BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - Governor Livingston senior wrestler, Joe Scalora, has been named the Valairco Heating and Cooling Highlander Athlete of the Week for winning the championship of the Old Bridge Ice Breaker and Mountain Lakes Holiday Tournaments.

In the Mountain Lakes Holiday Tournament, Scalora wasted no time with a pin of Sparta sophomore Parker Williamson in 21 seconds to capture the 160 lb championship. He defeated Thomas Rooney of Morris Knolls in an 8-4 decision in the semifinal round. Along the way, he defeated Dover's Eddy Lucero with a pin, after having a bye in the first round.

Scalora started the holiday break winning the 160-pound championship title along with teammate Harrison Kelly, who captured the 145-pound championship, and Connor Vill was the runner-up in the 152-pound weight class of the Icebreaker Tournament in Old Bridge [Vill was also the runner up in the Mountain Lakes Tournament, losing in a tough 5-4 decision to Pompton Lakes' Alan Devries.]  

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"Joe is wrestling really well. He has been getting better every time he steps on the mat," said Gov. Livingston head wrestling coach Rick Ortega. "With his continued work on and off the mat we are looking forward to Joe having a great year. The goal is always to get down to AC and if he continues to improve he can definitely get there."

Ortega said, "Joe is one of our leaders and leads by example. He is not the most vocal of leaders but he keeps it light and makes sure everyone is starting on task." 

Gov. Livingston opens their regular season against Summit in a "Fantastic Friday" match-up in the Blue Gym at Gov. Livingston with a 7:15 p.m. start.

Joe took time out to answer a few questions in recognition of being named Valairco Heating and Cooling Highlander Athlete of the Week.

TAPinto: When and how did you get into wrestling?

Joe: I got into wrestling my freshman year of high school. I played football and my friend Connor Vill told me to come out for wrestling and it went from there. 

TAPinto: How have you grown as a wrestler since coming to GL and who has had the most influence on you?

Joe: My first year on varsity I had 1 win and 12 losses and last year I had 27 wins and 10 losses. I have learned to take the good with the bad and now there is nothing I love more than wrestling. Coach Ortega has had the most influence on me. He believed in me when no one should have and really guided me to where I am today. 

TAPinto: What is something you focus on when you are in a match?

Joe: Something I focus on every match is just improving and trying to score more points in the match and for the team. 

TAPinto: What advice would you give to younger wrestlers?

Joe: I would tell younger wrestlers just do the right things and everything will fall into place. If you are a good person and work hard there is no way you can be a loser even if you don’t win matches. 

TAPinto: What are your individual goals for this season?

Joe: My individual goal is to make it to Boardwalk hall in Atlantic City and wrestle.

TAPinto: How comfortable are you with your current weight and wrestling at this class?

Joe: I’ve been wrestling 160 for 3 years now and I’m very comfortable with the weight and feel stronger every year I come back. 

TAPinto: Do you have a pre-match ritual?

Joe: My pre-match ritual consists of drinking a lot of water, drilling takedowns, envisioning what I am going to do, and talking to Connor because we usually wrestle and warm up around the same time. 

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

Joe: Usually something very plain like a bagel or granola bars. 

TAPinto: One food that you miss most during the season?

Joe: Avenue Delis new providence special. 

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

Joe: I love to fish and tie fishing flies with my grandpa. 

TAPinto: What do you enjoy most about GL?

Joe: I like the option to take new courses and learn new things. 

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

Joe: I like my Environmental science class and Mrs. Mendenhall. She always teaches us new things and she really cares about what she does. 

TAPinto: What will you miss the most about GL?

Joe: I’ll miss wrestling and being with my friends all the time. 

TAPinto: What are your plans after graduation?

Joe: After graduation I plan on going to Virginia Tech to study fish and wildlife conservation. 

TAPinto: Most Memorable Match? 

Joe: My most memorable match was my first win. It gave me a lot of confidence and showed me that I could do it and come back my sophomore year confident. 

TAPinto: How do you maintain drive and focus?

Joe: I like to set goals and having them makes me more focused and driven to actually achieve them. 

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Valairco Heating & Cooling is the proud sponsor of the Highlander Athlete of the Week. Kevin McHugh, Valairco Owner and President and Berkeley Heights resident, is an alumni of Gov. Livingston High School.

Valairco Heating & Cooling is celebrating 50 years in business. They are family owned and operated and know that keeping your HVAC systems running smoothly is important to the comfort of our customers, their families, and their guests. That is why their family is dedicated to taking care of yours, no matter what the issue may be. Using only top-quality parts to perform a higher-standard of service and all their services are backed by their 50 years of professional experience and 5-year comprehensive warranties. This means that when you call our team at Valairco, you benefit from their total commitment to your complete satisfaction.