Livingston's Estevez Takes 3rd Place in State Wrestling Final

Livingston's Jason Estevez grapples with an opponent during Sunday's NJSIAA State Wrestling Tournament consolation final. Credits: Tim LeCras
Livingston's Jason Estevez celebrates his Third Place finish in Sunday's NJSIAA State Wrestling Tournament at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City. Credits: Tim LeCras

ATLANTIC CITY, NJ - Livingston high school's Jason Estevez has been at the top of the state wrestling charts all season. On Sunday at Atlantic City's Boardwalk Hall, Estevez solidified himself as a state and town powerhouse, beating Ocean Township's Zachary Hertling, 3-2, taking 3rd Place in the 132 lb. NJSIAA Tournament.

"I feel pretty good," Estevez said. "Last night, I was a little bummed out that i didn't make the finals. To come back after a big loss in the semifinals that could have went either way, it feels good to be able to get back on track and keep focused to take third."

Estevez fell to Paulsboro's Ronald Gentile in Saturday night's semifinal, 11-7, which was his only loss this year. Livingston head coach Thomas Noto was proud of the way Estevez responded on Sunday.

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"He wrestled great," Noto said. "Its tough to come back after the semifinal, the way it ended the way it did. He's such a good kid. He didn't let it bother him. He was on weight last night; he got ready today and fought really hard every second. I'm really proud of him. To take two third (place finishes) is really hard in New Jersey."

This is the second straight year Estevez won the third place game. Sunday's win solidified him as a Livingston legend, as the victory put him atop the Lancer's all-time win's list.

"I was pretty happy," he told The Alternative Press in an exclusive interview. "It was obviously one of my goals, I didn't really pay much attention to it until they just announced it."

Estevez earned the first points of the match in the opening 55 seconds when the senior got two points for a reversal/takedown.

Hertling earned a point for an escape in the final 13 seconds of the period to cut Estevez's lead in half.

The two battled back-and-forth in the second, but Hertling put up the only point on a second escape in the last 20 seconds to tie the score.

Estevez earned the deciding point with 1:38 to go in the match on an escape. Hertling fought back in the final minute, getting Estevez to the ground, but couldn't get the needed points to get ahead of the Lancer.

"[It was] More like an adrenaline rush, because its my last high school match ever," Estevez said of the match's final minute. "I kind of just tried to go my hardest and nothing takes me away from third place at least."

Estevez has not yet decided where he will wrestle in college next year, but said he has several school's interested him. He will wait until after next month's Senior National Tournament to make his decision.


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