Shore Sports Network Wrestler of the Week: Lakewood’s Dante Morris
Every week this season, Shore Conference wrestling fans will have their chance to vote for the Shore Sports Network Wrestler of the Week on our website.
The winner of the reader's vote for Week 3 is Lakewood senior Dante Morris, who went 5-0 with five pins to continue his dominant start to the season.
In Lakewood’s thrilling 36-30 win over Lawrence, Morris won by fall in just 31 seconds against Karry Villalobos. He then needed just 19 seconds to pin Trenton’s Messiah Crews during a 44-24 win for the Piners as they swept the tri-meet.
Morris was also unstoppable on his way to winning the 220-pound title when Lakewood hosted the Rumble in the Pines Tournament. He pinned Linden’s Darrin Williams in 2:48 in the first round, pinned Newark East Side’s Gabriel Tato in 2:10 in the semifinals and decked East Side’s Jonathan Padilla in 42 seconds in the championship bout.
Morris is a perfect 9-0 this season with eight pins. His only match to go the distance was an 8-4 decision over Lacey sophomore Vincent Ceglie, who was a District 27 champion last season.
Last season, Morris went 34-11 and won a District 23 title to become Lakewood’s first district champion since 2010. He then finished fourth at the Region 6 Tournament to become the Piners’ first state qualifier since 2005. Additionally, Morris needs 26 more wins this season to join Shore Conference legend Damion Hahn as the only 100-match winners in program history.
Morris has wrestled eight of his nine bouts this season at 220 pounds with the other coming at 195 pounds. He looks to be a championship contender at whichever weight he decides to stay at for the Shore Conference Tournament and the individual postseason.
Lakewood is back in action on Saturday when it wrestles at Brick Township in a quad with No. 10 Colts Neck and Holmdel.
Morris was the runaway winner in an excellent field of nominees with 25.58 percent of the votes. Southern’s Nick O’Connell was second, Howell’s Shane Reitsma was third and Shore’s Jamie Mazzacco was fourth.