By Shannon Kuratli
The excitement, anticipation and tension were tangible on Saturday at West Milford High School as West Milford hosted the Regionals Meet, which was the last stop on the road to Atlantic City's Boardwalk Hall where the 2020 High School Wrestling Championships will be held.
Sparta High School saw seven of its wrestlers make it to Regionals this year; Jack Nautta, Joe Liotta, Nick Hwang, Troy Schmittzer, and all three Stewart brothers; Garret, Cooper and Spencer. The group of seven Spartan wrestlers was whittled down during the course of the three days of Regionals matches, and the last three standing are the Stewart brothers.
As the final round approached on Saturday, Spartans packed the stands to cheer on the Stewart boys as they fought for individual spots at States, and the brothers delivered as expected. Amid thundering foot stomping and shouts from each school cheering its own team, each Stewart brother in turn blocked out the distractions and wrestled their way to a spot at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City. Respectively, Cooper Stewart took 2nd place and his brothers both took 3rd place in their weight classes, making history. It is not often three brothers are on the same team, let alone all three qualify for a state championship. But with each brother boasting more than 100 wins in their individual careers, it is not surprising that they have each qualified for the championships.
Several Sparta Wrestling teammates will make the trip to Atlantic City this week to cheer for the Spencer boys as they join the elite group of the best in New Jersey and fight for a medal. The States Championship will take place at Atlantic City's Boardwalk Hall on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, March 5, 6, and 7.