LIVINGSTON, NJ — After years of trials and tribulations, Livingston’s Austin Paris has found a way to overcome his obstacles en route to becoming a wrestling champion.
This season, Paris has been nothing short of incredible at the 195-pound class. In his final year at Livingston High School, Paris has collected a 27-1 record with 20 wins and a county title.
“I figured it was my senior year; I just wanted to go out there and have fun,” said Paris. “I didn’t want to think about wins and losses, I just wanted to compete the best that I can.”
Paris has had his share of challenges during his varsity career, as the 195-pounder has spent much of the last two seasons on the injury report due to various chronic ailments. Despite his injuries, however, Paris fought his way back to compete in his last season as a Lancer.
“I want to be smart," he said. “No going out—just relaxing and taking care of my body.”
Paris made history this season by capturing the Essex County title for his weight class. Armed with confidence from beating the No. 2 seed earlier in the season, Paris not only won, but did so in dominant fashion—collecting three consecutive pins to win the championship.
“That was really exciting because a lot of my friends and family were there,” he said. “It was probably one of my favorite tournaments to wrestle in.”
As a senior this year, Paris was one of several competitors on the Lancers squad to be named a team leader. Leading by example, Paris helped the squad to a 12-8 dual record and gave Livingston a trip to the North 1, Group 5 section final.
Despite a tough loss for the team on Friday against Passaic Tech in the section final, Paris has set lofty goals for himself for the remainder of the year, citing the upcoming opportunity to compete for an individual state championship in Atlantic City.
His injuries have kept him out of the championship in the past, but Paris hopes that with a strong effort and maintained focus, he’ll be there in 2019.
“It’s a very difficult thing to do, but if I am able to do that I would be really happy,” said Paris.
The State Individual Championships are being held at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City during the weekend of Feb. 28 to March 2.