South Jersey
St. Augustine
Egg Harbor
Toms River South
Holy Cross
    Paul VI-Haddonfield          25            

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Wrestling: Hunterdon-Warren preview capsules

Belvidere County Seaters

Coach: Dan McIntyre (66-37, sixth season).

2015-16 record: 11-10, 5-0 Skyland Conference Valley Division (first).

Returning starters (8): So. Quinn Melofchik (33-6, D3, R4) 106; Jr. Ryan Lensi (16-8) 120; Sr. Nick Cassidy (24-12, D3) 126; Sr. Gio Campana (9-15) 132; Sr. Lars Haugaard (2-12) 152; Sr. Nick Appleby (13-15) 170; Jr. Ryan Kokawski (17-9) 195; Sr. Craig Cronce (12-17) 220.

Key losses: Josh Pershpalaj (16-11) 170.

Key returnees: Jr. Kristian Panetta (1-7) 126; So. Gage Gares 132; Sr. Joey Sena 160; Sr. Kyle Hartzog 182; Sr. Bartolomeo Pepe 220; Jr. Hunter Smith 220.

Promising newcomers: Fr. Dylan Olsen 113; Fr. Anthony Appleby 152.

Outlook: County Seaters are coming off a first-place finish in the division and are poised to make another run at the title with eight returning starters, including region qualifiers Melofchik and Cassidy. Those returnees will need to come through with big points in dual meets to help offset some of the more inexperienced weights. With 25 wrestlers in the room, staying healthy will be a big key for success. A winning record and qualifying for the North 2, Group 1 sectional tournament are certainly realistic goals for this squad.

Delaware Valley Terriers
Coach: Andy Fitz (156-53, 10th season).

2015-16 record: 20-5, 2-4 Skyland Conference Raritan Division (T-fourth), Central Jersey, Group 2 champion and Group 2 runner-up.

Returning starters (8): Sr. Dylan Uderman (12-6) 106; So. A.J. DeRosa (32-12, D2, R2) 120; Sr. Matt Kolonia (37-7, D1, R3) 132-138; Sr. Connor Mills (21-13, D2, R2) 132-138; Sr. Rhys Zigich (28-12, D3) 145; Sr. Chase Bauberger (21-13, D3) 152-160; Sr. Sean Lessig (16-13, D3) 170; Jr. Kyle Lightner (26-7, D1, R2) 195.

Key losses: Vito Intili (23-15, D3) 120; Jake Moore (23-6) 126; Kyle Refalvy (22-13, D3) 126; Kyle Schlittler (37-6, D1, R3) 195; Ethan Kendzulak (11-12, D4) 285.

Key returnees: Jr. CJ Heaps (8-9) 113; Sr. Tanner McLaughlin 152-160; So. Shawne Ramsby (8-13) 182; Sr. Josh LaDuca (2-2) 220; Jr. Joe Pandy (7-4) 285.

Promising newcomers: Fr. Gage Crater 126; Jr. Eli Kalfaian 195-220.

Outlook: Terriers are coming off a banner season, capturing their 16th sectional title and advancing to the Group 2 final for the first time since 2006. With eight returning starters, expect the Hunterdon County school to make another run at both championships. DeRosa, Kolonia, Mills and Lightner are all returning state qualifiers, while Crater will be a freshman to watch, according to Fitz. Upper weights are still a bit of a question mark due to some inexperience on the big stage, but this lineup is pretty balanced and will be a tough out in dual meets. The division is once again absolutely brutal so the goal once again will be to finish in the top three.

Hackettstown Tigers

Coach: Frank Rodgers (208-209-4, 14th season of second stint, 21st overall).

2015-16 record: 9-14, 0-3 NJAC Freedom Division (fourth).

Returning starters (7): Sr. Steven Nicotra (8-9, D4) 120; Sr. Justin Bennett (20-16, D4) 132; Jr. Alex Carida (32-9, D2, R3) 138; Sr. Anthony Gonzalez (7-6, D3) 152; Sr. Kyle Connelly (29-8, D1) 220; Jr. Joe Andes (14-16, D3) 285.

Key losses: Joe Renne (31-7, D1, R4) 126; Anthony Carida (30-10, D2) 145; So. Kyle Salazar (10-17, knee injury).

Key returnees: So. Nate Bennett 106; Jr. Erick Garcia (7-7) 126; Sr. James Clarke 160-170.

Promising newcomers: Fr. Zeb Burke 145; Sr. JJ Carrara 152; Jr. Shawn Burke 152-170; Jr. Matt Castro 195.

Outlook: Tigers are once again looking at a bit of a rebuilding season with a shortage of numbers and the loss of two stars to graduation, including Renne, the program's all-time wins leader. Carida and Connelly are two good ones to build around as they are among seven returning starters. Gonzalez also returns after missing a good portion of last season with injury. The key for dual meet success will be saving points in those inexperienced weights. The Freedom Division got a lot tougher with the addition of Newton, but this group will battle to finish in the top three.

Hunterdon Central Red Devils

Coach: Jon Cantagallo-Rohm (35-12, third season).

2015-16 record: 18-4, 5-1 Skyland Conference Raritan Division (second).

Returning starters (11): So. Jack Bauer (29-10, D1, R2) 113; Jr. Hunter Graf (35-8, D1, R1, S8) 120; Sr. Peter Nace (25-6, D1) 126; So. Vincent Romaniello (27-11, D2) 132; Sr. Bryce Hall (17-12) 132-138; Sr. Mark Dellevalle (9-10) 138-145; Jr. Kevin Ciresa (29-8, D1, R3) 145-152; Sr. Chris Taylor (13-9) 152; Sr. Michael Iodice (32-7, D1, R2) 182; Sr. Victor Lacombe (35-5, D1, R1, S5) 220; Jr. Angelo Crespo (12-10) 220-285.

Key losses: Gavin Hoff (13-15, D4) 182; Connor Wheatley (25-12, D2) 195.

Key returnees: So. Pasquale Vizzoni (8-3) 120-126; So. Dan Furmato (6-9) 160.

Promising newcomers: Fr. Grant Bloch 106; Fr. Anthony Romaniello 106; Jr. Reese Young 170-182; Fr. Lukas Bakerian 195; So. Ryan Joyce 285.

Outlook: With 11 returning starters, including a pair of state placewinners, the Red Devils are again one of the most talented teams in the area and should be a factor among the state's top programs. Balance is the key, along with staying healthy, but you would be hard pressed to find many weak spots in this lineup. A strong group of upper weights gives teams a big advantage nowadays, and this group is anchored by Iodice and Lacombe, one of the best 220-pounders in the state. This will be a fun team to watch this season. Bound Brook and Phillipsburg are annually the teams to beat in this loaded division, but Central will be a matchup headache for most on the schedule.

North Hunterdon Lions

Coach: Tim Flynn (101-42, eighth season).

2015-16 record: 9-10, 2-4 Skyland Conference Raritan Division (T-fourth).

Returning starters (7): So. Connor Robinson (10-17) 106; Jr. Andrew Gapas (26-10, D2) 132-138; Jr. Will Hughes (7-15) 138-145; Sr. Cole Marra (27-11, D1, R4) 145-152; Jr. Tucker Kirchberger (14-15) 145-152; Sr. Nick Luberto (7-18) 160; Sr. Charlie Tordik (28-9, D1, R4) 285.

Key losses: Derek Ciavarro (27-4, D1, R3) 160; Wyatt Vrancken (28-6, D2, R4) 170.

Key returnees: So. Michael Wilson 126-132; Sr. Matt Gregory 170; Jr. Yousef Abbas (11-11) 195.

Promising newcomers: Fr. Evan Klimas 113; So. Nicolas House 120; Fr. Kyle Anderson 132-138; Jr. John Spies 145; Fr. Jacob Fossett 152; Fr. Anthony Masters 170; Jr. Noah Quental 170-182.

Outlook: Lions are young and inexperienced at several weight classes, but this coaching staff always gets the most out of its group, so keep an eye on this team as the season goes on. Gapas is a returning region qualifier, while Marra and Tordik just missed their first trips to Atlantic City with fourth-place finishes. But success will ultimately hinge on how the newcomers blend in and if some of the returning starters show improvement. A third-place finish in this rugged division would be a lofty goal this season.

North Warren Patriots

Coach: Scott Stoll (15-25, third season).

2015-16 record: 7-12, 2-2 NJAC Colonial Division (third).

Returning starters (4): Sr. Steven Skuropacki (5-17) 126; Sr. Shannon Grogan (17-13, D3) 138; So. Kevin Shaffer (5-8) 145; So. Ryan Walsh (8-20) 160;

Key losses: Anthony Duardo (35-5, D2, R3) 152; Kevon Hartley (12-6) 160; Alex Leontaris (19-11, D2) 195.

Key returnees: So. Joseph Voitek (2-9) 152; Jr. Joey Sprague (6-8) 285.

Promising newcomers: Fr. Ben Lilly 106; Fr. Nicholas Deloreto 106; Fr. Justin Gerkhardt 113; Fr. Brandon Casey 126-132; Fr. Rob Fletcher 138; Jr. Ben Adams 170; Jr. Jon Lucas 182; Jr. Alex Hicks 195; Sr. Scott Yurochak 220.

Outlook: Patriots are fighting low numbers and inexperience coming into this season. Grogan is the lone proven wrestler coming off a third-place finish in last season's district tournament. Stoll is excited about some of the younger wrestlers, but with only two seniors on the entire roster, he will need several others to step up and assume leadership roles. Approaching last season's win total will be the primary goal.

Phillipsburg Stateliners

Coach: Dave Post (96-17, seventh season).

2015-16 record: 17-3, 6-0 Skyland Conference Raritan Division, North 2, Group 4, Group 4 champions.

Returning starters (6): Jr. Cullen Day (16-8) 106; So. Kyle Tino (12-20) 132-138; Jr. Brian Meyer (33-10, D1, R1) 145-152; Sr. Dan Fisher (20-17, D3) 182; Sr. Drew Horun (29-7, D1, R4) 195; Sr. Robert Melise (40-3, D1, R1, S2) 220.

Key losses: Kyle Markus (34-9, D1, R2) 113; Tom Kosar (18-12, D2) 120; Brandon Paetzell (15-4, D1, R1, S2) 132; Tyler Agans (18-19, D2) 138; DJ Wissing (28-7, D1, R2) 152; Kyle Nothnagel (37-7, D1, R2) 285.
Phillipsburg celebrates its District 1 team championship in 2016.

Key returnees: So. Travis Jones (2-3) 113; Jr. Tyris Manley 120; Jr. Lance Wissing (5-15) 138; So. Jayson Zinsmeister 145-152; Jr. Shamyr Brodders 160-170; So. Austin Roth (6-12) 160-170; Sr. Justen Caraballo 285.

Promising newcomers: So. Brenden Fox 120; So. Cody Harrison (22-8, D1, R3, transfer from Warren Hills) 126-132; Jr. Josh Ramos 132-138; Fr. Denny Perez 145; Fr. Ryan Mitzak 145.

Outlook: Stateliners are always in the hunt for championships, and despite the loss of six solid starters to graduation, the state power is ready to reload for another title run. Harrison, who was a state qualifier as a freshman at Warren Hills, is a bonus to what would have already been a strong lineup. There are some inexperienced spots in the lower weights, but the wrestlers stepping in have proven themselves in spot varsity action or on the JV level. First season without being in The Pit will be strange to say the least, but the home opener in a sparkling new gymnasium vs. Bound Brook on Jan. 4 will be a barn burner.

Voorhees Vikings

Coach: Eric Hall (117-40, seventh season).

2015-16 record: 16-12, 0-6 Skyland Conference Raritan Division (seventh).

Returning starters (10): Jr. Colby Koshinski (29-11, D2) 113; So. Hunter Rinehart (12-23, D3) 120; Sr. Colton Riley (12-22) 132; Sr. Liam Cutri-French (20-14, D4) 138; Sr. Ben Brandner (11-20) 145; Sr. Michael Fernandes (34-5, D1) 160; Jr. Scott Fernandes (28-8) 182; So. Lewis Fernandes (28-11, D3) 195; So. Sam Huff (9-17) 195; Sr. Adam Murdock (10-19) 220.

Key losses: Kyle DiNapoli (31-2, D1, R1, S7) 126; Derek Howarth (32-9, D2) 220.

Key returnees: Sr. Augie Heithoff (4-11) 126; So. Matt Brandner 145; Sr. Colton Curtis 182.

Promising newcomers: So. Aidan Taylor 106; Fr. Joe Delusant 126; So. Charlie Eberlie 160; So. Austin Newarski 160; Sr. Eli Jones 285.

Outlook: Vikings were expected to struggle last season, but they still managed to log 16 wins. With 10 returning starters, including four region qualifiers, excitement is high for the Hunterdon County school, which has won two sectional titles over the past four seasons. The strength for this season's team is up top, while Michael Fernandes, a district champ, anchors the middle of the lineup. All three Fernandes brothers combined for 57 pins last season. Vikes will need to be better down low against the stronger teams on the schedule as they move to the Central Jersey, Group 2 section -- joining champion Delaware Valley and runner-up Raritan.

Warren Hills Blue Streaks

Coach: Jarrett Hosbach (142-113, 12th season).

2015-16 record: 12-9, 3-3 lSkyland Conference Raritan Division (third).

Returning starters (11): Jr. Kyle Wulff (24-11, D2) 120; Jr. Cody O'Rourke (17-9) 126; Sr. Matt Valli (33-3, D2) 132-138; Jr. Pedro Cruz (8-21) 132-138; Sr. Zach Nauta (24-9, D3) 145; Jr. Cameron Nauta (11-20, D3) 145-152; Sr. Rashon Wade Taylor (10-22) 152-160; Jr. Jarod Ostir (16-9, D1, R3) 182; So. Nick Galka (19-15, D3) 195; Sr. Brody Oberly (16-18, D4) 220; Sr. Taylan Zafis (16-16, D4) 285.

Key losses: Anthony Roessner (24-12, D3) 160; Kurt Nemeth (21-6) 182.

Key returnees: So. Chris Ostir (1-2) 126; Sr. Kyle Henderson 160; Sr. Ryan Beckler 160; Sr. Paul Turnbull 170; Sr. Henry Garcia 220.

Promising newcomers: Fr. Greg Slivka 106; Fr. Logan Nauta 113; Fr. Geir Nemeth 138.

Outlook: Blue Streaks are plenty experienced and should be a factor in the Skyland Conference Raritan Division race. There are a few question marks in the lineup, but this should be one of the more balanced teams in the area with six returning region qualifiers. The Warren County school moves to Region 3 this season. Valli will be hungry for a trip to AC following an abrupt end to his junior season in a tough Region 1 weight class -- he also won his first Hunterdon-Warren-Sussex title -- while Jarod Ostir (coming off Tommy John surgery in the spring) looks to lead the upper weights.