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Billy Hagany and Nick Francavilla (H.M. @ 125)* failed to make their preferred weight Sunday. But when their turns on the mat came around, the two wrestlers for High Point (No. 14 in the Nation) more than made up for it, closing out the Wildcats? 30-28 victory over South Plainfield for the NJSIAA Group 3 state championship.
High Point (NJ), No. 2 in The Star-Ledger Top 20 state rankings, received back-to-back decision victories from Hagany at 125 pounds and Francavilla, a two-time state tournament champion, at 130 to erase a five-point deficit against top-ranked South Plainfield before 5,050 at Poland Spring Arena on the campus of Toms River North High.
?This is huge compared to an individual title, there is nothing like a team title.?Hagany weighed in 5 ounces over his usual 119 pounds and Francavilla was 8 ounces over for the 125 limit, forcing coach John Gardner to move each of them up.
Nick Francavilla, High Point, 125 lbs.
The showdown between the state?s top two teams began at 135 pounds, meaning Hagany and Francavilla would close out the meet.
?That was really our secret plan all along,? said Gardner, with tongue planted firmly in cheek. ?We told the kids we had to win seven bouts and we did that. And we knew we needed bonus points up top. We got that, too.?
The victory avenged last year?s final, in which South Plainfield (22-4) defeated High Point (22-2), 26-24, in the Group 3 championship match and took The Star-Ledger Top 20 Trophy with it. High Point?s only other group title came in 2008 when the Sussex County team won Group 3.
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2011 STATE TEAM FINALS ? Recaps & Box Scores
New Jersey State Team Results & Box Scores* (NJ.com)
- Group 1 ? Paulsburo 37, Kittatinny 25
- Group 2 ? Brearley 42, West Essex 27
- Group 3 ? High Point 30, South Plainfield 28
- Group 4 ? Jackson Memorial 34, Phillipsburg 24
- Non-public A ? Delbarton 55, Bishop Ahr 12
- Non-public B ? Camden Catholic 67, DePaul 3