Nick Addison: Story of an RFH Wrestling Champ

Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School (RFH) wrestling standout Nick Addison has earned a place in the school record books.

A wrestler in the 170 lb. weight class, Addison finished in fourth place at the NJSIAA Individual State Championships to tie the record set by RFH wrestler Patrick Berger in 2003.

Addison also set a new school record with 42 wins this season, surpassing the single-season record of 36 wins previously held by Marcus Iwama. Addison, a 16-year-old native of Fair Haven and a junior at RFH, was a District 19 champion and a Region 5 runner-up as well.

Qualifying to compete in the NJSIAA Individual State Championships is a step-by-step process and a mark of distinction for wrestlers. At the District Tournament (there are 32 districts in New Jersey) Addison needed to be among the top three finishers in his weight class to qualify for the Region Tournament. Then, at the Region Tournament, Addison needed to be among the top four finishers in his weight class for his region to qualify for the NJSIAA Individual State Championships. The rest, as they say, is school history.

“Nick Addison has accomplished his goal this year, and he earned it!” said RFH Wrestling Coach Bryan Heller. “The perseverance and will to win you see on the mat is a direct reflection of what’s going on behind the scenes. Nick lives the lifestyle of a high-level athlete, taking care of his physical well-being with the proper nutrition, strength training, flexibility, and agility. He is constantly improving his wrestling technique in our practices, and he puts in extra time at the club he attends (Triumph Wrestling Club).

“This work ethic transcends his athletic endeavors, as he is a phenomenal student who has high aspirations for success in the classroom. He holds himself to an extremely high standard across the board. I am, of course, proud of him for the success he has found; but I am most proud of him for what he does on a daily basis. As a captain, he is a prime example of what it takes to reach your goals. He has set the bar high for his teammates, and he isn’t finished yet. There are a lot of hungry Bulldawgs coming up behind him who are going to be nipping at his records. It’s an exciting time for the entire program!”

In addition to Addison success, several other RFH wrestlers had successful seasons as well:

  • Max Brignola became the first freshman in school history to qualify for the NJSIAA Individual State Championships, finishing third in District 19 and third in Region 5. He also set a new single-season freshman win record with 37 wins, surpassing the record of Marcus Iwama who had 32 wins in his freshman year.
  • Sophomore Liam Horan was just one match shy of qualifying for the NJSIAA Individual State Championships. He was a District 19 Champion and a fifth place finisher in Region 5, and ended the season with 26 wins.
  • Sophomore Tristan Izzo participated in the Region 5 Tournament, placing third at District 19.
  • Sophomore Mike Ponenti was one match shy of qualifying for the Region Tournament, with a fourth place finish at District 19. Mike finished his season with 20 wins.
  • Freshmen Tyler Brignola and Jack Kelly had standout seasons as well, with 18 and 20 wins respectively.

“This was the first time since 2003 that RFH had multiple district champs, that we sent four athletes to Regions, and that we had multiple state qualifiers,” said Coach Heller. “The future of this young program is bright! We have several freshmen coming in next year with significant experience, and we already have a Central Group Jersey 2 State Championship on our minds for next season.”