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Bergen Catholic Wrestler Really Wants A Burger

Bergen Catholic's Robert Howard is set to face Eddie Ventresca of Pope John in the semifinal round of the NJSIAA  Tournament of Champions.
Bergen Catholic's Robert Howard is set to face Eddie Ventresca of Pope John in the semifinal round of the NJSIAA Tournament of Champions. Photo Credit: Cecilia Levine

ORADELL, N.J. — There are a couple things on Bergen Catholic freshman Robert Howard's mind: a state title and a burger.

The 113-pounder has been cutting weight for quite some time leading up to the NJSIAA Tournament of Champions this week in Atlantic City and, quite frankly, he's ready for both.

"If I win, the first thing I'm going to do is eat a hamburger," said Howard, who is among the 10 grapplers from the four-year defending state champ.

"But I'm focused on winning my first title, and that will set the tone for the rest of my high school career."

Howard took down state champion Joe Manchio from Seneca in the quarters and is set to face Pope John's Eddie Ventresca in the semifinals.

"I just like to get things done," said Howard of Cranford. "And this weekend is about getting things done."

The 15-year-old began wrestling in first grade but didn't start taking it seriously until middle school.  He remembers looking at the state champions his eighth grade year when he was deciding on schools. That's when it hit him.

"I had beaten half the kids on the podium and I was like, 'You know what? Maybe I could win a state championship,'" he said.

If there's anyone who can do it, it's me.

Howard couldn't see himself wrestling anywhere but with the Crusaders.

"At the end of the day I love this school," he said, "and I love to wrestle."

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