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29th Annual NHSCA High School Nationals was one for the record books

Wednesday, April 4, 2018  
Posted by: Mattie Potter
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The 29th Annual NHSCA, National High School Coaches Association, High School Nationals were held this past weekend at the Virginia Beach Convention Center in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Wrestling kicked off Friday, March 23rd while the finals concluded Sunday, March 25, 2018. The 29th Annual NHSCA High School Nationals featured five divisions of competition: Freshman, Sophomore, Junior, Senior and Middle School on 40 mats under one roof.


This year’s Championships showcased many elite wrestlers from around the nation. The 2018 High School Nationals had a record new turnout with 4,210 wrestlers from 49 states, Canada, and Germany competing. More than 1300 high school and college coaches, as well as over 6000 spectators, were in attendance.

All-Americans in the five divisions hailed from 46 states and Canada.  Pennsylvania boasted the most All Americans (61) and Champions (9). New York, New Jersey, California and Florida rounded out the top 5 states for All Americans while California, Florida, New York, Georgia and Ohio rounded out the top 5 regarding Champions.

This year’s event showcased the culmination of two Seniors’ high school careers by winning their 4th NHSCA title. At 138, Joseph Silva is ranked 1st in the nation and is a 4-time Florida State Champion for Lake Highland Prep. Silva produced two falls, two major decisions and a decision to land himself in the finals where he beat 2-time Wyoming State Champion Trevor Jeffries 12-6. Silva will be heading to the University of Michigan in the fall.

At 170, Aaron Brooks, also ranked 1st in the nation, won his 4th NHSCA title in dominating fashion and was named the Senior Outstanding Wrestler. The 4-time Maryland State Champ, Brooks had one decision and five falls including a pin in 1:23 over 3-time Utah State Champ Cole Moody. Brooks is one of the most highly decorated student athletes to compete over the years as he won UWW Freestyle World Championships this past fall. Brooks will be attending Penn State University next fall after completing a year at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado. 

In the Junior division, at 132, New Hampshire standout Connor McGonagle, ranked 6th in the nation, won his 3rd New Hampshire state title last month and his 3rd NHSCA title this month with a fall in 2:26 over Arizona State Champ Bryce Nickel. McGonagle has made a verbal commitment to Lehigh University. At 152, #8 Brevin Balmeceda, a three-time State Champ from South Dade High School in Florida also claimed his 3rd NHSCA title with a 5-1 decision over Indiana’s Donnell Washington.

In the Sophomore division Pennsylvania crowned seven champions: (126) Patrick Noonan, (138) Andrew Cerniglia, (145) Cole Handlovic, (152) Clayton Ulrey, (170) Gerrit Nijenhuis, (182) Gaige Garcia, and (220) Hunter Catka.  Catka walked through the competition including beating the returning Freshman Champion DJ Lundy in the semis. Catka hails from Sun Valley High School in Aston, Pennsylvania. He finished with one decision and four falls including a 3:39 fall in the finals over South Carolina’s Cole Fleming. He is currently ranked #17 in the nation.

The Freshman Nationals concluded with Champions from 11 states with California and Pennsylvania doubling up. At 170, North Carolina’s State Champ Landon Foor won his first NHSCA title with a dramatic 8-7 ultimate tie breaker win over Easton, Pennsylvania’s Dominic Falcone.

Full results can be found on FloArena and on the NHSCA’s website.- click here.

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