Monday, March 18, 2013

24th annual NHSCA High School Wrestling National Championships - Junior Division

by Jeff Fisher
NHSCA Sports Hour Host
Follow @NHSCAradioshow

With plenty of time to still register for the 24th annual National High School Coaches Association (NHSCA) National Wrestling Championships, the field in the Junior Division is stocked from top-to-bottom. As of March 15th, wrestlers who have won a combined 100 state championships have registered for the Junior Nationals April 3-7, 2013 at the Virginia Beach Convention Center in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

Currently there are eight 3X state champs registered in the Junior Division, plus eight 2012 NHSCA Sophomore Division champs are back to defend their titles.

The 126-pound bracket is loaded with Brock Ervin of Union County High School in Kentucky, P.T. Garcia of Bear Creek High School in Colorado and Clay Walker of Eastside High School in South Carolina.  Ervin and Walker are 3X state champs; Garcia is a 2X state champ. Last year at the NHSCA’s, Garcia won the 120-pound Sophomore Division championship, while Walker was the 126-pound champ.  Right now the 126-pound bracket has registrants with a combined 17 individual state championships.

Nathan Rose of Sibley East High School in Minnesota is halfway to becoming just the third 4X NHSCA national champ. Rose, who is currently ranked 12th in the nation, is coming-off his second straight Minnesota title. Rose, who will be trying to defend his Sophomore Division 195-pound title in the same weight class, won NHSCA titles as a freshman and a sophomore.

Other returning 2012 Sophomore Division champs are: 3X Delaware state champ Brent Fleetwood of Smyrna High School; former Blair Academy (New Jersey) wrestler P.J. Klee, who sat out this season after transferring to Cardinal Newman High School in California; 3X Maryland state champ Alfred Bannister of Bishop McNamara High School; Larry Bomstad of Atwater-Cosmos-Grove in Minnesota, who won a state championship this year; and Jesse Webb, a 3X Vermont state champ at Mount Anthony Union High School.

Other top juniors registered are Ryan Milhof of Collins Hill High School in Georgia and Burke Paddock of Warsaw High School in New York. Milhof is ranked 5th in the nation at 120 pounds, while Paddock is ranked 11th at 160.  Milhof and Burke both won an NHSCA Freshman Division titles. Burke finished runner-up last year.

Last year was another record-breaking year with over 2,407 wrestlers competing in the NHSCA’s five championship divisions: Senior, Junior, Sophomore, Freshman and Middle School.  In the four high school divisions in 2012, there were over 800 state champions and 1,600 state place winners competing for the coveted title of NHSCA national champ.  In addition to crowning individual champs, the NHSCA names wrestlers All-Americans for finishing in the Top 8 in each weight class.

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