ATLANTIC CITY, NJ – Mike Petite had everything going for him over the first two days of the 2018 NJSIAA Individual Wrestling State Championships at Boardwalk Hall.

The 160-pounder from Piscataway advanced through the first three rounds of the tournament with relative ease, earning two victories by pin and another by major decision.

However, the senior Region 5 winner dropped a 7-3 decision to Bergen Catholic’s Shane Griffith in the semifinals, sending Petite to the consolation bracket.

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Things didn't get any easier for Petite, as two late takedowns took him from possible state champion to sixth place.

“Until today I was wrestling really well,” Petite said. “Going into the semis that was the best I have ever wrestled. I stunk it up today, got taken down late twice. It happens sometimes and doesn't go your way. I’m happy to finish in the top 6, but that wasn't my goal.”

Petite had the lead in the fifth-place match against Hasbrouck Heights’ Matt Dallara. Leading 3-1 in the third period, Petite gave up an escape point with 55 seconds to go, then was taken down in the final 10 seconds, leading to a 4-3 loss.

“I was trying to stay out of the tie,” Petite said. “I was just trying to keep my distance. I got hit with a stall warning really early, like he wasn't even touching me. I got hit with a stall warning, none the less, so I knew I had to wrestle here or I’m going to give up another stall.”

Instead, Petite gave up a takedown and is forced to settle on a sixth-place finish.

Nonetheless, Piscataway’s all-time winningest wrestler and 3-time state finalist understands that sixth is nothing to stress about, as accomplishing his personal goals has allowed him to reach his ultimate goal, making a name of the Piscataway program.

“It’s big,” Petite said. “It’s big. My goal coming here freshman year was to get the team to a better spot. I pretty much accomplished my goal and it means a lot for Piscataway.”

In other Piscataway High School wrestling news, 152-pounder Joe Hatcher also participated in the state championship tournament. Hatcher picked up a 7-6 victory in the opening round over Pt. Pleasant Boro’s Francis Marshall. In the second round, Hatcher lost in sudden victory overtime to Ewing’s Lavinsky Collins.

After getting sent to the consolation bracket, Hatcher picked up one more win, pinning Northern Hunterdon’s Tucker Kirchberger. Hatcher’s tournament came to an end one round later when he was beaten by St. Augustine Prep’s Salvatore Manera.

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