Saturday, March 5, 2011

Illinois Wrestler Named GTM Sportswear/NHSCA Athlete of the Month

by Jeff Fisher
Host, NHSCA Sports Hour

Ben Whitford of Marmion Academy (Aurora, Illinois), who is halfway to becoming just the 13th four-time state wrestling champ in Illinois, is January's GTM Sportswear/NHSCA Athlete of the Month.  Whitford was honored Friday morning during a news conference at the school.

“The National High School Coaches Association is proud to recognize Ben for his outstanding performances, not only on the field, but in the school and community as well,” said Bobby Ferraro, Jr., Executive Director of the National High School Coaches Association. “It’s truly an honor to recognize someone of this stature.”

"GTM Sportswear® is honored to be partnering with the NHSCA in recognizing outstanding student athletes such as Ben. He has really shown his commitment and dedication to his sport and is a great example for the youth in our communities," said Nikki Miller, Vice President of Marketing for GTM Sportswear®. "We are very proud of Ben and his outstanding achievements."

Last month, the super sophomore captured the Class 2A 130-pound championship winning a 20-7 major decision over David Pearce of Bethalto Civic Memorial. Whitford was one of five state champs for the Cadets, who up until three years ago, never had a state tournament qualifier.

Here's video of Whitford's 2011 title...

The five individual titles are a state record for most champions in 2A or 3A. The other champs for Marmion Academy were Johnny Jimenez (103), Jered Cortez (112), George Fisher (119) and Bryce Brill (135).

Whitford finished this season with a record of 41-1. His career record is now 84-1.

If Whitford can win two more state titles, he will join the list of elite wrestlers who claim the title of four-time champs. Below is that list...

Illinois Wrestling 4X State Wrestling Champs

Mark Ruettiger (New Lenox Providence) 1978-81
Joey Gilbert (Tinley Park Andrew) 1986-89
Mike Mena (Sterling Newman High School) 1989-92
Joe Williams (Chicago Mt. Carmel) 1990-93
TJ Williams (Chicago Mt. Carmel) 1993-96
David Douglas (Thornridge) 1994-97
Chase Beebe (Montini) 2000-2003
Conor Beebe (Montini) 2002-2005
Mike Benefiel (Montini) 2004-2007
Albert White (St. Rita) 2004-2007
Seth Milks (Dakota) 2006-2009

Click here to read NHSCA news release.

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