Thursday, February 4, 2016

Wrestling: Kittatinny at High Point preview, lineups

What: Kittatinny Cougars at High Point Wildcats.

Where: High Point Regional High School, Wantage.

When: Friday, 7 p.m.

TV: Mugs Media (tape delay).

Records: Kittatinny 14-1; High Point 13-5.

Conference: Northwest Jersey Athletic (cross-divisional).

State rankings (New Jersey Wrestling Writers): Kittatinny No. 20.

Coaches: John Gill (529-163-5, 36th season (11-23-1 vs. HP); John Gardner (305-91-2, 18th season (9-8 vs. Kitt).

Series history: High Point leads 27-12-1 dating to 1976, including a 32-21 win in last year's North 1, Group 2 first-round matchup in Wantage, and has won nine of the past 10 matchups. That was the first postseason meeting between the longtime rivals and there was no regular-season dual last year for the first time in series history. Kittatinny, which has dropped the last two matchups, snapped a seven-match skid in the series with a 35-18 win at home in 2013. Prior to that stretch, the Cougars won seven in a row from 1999-2005.

Probable lineups (Kittatinny wrestlers listed first with season records in parentheses):

106 -- Fr. Derek Molfetto (9-13) vs. Fr. Devin Flannery (20-6).

113 -- Jr. Mark DiGeronimo (17-5) vs. So. Maverick Liebl (9-7).

120 -- So. Perry Maio (15-9) vs. Sr. Justin Liebl (18-10).

126 -- So. Calvin Brook (15-8) vs. So. Trey Osborn (13-12).

132 -- Sr. Nick Klinger (24-1) vs. So. Shane Kobis (19-10).

138 -- Sr. Austin Scrivani (23-1) vs. Fr. Oviane Marsh (0-5) or Jr. Derek Sarapuchiello (2-4).

145 -- Sr. Jake Vanwingerden (17-8) vs. Sr. Jared Kobis (18-0).

152 -- Jr. Dylan Minter (13-9) vs. Jr. Aric Wingle (13-4).

160 -- Sr. Taylor Molfetto (15-6) vs. So. Rob Turro (15-8).

170 -- Jr. Josh Klimek (19-5) vs. Sr. Liam Gorman (15-11) or Sr. Trevor Pritchard (2-8).

182 -- Fr. Zach Mafaro (18-5) vs. Sr. Kurt Rosner (0-5) or Sr. Shane Crothers (1-2).

195 -- Sr. Luke DeGroat (12-11) vs. Sr. Kevin Lewis (19-8) or Jr. Matt McDonnell (3-4).

220 -- Sr. Nick Simpson (11-9) vs. Jr. Cliff Rutter (11-15) or Lewis.

285 -- Sr. Griffin Waldron (4-7) vs. So. Thomas Hubmaster (4-11) or Rutter.

Breakdown: The 41st meeting between these archrivals could be a dandy. Wasn't looking that way last month when Kittatinny won the Hunterdon-Warren-Sussex Tournament and High Point finished 11th. Kittatinny is eager to end a two-match skid in the series after a tough 42-18 loss to Phillipsburg on Wednesday night that did not sit well with Gill. The Cougars rate as solid favorites in five weights -- 113, 132, 138, 170, 182 -- while the 'Cats get the nod at 106, 145, 195 and 220. That leaves 120 (Maio d. J. Liebl, 3-1 at HWS), 126, 152, 160 and 285 as the pivotal bouts. High Point would like to sweep three up top 195-285, but moving Lewis and Rutter up still makes the 'Cats underdogs at 195. That may be the move with Klimek and Mafaro pegged as heavy favorites, though Gorman will be giving up weight to a physically stronger opponent who beat him last year. Where the match starts and the score could dictate a move by Gardner, whose team will likely need four of those tossups to pull off the victory. I'm thinking Gardner goes straight up in the uppers for a shot at winning all three. Call it a 3-2 split on those tough-to-call tosses, favoring the visitors. Cougars win eight bouts and would still get the victory with seven because they should get three pins. Other potential rematches from last season: Klinger d. S. Kobis, 11-4; J. Kobis tf. Vanwingerden, 16-1, 4:25; J. Kobis tf. Minter, 21-6, 4:32 (D3 final); DeGroat d. Gorman, 4-0; Lewis p. Simpson, :26; Lewis p. Waldron, 2:47 (D3 semis).

Prediction: Kittatinny 34-24.


  1. Mike do you know if John Gill went to Cedar Ridge High School? I see he's been coaching Kittatiny for 36 years and I remember a guy on Cedar Ridge by that name from the 70's. Thought it might be the same John Gill.

    1. Ben, John is from New York, so not the same John Gill.