ATLANTIC CITY — Although he would certainly change the ending if given the chance, Southern Regional High School senior Nick O’Connell wouldn’t change anything else about the script that led him to the New Jersey state finals Saturday.

O’Connell lost a 13-5 major decision to Pope John XXIII’s Robert Garcia in the 152-pound final of the state individual championships at Jim Whelan Boardwalk Hall.

O’Connell came one win short of realizing his childhood dream of winning a state title, but he was glad to be able to compete alongside longtime teammates John Stout and Nick Pepe one last time.

O’Connell, Stout and Pepe have been teammates since their youth wrestling days in the Stafford Township recreation program.

“It was great,” O’Connell said. “I put on the Southern singlet for the last time today, and I had Nick and John right there with me.”

The trio dominated in the classroom just as much if not more than they do on the mat. All three will wrestle in college next year — O’Connell at Cornell, Stout at the University of Penn and Pepe at Stevens Institute of Technology.