If we were to give out an award for most improved wrestler, Tappan Zee’s John Hartnett would be one of the leading candidates. The Dutchmen’s 220-pounder wasn’t someone who was looked at as a major section title contender entering the season, but he forced his way into the conversation with big win after big win. After losing to his eventual finals opponent Trent Lofaro of Ossining at the Beacon tourney, Hartnett took advantage of another shot with a convincing 7-1 decision over Lofaro in the Division 1 finals. With both Hartnett and fellow junior Mike Manni (the section champ at 285) coming back next season, TZ is set up extremely well up top.
Weight class: 220 in D1
How many years have you been wrestling for? Five years.
Is this your first section title? Yes.
Describe what was going through your head when the referee raised your hand after the finals: I was really happy that I won and very grateful to coach (Peter) Dene and his friend Matt Hominic, who helped me out a lot. Also to Tim Coyne, who practiced with me whenever he could.
What was the most difficult obstacle that you had to overcome this season? Balancing sports and school.
What area do you feel that you’ve improved in the most over the course of the season? Strength.
What are some of your favorite things to do outside of wrestling? Cross-country, spring track, watching Netflix and playing video games.
What is playing in your headphones while you get ready for a match? Last of the Mohicans soundtrack, and Irish jigs and reels.
What is your favorite TV show? Sons of Anarchy and Dragonball Z.
Name one thing that’s interesting about you that people may not know about: I have dyslexia and I could not read until I was in the fifth grade. Also, I have known Mike Manni, my good friend, teammate and wrestling partner, since we were toddlers. We have been wrestling partners since seventh grade.
Photo by John Meore/The Journal News