Tournament Champion David Vill Named Delicious Heights Highlander Athlete of the Week

Gov. Livingston junior David Vill, wrestling at 126 pounds, defeated two District 19 Champions en route to winning the Icebreaker Championship. Credits: John Haddad
Credits: John Haddad

BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - Governor Livingston's junior wrestler David Vill has been named the Delicious Heights Highlander Athlete of the Week after registering three wins en route to an individual championship (126) at the Middletown South Icebreaker Tournament this past Saturday in Middletown.

Vill, the third seed at 126, won all three of his matches helping the Highlanders finish in third place in a very competitive eight team field. After taking out his first round opponent Vill competing in a very strong 126 pound bracket claimed victories over two 2016 District champions, one of which is also a two-time state tournament qualifier. One would be hard pressed to recall a Highlander grappler who had to go through such stiff competition to take a regular season individual tournament title.

Vill wanted to open the season making a big impression. "I can’t think of a better way to start a season," said Vill of knocking off two District Champions. "I put in a lot of hard work this offseason and it feels great knowing it is already starting to payoff. It has also motivated me and given me a lot of confidence and I know I have to keep working hard to achieve my goals."

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Vill, who has bumped up to 126 this year entered the Icebreaker Tournament looking to build on a solid 22-15 sophomore season. He quickly dispatched his first round opponent which brought up an intriguing semifinal round matchup against Old Bridge's Jake Wiatroski.  A  District 19 champion and state qualifier at 113 last season, Wiatroski came in as the No. 1 seed in the 126 bracket. Vill convincingly took a 7-1 decision against the four year varsity wrestler setting up a finals showdown with the No. 2 seed Mike Botte. Botte, who was the District 19 champion at 120 last year,  and Vill locked up in a battle before Vill ultimately came away with a thrilling 6-5 win for his first major tournament championship. 

"David had an outstanding tournament. This was a good first test for him and he came out on top," said Gov. Livingston head wrestling coach Rick Ortega. "It is early in the season and with his work ethic I am sure he will continue to improve. He put in a good off season and really worked hard at improving his technique. He is a fierce competitor and always looking to get better. I am looking forward to seeing what he can accomplish this season."

Below are comments from David regarding his past, present and future:

TAPinto Berkeley Heights: How important was it for you and the team to get off to such a good start this season?

David: We talked about setting the tone for a good season Friday before the tournament and we did just that. A lot of us worked really hard this off season and I know we can accomplish a lot.

 TAPinto Berkeley Heights: When and how did you get into wrestling?

David: Wrestling runs in the family for me so I was involved in the sport early as a kid. My two cousins Tim and Dennis Marcantonio wrestled for GL, so they were my biggest influence to start wrestling.

TAPinto Berkeley Heights: How have you grown as a wrestler since coming to Gov. Livingston and who has had the most influence on you?

David: Being a wrestler at GL I have learned what it is like to truly work hard and that is something that will carry on throughout my life. Coach Ortega and Coach Hilt have been my biggest influencers, they have pushed me beyond my limits and they are two guys that I look up to.

TAPinto Berkeley Heights: Who has been your toughest opponent so far in your GL wrestling career?

David: Wrestling in Union County, I have encountered a lot of good wrestlers these past two seasons. Anthony Capece from Cranford and Sabri Murray from Rahway are probably some of the best opponents I have faced so far.

 TAPinto Berkeley Heights: What wrestler at Gov. Livingston have you tried to pattern yourself after?

David: Nic Mele is one wrestler I have always looked up to. I used to wrestle with him in the PAL program, and during my freshman year I tried to pick up a lot from watching him out on the mat. He is a quick and relentless wrestler and a great leader, traits that I want for myself.

 TAPinto Berkeley Heights: What advice would you give to younger wrestlers?

David: Wrestling is a grind. There is always someone that is working harder than you, so you have to put in the time. Persistence is key, keeping working at it and never give up.

TAPinto Berkeley Heights: What are your individual goals for this season?

David: My dream since I was a kid has always been to make it to Atlantic City and I am hoping that is where I am in March.

TAPinto Berkeley Heights: How comfortable are you with your current weight and do you expect to wrestle up or down this season?

David: I lost the weight to get down to 126 fairly quickly, and with working hard in practice and eating right, it has been easy to maintain so far. I am not sure whether I will be wrestling up or down this season, that is to be determined later in the season.

TAPinto Berkeley Heights: What is your pre-match ritual?

David: I try to mentally prepare myself before a match. I like to think about the moves I want to hit and think about my opponent if I have wrestled him before.

TAPinto Berkeley Heights: What is your go-to meal before a match?

David: I usually eat a bagel before a match or a PBJ sandwich with some fruit or a granola bar, nothing  fatty or greasy.

TAPinto Berkeley Heights: What is one food that you miss most during the season?

David: Chick-fil-A and Five Guys are my two favorite places to eat, so I definitely miss going there.

TAPinto Berkeley Heights: When you're not wrestling what do you like to do?

David:  I like spending time at the beach and surfing.

TAPinto Berkeley Heights:  If you could travel anywhere in the world where would you go?

David: I have always wanted to go to Europe. France and Switzerland are two places I want to travel to one day.

TAPinto Berkeley Heights: What do you enjoy most about Gov. Livingston life?

David: Being at GL I have always had great teachers and that is something I have always been grateful for. I have never dreaded going to school because it is always such a positive atmosphere. 

TAPinto Berkeley Heights: What subject and teacher do you like the most?

David:  I really enjoy Spanish with Mrs. Dimaggio. The class is never boring and the work is very interesting.

TAPinto Berkeley Heights: Do you plan to wrestle in college?

David:  I would like to continue wrestling in college and study finance.

TAPinto Berkeley Heights: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

David: I see myself with a good job and still involved with wrestling in some way.


Delicious Heights Highlander Athlete of the Week is sponsored by Delicious Heights, a family restaurant with three locations; Berkeley Heights, Bedminster and Basking Ridge, where it is part of the Basking Ridge County Club operating a public restaurant with outdoor dining, and acting as the banquet caterer, boasting a facility with panoramic views of the sprawling golf course. Visit our website, for weekly specials including Happy Hour specials from 3-6pm and daily featured dinner and lunch specials. Delicious Heights....where our only limitations are yours!

Delicious Heights is located at 428 Springfield Avenue in Berkeley Heights. 908.464.3287; 285 Main Street in Bedminster. 908.234.1596; 185 Madisonville Road in Basking Ridge. 908.766.9499.

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