Watchung Hills Regional High School's boys fencing team had their undefeated record put to the test Wednesday evening against No. 6 Ridge. Ridge's only loss of the season before Wednesday's 17-10 loss to Watchung Hills also came at the hands of the Warriors.1st 2nd 3rd FINAL Ridge (9-2) 3 4 3 10 Watchung Hills (13-0) 6 5 6 17
The match got under way with Ridge taking the first two matches, but the tide would turn, and No. 2 Watchung Hills took control. The Warriors took all three rounds in the match and move on to the finals against Columbia.
"On paper, we should win this," said Watchung Hills Head Coach Andrzej Zamlynny. "But with close matches like this, where everybody knows each other, it could be 50-50."
Watchung Hills was led by Cole Degorges and Justin Stranko, who went 2-1 in sabre. Yash Srivastav was 2-1 in foil and Joey Cline, Eric Gardner, and Garrett Blakeslee were 2-1 in epee.
"We lost a couple we shouldn't have, but we just didn't fence well as a team," said Matt Yin of Ridge. Ridge was led by Ray Comperiati going 3-0 in sabre and Bobak Shadpoor 2-1 in foil.
"It was a great victory," said Eric Gardner of Watchung Hills. "We beat Ridge earlier in the season, but it didn't mean we could beat them again. We knew they would come back for revenge and we needed to do whatever we could to smite their determination to win. And we did it"
"We knew Ridge is a great team, they've upset two teams in the playoffs," said Yash Srivastav of Watchung Hills. "We knew it was going to be a tough fight and we held our own and did a great job. The entire team was fantastic."
THEY SAID IT - THE FINALS AGAINST No. 1 COLUMBIA
"It is probably going to be the toughest one. We haven't met Columbia this season, which is good. On paper, they may be stronger, but we hope we will come from behind and win." - coach Zamlynny
"It is definately going to be one our toughest matches yet. We have to maximize as much time as we can in practice and outside of practice. We have squad states this weekend and we have to take every opportunity as a learning opportunity. This is it. We have to win." - Eric Gardner
Both teams will compete in the Squad State tournament Sunday at North Hunterdon.
Watchung Hills will play for the state championship against Columbia next Wednesday at Morris Hills High School.