WEST ORANGE, NJ – West Orange High School senior Colin Morgan proved to be one of the top wrestlers in New Jersey this season. Morgan earned the eighth-place medal in the 160-pound weight class at the NJSIAA state finals at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, Feb. 28, March 1-2.
On the final day of the tournament, Morgan dropped a tough 4-2 loss in sudden victory to No. 3 seed Michael Wilson of North Hunterdon.
Morgan, the 12th seed, had an amazing run. He won both of his matches on the first night of the tournament. In the preliminary round, Morgan decisioned No. 21 seed Alex Dorce of Linden, 7-4. Morgan decisioned No. 28 seed Frank Medina of Watchung Hills, 10-8, in the pre-quarterfinals.
As a result, Morgan advanced to final 8, needing three more wins to win a state championship. Of the eight remaining wrestlers, Morgan was the lowest seed.
However, Morgan’s quest for a state title was dashed as he fell to No. 4 seed Matt Benedetti of Manalapan, 8-3, in the quarterfinals March 1.
Morgan then was put in the consolation fourth round where he major decisioned No. 10 seed Brian Soldano of High Point, 17-8. But in the consolation fifth round, Morgan lost by an 8-0 major decision to No. 9 seed Troy Asatrian of Paramus. That loss put in the seventh-eighth place medal bout.
Meanwhile, senior James Benjamin, the other WOHS wrestler at the state finals, also had a good run. Benjamin, seeded No. 24 in the 126-pound division, was pinned by No. 9 seed Garrett Stewart of Sparta in the preliminary round in 1:39.
The next day, Benjamin decisioned No. 25 seed Nieko Malone of Howell, 7-4, in the consolation first round. However, Benjamin was pinned by No. 10 seed Michael Conklin of Toms River East in 2:31 in the consolation second round to end his run.
Astarian went on to win the third-place medal.