Thursday, January 10, 2019

Wrestling: 'Liners topple Cougars in return to The Pit

It was the Senior Show early for Phillipsburg's wrestling team.

Bryce Parenti started a seven-match run -- the first six wins by seniors -- with a pin at 126 pounds to open the match, and the Stateliners cruised to a 44-12 win over Kittatinny on "Back to The Pit Night II" on Thursday at Phillipsburg Middle School.

Phillipsburg will host the HWS Tournament on Saturday.
P'burg (7-0), ranked No. 3 in the Open Mike area, racked up four pins total and two major decisions in winning 10 of the 14 contested bouts. Kittatinny (7-6), which came in as a huge underdog, had all it could do to manage four regular decisions in its worst loss of the series since a 59-6 drubbing in its previous Pit appearance in 2015. The Cougars and veteran coach John Gill are now 6-18 vs. the 'Liners dating to 1994, including a 2-10 mark at The Pit.

"We always talk about [not giving up bonus points]," said 'Liners coach Post, who is now 9-0 all-time against Kittatinny, told Mike Moore of "Tonight it didn't matter, but not giving up bonus points to the top teams in the state will get us a win somewhere along the way."

State placewinner Travis Jones followed Parenti by decking Nile Mattar with a cradle in 3:44, while senior Cody Harrison, a two-time state placewinner, stuck Gian Knippenberg in 3:37 for his 97th career win. A pin by senior TJ Abode and freshman David Pierson's 6-4 decision at 170 capped the run and gave P'burg, which has won nine straight against Kittatinny since a 41-34 loss in 2010, a commanding 33-0 lead.

Kittatinny, which rated as a heavy favorite in the upper weights, had its hands full at 182 through 285. P'burg junior Jacob Wicks held his own in a 3-2 loss to Zach Mafaro, a sixth-place finisher in the state tournament last season, while Jacob Mafaro (220) and Jackson Crawn (285) recorded hard-fought decisions.

P'burg senior Austin Roth iced the match with a 9-0 major of Robert Bruce at 195, as the 'Liners held a 37-3 lead with five bouts to go.

"Kittatinny is very good up top and all three [who lost] had a chance to win," said Post, whose team was coming off a 78-0 waxing of Montgomery on Wednesday -- giving the program two shutouts in a season for the first time since the 1995-96 season in addition to a 68-0 blanking of Hillsborough on Dec. 19, which was its first since 2007.

"Wicks wrestled a smart match. We told our guys, 'Give yourselves a chance to win at the end. Don't do damage by giving up big points in the first period."

In one of the more entertaining bouts, P'burg freshman Joey Innamorato dropped a 7-6 decision to senior Mike Nelson in the final matchup at 120. Innamorato scored the only two takedowns, but a three-point nearfall in the second period proved to be the difference for Nelson, a Region 1 qualifier last season.

"If he keeps wrestling hard, good things are going to happen," Post said of his talented freshman.


126 -- Sr. Bryce Parenti (13-6), P, p. So. Patrick Franco (9-8), 2:42.
132 -- Sr. Travis Jones (13-2), P, p. Sr. Nile Mattar (10-9), 3:44.
138 -- Sr. Luke Hardin (6-6), P, d. Sr. Derek Molfetto (8-9), 8-2.
145 -- Sr. Kyle Tino (12-6), P, d. Sr. Brian Hanna (14-4), 10-4.
152 -- Sr. Cody Harrison (12-1), P, p. Jr. Gian Knippenberg (11-8), 3:37.
160 -- Sr. TJ Abode (9-7), P, p. Sr. Chris Pollison (0-1), 1:38.
170 -- Fr. David Pierson (8-6), P, d. Sr. Blake Dippel (6-12), 6-4.
182 -- Sr. Zach Mafaro (15-1), K, d. Jr. Jacob Wicks (9-6), 3-2.
195 -- Sr. Austin Roth (9-5), P, md. Jr. Robert Bruce (11-7), 9-0.
220 -- Jr. Jacob Mafaro (6-1), K, d. So. Gage Horvath (7-9), 6-3.
285 -- So. Jackson Crawn (17-2), K, d. Jr. Cody Cruts (6-7), 6-2.
106 -- Fr. James Day (15-5), P, d. Fr. Shane Nelson (10-9), 8-3.
113 -- So. Logan Maczko (12-5), P, md. So. Connor Hanna (0-6), 12-0.
120 -- Sr. Mike Nelson (10-3), K, d. Fr. Joey Innamorato (5-7), 7-6.
Records -- Kittatinny 7-6; Phillipsburg 7-0.
Officials -- Russ Scorese and Doug Busch.

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