WEST ORANGE, NJ — The wrestling team at West Point honored co-captain Christopher (CJ) Morgan posthumously at Senior Night held at West Orange High School on Jan. 31.
Army chose West Orange High School to hold their match against Lehigh at Morgan's high school alma mater, where he graduated in 2015 as the high school's top athlete and fifth-place win in the state in wrestling. Prior to graduation, Morgan received his appointment to West Point and attended the preparatory school for a year. While at West Point, he wrestled and was set to graduate in 2020 until a tragic training exercise took his life in June 2019.
Morgan's family was on hand to help congratulate the graduating seniors and receive their son's honors in his memory, bringing tears to the eyes of parents Chris and April Morgan, and the many family and friends that had come out in support. Daughters Chace and Cameron and son Colin, now in his first year at West Point, joined their parents to honor their beloved older brother as well.
West Orange High School Athletic Director Ron Bligh, along with Superintendent Dr. Scott Cascone, board members Terry Trigg-Scales, Cheryl Merklinger and Jenn Tunnicliffe, and West Orange High School Principal Hayden Moore, presented the Morgan family with the recognition that the Essex County Wrestling Player of the Year would now be named the "Christopher Morgan Award."
West Orange Police Department Captain Mike Cali and wife Theresa presented a $1,000 check to the Morgans for the CJ Morgan Foundation, in honor of their son, Sam. Sam was an outstanding wrestler at Rutgers University who died in a car crash in 2016.
Although the West Point Black Knights did not win their match against the Lehigh Mountain Hawks, there was a sense of camaraderie as they joined the West Orange Mountaineer community to honor Morgan and his family.
(Caption for third photo: Morgan Family with (L-R) WOHS wrestling coach Steve Zichella, BOE member Cheryl Merklinger, Superintendent Dr. Scott Cascone, Mike & Theresa Cali, AD Ron Bligh, Principal Hayden Moore, Jenn Tunnicliffe and Terry Trigg-Scales (BOE)