VERONA, NJ - Though sidelined with the flu for part of the season, Samuel Zamloot rebounded and is delivering the best season of his high school wrestling career.  Competing at the 138 pound weight class, the VHS senior is standing at 17-6 for the season and consistently delivering for his team. Zamloot is the TAPinto Verona/Cedar Grove Hillbilly Athlete of the Week.

“Sam has a 17-6 record so far this season despite missing time fighting two bouts with the flu and 16 of his wins have been either by pin or technical fall, collecting major bonus points for the team in dual meets,” said Head Coach Pete Foster.  “Sam has an aggressive, attacking style on the mat and has put forth a number of top efforts, even in losses that he has suffered this year to high-level opponents. He is having the best season of his high school career, and always wrestles as hard as he can for six minutes each match.”

Zamloot has been wrestling since he was in the first grade and said he loves the hard work and discipline required to be successful in the sport.  

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“I love the hard work that goes into wrestling.  No one sees how hard we go at practice. The hard work builds character and it’s made me stronger and more confident," Zamloot said.

So far Zamloot’s highlight for his senior season was a match against Montclair High School just before the Essex County Tournament.

“It was a quad at Montclair High School, and I was up against a kid I know, and I knew he was good,” Zamloot said. “I was nervous going into the match.  He was on top, he took me down, but I managed to turn it around and pin him and that gave me a better seed for the county tournament. It was a great match.”

Zamloot placed sixth at the county tournament.  He lost in the quarterfinals, but wrestled back to compete for fifth place.  

“I ended up wrestling that same kid from Montclair.  It was a really good match, my nose was bleeding, we left it all out there but I ended up losing by just a few points and took sixth,” Zamloot noted.  

While Zamloot has winning recod, the team as a whole as struggled, sitting at sitting at 8-13 for the season.  However, Zamloot said that in no way indicates the effort the team puts forth or its potential.  

“I think it’s been a pretty good season.  As a team it’s been hard because we have a lot of matches that are forfeits.  We don’t have a lot of guys which makes it hard to beat the better teams, but the matches that we actually hit the mat and wrestle are good,” Zamloot said.  “Unfortunately the forfeits are just killing us as a team.”

Though the team may be small, Zamloot said the team bond and chemistry is its greatest strength.  

“We’re all good friends.  We definitely have a connection.  We pump each other up,” Zamloot said. 

With his VHS wrestling career winding down, Zamloot is not done setting goals for himself.  He’s hoping to place in districts and advance to regionals, win a few matches and end his career on a high note.  

“I’ve never advanced to regionals before so my goal is to get to there and hopefully win a few matches,” Zamloot said.

TAPinto Verona/Cedar Grove  is an online newspaper serving the Townships of Verona and Cedar Grove. TAPinto Verona/Cedar Grove is accredited by the New Jersey Press Association, and is a locally owned news organization serving the community.

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