WEST ORANGE, NJ — Merlin Senat’s perseverance paid dividends.
After losing in the quarterfinals, the Orange High School wrestler recovered to finish in fourth place in the 113-pound weight class at the Region 3 tournament at West Orange High School on Feb. 26, 28-29. As a result, Senat, a junior, earned a berth in the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, March 5-7.
In the pre-quarterfinals on Feb. 26, Senat pinned Jesse Pepper of Montclair in 1:45. But in the quarterfinals on Feb. 28, Senat dropped a tough 5-2 decision to Chris Tringali of Mendham.
The next day, Senat bounced back. He fought off elimination by posting a 9-6 decision win over Michael Ferrante of West Morris in the consolation quarterfinals. Senat then pinned Gregory Slivka of Warren Hills in 3:14 in the consolation semifinals to reach the third-place bout, clinching a berth in the NJSIAA tournament. The top four finishers in each weight class in the region tournament earned berths in the NJSIAA tournament.
Though he lost to Tringali again in the third-place bout by a 7-5 decision, Senat accomplished his goal of getting to Atlantic City.
Tashon May, a junior, also competed for OHS in the region tournament, which consisted of top three finishers in each weight class from districts 9, 10, 11 and 12. OHS competed in District 9 in Livingston. May lost by pin to Nutley’s Charles Searle in 4:38 in the pre-quarterfinals in the 285-pound weight class on Feb. 26 to become eliminated.
Last season at the Region 3 tournament, Senat lost in the pre-quarterfinals at 106 to become eliminated, while his brother, Pierre, was one win from reaching Atlantic City, but lost in the consolation semifinals before finishing in fifth place at 120. Pierre graduated last year. The Senat brothers were the lone OHS wrestlers at last year’s region tournament.