BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - Every New Jersey high school wrestler who takes to the mat has one singular personal goal for the season; that being, finding a way to get to the NJSIAA Wresting Tournament of Champions in Atlantic City.
This season, Gov. Livingston will be sending a pair of grapplers south to AC -- who also happen to be brothers. Turner Haddad, seeded No. 16, wrestles Michael Waszen of Holy Spirit in the 182 lb. weight class and No. 26 seeded Quinn Haddad wrestles Joey Schiele, the Morris Hills' 170 lb. Region 2 Champion.
"The goal is not just to get down to AC, it's to get to the podium," said Gov. Livingston head coach Rick Ortega. "They [Turner and Quinn] need to continue to look inward and be able to make the little adjustments needed to keep getting better. I am excited for them and can't wait to see how they perform this weekend."
Wrestling in a brutal Region 4, senior Turner Haddad fell 7-4 to Scotch Plains-Fanwood’s Sam Wustefeld in the championship, while junior Quinn Haddad, who was wresting in possibly the toughest weight class at 170, captured fourth place after losing to eventual Region Champion Bryan McLaughlin of Woodbridge in the semifinals at last weekend's Region 4 Championships. Senior heavy weight Dan Tomlinson placed sixth in the 285 lb. weight class.
"Quinn's weight is very tough as can be seen by the Region qualifiers," said Ortega. "The 1st, 2nd and 3rd place kids are all ranked in the state. As for McLaughlin, he is as tough as they come and a class act," he said of the 170 lb. Champion from Woodbridge.
The Haddads will continue to work hard "in the room," said Ortega. Being in one of the toughest regions, Ortega is confident that his two wrestlers are prepared to reach the podium -- they will need to show up and wrestle at their best. -- There is no doubt the Haddads, through their focus and drive, will have a strong run in AC.
The NJSIAA Finals in Atlantic City begin on Friday at 2:30 p.m., narrowing the championship's contending field from 32 wrestlers down to 8. Quarterfinal and Semifinal rounds are slated for Saturday and the Championship round will be held on Sunday.