Wednesday, March 25, 2015
2015 NHSCA Junior Nationals Preview
by Jeff Fisher
Host, NHSCA Sports Hour
This year’s NHSCA Junior Nationals at the 26th Annual National High School Coaches Association's High School National Wrestling Championships finds four wrestlers looking for their third straight national championship. The Junior Nationals field also includes the return of six wrestlers, who captured 2014 Sophomore National gold medals.
Adding to the strength of the division are the 13 three-time state champions that will grace the mats in Virginia Beach, Virginia, plus there is a large number of wrestlers that have captured between one-and-two state championships entered in every weight class.
Twin brothers Thomas and Daniel Bullard of Archer HS in Georgia are entered a 152-pounds and 160 pounds respectively. Both won their third straight Georgia state individual championship earlier this year and are hoping to match that number at this year’s NHSCA Junior Nationals.
Thomas was ranked #14 in the nation at 160-pounds by InterMat, while Daniel was ranked #16.
Also looking to join the exclusive 3X NHSCA Champions’ Club are Kevin Budock of Good Counsel in Maryland and Matthew Correnti of Holy Cross in New Jersey. Budock, who has won two Maryland state championships, won the 138-pound weight class last year, while Correnti captured the 195-pound gold in 2014. Both wrestlers finished second in their respective states this past year.
Returning to defending the titles they won as sophomores are — Josh McClure of Fulton HS in Missouri, last year’s 113-pound champ; Mark McCormick of Camden Catholic HS in New Jersey, last year’s 132-pound gold medalist; Blake Rypel of Indianapolis Cathedral HS in Indiana, the 2014 Sophomore National champ at 182; Kyle Jennings of Ponderosa HS in California, who won the 220-pound gold last year; and Nick Coe of Asheboro HS in North Carolina returns to try to win another heavyweight gold medal.
Leading the contingent of three-time state champs is Arizona’s Jacob Swift from Deer Valley HS, who is a perfect 126-0 during his career.
There are three 3X champs entered at 138 — Michael Berkowitz of Long Island Lutheran HS in New York, Jarrett Degen of Belgrade HS in Montana and Michael Murphy of the Baylor School in Tennessee. Joining that trio at 138 will be John Hayden Hill from Vestavia Hills, who is an Alabama state champ and two-time NHSCA All-American. Mark McCormick, who won the 132-pound NHSCA Sophomore National gold is makes the 138-pound weight class very strong.
There are two three-time champs — Ben Anderson from Pleasant Grove HS in Utah and Issac Deloa of Millard South HS in Nebraska — entered at 132. There are two 3X champs at 145 — Kevin Catlin of Good Counsel in Maryland and Luke Weber of Forsyth HS in Montana.
The other 3X state champs are — Kye Caitlin of Power HS in Wyoming, Peter Del Gallo of Gardiner HS in Maine, Chris McCrackin from Banks County HS in Georgia and Seth Hutchison from Sohi HS in Alaska.