In what may be the first of two matchups against Newton in a week, the Wildcats won eight bouts, including four pins, en route to a 39-24 victory to clinch the Northwest Jersey Athletic Conference Freedom Division title in Wantage.
High Point (13-4, 4-0 division), which has won 14 in a row in this series since a 31-27 loss in 2003 that snapped its 17-match win streak over Newton, claimed the program's seventh title in the eight-year history of the NJAC, missing only two seasons ago when Lenape Valley won the Freedom Division. The 'Cats also won the last four Sussex County Interscholastic League titles before the NJAC formed for the 2009-10 season.
"We told them that this is one of the things they can do, something they can attain if they compete to win," said High Point coach John Gardner, now 18-1 overall vs. Newton. "They were excited, especially some of the new kids in the mix, and some who haven't had much success individually. It was a chance to be part of something bigger than them."
Elsewhere on Wednesday, Pope John cruised to a 45-12 win over Sparta to claim the American Division title, while Kittatinny rolled to a 63-10 victory over Hopatcong to secure the Colonial Division crown.
Newton (10-8, 3-1) raced out to a 12-0 lead through the first three bouts, including junior Jonathon Borgognoni's 6-4 win over Aric Wingle in a matchup of region qualifiers in the opening bout at 160 pounds. Sophomore Nick Brigante followed with a 3-2 win in sudden-victory overtime at 170 -- the Braves won three of the four OT bouts on the night -- as Grayson Sabo was penalized one point for an illegal front-headlock.
"I thought we wrestled well. We won six bouts, three in overtime," said Newton coach Eric Bollette, now 1-15 all-time against High Point. "This is the closest we've been [15-point spread] against them in awhile [since the four-point win in 2003]."
Junior Hunter Flores (195) and senior Cliff Rutter (220) started a run of seven straight wins for High Point with key decisions. Flores scored an 8-4 victory over Devin Mager, while Rutter, a former district runner-up, got a takedown in OT for a 6-4 win over Luke Fischer in what was considered a tossup bout. Junior Thomas Hubmaster's pin at 285 tied the match at 12.
But High Point pulled away behind its powerful lower weights as Brandon LaRue (106), Devin Flannery (113) and Billy Talmadge (126) all won with pins, while Maverick Liebl received a forfeit at 120. Newton ended the run with a 12-10 win in sudden victory by Michael Freda at 132, but the three-point decision sealed it for High Point, which led 36-15 with three bouts to go.
In an entertaining bout at 145, senior Nick Giordano got a late reversal in the third period and subsequent takedown in overtime for a 4-2 win over Trey Osborn, who rode Giordano out in the second period and nearly all of the third after getting an early reversal.
High Point earned the No. 1 seed for the upcoming North 1, Group 2 sectional tournament, while Newton is the No. 5 seed. If both win their openers on Monday, it will set up a rematch here in the semifinals on Wednesday, Feb. 8. There has never been a postseason meeting in this series, and the 'Cats now hold a 37-7 edge dating to 1970, going 36-1 since 1980. Six of the Braves' wins were from 1970-85, with no meetings from 1973-76.
HIGH POINT 39, NEWTON 24
160 -- Jr. Jonathon Borgognoni (23-4), N, d. Sr. Aric Wingle (17-7), 6-4.
170 -- So. Nick Brigante (11-4), N, d. So. Grayson Sabo (7-9), 3-2 SV.
182 -- Jr. Joseph DeLuca (19-8), N, p. Sr. Matthew McDonnell (8-10), 2:40.
195 -- Jr. Hunter Flores (11-4), HP, d. Jr. Devin Mager (10-6), 8-4.
220 -- Sr. Cliff Rutter (13-4), HP, d. So. Luke Fischer (18-9), 6-4 SV.
285 -- Jr. Thomas Hubmaster (12-8), HP, p. So. Jimmy Harding (5-7), 4:51.
106 -- So. Brandon LaRue (22-2), HP, p. Fr. Aidan Bartsch (6-11), 1:08.
113 -- So. Devin Flannery (17-2), HP, p. Fr. Julian Sibblies (9-14), :25.
120 -- Jr. Maverick Liebl (14-5), HP, forfeit.
126 -- Fr. Billy Talmadge (15-7), HP, p. Fr. Ryan Sosa (0-7), :19.
132 -- So. Michael Freda (15-10), N, d. Jr. RJ Brevot (4-8), 12-10 SV.
138 -- Jr. Shane Kobis (15-7), HP, d. Sr. Jake DeLuca (14-8), 4-1.
145 -- Sr. Nick Giordano (20-8), N, d. Jr. Trey Osborn (12-9), 4-2 SV.
152 -- So. Wyatt McCarthy (25-3), N, forfeit.
Records -- Newton 10-8, 3-1; High Point 13-4, 4-0.
Referee -- Rick Solofsky.
'Liners stay tough on Vikes
Sophomore Travis Jones' pin at 113 pounds was among the highlights for Phillipsburg, which won nine bouts en route to a 43-21 win over Voorhees to nail down the Skyland Conference Raritan Division title in Lebanon Township.
P'burg (11-1, 6-0 division) ran the division table for a seventh straight season in claiming the program's 21st championship since joining the Skyland Conference for the 1995-96 season. The Stateliners have gone 43-0 in winning the last seven titles, and have not dropped a division contest since a 39-13 loss to Hunterdon Central on Jan. 16, 2010.
Jones decked region qualifier Colby Koshinski in 3:41 to give P'burg a 34-18 with three bouts left. Voorhees sophomore Hunter Rinehart scored a 5-3 win over Tyris Manley at 120, but P'burg sophomores Cody Harrison and Kyle Tino closed it out with a pin and a decision.
Voorhees (13-7, 0-6) fell to 0-25 all-time against P'burg, while senior Michael Fernandes (27-0) remained unbeaten with his 94th career win -- pinning Cody Cruts in 23 seconds.
PHILLIPSBURG 43, VOORHEES 21
138 -- Jr. Josh Ramos (4-3), P, p. Sr. Augie Heithoff (1-7), 2:38.
145 -- Jr. Brian Meyer (22-7), P, forfeit.
152 -- Sr. Liam Cutri-French (18-8), V, d. So. Jayson Zinsmeister (7-12), 5-2.
160 -- Jr. Shamyr Brodders (5-10), P, d. Sr. Ben Brandner (11-12), 7-4.
170 -- Sr. Michael Fernandes (27-0), V, p. Fr. Cody Cruts (0-6), :23.
182 -- Jr. Scott Fernandes (23-4), V, d. Sr. Dan Fisher (11-8), 3-0.
195 -- Sr. Drew Horun (25-4), P, d. So. Lewis Fernandes (22-5), 6-2.
220 -- Sr. Robert Melise (22-2), P, forfeit.
285 -- So. Sam Huff (12-11), V, p. Sr. Ronny Penalo (1-1), 1:20.
106 -- Jr. Cullen Day (22-5), P, md. So. Aidan Taylor (16-9), 11-2.
113 -- So. Travis Jones (18-7), P, p. Jr. Colby Koshinski (14-11), 3:41.
120 -- So. Hunter Rinehart (20-6), V, d. Jr. Tyris Manley (7-8), 5-3.
126 -- So. Cody Harrison (12-4), P, p. Fr. Joe Delusant (10-9), 1:18.
132 -- So. Kyle Tino (9-12), P, d. Sr. Colton Riley (13-12), 6-3.
Records -- Phillipsburg 11-1, 6-0; Voorhees 13-7, 0-6.