BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - Gov. Livingston senior wrestler Conner Vill, and team captain, won the NJSIAA District 16 Championship and earned a trip to Atlantic City to compete at the States.
With a 26-15 record his junior year, and missing the cut to Atlantic City, it was Head Coach Rick Ortega's goal to get Vill to Atlantic City his senior year.
Vill started the season as runner-up in both the Old Bridge Ice Breaker and the Mountain Lakes Holiday Tournament, losing in a tough 5-4 decision to Pompton Lakes' Alan Devries in the later tournament. He then battled it out at the Union County Tournament making it to the finals, losing a 9-3 decision against Patrick Nevins (Roselle Park).
After a successful regular season, it was his time to reach that championship podium. As the top seed at the Districts, he advanced into the finals with a 15-0 technical fall over his North Plainfield opponent and won the District 16 title in the 152 lb. weight class by defeating Anthony Robinson of Scotch Plains-Fanwood in a 9-6 decision.
He advanced in the State tournament by placing in the top four in the Region 4 Championship to punch his ticket to Atlantic City. Although Vill didn't bring home the State championship, he recorded his most memorable high school career win against Stephen Malia of Warren Hills in an overtime victory in the Wrestleback first round. He also faced his toughest career opponent, Brandon Teresa of Montville in the Wrestleback second round.
For Conner's four-year dedication to Highlander wrestling and the success of his season, winning the District championship and placing in the top four in the region to make the trip to Atlantic City, Conner Vill is named Valairco Heating and Cooling Highlander Athlete of the Week.
Conner 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 start wrestling?
Conner: I began wrestling when I was in 2nd grade, Wrestling has always been in my family so I just followed along.
TAPinto: What has been the best advice you have received from a coach?
Conner: The best advice I have received from a coach is to to never give up and fight for the whole six minutes because anything is possible.
TAPinto: Your older brother David was a successful wrestler at GL,what's the best advice that he gave you?
Conner: My brother David told me to leave everything on the mat so you have no regrets at the end of the season.
TAPinto: How have you grown as a wrestler since coming to GL?
Conner: My mental strength has grown since first starting at GL, ortega trained us to never quit or slow down.
TAPinto: Who has had the most influence on you?
Conner: My brother david has the most influence on me because he has always been there for me and he has set a good example for me to follow.
TAPinto: What is something you focus on when you are in a match?
Conner: I try and focus on my coaches and what they are telling me to do.
TAPinto: How do you maintain drive and focus?
Conner: I try and maintain my drive and focus by thinking of how this was my last season, I only had so much time left and I wanted to go as far as possible.
TAPinto: What is your go to meal after you make weight?
Conner: I always eat a bagel and cream cheese after weight ins.
TAPinto: Who has been your most difficult opponent on the mat?
Conner: My most difficult opponent was probably my Montville match at States.
TAPinto: What has been your most memorable match?
Conner: My most memorable match was the match I won at States in overtime.
TAPinto: Do you have a role model?
Conner: My role model is my coach ortega, he is a very dedicated and good coach who cares for his wrestlers.
TAPinto: What do you like the most about GL?
Conner: I love the feeling of family and belonging that I get from GL.
TAPinto: What's your favorite memory at GL?
Conner: My favorite memory from GL was winning my match at states.
TAPinto: What class do you enjoy the most?
Conner: I enjoy criminal justice, it is something I am very interested in.
Tapinto: When not playing a sport what do you like to do?
Conner: I like to work and hangout with my friends.
TAPinto: What are your plans after high school and does it include wrestling?
Conner: I am going to Virginia Tech but I will not be wrestling.
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.
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