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HIGH SCHOOL PREVIEW FOR DECEMBER 29: Big news from New Jersey, and this weekend's top tourneys



Southern ends Camden Catholic's New Jersey streak
After 55 consecutive victories against New Jersey competition over a span of more than two seasons, Cherry Hill (N.J.) Camden Catholic High saw the streak end Dec. 23 in a 36-28 road loss to Manahawkin Southern region High.

It was Camden Catholic's third loss in a week. The previous Saturday, the Irish lost to Lakewood (Ohio) St. Edward High and Kansas City (Mo.) Oak Park High in a fourth-place finish in the St. Edward Elite 8 Duals.

Anthony Trongone, moved up a weight to 189 for the meet's opening match, gave the Irish (3-3) a 3-0 lead with a 9-3 victory over Josh Cipolla. A pair of Southern victories made it 6-3 for the hosts before three straight wins by Mike Tully (103), Taylor Walsh (112) and Corey Schmidt (119), who got a forfeit, gave Camden Catholic the lead again at 19-6. Southern then regained the lead with three straight wins, including back-to-back pins by Nick Maugeri (130) and Frank Miele (135), before state qualifier Dakota Moore (140) got a pin to break the streak. Two-time state champ Frank Molinaro (145) then beat Jackson Brady 5-2. With his team holding a 30-28 lead, Ed Broderick (171) clinched the match for Southern (3-0) with a pin.

Camden Catholic, by the way, started a new streak Wednesday, thumping Lower Cape May High 77-0.

Paulsboro, Camden Catholic won't wrestle

One thing is certain: Wherever this match might have been wrestled, there wouldn't have been a seat to be had.

Paulsboro High and Camden Catholic, south Jersey's two acknowledged and most talked-about powerhouses, were set for a Feb. 1 showdown. But the Cherry Hill Courier-Post reports the match is off.

Reportedly at issue: whether the two teams would enter into a one- or a two-year contract, which would have been a home-and-home arrangement, and whether the event would be a varsity-only affair.

For a one-year deal, Camden Catholic wanted a home match including the junior varsity, while Paulsboro wanted a neutral site with the varsity only taking the mat.

"The notion of a one-year deal with no JV matches and at a neutral site were part of the negotiations," Camden Catholic coach Pete DiPol told the Courier-Post. "I am against that because our JV kids work too hard not to wrestle on a night when the varsity is wrestling.

"We were up for doing a one-year deal, as long as that match was at Camden Catholic and included junior varsity. It would also be unfair to the 2005 and 2006 teams that helped us earn the No. 1 ranking in South Jersey. We feel we earned the right to have the match at our place."

"I thought we had everything set," Paulsboro coach Paul Morina told the Courier Post. "I really don't know what happened."

When New Jersey is great, it's great for the same reason Illinois wrestling is great: everybody wrestles everybody. Here's hoping that will become the case in ultra-competitive south Jersey soon.

Hackettstown records a first
One of central New Jersey's traditional lidlifters, the Hunterdon/Warren Tournament at Flemington Hunterdon Central, saw mid-major Hackettstown High wrestle like anything but as they breezed to their first-ever title, scoring 209 points to Swamp defending champion Frenchtown Delaware Valley High (135.5). Just 17.5 points separated Del Val from the next four teams.

Hackettstown, only sixth in the tournament a year ago, went 5-for-6 in the finals and placed a stunning 11 in the top three. Hackettstown's winners were Keith Morris (125), Taylor Ulm (135), Cory Vernon (145), Owen Vernon (152) and Zach Lum (171).

Del Val's four champions included state place-winners Dan Kelly (112) and Kris Sigafoos (130). Amazingly, Hackettstown finished 82 points behind Del Val last year. Hunterdon Central's Pat Strikzki (119) was voted the Outstanding Wrestler.

Happy New Year: Tournaments abound
The Old Year rings out with more great tournaments, including The Clash National Duals at Rochester, Minn., the Powerade Tournament at Canonsburg (Pa.) Canon-McMillan High and the Zac Jarczynka Ironman Tournament at Oviedo (Fla.) High among the highlights. The New Year rings in with our insightful analysis of these and other events.

Have a safe and Happy New Year!
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