WEST ORANGE, NJ - It is somewhat rare in sports to have the seeding order in any competition end up perfect but that is exactly what happened in Chatham sophomore Connor Cortese’s 120-pound bracket at the NJSIAA Region 3 wrestling championships.
The seeded wrestlers, one through five, finished one through five and unfortunately, that meant that ninth-seeded Cortese succumbed Saturday at West Orange High to the five seed, Charlie Treston from Randolph by a score of 7-4, putting the 2017-2018 campaign in the books.
In the single-elimination wrestleback semi-final, Treston grabbed the early advantage by scoring a takedown and then earning three back points with a hard-fought tilt to end the first period up 5-0.
In the second period, Cortese began on the bottom and recovered with a two-point reversal while also coming ever so close to completing his own near-fall which could have tied the score. He later cut Treston loose to offer him an escape point but was unable to get another takedown, heading into the third period still behind 6-2.
In the third period, Cortese recorded one more takedown in a flurry and cut Treston again to narrow the gap to 7-4 but he was unable to score from there and thus ended the season.
Cortese, a sophomore, finished the year with a 29-8 record according to Trackwrestling. Totaled with his freshman campaign of 28-9, Cortese has a career record of 57-17 which already has him up with some of the winningest wrestlers in Chatham history and on pace to match or exceed past career leaders Jeff Fricke and Dylan Mulcahy.