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ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. - Scott DuPont and Joey King have each dreamed of standing on the placement podium in Atlantic City since before they ever wrestled a match at the High School level. On Sunday, both lived that life-dream when both placed over the weekend at the NJSIAA State Wrestling tournament, with Dupont placing sixth for Holmdel High School at 152 pound and King earning fifth place for Colts Neck High School at 120 pounds.
“My dream since I stepped into high school was to stand up there on the state podium,” King said. “To finally to do it is such a surreal feeling. It hasn’t hit me yet that, but to know that you placed fifth in one of the toughest tournaments out there, is amazing to know.”
King’s road to placing fifth in the state tournament, began with a great start to the festivities on Friday, scoring a 6-2 win in his opening match and then holding on for a 1-0 victory to advance to the quarterfinals.
Needing one win to make it on the state podium, the senior hit a roadblock in the quarterfinals on Saturday by drawing the eventual 120-pound state champion Ryan Howard. King put up a good fight, but would fall to Howard 6-2, pushing back into the bottom half of the bracket.
King bounced back in his next match with 7-2 win to clinch a spot on the podium, and then finished Saturday night off with a 6-4 victory to earn at least the top-six finish.
In his fifth-place match on Sunday, King faced Christian Brothers Academy’s Richie Koehler, a wrestler he had never beaten in his high school career. The two battled to a 1-1 tie at the end of regulation, forcing an overtime period. With the matched tied still at 1-1 with under 10 seconds in overtime, King dug down deep and finished off his take down attempt, turning into a pinning maneuver to score a 6-1 win and fifth place in the state tournament.
“I lost to (Koehler) the first five times we wrestled each other and this time around, I was able get win over him and cap-off my high school career on a high note,” King said. “It’s kind of like a Cinderella Story.” See podium below:
King finishes his high school career with 143 wins, the most ever in the school’s history. He is a two-time District 21 champion and have been a finalist at the Region 6 tournament, three times.
“The coaching staff and the whole team is so proud of Joey,” said Colts Neck wrestling coach Brett Jankos. “He’s been a huge part of our program the last couple of years. A lot of kids on our team look up to him. He’s worked his tail off to achieve to this goal and I’m so happy for him that he was able to do it.”
It was a unique state tournament run for Holmdel’s Scott DuPont.
DuPont, like King started the state tournament on fire, winning 4-0 and 6-4 in his first two matches to reach the quarterfinals.
The senior’s chase for a top-three finish ended in the quarterfinals with a 6-3 defeat, but DuPont stormed back to win his next two matches to secure a top-six placement in the tournament.
That was unfortunately the end of the tournament for DuPont, who sustained a wrist injury during his last match on Saturday night and was not cleared to compete on Sunday in his fifth-place match.
It was the same wrist that DuPont broke during football season and he said that he re-aggravated it during the match.
Even though he could not compete for fifth place, DuPont was still in high spirits during the award ceremony on Sunday and very happy about is accomplishment of placing at the state tournament. See podium below:
“It such great feeling to be able to earn a spot on podium at states,” DuPont said while thanking his coaches, family and friends for their support. “It’s been my goal since eighth grade to place at states and do to be able to do it is truly amazing.
DuPont leaves an historic legacy behind at Holmdel.
His 144 career wins are most in the program’s history and his sixth place finish at the state tournament, marks the first Holmdel wrestler to do so since 1983.
DuPont is only the third wrestler ever from Holmdel to place at states.
“Scott has helped put this program back on the map,” said Holmdel wrestling coach Dan Franke. “He’s a hard working kid. To see him achieve his goal of placing at states is a very rewarding feeling as coach. He’s helped set a bar for other wrestlers in our program to try to push for. He’s like a hero in the Holmdel wrestling community.”
DuPont will continue to wrestle in college when he attend New York University next fall.
Excited to see what next chapter in his life brings, DuPont is proud of legacy he has left behind at Holmdel
“I’m very proud of what I was able to accomplish during my time at Holmdel,” DuPont said. “I think it can inspire more kids in the Holmdel program to strive to do the same. We have a good program building growing at Holmdel. Hopefully will have more kids from the town compete at states in the coming years.”
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