NHSCA Senior National Wrap-up: Mighty Max Wins Title + Beckwith Makes History

Tyler Beckwith of Greene (N.Y.) High became the first four-time National High School Champion as the 21st annual NHSCA National High School Seniors Wrestling Championships presented by the U.S. Navy concluded tonight at the Virginia Beach Convention Center.

After falling behind 2-0 on a first-period takedown, Beckwith reversed Isaiah Williams of Haverhill (Mass.) High to his back for a 4-2 lead in the 171-pound final. Beckwith added a second-period reversal en route to a 6-3 victory. The Binghamton University recruit added the Senior Nationals title to the titles he won the previous three years in the National Junior, Sophomore and Freshman Championships.

Keith Surber of O’Fallon (Ill.) High, the 130-pound champion, was voted the winner of the Jeff Reese Memorial Award as the meet’s Outstanding Wrestler. A state champion this year, the University of Nebraska recruit won five matches, advancing to the finals with a technical fall and three major decisions. That included an 11-2 victory over four-time New Mexico champion Louis Trujillo of Rio Rancho High in the semifinals. The win ended Trujillo’s bid to become a four-time National High School champion.

In the finals, Surber broke a 2-2 tie by scoring a three-point near fall with eight seconds remaining for a 5-3 victory over two-time Iowa champion Levi Wolfensperger of Denver/Tripoli High, the Outstanding Wrestler in the National Junior Championships a year ago. It was one of five finals matches decided in the final 10 seconds.

With Chris Villalonga (140) of Blairstown Township Blair Academy, Jordan Beverly (145) of Point Pleasant Boro High, Billy George (189) of Long Branch High and Jimmy Lawson (285) of Manchester High all winning titles, New Jersey breezed to the state team title, scoring 233.5 points. New York was second with 190, with California (153.5), Michigan (148.5) and Pennsylvania (142.5) rounding out the top five. Massachusetts posted its best finish ever, finishing sixth. The Bay State (106.5) was the only other team to crack the 100-point barrier.

A thrilling finals round started with Max Soria of Kings Park (N.Y.) High scoring a 7-3 victory over two-time Missouri champion Joe Barnes of Neosho High and ended with the night’s only overtime match, with Billy George scoring a rideout in the ultimate tie-breaker to prevail over Braden Atwood of Delphi (Ind.) High at 189. The two had ended six periods tied at 1-1. Atwood was the winner of the Craig Wesner Memorial Award as the only wrestler to record four falls in the tournament. He collected them in a combined time of 10 minutes, 56 seconds.

There were no pins in the finals, but there were plenty of points scored. Three-time Michigan champion Ryan Nieman (135) of Midland Bullock Creek High scored a technical fall, Jesse Delgado (119) of Gilroy High and Beverly scored major decisions and others went down to the wire.

Villalonga rallied from a 2-0 second-period deficit with two third-period takedowns, the last with eight seconds remaining, to pull out a 5-3 victory over Joel Smith of Suwanee (Ga.) Collins Hill High. Villalonga also beat Smith 5-4 in the NHSCA Final Four of High School Wrestling in January. Smith’s Collins Hill teammate, T.J. Mitchell, took the 125-pound title. Brandon Wilbourn of St. Charles (Mo.) Francis Howell Central High scored the winning takedown with two seconds remaining in a 4-2 victory over Jesse Shanaman of Blair and Nick McDiarmid of Hartland (Mich.) High nipped Matt Dwyer of Rockton (Ill.) Hononegah High 3-1 on a takedown with just one second remaining.

Also winning titles: Josh Heinzer (112) of Lake Stevens (Wash.) High and Nick Sulzer (160) of Lakewood (Ohio) St. Edward High.

Complete brackets are available on the NHSCA web site at www.nhsca.com. The championship finals were broadcast live on espn360.com. A 30-minute highlight broadcast will be broadcast on ESPNU at a later date. Check the NHSCA.com for air times and other information as it becomes available.

Founded in 1989, the National High School Coaches Association is a not-for-profit 501c3 service organization providing support and leadership programs for the nation’s 500,000 high school coaches and 10 million high school athletes.


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