Wrestling Greats Who Participated in the NHSCA Senior Nationals
Monday, March 10, 2014
Posted by: Mattie Potter
25 years ago, National High School Coaches
Association founder Bob Ferraro, Sr. had a dream – bring together all of the
nation’s senior high school state wrestling champs.
“The day we left Lewisburg, Pennsylvania for
the championships in the western part of the state, we had only 51 wrestlers
registered,” said Ferraro, who at the time of the first national championships
was the head wrestling coach at Bucknell University. “Back then there was no
internet, so it was hard to tell if more kids would be coming or not. I’m
thinking how bad will this be if only those 51 kids show-up? The good news is we had a great turnout for
on-site registration and we ended-up with 262 wrestlers from 39 different
25 years later, Ferraro still enjoys talking
about that first year in Pittsburgh, but he also smiles when discussing the
NHSCA’s upcoming Silver Anniversary of the NHSCA High School National Wrestling
Championships, March 28th through the 30th at the
Virginia Beach Convention Center in Virginia Beach, Virginia.
A half-century since those first championships,
the NHSCA has expanded, not only the championships, but also the organization
as well. Today, the National High School
Coaches Association crowns championships in five different divisions – middle
school, freshmen, sophomore, junior and senior classifications.
Each an every year, the number of wrestlers
competing grows. The 2013 championships
attracted a record 2,800-plus wrestlers to Virginia Beach to battle for the
coveted title of NHSCA high school national wrestling champ. The top wrestlers in each weight class also
earn the honor of NHSCA All-American.
The national championship alumni roster reads
like a Who’s Who in the sport of wrestling with the likes of current Penn St.
head coach Cael Sanderson, who won the NHSCA Senior Nationals in 1997 before
going on to become a four-time NCAA champ with a 159-0 record. Sanderson won an Olympic Gold Medal in 2004
in Athens, Greece.
Two other NHSCA Senior National champs went-on
to win Olympic gold. Jake Varner was a
NHSCA Senior National champ in 2005 before going onto to become a two-time NCAA
champ at Iowa State. Varner won the 96 kg Gold Medal in the 2012 Olympic games in London.
In 2006, New Jersey’s Jordan Burroughs won a NHSCA
National Championship before going to Nebraska where he won two NCAA
titles. Like Varner, Burroughs won a Gold Medal at the London Olympics.
Stephen Abas was a 1996 NHSCA Senior National
champ. Abas was a three-time NCAA champion at
Fresno State. Abas won an Olympic Silver Medal at the Athens Games in 2004.
“It’s always a lot of fun to watch our
wrestlers move-on to have great success at the NCAA level,” said Ferraro.
The most exclusive club for the NHSCA’s is the
elite four-time champion club. There
have only been three, quadruple champs – Blake Roulo of Matoaca High School in
Virginia; Tyler Beckwith of Greene High School in New York; and BJ Clagon of
Toms River South High School in New Jersey.
To register for this year’s championships, go
to www.nhsca.com and select your grade level!