Newton HS wrestlers impressive this year

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  • From left Newton's Michael Freda and Kittatinny's Brian Hanna grab one another in the 132 lbs match. Freda won by decision 8-1. Photos from varsity wrestling match on January 26, 2018. The final score was 33-25 Newton. Photos by George Leroy Hunter

  • From left Kittatinny's Calvin Brook grapples with Newton's Wyatt McCarthy in the 152 lbs match. McCarthy pinned Brook for the win and the final score was 9-4.

  • Kittatinny's Josh Hiler grabs the leg of Newton's Nick Brigante in the 170 lbs match. Hiler won by major decision 10-2.

By Josh Lashley

— Having high expectations is definitely a noble thing for a sports team or an individual athlete to possess. Meeting and even surpassing those expectations can’t be done on paper. Rather that must be accomplished through hard work on a regular basis-which is easier said than done.

Well, the Newton High School wrestling program, rich in tradition, reached some lofty heights this past season and the credit goes to head coach Eric Bollette, his coaching staff and the student-athletes on the roster who made the decision to not only participate in, but invest time and energy into this ultra challenging endeavor.

The Braves made some very good things happen on both an individual and team-wide basis. They finished with an overall dual meet record of 16-6 and advanced to the NJSIAA North 1 Group 2 semifinal round.

“I would say that, on the whole, we wrestled very well this season,’’ Bollette said. “We had a very difficult schedule, but three events that stand out were our victory over Kittatinny (33-25 on January 26), our effort versus Phillipsburg (a 38-29 loss on December 23) and our Region 1 Tournament in which we placed seven wrestlers in the top eight.’’

Newton didn’t reach the heights that they did by accident, it happened because of the aforementioned admirable collective work ethic and leadership by the coaches as well as veteran wrestlers on the roster.

“As expected, our captains-Wyatt McCarthy, Jonathon Borgognoni, and Joey DeLuca-were our leaders,’’ Bollette said. “As the season emerged, Luke Fischer also filled a leadership role, winning key bouts and improving tremendously throughout the season.’’

Coach Bollette was impressed with the ways in which several athletes, including newcomers to the team performed on the mat.

“Our freshmen, Nathan Fitt, Danny Cleary and JoJo Lotruglio improved greatly as the year progressed and were a big part of our teams overall success,’’ Bollette said. “Matt Rosa and Michael Freda were also key contributors, taking the next step and winning matches at the Regional Tournament this season.’’

The Braves will look to continue their winning ways during the 2018-2019 season.

“We will return 10 starters, two State qualifiers and five wrestlers that placed in the top eight at the Region 1 Tournament,’’ Bollette said. “We feel that with what we return next year we can duplicate, if not improve upon this year’s success.’’

NOTES: McCarthy (145 pounds) and Borgnognoni 152 pounds) were District 1 champions. Lotruglio (120 pounds), DeLuca (182 pounds) and Fischer (220 pounds) were second in District 1. Rosa (126 pounds) and Freda (132 pounds) placed third in the Districts…McCarthy was a Region 1 champ, while Fischer (second), Borgnognoni (third), Freda (fifth) and DeLuca (sixth) also placed at the Regions…McCarthy placed seventh at the State Tournament in Atlantic City.

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