Monday, February 20, 2017

Wrestling: District recap for HWS by the numbers

As we get set to being the next phase of the individual postseason starting on Wednesday, let's revisit what happened in the 12 districts that house teams from the Hunterdon-Warren-Sussex area.

That's right, with this new realignment, we have 18 schools spread out all over the north and central parts of the state. Hunterdon Central, still in District 17 and Region 5, advanced an area-high 12 wrestlers, while Warren Hills sent 10 (its highest total since 1998) to this week's Region 3 Tournament at West Orange.
High Point and Newton combined for 6 champs in District 1.

In all, there are 118 wrestlers from the HWS area still competing -- 13 more than last season.

We had eight schools win team championships: High Point (D1), Kittatinny (D2), Phillipsburg (D9), Warren Hills (D12), North Hunterdon (D15), Voorhees (D16), Hunterdon Central (D17) and Delaware Valley (D19).

Here's a closer look by the numbers:

6 -- Warren Hills produced six champions for just the third time since 1966 and first since '90 at District 12 in Livingston, as Matt Valli (132) and Jarod Ostir (170) won their second titles, while Zach Nauta (138), Rashon Wade Taylor (152), Nick Galka (182) and Brody Oberly (220) got their first championships. Valli recorded his 100th career win in the finals, while the Oberly family is just the second at the school to have three generations of district champs -- joining Bob (1942), Dave (1965-67), Daryl (1989) and Doug Detrick (1990). Oberly's grandfather Bill (1951-52) and father Ben (1984-86) were state champions for the Blue Streaks, along with great uncle Johnston Oberly, who won four district titles for the former Washington High School from 1954-57, along with a state title at heavyweight in '57. Bill Oberly was a two-time state champ at heavyweight in 1951 and '52, while Ben won back-to-back state gold medals in 1985 and '86.

117 -- Voorhees had big day in District 16 with four champions -- Aidan Taylor (106), Colby Koshinski (113), Michael Fernandes (160) and Sam Huff (285) -- to raise the program's total to 117. In addition, the Vikes had nine placewinners in capturing their first team championship since 1992 and just its eighth overall (1980, '81, '83, '85, '86, '91 were the others).

36 -- Hunterdon Central dominated District 17 -- winning its second straight team title and seventh in the last nine years to raise the program's total to 36. In all, 12 of 14 advanced to Region 5 -- including champions Jack Bauer (113), Hunter Graf (120), Vincent Romaniello (132), Bryce Hall (138), Michael Iodice (182) and Victor Lacombe (220). In the process, Graf,a three-time champ, became the 20th wrestler for the Red Devils to reach the 100-win mark.

107 -- Delaware Valley won its first team championship since 2008 on the strength of four champions -- Connor Mills (132), Matt Kolonia (138), Rhys Zigich (145) and Kyle Lightner (195) -- in District 19. The Terriers, who advanced nine wrestlers to Region 5, now have 107 champs overall, and would have had a strong chance to get another, but sophomore AJ DeRosa (120) was unable to compete due to an illness.

62 -- With five champions in District 9, including three-time winners Brian Meyer (145) and Robert Melise (220), Phillipsburg, which won its 44th team championship in the process, has had at least one champ for 62 straight tournaments since missing in 1955. The only other year that the 'Liners came up empty was 1950. Bill Lowe was the program's first champ at 103 pounds in 1948.

204 -- North Hunterdon went over the 200 mark with six champions in District 15 at Westfield -- the most in one tournament for the Lions since crowning seven in District 17 in 1993. Cole Marra (152) and Charlie Tordik (285) won their second straight, while Andrew Gapas (132), William Hughes (138), Tucker Kirchberger (145) and Nick Luberto (160) collected their first titles. North has produced at least one champ in all but one year since 1959 (none in 2008).

-- Since going six straight years without a champion, Sparta has won nine titles in four seasons as Chris Hwang (120) and Garrett Stewart (132) won their first championships in the new-look District 3 at Don Bosco Prep. Stewart is the first freshman to win for the Spartans, who will send seven wrestlers to Region 1, since Steve Pagliughi won at 108 pounds in 1983 -- one of five champs for the Sussex County school that year. It's been a nice season for coach Frank Battaglia's team, which won the program's third sectional title overall and first since 2000 in North 1, Group 3.

The Cougars celebrate the D1 title. (Kittatinny Wrestling on Facebook)
20 -- Kittatinny's margin of victory over Pope John in the team race at District 2. The Cougars sent nine wrestlers to Region 1, including first-time champions Kasey Hotz (152) and Zach Mafaro (195). Senior Mark DiGeronimo pulled off the upset of the tournament with a 3-2 win in the semifinals over Pope John state placewinner JoJo Aragona in a matchup of returning champions, but was denied a third straight title with a 5-2 loss to Butler's Brandon Wyble in the 120-pound final.

15 -- High Point and Newton made the trek to Ramapo High School for the District 1 Tournament and combined to send 15 wrestlers to Region 1 -- another long trip to Bergen County Community College. The 'Cats had four district champs in Brandon LaRue (106), Billy Talmadge (126), Aric Wingle (152) and Cliff Rutter (220), while the Braves had two winners in Wyatt McCarthy (145) and Jonathon Borgognoni (160).

73 -- It's been a struggle for Hopatcong with low numbers over the last few seasons, but the Chiefs had 11 wrestlers entered at District 8 on Saturday -- up from only three in District 2 last year. Junior Anthony Mastroeni (126) won his second straight title, while senior Jake Wilkerson (170) got his first after missing all of last season with a knee injury. Two winners were the most for the Sussex County school since crowning three in 2011.

70 -- Lenape Valley hosted District 5 on Saturday, crowning its 69th and 70th champions overall in seniors Jacob Falleni (120) and Nick Palumbo (145), who won his second title after finishing second last season en route to placing third in the region and state tournaments. Falleni is just the fifth wrestler for the Patriots to win three championships -- joining current assistant coach Gary Mikolay (1996-98), Derrick Goduto (1999-2001), who is now the head coach at Cedar Grove, former state runner-up Chris Ressa (1999-2001) and Matt Benvenuto (2011-13).

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