|P'burg is 55-8-1 all-time vs. North after its 16th straight win since '07.|
"I was a little bit nervous," said Parenti (17-8), who is making the most of his opportunity after waiting three seasons to become a varsity wrestler. "I was a little more cautious in this match. I could have been a little more aggressive in the first two periods and put more points on the board."
P'burg (9-0 overall, 3-0 division), ranked No. 8 in the New Jersey Writers Top 20 poll and can clinch the division title with a win over Ridge on Wednesday, Jan. 23, had its hands full with No. 13 North Hunterdon (10-2, 1-1), which was aiming to snap a 15-match skid in the series with the program's first win over the 'Liners since 2007.
"We were very confident that we could get the seven [wins] we got," said P'burg coach Dave Post, who disagreed with a no-call late in the third period at 138 pounds, where Luke Hardin, who had an early 6-1 lead, appeared to have a takedown before giving one up with 28 seconds left in an eventual 7-6 loss to Drew Doscher in a rideout.
P'burg surged to an 18-6 lead through six bouts, and held North senior Michael Wilson to just a decision at 170, as Lions coach Chris Hrunka bumped his lineup from 132 through 195. But the turning point came as junior Nathaniel Fossett, the HWS champ at 170, took junior Jacob Wicks to his back with a single-leg takedown in a 1-1 bout for a stunning pin in 4:33 that gave the hosts some momentum.
"Jacob is a first-year varsity wrestler, and that was a case where he was [in a tie bout] and tried to get a win to be the hero," Post said. "He wrestled a great match up until that point. He's been such a huge surprise for us."
That pin gave North some momentum, but P'burg senior Austin Roth settled the home crowd by decking James Holder with a cradle in 33 seconds to give his team a 24-12 lead and a much-needed pick up with the 'Liners decided underdogs in four of the next five bouts, including 220 and 285, where the Lions settled for decisions to make it a six-point match.
Freshman James Day came through with a 9-2 win at 106 to stretch the lead, before Frank Diesso (113) and Connor Robinson (120) put North in position to win with key decisions.
Post opted to weigh seniors Travis Jones (132), TJ Abode (160) and Roth all down one weight class, as P'burg was looking to lock in Robinson at 120. All three were victorious, including Abode's 5-4 win over Kyle Anderson on the strength of a five-point move in the first period.
Hrunka made the decision to bump the lineup after weigh-ins and with the match starting at 132, but his team gave up three pins and didn't quite get enough up top to pull off the upset.
"We thought we could beat Abode, but that five points killed us," said Hrunka, now 0-3 against P'burg in his two seasons at the helm. "Everyone knows in close matches it comes down to bonus points. If you have to win eight bouts against a top 10 team [in the state], it's going to be tough."
We could very well see a rematch next month in sectional action as these teams look to be the best North 2, Group 4 has to offer.
"We'll see them down the line again, probably," Parenti said.
PHILLIPSBURG 30, NORTH HUNTERDON 24
132 -- Sr. Travis Jones (18-3), P, p. Fr. William Cole (0-4), 1:45.
138 -- Jr. Drew Doscher (13-8), NH, d. Sr. Luke Hardin (7-10), 7-6 OT rideout.
145 -- Sr. Kyle Tino (17-7), P, d. Jr. Evan Klimas (13-7), 7-4.
152 -- Sr. Cody Harrison (18-1), P, p. Sr. Luke Hanlon (12-9), 1:27.
160 -- Sr. TJ Abode (14-8), P, d. Jr. Kyle Anderson (7-10), 5-4.
170 -- Sr. Michael Wilson (20-2), NH, d. Fr. David Pierson (9-10), 3-0.
182 -- Jr. Nathaniel Fossett (10-2), NH, p. Jr. Jacob Wicks (13-8), 4:33.
195 -- Sr. Austin Roth (15-5), P, p. So. James Holder (15-7), :33.
220 -- Jr. Ian Gaburo (13-5), NH, d. So. Gage Horvath (10-12), 5-2.
285 -- Sr. Lorenzo Becerril (12-6), NH, d. Jr. Cody Cruts (7-11), 4-2.
106 -- Fr. James Day (18-6), P, d. Fr. Nick DeLorenzo (10-11), 9-2.
113 -- So. Frank Diesso (18-3), NH, d. So. Logan Maczko (16-7), 5-2.
120 -- Sr. Connor Robinson (16-6), NH, d. Fr. Joey Innamorato (6-11), 9-2.
126 -- Sr. Bryce Parenti (17-8), P, d. So. Connor Quinn (9-9), 3-1.
Records -- Phillipsburg 9-0, 3-0; North Hunterdon 10-2, 1-1.
Official -- Joe Benvenuto.