ROCKAWAY, NJ - The High Point Wrestling Team won their fourth match in a row in dominant fashion after a 59-12 beatdown of Morris Hills Thursday night.
“I’m pleased. We’re making progress and wrestling’s about taking little steps and we’re getting a little better in some areas,” High Point Head Coach John Gardner said. “Don’t get me wrong we have a lot of work to do, but we’ll keep making the adjustments and the improvements that we need to be as good as we can be when [State] Sectionals comes,” he added.
The Wildcats took control from the onset and never looked back. Chris Auer, Jason Gaccione, and Thomas Hooker collected three straight pin-falls at the 138, 145, and 152 pounds class respectively for High Point. The trio are looked at as varsity leaders on to the team, as all three have over 10 victories thus far this season with Gaccione leading the squad with a 21-2 record.
“When we start off good, and we have good kids coming out doing what they’re supposed to be doing, it really sets the tone for the match and pumps everyone up,” said senior Connor McHugh.
“The two juniors [Auer and Hooker] are both kids who wrestled with our team in our State Final match against South Plainfield, so they’re kids who have been around so it’s nice to see that those kids are now who help us get rolling,” Gardner said.
After a brief decision loss at 160 temporarily changed the mood, the Wildcats answered right back winning the following four matches, two by way of first round pin-falls. Brien Alvino improved to 3-3 on the year in varsity matches after a pin-fall win at the 170 pounds class.
“Brien Alvino has been wrestling behind Moses [Yasin] all year, so we thought we’d give him the opportunity to go wrestle. He hasn’t wrestled very much, but obviously it shows he’s been paying attention in the room and doing the work he needs to do,” Gardner said.
Alvino was followed by Antonio Porraspita and Kyle Stoll, who added two decision victories at 182 and 195 pounds class, respectively with critical back-points and takedowns. Porraspita improved to 11-7 on the year, while Stoll is currently 18-3. Robert McDonnell capped off the four-match sweep to 220 as he added a pin-fall victory late in the first round.
Morris Hills eventually got on the board in a major way late in the contest, gaining one of their two pin-fall victories at the 285 pounds class, thanks to Johnny Reyes. The pin erupted the local crowd temporarily as they clung to a glimmer of hope for a Scarlet Knights comeback.
High Point eventually closed out the match by winning four of the last five matches on the night. Trever Risdon and Dominick Gallo combined for first period pin-falls at 106 and 113, to give the Wildcats an insurmountable 48-9 lead. Jared Kobis added a technical fall victory at 120.
Connor McHugh capped off the impressive night for the Wildcats earning the last pin-fall victory of the match for High Point at 126. One of just three seniors on the team McHugh has led by example going 16-6 in varsity matches.
“I always go cross-arm it’s something I always do [and] if I can’t get it I get in a little bit of trouble. I like coming out physical and putting it in [my opponents] head that he should be scared,” McHugh said.
High Point’s victory improves them to 10-3 on the season as they are winners of their last four matches. They will look to continue their success as they take on Bergen Catholic and Roxbury in a tri-meet on Saturday.
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