Wrestling: Brick Memorial’s Nick Rivera Injured, Withdraws from State Tournament
Brick Memorial senior Nick Rivera, the No. 2 seed at heavyweight in the NJSIAA Individual Tournament, has withdrawn from the tournament because of a concussion sustained in practice on Monday.
Brick Memorial athletic director Ed Sarluca Jr. informed the NJSIAA on Wednesday morning that Rivera would not be wrestling in the tournament. The Region 6 fifth-place finisher, Point Beach senior Cade Watkins, will replace Rivera and be seeded anywhere from 25th to 32nd after the bracket is re-seeded.
Rivera won a record third Region 6 championship last weekend to become the only Shore Conference heavyweight to win three region titles. He also captured his fourth district championship when he pinned his way to the District 21 crown. He was viewed as the primary challenger to the reigning champion, Don Bosco Prep’s Eric Chakonis. Rivera had yet to be defeated this season, compiling a 33-0 record.
Rivera finishes his career with a 112-11 record and as a four-time state qualifier. He helped the Mustangs win the Shore Conference Tournament and the NJSIAA Group V title in 2014, the same year he reached the state final before being defeated by Don Bosco Prep’s Zack Chakonis, 5-1.
After the rare feat of qualifying for the state tournament as a freshman at heavyweight and reaching the state final as a sophomore, expectations were through the roof for Rivera. They never materialized over the next two years, however. Last season he lost to River Dell’s Joe Longobardi, 5-3, in the pre-quarterfinals and then withdrew from the tournament, citing personal reasons. He was untested this season heading to the state tournament the injury forced his withdrawal.
Wrestling editor Bob Badders can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @Bob_Badders. Like Shore Sports Network on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube channel for all the latest video highlights.