Easton Area High School Easton, Pennsylvania
Hold an election to determine the nation's best area for high
school wrestling, and its certain that Pennsylvania's Lehigh Valley will
get plenty of votes. Need proof? Just give Easton High wrestling
Coach Steve Powell a call. His answering machine tells the story:
School's started, wrestling season is just around the corner". Many
teams have carried the banner for the Valley over the years. The last
two years, it's been Easton's turn.
The strength of Easton wrestling is
nothing new. After all, the school has crowned at least one district
champion every year since the District 11 tournament was initiated in
1948. But the national strength of Easton wrestling is
outstanding individuals and one of the nation's toughest schedules has
taken the Rovers to back-to-back Class AAA state team championships,
earning top 5 finishes in the national rankings for the past two years.
"You can't back off," Powell said. "You always have to be focused on
looking for ways to improve. We have a tough schedule, but even if we
didn't travel, our schedule would be great. When you look at the number
of outstanding teams within a half hour's drive of each other, each
week there are some of the nations best team competing against each
other. And he has to do it with the heaviest teaching load he's
ever had on his shoulders in his 22 years of teaching."
A Health and
physical Education teacher, Powell is in the classroom seven out of the
day's eight periods, with more than 30 students in each class.
"As a coach, I do the same thing in a rebuilding situation that I did
last year," he said. "You gear your practices to your best kid. Our
kids know what they have to do to compete at the next level. You're not
going to be at the top three or four in the nation every year in a
public school. But our kids have great learning attitudes."
was born in the Valley, but his father, who was in the US Navy, was
transferred to the Philadelphia Navy Yards. There Steve attended high
school and college, graduating from Henderson High School and later from
West Chester State College. He has been back in the Valley
ever since. It isn't hard to see why.
How big is wrestling in the
Valley? It's more than the best media coverage in the nation, where
most major dual meets take place in front of cable television cameras
and radio microphones, as well as plenty of print media. It's more than
the overflow crowds which often result in closed-circuit television
feeds to auditoriums or cafeterias when the gymnasium is full.
"It's the ultimate family sport. Wrestling is ingrained in families
here," Powell said."This is a blue-collar community and there's a strong
work ethic. People live their entire lives in this area, and they grow
up loyal to their team. People here have a lot of pride in high school
athletics. You take the average wrestler on my team and chances are his
brother, father, uncles, and all his buddies wrestled. And after he
gets out of school, his sons will wrestle years from now. It just gets
passed from generation to generation."
The pride also extends
to the community. When Easton had a parade last summer to celebrate
the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Easton Fire Department, the
wrestling team rode the fire truck that led the parade. What else would you expect from the Valley?
Blair Academy Blairstown, New Jersey
Although his impact on Blair's success and his place in the
history of Blair's rich 84 year-old tradition of wrestling are
definitive, Buxton is better known around campus as a complete educator.
A graduate of the University of Rhode Island, Buxton teaches three
upper level math courses and is also an academic monitor for the
postgraduate class. He has made it a hallmark of his coaching to
emphasize not only excellence on the mat but in the classroom and the
community as well. Currently, there are approximately 40 former Blair
wrestlers who are competing in college. Even though Blair's high school
team has recently experienced several successes at the highest level,
winning has never been at the center of Coach Buxton's teaching.
Instead, he does everything he can to maximize the efforts of each
individual as well as the opportunities available to each of his
student-athletes; winning is simply a result of those efforts.
Motivated by a true love of wrestling and kids, Buxton puts countless
hours into his work outside of the "regular" wrestling season. In the
spring and summer, he works several camps and clinics in New Jersey as
well as around the country. Another spring-time habit of his is to take
van loads of wrestlers (both from Blair and other local athletes) around
the northeast to compete in post season tournaments. Whether he is
talking on the phone to parents or college coaches for hours at a time
(it is widely believed that this is truly how he acquired cauliflower
ear) or giving a student one-on-one instruction, Jeff Buxton does
whatever he can to help the kids and the sport that he loves.
Buxton's first head coaching job was at Chariho High School in Rhode
Island where his teams compiled a 24-5 record over two years. In 1982,
he came to Blair Academy as a math teacher, assistant wrestling coach to
Bob Latessa and head lacrosse coach. In 1984, Buxton was named the
first co-head coach in Blair wrestling's history. He took over sole
responsibility as the head coach in 1991 when Latessa moved on to become
the assistant coach at Lehigh University. Since being named co-head
coach 19 years ago, Buxton has led Blair to as many National Prep team
championships, and coached 61 individual National Prep Champions to a
total of 79 individual titles.
Although he has maintained and expanded
the opportunities for the college program that has long been established
as a trademark of Blair wrestling, he has also broadened the scope of
the high school team. The skill level of the athletes on the high school
team this past year ranged from novice wrestlers to Prep National
champions, and the success of the team has grown on all levels. Again,
it is Buxton's emphasis on opportunities for students within the sport
that has made it possible to see to the needs of such a wide range of
Raised in Satellite Beach, Florida and later Hope,
Rhode Island in a family of 6 brothers and 3 sisters, Buxton was an
outstanding three-sport athlete at Providence Country Day School where
he earned a total of 13 varsity letters in football, wrestling, and
lacrosse. In 1975, he was a National Prep Champion in wrestling and was
named the Rhode Island Athlete of the Year, capping four undefeated
seasons as a wrestler. Recently, Buxton was recognized for his high
school athletic achievements as he was inducted into Providence Country
Day School's Athletic Hall of Fame. Following high school, he
matriculated to the University of Rhode Island on a full wrestling
scholarship where he was a qualifier for the NCAA tournament on a team
that was regularly in the top twenty of the country (Rhode Island has
since dropped wrestling). Known for an unconventional and tenacious
style, Buxton continued competing after college and was the Outstanding
Wrestler in the 1980 Northeastern Regional Olympic Trials (he did not
compete in the final trials). Jeff Buxton is married to his wife Carol. They have two children; a son, Tony, and a daughter, Siena.
Choctaw High School Choctaw, Oklahoma
There aren't many schools competing, but life on the wrestling
mat may not be more competitive anywhere in the nation than in
Oklahoma's Class 5A. Oklahoma's biggest enrollment division in
wrestling includes less than 30 schools, but there are few easy marks
among them. Broken Arrow, Midwest City, Del City, Muskogee, Lawton.
The list goes on and on. Next year, traditional Class 4A powerhouse
Tulsa East Central moves up to 5A to join them.
there's Choctaw. Choctaw wasn't always one of the state's powerhouses.
The traditional strength of the class lay in those other schools.
Since Benny Coleman arrived, things at Choctaw have changed. Maybe it
was the desire to bring the school that he attended into the state's
wrestling elite. In any case, a lot of things came together, and
Choctaw won double Class 5A state team titles, both in the dual and the individual state tournaments in 1994 and 1997.
Having guided his from the pack into Oklahoma's wrestling elite;
Coleman says he's just trying to survive in an extremely competitive
atmosphere. "The coaches here are all very competitive," Coleman said
"There's a lot of pride, and everybody is trying to do what's best for
their program. It keeps everybody on their toes and motivated to
succeed at a high level. Many of the coaches are involved year round.
We have a lot of tradition here in Oklahoma, but we don't have a real
population, so that's one way our kids can stay at such a high level."
Poway High School Poway, California
Wayne's teams have been among California's best, year after year.
Despite the loss of a state place winner to a late season injury, Poway
finished a strong third place in a state tournament this year and posted
a #17 final national ranking, its third in seven years.
Owatonna High School Owatonna, Minnesota
Scot's Owatonna team won its first Class AAA dual state title this
year, posting a 41-1 overall record and a final # 8 national ranking. He
has led Owatonna to the state dual tournament three consecutive years.
Don Rohn Northampton High School Northampton, Pennsylvania
Rohn was named Coach of the Year for leading the Konkrete Kids to
their fourth Class AAA state title of the 1990 's. The unofficial
national champions in 1993, Northampton finished this season with the # 5
Saint Edward High School Lakewood, Ohio
Urbas had big shoes to fill when he replaced the legendary coach
Howard Ferguson as coach of the top wrestling program in Ohio and one of
the best in the nation. Known for his tireless efforts to advance all
of the wrestlers on to college, Urbas let St. Edward's to its second
straight Division I state title and, with a 17-0 record, a second
unofficial national championship in seven years.
Lincoln High School
Wisconsin Rapid, Wisconsin
Benitz led Lincoln High to its fifth consecutive Division I dual title,
only the second team in Wisconsin to ever accomplish that feat and the
first since 1954. Since he became head coach in 1965, Benitz has coached
Winsincon Rapids to 10 state team titles, more than any other school,
and his 464-77-2 record makes him the state's all-time winningest coach.
He also coached his 20th individual state champion this season.
Providence Catholic High School
New Lennox, Illinois
Healy led Providence to its third consecutive AA dual title, only the
third team in Illinois history ever to accomplish that feat. A two-time
NCAA qualifier at the University of Illinois, Healy has a 168-29-1 dual
meet record and has led Providence to top three state finishes in six of
his last seven seasons as head coach. He also has coached 17 individual
state place winners and 4 champions.
Highlands Park High School
Marzuola's Highland Park team set high standards in wrestling's first
year as a state association-sanctioned sport in Texas, winning the state
dual and individual championships. His teams have gone 64-0 over the
past two seasons in winning back to back dual titles, including 33-0
this season by an average winning margin of 66 points, a national
Bald Eagle Area High School
Rhoades capped a storybook season by leading Bald Eagle area to the
state's first AAA Dual State Title - winning 53-0 in the final, and
their first ever individual state title over six other nationally ranked
teams. Rhoades also was voted Class AAA Coach of the Year in
Pennsylvania this season and is a 6 time District 6 Coach of the Year.
Brandon High School
Under Russ Cozart's leadership, Brandon High has become one of the top
programs in the Southeast. He just completed his 20th year as Brandon's
head coach, and he has led Brandon to six state team titles during the
decade of the 1990s. Brandon won the state's Class 6A crown in 1991,
1992, 1993, 1995, 1997, and 1998, never finishing lower than fifth
during the decade. This year's team finished second in the Class 2A
But the statistic that really defines Brandon is "The Streak." Cozart
is unbeaten in dual meets at Brandon, winning all 252 that his teams
have competed in, including a 12-0 mark this year. In fact, the school
has not lost a dual meet since 1973, and has won 335 consecutive dual
meets in the 27 years since then, a national record for any school in
any sport. Cozart's best team, in 1991-92, won its 21 dual meets that
year by an average of more than 62 points, a national record at the
Cozart has established a record as a competitor that is nearly equal to
his record as a coach. He has won five gold medals in the Masters World
Freestyle Championships at 136.5 pounds.
Mount Anthony Union High School
Now in his 15th year coaching at his alma mater, Scott Legacy has
maintained Mount Anthony Union's place as the top wrestling program in
New England. Legacy has led Mount Anthony to 12 consecutive state team
titles, and under his leadership, Mount Anthony was one of just four
schools nationwide to win its state tournament every year during the
decade of the 1990s. During the decade, his teams also won three New
England championships, in 1993, 1997, and 1999, while finishing second
in 1994 and 1996. This year's team is favored to earn a fourth New
England title. He has had two nationally ranked teams, and this year's
team also occupies a spot in the NHSCA's Top 50 team ranking.
This year, Legacy's Mount Anthony team finished 21-1-1 in dual meets,
giving him a career dual meet record of 249-24-2. His teams regularly
travel throughout the East and the Northeast in search of the best
competition possible. Individually, he has coached 56 state champions
and 8 New England champions, and 21 of his wrestlers have earned
All-America status through their success in various competitions and
Aztec High School
Aztec, New Mexico
Coaching in a small school has its rewards, and long-time Aztec High coach Herb Stinson has had his share of them.
In his 22nd and final season as Aztec's head wrestling coach (he was on
the staff for 26 years), Stinson won his 11th consecutive Class A-3A
state title and the 12th of his career. He is one of only four coaches
to win his state's championship every year during the decade of the
1990s. Aztec also finished 25-1 in dual meets this year, giving him a
final career record of 445-45-4.
Stinson accomplished all this as a three-sport coach with three-sport
athletes. He serves as defensive coordinator for a football team which
has reached the state playoffs 10 consecutive years, and also coaches
Stinson has been recognized on several occasions for his coaching
excellence. He has been awarded National High School Coach of the Year
honors in 1991 and 1995, and was elected to the New Mexico High School
Coaches Association Hall of Honor in 1998. His teams are listed six
times in the national record book, and hold two national records: His
1993 team won its 21 dual meets by an average of more than 63 points,
and his teams have won 122 tournament titles, including eight this year.
Wilson High School
In nine seasons as Wilson High School's head coach, Dave Crowell has
elevated the Warriors to one of Pennsylvania's AA powers on a year to
This year, Wilson Area enjoyed of the best seasons ever. The Warriors
piled up a 19-1-1 record in dual meets, winning the Class AA dual state
title and finishing fourth in the individual state tournament. Early in
the season, Wilson Area took on two of the Lehigh Valley's Class AAA
powers, scoring a big 37-19 victory over Nazareth before cross-town
rival Easton High handed them their only loss this season, a 29-21
defeat. Crowell was the head coach at Easton High prior to coming to
Wilson Area. The 19-1-1 record was the second best in school history.
Crowell's career record at Wilson Area stands at 135-39-1. Earlier this
year, he became the all time leader in victories among the 9 head
coaches in Wilson history. His .775 winning percentage also is a school
record. Under Crowell, Wilson Area has also won 4 conference titles, 3
District 11 titles, and 4 Southeast Region titles. Two of his wrestlers
have won individual state titles.
Clarksville High School
Jeff Jordan completed his eighth season as head coach at Clarksville
High School this year. In 2000, he coached the Wildcats to the state's
Division I dual and individual team titles, a feat never previously
accomplished by a school outside the Nashville or greater Chattanooga
areas, and finished second in the state duals and third in the state
individual tournament this year.
Prior to coaching at Clarksville, Jordan coached for 8 years at
Franklin High, serving as the school's head coach from 1984-1989. His
1989 Franklin team won the individual state championship, at that time
becoming the first public school outside the Chattanooga to win a state
title, and was the state dual runner up. His Franklin teams were
78-11-1, for an overall record of 284-41-1. Jordan is one of only two
coaches in Tennessee history to coach two different teams to state
titles. He also coached 7 individual state champions and one NHSCA
Senior All American.
Jordan accomplished this success with four-year wrestlers who never
wrestled prior to high school. He is stepping down as Clarksville head
coach this year to devote more time his family and his livestock farm.
Bakersfield High School
After leading Bakersfield High to four top-10 finishes in the
single-class California state tournament over the previous seven
seasons, David East watched his Drillers rewrite the California record
books this year.
A month ago, Bakersfield scored 226.5 points in the state tournament,
winning the state title by 125 points. Nine Bakersfield wrestlers
finished in the top six, seven advanced to the finals, and four were
crowned champions. All are California state records. Bakersfield was
ranked No. 5 in the nation this season. In addition, one of East's four
state champions, 125-pounder Darrell Vasquez, became the first four-time
state champion in the history of California high school wrestling.
East is retiring from coaching this year after 27 years, 24 as a head
coach. A graduate of Bakersfield High and Cal-State Bakersfield, where
he was a member of the school's first Division II national championship
team, he was head coach for five years at Maricopa High and four years
at West Bakersfield High before coming to Bakersfield High. After three
years as an assistant to Steve Varner, East became head coach in 1988
and led the Drillers to 14 consecutive league titles. In addition to
this year's state title, his teams finished second in the state in 2001
and third in 1995. He coached at least one state placewinner in each of
his final nine seasons, and overall he coached 31 state placewinners and
seven state champions. His teams were undefeated in dual meets his
final two seasons, and his career record was 204-12.
Apple Valley High School
Apple Valley, Minnesota
Jim Jackson is only the second head coach in the 26-year history of
Apple Valley High's fabulously successful wrestling program. Jackson has
been part of the Eagles' coaching staff for 22 of those 26 years. After
10 years as an assistant, he became co-head coach of the Eagles in
1991, serving alongside his mentor, Bill Demaray, who started the
program when the school opened in 1976 and coached it to six big-class
Minnesota dual state titles. Jackson was part of three of those teams as
a co-head coach, in 1991, 1994, and 1995. When Demaray stepped down
after the 1995 season after 20 years at the helm, Jackson became the
head coach and has maintained the Eagles' position at the top of
Minnesota high school wrestling.
Jackson has coached Apple Valley to the past four Class AAA dual
state titles and five state titles overall in his seven years as head
coach, with his other two teams finishing second and third in the state.
This year's team finished 39-0 in dual meets, going out of state to
record dual meet victories over national powerhouses Iowa City and Lewis
Central of Iowa, Broken Arrow and El Reno of Oklahoma, and Platte
County of Missouri, and was ranked among the nation's top three teams
for the second time in three years. His overall dual-meet record is
226-9-3, including a current 60-match winning streak over the past two
Jackson's wrestlers also have excelled in the individual state
tournament. In seven years, he has coached 46 state placewinners and 16
state champions. He also was selected National Coach of the Year by
Wrestling USA magazine in 2001.
St. Paris Graham High School St. Paris, Ohio
"Jeff Jordan has built a program at St. Paris Graham that competes
with the best in the nation year after year," said NHSCA executive
director Bob Ferraro. "The NHSCA is proud to honor Coach Jordan as the
National High School Wrestling Coach of the Year."
Jordan coached the Graham Falcons to a third straight Division 2 Ohio
State Tournament championship, this time by a margin of more than 100
points. Graham also won the state's dual meet title in Division 2.
Nationally, Jordan's squad was ranked among the elite in the nation from
season's start to finish, and placed third at the prestigious Beast of
the East Tournament and second in the Walsh Iron Man Invitational.
Jordan, who won four individual Ohio state championships of his own
while wrestling for Graham in the early 1980's, has turned his alma
mater into one of the nation's most respected programs.
Northampton High School
In wrestling, Terry Daubert's Northampton, Pennsylvania grapplers
repeated as the Keystone State AAA state champions and qualified a
record 11 team members to the state finals. The team finished with three
individual state champions and 10 total medalists, while Daubert's high
school coaching record improved to 78-8. As an NHSCA national coach
honoree, Daubert exemplifies the manner in which a dedicated coach can
succeed at any level, as his junior high squads held a 117-7 record
prior to his moving onto the prep level.
Davison High School
Hall has built his alma mater, Davison High, into not only a state, but
a national power. This year, the Cardinals won their fourth consecutive
Division I dual-team state title and fifth in the past six years. His
last three teams have finished in W.I.N. Magazine's top 15 nationally,
and three of his wrestlers, Paul Donahoe and brothers Chase and Brent
Metcalf, have been voted Asics All-America First Team members. A
two-time state champion himself, Hall was a Junior National Greco-Roman
champion, seventh in the Junior World Championships, and a four-time
NCAA qualifier at Michigan State University. In the past six years, he
has coached 13 Division I state champions and 41 placewinners.
Carl Sandburg High School
Orland Park, Illinois
Polz recently completed his 18th season as a head coach, and his 14th
at Carl Sandburg. This season, he led the Eagles to a 33-0 record and
their second consecutive Class AA dual-team state championship. In the
individual state tournament, Polz coached three state champions and five
Eagles advanced to the finals, a Class AA record. Carl Sandburg
currently boasts a 51-match winning streak over two seasons, and Polz's
last four teams have a combined record of 103-3 and have been unbeaten
in the regular season against Illinois opponents. Polz also coached at
New Lenox Providence High for four seasons, leading the Celtics to the
1989 Class AA title and a runner-up finish in 1990. His career dual-meet
record is 400-45, and he has coached 13 individual state champions and
Cary High School
Cary, North Carolina
Since taking over the reins at Cary in 1982, Winterton's teams have
rewritten the state record books. Cary has won 16 Class 4A dual and
individual state team titles, and Winterton has coached 40 individual
state champions. In 1997, 2005 and 2007, Cary swept the dual and
individual state titles, and this year's team finished the season ranked
No. 25 nationally by W.I.N. magazine. Winterton has coached his teams
to more tournament titles - 146 - than any other coach in American high
school wrestling history. His teams have posted 24 unbeaten regular
seasons, and his overall record is 517-15 at Cary and 539-33 in his
career. Winterton was elected to the Cary High School Hall of Fame in
1995 and the North Carolina wing of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame
in Stillwater, Oklahoma in 2004.
Spencerport High School
Spencerport, New York
In his 26th season at Spencerport, Jacoutot's Rangers dominated New
York State wrestling as few teams have in recent years. Spencerport
finished the season 18-0, advanced five wrestlers to the Division 1
state tournament, and crowned two state champions. Spencerport also
finished the season ranked 10th by W.I.N. magazine, the highest national
ranking in the school's history. Jacoutot's career record is 335-28-1,
and his teams own a 40-match winning streak dating back to January 2006.
He has led Spencerport to nine unbeaten seasons, and none of his last
22 teams lost more than two dual meets in a season. Six of his teams -
five in this decade - finished the season No. 1 in the New York State
Sportswriters Association rankings. He has coached 31 state placewinners
and 11 state champions.
Central Dauphin High School
Sweigard coached 11 years in the Susquehanna Township school district,
earning District 3 Coach of the Year honors in 1989. He has been Central
Dauphin's head coach the past 15 seasons. His teams have won 10
Mid-Penn Conference titles, seven District 3 titles and eight sectional
titles. Central Dauphin won state titles in AAA, perhaps the nation's
toughest wrestling class, the past three seasons. The Rams took the
individual team championship in 2007, then doubled up by winning both
dual and individual state team titles in 2008 and 2009. Sweigard has
coached 58 sectional champions, 22 district champions, 55 state
qualifiers, 39 state placewinners and six state champions. A five-time
District 3 Coach of the Year, including each of the past three seasons,
Sweigard also was selected as the Pennsylvania Coach of the Year in 2008
and 2009 and also was named National High School Coach of the Year by
the National Wrestling Coaches Association this season.
Timberlane Regional High School
Plaistow, New Hampshire
Chooljian recently completed his 23rd year at the helm of the
Timberlane program. With a record of 385-40-5 as of January 4, 2010, he
will pass the 400-victory mark early next season. This year, the Owls
finished 23-1 – the lone loss to powerhouse Blairstown Township (N.J.)
Blair Academy – and finished 10th in the prestigious Beast of the East
tournament. The Owls won their 11th consecutive Division 1 state
championship, setting a state record with 314 points. Timberlane has
taken the Division 1 crown 17 of the past 18 years, and the Owls
followed that by winning the Meet of Champions all-class state meet for
the seventh straight year, and the 14th time in the past 16 seasons.
Timberlane also has set the standard in the New England Championships.
In 2009, by winning their seventh New England team title, Timberlane
became New England’s all-time winningest program, and this season the
Owls extended that record with their eighth title. Timberlane has won
three straight New England titles, five in the past six seasons and
seven titles this decade, and 15 Owls wrestlers have won New England
crowns under his direction. Five Timberlane wrestlers have earned NHSCA
All-America honors, led by 2002 Senior Nationals champion Matt Smith.
The National Federation of State High School Associations followed the
NHSCA’s lead by naming Chooljian its National Wrestling Coach of the
Year this year.
Collins Hill High School, Suwanee, Georgia
57, retired last season after a hugely successful run at the helm of
the Collins Hill program, the fourth school he coached in a 34-year
coaching career, 29 in Georgia. His overall dual-meet record was 626-80.
Ramos guided Collins Hill to nine state team titles in Georgia’s
biggest class, 5A – five individual state tournament titles and four
dual state titles – and his Eagles teams finished in the top three for
11 consecutive seasons. A co-founder and past president of the Georgia
Wrestling Coaches Association, he is a 22-time Region Coach of the Year
and was selected the state’s Coach of the Year five times – in 2002,
2005, 2008, 2009 and 2010. His teams were nationally ranked five times
in a six-year span. His best team, in 2010, not only reached the top 10,
but beat two nationally-ranked teams, including host Easton High, and
came within three points of shocking 31-time National Prep champions
Blairstown Township (N.J.) Blair Academy in the NHSCA Final Four of High
School Wrestling. Ramos, who coached 34 individual state champions, was
selected Coach of the Year, Georgia Chapter, by the National Wrestling
Coaches Association in 2002 and is a member of the National Wrestling
Hall of Fame, Georgia Chapter. He currently serves as Director of
Wrestling at Greater Atlanta Christian School, located in Norcross.
Father Ryan High School, Nashville, Tennessee
A 1974 Father Ryan graduate, Simpson was a state runner-up as a senior,helping lead the Irish to a team state title. He returned to Father Ryan as head coach for the 1979-80 season, elevating an already-established sport to state powerhouse status. In his 33 years on the bench, Simpson has led Father Ryan to 15 state team titles – seven dual titles and eight individual titles – and coached 59 individual state champions. The Irish picked up their 15th title this year in the Division 2 individual state meet.The school now owns almost as many state team titles in wrestling (19) as in all other sports combined (21). Simpson’s teams were Division 2 double champions in 1998 and 2000. His teams also won a Small Division dual title in 1989, a Large Division dual title in 1996 and Division 2 titles in1999, 2004 and 2010, along with open individual titles in 1987 and1988 and Division 2 crowns in 2003, 2008 and 2009. The long-time assistant football coach teaches wellness and social science, and also recently became the school’s athletic director. A 1979 graduate of Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) with a M.Ed. from Tennessee State University, Simpson was the Western Region champion and an NCAA qualifier in 1979. A member of the Tennessee chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame, Simpson and his brother, Frank, the head coach at rival Montgomery Bell Academy, were part of the inaugural Hall of Fame class of the MTSU Wrestling Foundation earlier this year.
Clovis High School, Clovis, California
Tirapelle led Clovis High to its third straight California state
wrestling championship during the 2012-13 season, plus a lofty national
ranking. Tirapelle has spent 30 years as a head high school wrestling
coach, the last 16 being at Clovis High where he’s led the school to 11
state titles. During his illustrious career as a head coach, Tirapelle
has coached 80 state medalists and 19 state champions.
Lowell High School, Lowell, Michigan
In nine years, Dave Dean built Lowell into a state and national wrestling power that produced numerous state champs and student-athletes that have been awarded Division I scholarships. Dean, who resigned after the 2013-14 season to become the head of the Olympic Development Program at Cornell University, led the Red Arrows to the Michigan state team championship this past season and a #16 national ranking. The team title was Lowell’s second, with the first coming in 2009. Lowell finished runner-up in 2007, 2012 and 2013. Coach Dean produced 12 individual state champs and 46 state placewinners. In addition to excellence on the mat, Dean’s teams were named academic all-state every year since 2007.
Oak Park-River Forest High School, Oak Park, Illinois
Mike Powell’s program numbers speak for themselves – two Illinois dual team state championships, four state team championships at the individual state tournament, 10 individual state champions and 31 individual all-state wrestlers. Powell, who won a 1994 state title as a student-athlete at Oak Park River Forest in 1994, also amassed an overall coaching record of 213-44. Powell was an NCAA for the Indiana Hoosier while in college.
Wyoming Seminary, Kingston, Pennsylvania
Since taking over at Wyoming Seminary (Kingston, PA) in 2010, Scott Green has turned the Blue Knights into one of the top programs in the nation. This season, SEM began the year ranked #2 in the nation in the USA TODAY/NHSCA Super 25 preseason national wrestling rankings. However, after winning the prestigious Walsh Ironman at Walsh Jesuit High School in Ohio in early December, the Blue Knights moved to #1 in our national rankings, a spot they’ve held through early December. Wyoming Seminary won it’s first-ever Ironman by 25 points over preseason #1 Blair Academy (Blairstown, NJ).