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One of the greatest wrestling careers in Shore Conference history has come to a premature end.

St. John Vianney senior Dean Peterson, a two-time NJSIAA champion, three-time finalist and the No. 1-ranked 126-pound wrestler in the country, announced Tuesday night via his Instagram page that he will be unable to compete during the 2021 season.

Peterson said he currently had surgery to fix a deviated septum and other issues with his nose that were affecting his breathing and ability to take deep breaths and was told he would not be cleared for another five-to-six weeks at the earliest. The New Jersey high school wrestling season begins on March 16 and runs through April 25.

Peterson is committed to wrestle collegiately at Princeton University.

"My focus has shifted toward freestyle to compete for a spot on the Junior World Team at 57kg or 125 pounds," Peterson wrote. "I'd like to thank everyone who helped me on my journey through high school, all my drilling partners, all my previous opponents. With that being said, I cannot wait to compete at the next level and represent Princeton as a Division 1 wrestler."

"Good luck to everyone competing this season, especially the seniors out there who have one more chance to turn their dreams into reality. I'll be back."

Peterson concludes his career as a two-time state champion and three-time state finalist, a two-time region champion and three-time finalist and a three-time district champion with a career record of 108-2. He finished his career on a 72-match winning streak with his only defeats coming during his freshman year.

In what ended up being his final high school season, Peterson was selected as the 2020 Shore Sports Network Wrestler of the Year after claiming the 120-pound NJSIAA title with a second straight undefeated, state championship season. During his junior year, he won the prestigious Beast of the East tournament, won the Sam Cali Invitational and captured his third straight Shore Conference Tournament title. In the individual postseason, Peterson won the District 17 crown to become a three-time district champion and then repeated as champion in Region 5. His run to the 120-pound state title was completely dominant as he did not allow a single point in five bouts, ultimately defeating Brick Memorial’s Vincent Santaniello, 1-0, in the championship bout.

As a sophomore, Peterson completed an undefeated sophomore season to win the NJSIAA 113-pound title and become St. John Vianney’s first state champion. He went 35-0 with 17 pins and allowed just two offensive points all season. Along the way, he won his second Shore Conference Tournament and district titles and secured his first region title by winning Region 5. Peterson also won his second Mustang Classic title. Peterson defeated Delbarton’s Nico Nardone, 7-2, in the state semifinals before defeating Emerson/Park Ridge’s Nick Babin, 3-2, in the state championship match.

In the 2018 season, Peterson burst onto the scene and ended the year as one of the best pound-for-pound wrestlers in the Shore Conference to help St. John Vianney to a historic season. He went 36-2 and finished second at the NJSIAA Championships in Atlantic City and became St. John Vianney’s first-ever state finalist and highest state place-winner. His only other defeat came in overtime in the Region 5 final. Along the way, Peterson won a Shore Conference Tournament title and a District 19 championship along with first-place finishes at the Mustang Classic and Sam Cali Invitational. Peterson’s presence was a major reason why St. John Vianney was able to win its first division and district team titles and win the SCT team title.

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