Jackson Obe Breaks MHS Freshman Record for Wins in Varsity Wrestling
By Claire O’Farrell | April 13, 2022
Freshman Jackson Obe had a remarkable first season on the Montgomery High School boys’ varsity wrestling team. “My biggest achievement this year had to be breaking the freshman win record,” he said in an interview with The Montgomery News.
Cassar, 26, captured the NCAA Division I championship and the Big Ten Wrestling Championship for Penn State University. He won the NJSIAA wrestling title for Montgomery High School in 2014, capturing the 195-pound state title. Cassar was scheduled to compete at the Last Chance Olympic Trials qualifier in 2020, however, the event was postponed along with the Olympic Games and Trials due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Obe says he, "Loved following Cassar while he was at Penn State.”
Thanks to John Moyle, who started the Montgomery Youth Wrestling program, both Obe and Cassar began wrestling.
Obe says he started about seven years ago. He moved up to the Montgomery Upper Middle School team, where he placed 2nd in the Somerset County tournament. He also competed with Princeton Wrestling Club (PWC), where he says he entered challenging tournaments that helped him improve down the line, and allowed him to be a three-time youth state qualifier.
“Growing up wrestling at PWC, I used to see the Princeton University team practice before or sometimes after us,” Obe said. “It made me aspire to be like them.”
Obe started his Montgomery High High School season on a high note — winning his first high school tournament, the Mike Dessino Invitational. In one of the toughest weight classes, he beat a senior from Watchung Hills. He went on to place third at the Somerset County tournament.
“I had missed multiple matches throughout the season due to a shoulder injury, COVID, and the weather, so I didn’t think it was going to be possible," Obe said about his 22 wins in his freshman year - which broke the record.
However, I managed to win a few clutch matches that sealed the deal and gave me the chance I needed to break that record. I won the winning match, number 22, while I was at ‘districts’ where I placed fourth and wrapped up the season 22-5.”
Obe said his experience with high school and wrestling has been great. He’s made great friends both on the mat and in the classroom. Obe says he tries to model his work ethic after the captains this year: Ty and Luke Greenberg and Gabe Rohmeyer. They are members of the Class of 2022, and were great examples of leadership, he said.
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Obe’s goal for next season is to try to get to ‘states’ and make it into the 100-win club at MHS. His biggest source of motivation is wanting to wrestle in college, he says. He still has three years of high school to go, and just may go down as one of the greatest wrestlers in MHS history if he keeps on his current path.
Obe's father is Alex Obe, owner of Iron Core Fitness BootCamp in Rocky Hill. His mother is Montgomery first grade teacher Stephanie Shaffer Obe. She teaches at the Orchard Hill Elementary School. He also has a sister.
The Wrestling Coaches
He says he looks forward to continuing working with his coaches, Coach Daniel McHugh and Coach Jay Stuart, which Obe says are two people who have brought a lot of life back into the wrestling program.
“I’d waited years to finally get to work with Coach Jay [Stuart]. I just missed having him as my middle school coach," Obe says. Stuart was head wrestling coach at the UMS from 2015 to 2019, when he became a wrestling coach at MHS.
In addition to serving as a coach of varsity wrestling at MHS, Coach Stuart is a board member of the Princeton Wrestling Club and treasurer of the Raritan Valley Wrestling League. He was formerly a long-term assistant wrestling coach at Watchung Hills Hill School.
Coach Stuart is a retired executive with a background in sales and marketing management and has led business units at several prominent consumer goods companies including Coors Brewing Company, Haagen-Dazs Inc., and PepsiCo. He graduated from Princeton University with a bachelor’s degree in economics and earned an MBA in finance from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania.
An NJSIAA State wrestling champion in his senior year of high school, Stuart went on to wrestle in Princeton University’s Division 1 program where he was a three-year starter. He was a place winner at the EIWA tournament each of those three years and qualified for the NCAA tournament his senior year where he made it to the round of 16. Stuart was awarded the Triede Trophy at Princeton for outstanding leadership and well as the Gifford Award as the top point scorer on the team.
Obe also thanked first-year MHS Head Wrestling Coach Daniel McHugh, "Who finally was able to get us a wrestling room for the first time ever,” he said, noting that the MHS wrestling program took a hard hit because of COVID. McHugh was able to get the program rolling agin in a safe way.
McHugh earned a bachelor's degree and a master's degree at Salisbury University. He is a physical education teacher at MHS, as well as head wrestling coach and assistant football coach. ■