#2 Most Legendary Match at the Pit in Phillipsburg
This year, the Phillipsburg School District announced that wrestling matches would all be held at the new high school beginning next year. Despite the team, fans, and community arguing against the move, the District held firm. Last night Phillipsburg won its 35th NJSIAA sectional championship in what could be the last match in the Pit.
The Express-Times ran an article of the top 15 legendary matches in the Pit based on NJ.com, The Star-Ledger, and author Dave Leone, "Broke down 15 of the best matches in the history of Phillipsburg's legendary gym."
Number 2, What a debut
Phillipsburg 30, Nazareth 29
Dec. 21, 1988
Coach Bob Jiorle, who doubled as an art teacher at PHS, made his Phillipsburg coaching deput this night and boy was it a jolting first win in what Leone called "the loudest match he's ever heard." In front of a capacity crowd, Nazareth held a 29-12 lead with four bouts to go but Phillipsburg's upper weights once again provided the lift. Kevin Dutt won by decision at 160, Jim Crouse pinned at 170 while Kevin Kane closed the gap to 29-24 heading into heavyweight with a 8-4 decision. That's when Greg Troxell recorded the match-winning fall in 45 seconds.
From the capsule, it looks like this was lost in the upper weights. From my perspective, having been in that match, it was lost at 145 where I wrestled.
I was leading 3-1 late in the 3rd period. John Maczko and I were in a basic side by side whizzer position, I had the whizzer in. We were near the edge of the mat and the clock was ticking to zero. Maczko took his free arm and put it on my head, his other was across my back, which I had whizzered for much of the earlier twenty seconds. The referee called two and the match was over, a 3-3 tie, both teams got 2 points - a three point swing to Phillipsburg. That is the magic of the Pit for the Stateliners.
In Ted Meixell's article in the Morning Call, "Then came the crucial draw. Nunamaker's other son, senior Ross, led John Maczko 3-1 as the clock clicked toward zero. Just before time elapsed, Hart awarded Maczko the tying takedown - one Ray Nunamaker later termed, "Questionable."
"I knew we were in tourble as soon as Ross' bout ended in a draw," Ray Nunamaker said. "[160 pounder Jon] Shimer popped a cartilage in his rib cage Monday, and [130 pounder Mike] Jaskowick was sick all week. I figured we could still have a pretty good shot with one of them out, but with both of them out, especially after Ross' draw, I was worried."
From the same article Meixell wrote, "Kane built a 5-1 lead over McEntire at 189. But there would be drama here, because Kane tired visibly - and McEntire narrowed the gap to 6-4. Then, with 10 seconds left, McEntire got fairly deep on a single leg attempt. Had he converted, the match would've ended in a draw - and thus clinched a Nazareth victory. But Kane found one last burst of strength, overpowered McEntire - and got the takedown himself to win 8-4. Nazareth 29-24."
Boxscore (Nazareth wrestler 1st, Phillipsburg 2nd):
103: Magditch 2; E. Moore 12
112: Ry. Nunamaker 4; Dellatore 3
119: B. Silimperi 19; Boncher 6
125: Herceg fall over Watson 3:55
130: Lahr pinned by Maczko 3:30
135: Moritz 11; Fornicari 3
140: Madson fall over R. Moore
145: Nunamaker 3; Maczko 3
152: Miller 14; Shimko 4
160: Dieter 4; Dutt 10
171: Kapanka pinned by Crouse 1:12
189: McEntire 4; Kane 8
HWT: A. Silimperi pinned by Troxell 0:45