Fresh of an offseason spent wondering how it will replace several key components to a squad that finished atop the Garden State, High Point is admittedly caught in a period of transition.
Judging by its unblemished start to the 2011-12 season, however, things aren’t too uncomfortable for the reigning top dog.
The Wildcats used a team effort and a standout win by John Torppey to topple Jefferson, 40-19, and improve their record to 2-0 on Wednesday in a wrestling showdown between two Northwest Jersey Athletic Conference National division foes.
The replay of the match can be seen on MSG Varsity iO Ch. 14 on December 25 at noon.
High Point has spent the last four years either No. 1 or No. 2 in the Garden State, having won the Group 2 title in 2008 and last campaign. However, the team lost state champs Drew Wagenhoffer, Nick Francavilla, Ethan Orr and Billy Smith, along with medalist Billy Hagany.
That's just impossible to replace. Torppey, a district champion, is expected to lead the way, though, and that trend held up during the team’s recent successful trip to the mat.
"We're trying to be role models, the seniors we have," Torppey said. "We learned from past teams and we're trying to build that up, provide any example we can."
Torppey won his match in the 113-pound weight class, while Antonio Porraspita, Kyle Stoll, Gunther Wassong, Bob McDonnell, Mike Derin, and Chris Auer also won their respective contests.
"I didn't do as well as I had hoped today, but we had a big team effort, so it's good," Torppey added.
Meanwhile, Jefferson has boasted a bevy of state champions over the last decade and has established itself as a respectable program around the region.
In this hard-fought battle, the team got victories from Ryan Higgins, who finished third in the district last winter, Luke Bohn, Nick Monteverdi, and Bryan Damon.
In the end, though, High Point and its rebuilding team were just too much.
"We're going to force them into situations where they have to deal with adversity," coach John Gardner said. "It'll be a test for them. If we get to the Group 2 tournament, I think we can be competitive."
Bob Badders contributed to this report.
Contact Brian Fitzsimmons at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter: @FitzWriter