BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ— The Gov. Livingston varsity wrestling team fell just short of a win against the Montgomery Cougars on Friday night. The close match was determined within the final seconds, as Montgomery trumped the Highlanders, 39-34.
For the GL team, pins by freshman Conner Vill (132), senior Anthony Santigate (138), and junior Quinn Haddad (170), added a combined 18 points, while sophomore Greg Freidenberg (113) came out with the win and supplemented an additional four points for the Highlanders. Montgomery forfeits in the 145 lb and 195 lb weight class furthered GL’s score, however, it wasn’t enough to prevent a Cougar win.
The first battle of the night between senior Matt Hoy (126) and his opponent marked the back-and-forth trend that would be seen throughout the match. Though Hoy had the lead for the first two periods, his opponent took control of the third, handing the Highlanders the first close loss of the night.
Vill (132) took his Cougar opponent head-on, as he gained an early lead and never let it go. With seconds left, Vill seemingly had the win by decision. The Highlander, however, put his opponent on his back and grabbed the pin, putting GL up, 6-3. Santigate followed Vill’s lead, as it took him just 1:18 to pin his own Montgomery opponent, adding another 6 points for the Highlanders.
A Montgomery forfeit in 145 lb weight class and a GL forfeit in the 152 lb weight class provided 6 points for each team, making the score 18-9. The Cougars soon closed in on the Highlanders when junior Matt Perez-Santalla (160) was pinned by his opponent.
The subsequent matches of the night were marked by great intensity on part of both teams. Quinn Haddad sparked a flame for the Highlanders in the 170 lb weight class, as his relentless mindset allowed him to pin his opponent with less than a second left in the first period. Haddad’s pin handed GL another 6 points; the Highlanders pulled to a 24-15 lead.
“I went into the match with the mindset that I wanted to score as many points as I could,” Haddad said, “so the only thing going through my mind was to keep working until the buzzer sounded.”
Two more forfeits (182 for Gov. Livingston and 195 for Montgomery) provided points for each team, making the score 30-21 going into the 220 lb weight class. A Cougar pin against junior Jared Van Oostendorp (220) allowed Montgomery to close in on the GL lead.
Another close battle between senior heavyweight Dan Tomlinson (285) and his challenger marked a loss for the Highlanders. In a low-scoring, intense battle, Tomlinson saw defeat by just one point, as time ran out on the clock. The Cougars had diminished the Highlander lead, and the match was tied 30-30.
Montgomery took the lead for the first time, 33-30, after the 106 lb weight class, as freshman Harrison Kelly fell to his opponent by decision. Four points were added for the Highlanders in the next battle, as sophomore Greg Friedenberg (113) dominated his opponent 14-6, which put the GL squad up one point going into the last weight class. GL’s David Vill (120) was pinned in the final seconds of the match, making the final score 39-34.
Up next, GL hosts Roselle Park on Wednesday, Jan. 25 with a 7 p.m. start.