HHS snaps 16-year losing streak to Hamilton

By: Kyle Moylan
   Tim Trivisonno doesn’t claim to know a lot about history. The Hightstown High freshman is much more suited in creating it.
   Trivisonno pinned Joe Werner with 15 seconds left in the second period, snapping a team tie and paving the way for the Hightstown wrestling squad’s first win over Hamilton since 1988.
   "I wasn’t even born yet," Trivisonno noted about the last time Hightstown defeated Hamilton before Wednesday night’s 43-33 victory. "I don’t have a clue what the 1980’s were like. Not a clue."
   What Trivisonno does know is wrestling.
   "When the score is close like that, I just have to make sure I get the job done for my team," Trivisonno said.
   Trivisonno not only got the job done, he did it in a match that few people at Hightstown High will forget. One possible exception being Hightstown Coach Mike Russo.
   "It was hard to watch," Russo said.
   For 3:45, Trivisonno and Werner threw each other around the mat at a frantic pace. In less than a second, one wrestler would go from nearly having a pin to fighting off having his own shoulders placed on the mat.
   On more than once occasion, the referee had to signal points for both wrestlers at the same time. The only time action stopped – or even slowed – was to make sure the score was right.
   The last numbers on the scoreboard had Werner up 18-8. That may or not have been correct, but became a moot point anyway when Trivisonno got in the last drastic turn in the match.
   "That was crazy," noted Brandan Tyers, Hightstown’s captain and a winner by pin himself. "I’m just glad (Trivisonno) came out on top."
   Obviously, so was Russo. The Hightstown Coach paced the sidelines during the match, starting to jump for joy a couple of times before having to stop himself. At times he just looked away.
   "It shouldn’t have been that way," Russo said. "Thank God he got that last roll. I was just waiting for the referee to slap the mat."
   Trivisonno’s pin gave Hightstown a 39-33 lead with just one match to go. Sending out Brian Leibowitz with a tie score secured and a historic win in place with anything better than a loss by pin, Russo was much more relaxed.
   "There are not many guys I’d rather have out there at the end than Leibowitz," Russo said.
   Leibowitz even took away any minor fears he or Russo might have had with a quick takedown against Rob Fink in their 119-pound match.
   "I beat this kid last year," Leibowitz recalled. "Once I took him down once, I knew I would win."
   So did the Hightstown crowd, which chanted "Let’s go Leibo" the entire match. Leibowitz won, 13-3.
   "I was loving it at the end," Leibowitz said. "I had to do it for everyone. I didn’t just want to stay off my back, I wanted to win."
   Of course, Trivisonno and Leibowitz were only able to play the rolls of hero because of the great work of many of their teammates.
   A pin by Tyers (125) and a decision by Dan Indellicati (145) helped keep Hamilton from turning the match into a rout at the start.
   With Hightstown down 21-9 going into the match at 160, it needed points quickly. John Bardachino (160), Kenny Amponsa (171) and Greg Scheman (189) all responded with pins.
   Scheman’s pin put Hightstown into a temporary lead. After a Hamilton pin at 215 and a forfeit win at heavyweight, Ethan Lippman took to the mat at 103 pounds with Hightstown down 33-27. Lippman responded by pinning Roberto Bossilio with four seconds to go in the second period.
   "It started to become a real nail-biter, but we pulled it out as a team," Tyers noted.
   Throughout the entire match, Tyers, the captain, walked up and down the area behind the Hightstown bench, screaming encouragement.
   For the last few matches, the Hightstown fans loudly joined in the screams and cheers. Both Trivisonno and Leibowitz noted they heard them all and fed off the energy.
   The streak lasted for 16 years. It needed a lot of help to be brought to a halt.
   "It’s definitely a big win for the program," Russo noted. "It’s been a while."
   The losing streak started when Russo was in grade school, two years before he would wrestle at Hightstown. Russo wrestled at Hightstown from 1990-93 and had never been part of a win over Hamilton before.
   "It used to be that no one beat Hamilton," Russo noted. "We were gunning for this match for a while. We wanted this one."
   This included the wrestlers who couldn’t fully comprehend the historic significance of the win.