John Gardner could not care less about his coaching record -- albeit an outstanding one -- at his alma mater.
In fact, the longtime High Point coach doesn't have the slightest clue about the impressive numbers until someone points them out. Case in point was in the offseason when Gardner learned he was nearing 300 wins.
High Point delivered No. 299 on Tuesday night -- 48-23 over Hasbrouck Heights in an independent matchup in Wantage. Gardner, who now stands at 299-89-2 in 18 seasons, will go for No. 300 at Jefferson on Wednesday night.
In addition, the 'Cats (7-3) can take another step toward clinching the NJAC Freedom Division title with a victory. High Point, which beat Lenape Valley, 28-27, on Jan. 6, will travel to Hackettstown for its third and final division match on Wednesday, Jan. 27.
"It's great. I'm glad we have great kids, fans and parents who care about [the milestone]. But it's not why I got into [coaching]," said Gardner, who surpassed his former coach Jeff Hull (288-104-4 in 27 seasons) last season for most wins at High Point.
Gardner, who could have easily padded the schedule a year ago when the 'Cats went 7-9 for their first losing season since going 1-13 in 1971-72, holds the firm belief that the only way his team will get better and compete for postseason championships is by wrestling tough competition.
Last season was a rarity after a tremendous run in which the Sussex County program -- now celebrating its 50th season -- went 191-33 overall while capturing nine straight conference and eight sectional titles from 2006-14, as well as winning all four of its state championships (2008 and '11 in Group 3 and '13 and '14 in Group 2).
"I think [a quality schedule] has helped us get where we have to go," said Gardner, a state champion for the 'Cats in 1990 and one of just four wrestlers to win four Region 1 titles. "Hopefully the kids realize there are bigger things out there and they want to do it."
Gardner scored his 200th win against Vernon -- 64-12 at home on Jan, 21, 2010 -- nearly six years ago to the day.
HIGH POINT 48, HASBROUCK HEIGHTS 23
152 -- So. Michael O'Malley (18-0), HH, forfeit.
160 -- So. Abdul Asku (7-9), HH, p. So. Rob Turro (10-6), 2:27.
170 -- Sr. Trevor Pritchard (1-4), HP, forfeit.
182 -- Sr. Liam Gorman (11-7), HP, d. Jr. Omar Abdalla (5-11), 7-1.
195 -- Jr. Sean O'Malley (17-1), HH, d. Sr. Kevin Lewis (13-7), 10-5.
220 -- Jr. Matthew McDonnell (1-3), HP, forfeit.
285 -- Jr. Cliff Rutter (8-11), HP, p. Sr. Dashawn Nelson (3-7), 3:49.
106 -- Fr. Devin Flannery (13-6), HP, p. Fr. Dennis Riordan (6-3), 1:38.
113 -- So. Maverick Liebl (7-5), HP, d. Fr. Ian Rink (5-7), 5-0.
120 -- Sr. Justin Liebl (13-7), HP, p. Jr. Peter Innis (10-8), 5:40.
126 -- Jr. John Iurato (14-4), HH, d. So. Trey Osborn (7-10), 6-3.
132 -- Jr. Trevor Kocher (4-7), HP, p. Jr. Scott Li Vecchi (2-7), :29.
138 -- Jr. Derek Sarapuchiello (2-2), HP, forfeit.
145 -- So. Matthew Dallara (16-2), HH, tf. Fr. Oviane Marsh (0-1), 19-3, 2:46.
Records -- Hasbrouck Heights 6-5; High Point 7-3.