It was all part of a master plan established almost a decade ago.
When veteran wrestling coach Scot Weaver decided to go back to become the head wrestling coach at Queen of Peace for a second time, it was assumed that Weaver would be at QP long enough this time to coach his up-and-coming sons, Dylan and Damian, in the sport.
The elder Weaver was determined to make the program a state power once again, by turning the school’s basement into a flourishing wrestling room and by securing the services of a bevy of top wrestlers that would eventually include his grade-school aged sons.
But that plan went awry, when the Archdiocese of Newark decided to shut QP’s doors in June of 2018.
“I love wrestling and love coaching wrestling,” said Weaver, who even took on the duties of head football coach at QP before the doors closed. “I was excited about getting the chance to have Dylan come in and then Damian. But it blew up our world.”
It also changed the life of Weaver’s nephew Matt Chimento, who was all set to wrestle for his uncle at QP, but then lost some interest in the sport when he was a junior at Nutley High
However, when the head coaching positioned opened with the Lyndhurst-North Arlington co-operative, it made all the sense in the world for Weaver to take over the job, considering he still resided in the town.
Dylan, who already was a fixture at Bergen Catholic, could come back home and wrestle with his little brother for their father at Lyndhurst. That world – the one that Weaver said “blew up” when QP closed – suddenly became solid once again. In fact, it became a perfect world.
As the wrestling gods would have it, the dream became a reality last Saturday afternoon at Randolph High School, when both Weaver brothers – 152-pound junior Dylan and 138-pound freshman Damian – captured NJSIAA gold medals at the District 10 championships.
Damian Weaver, the third seed at 138 pounds, managed to defeat the top two seeds en route to the championship, including a 3-2 decision over Dominic Merola of Hanover Park in the championship round. Merola finished among the top eight in his weight class in the state last year. The younger Weaver also defeated Carl Banks of Irvington, the tourney’s second seed, 4-2, in the semifinals.
Dylan Weaver rolled past the opposition in his class, pinning Jaden Czupak of Verona in the finals in just 52 seconds. The elder Weaver also disposed of Louis Paradiso of Hanover Park in just 34 seconds in his semifinal bout, meaning that Dylan Weaver, third in the state overall last year, needed less than a minute in each of his matches to secure his third District gold medal.
Dylan Weaver was selected by the District 10 coaches as the Most Outstanding Wrestler of the entire tournament, but upon receiving the award, in perhaps a noble and fitting gesture, Weaver ran over and presented the trophy to his little brother.
“It was pretty moving,” Scot Weaver said. “Dylan gave it to his little brother. He said, ‘You deserve it more.’”
For their efforts, the Weaver brothers have been selected as The Observer Co-Athletes of the Week for the past week.
Dylan may have had a point with his dramatic trophy presentation, as his little brother beat the top two seeds to win the title.
“It’s always been a goal of mine to win the districts,” Damian Weaver said. “The districts were pretty tough for me. I knew my opponents for a long time, but going in, I was focused and had a good game plan. I felt perfect going in.”
Damian Weaver said that he always looked up to Dylan.
“Dylan’s always been a big influence on me,” Damian Weaver said. “He corrects things when I’m wrong and when I’m not at the top of my game. We drill together sometimes.”
But the younger brother still knows who’s the boss.
“Yeah, I’ll give it to him,” Damian Weaver said.
And of course, Scot Weaver has also been a motivation to Damian.
“My dad is always been there for me and coaches me to my full potential,” Damian Weaver said. “I’ve always wanted to wrestle as far back as I can remember. It’s a great feeling knowing I have my brother and my Dad right there with me and we won this together..”
Damian also has his twin sister, Morgan, who is two minutes older than Damian and plays soccer at Lyndhurst High.
“She definitely helps,” Damian said. “She supports me and my brother.”
The elder Weaver is a little more experienced in terms of conducting interviews.
“One District time rolled around, it was my time to start peaking,” Dylan Weaver said. “This is really a great feeling. Definitely having my little brother there is a plus, but when he’s winning, it’s awesome. It’s not really explainable. It’s just really special to share this. I like being the big brother. I like setting the example and if I make a mistake, then it’s up to them (his twin siblings) to determine what path to go, to pick and choose what they want from me.”
There’s only one problem with that line. Dylan Weaver is about as perfect of a young man as there is – and he’s already declared his intentions to attend Rutgers when his high school wrestling days are done.
Dylan Weaver has one thing in mind – to secure the state championship that just eluded him last year.
“It’s definitely a big goal,” Dylan Weaver said. “It’s been that way the whole year. I’ve worked all year, both physically and mentally. This is definitely my year. I came close last year (falling in the semifinals). This year, I’m way better and I’m ready for it.”
That’s music to the coach’s ears, who also just happens to be the proud papa.
“It was a very good night,” Scot Weaver said. “We were able to go out with my sisters and their families. I was able to sit back and reflect a bit.”
There is a bit of a difference in the two boys.
“Damian is a grinder,” Scot Weaver said. “He likes to battle. Dylan is a slick, technical wrestler. But they certainly feed off each other.”
After all, it’s all been part of the plan.
The Weavers were not the only Lyndhurst/North Arlington wrestlers to advance to this week’s Region 4 tournament in West Orange. Anthony DeMarco (160 pounds) and Grayson Jurado (113) both finished second in their respective weight classes in Randolph to advance to Wednesday’s pre-quarterfinal first round action.
Lyndhurst 138-pound freshman Damian Weaver. Photo by Jim Hague
Lyndhurst 152-pound junior Dylan Weaver. Photo by Jim Hague
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Jim Hague | Observer Sports Writer
Sports Writer Jim Hague was with The Observer for 20+ years — and his name is one of the most recognizable in all of sports journalism. The St. Peter’s Prep and Marquette alum kicked off his journalism career post Marquette at the Daily Record, where he remained until 1985. Following shorts stints at two other newspapers, in September 1986, he joined the now-closed Hudson Dispatch, where he remained until 1991, when its doors were finally shut.
It was during his tenure at The Dispatch that Hague’s name and reputation as one of country’s hardest-working sports reporters grew. He won several New Jersey Press Association and North Jersey Press Club Awards in that timeframe.
In 1991, he became a columnist for The Hudson Reporter chain of newspapers — and he remains with them to this day.
In addition to his work at The Observer and The Hudson Reporter, Hague is also an Associated Press stringer, where he covers Seton Hall University men’s basketball, New York Red Bulls soccer and occasionally, New Jersey Devils hockey.
He’s also doing work at The Morristown Daily Record, the very newspaper where his journalism career began.
During his career, he also worked for Dorf Feature Services, which provided material for the Star-Ledger. While there, he covered the New York Knicks and the New Jersey Nets.
Hague is also known for his announcing work — and he’s done PA work for Rutgers Newark and NJIT.
Hague is the author of the book “Braddock: The Rise of the Cinderella Man.”