Norwin's Coles poised for two national wrestling tournaments
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Heath Coles will be doing a lot of traveling before starting his senior year at Norwin High School.
He will attend two national wrestling tournaments in the next month. The first will be the Disney Duals, a folkstyle tournament held at Kissimmee, Fla., June 28 to July 3.
"I'm wrestling for the Young Guns," said Coles, referring to a wrestling club run by Jody Strittmatter, an assistant coach at Pitt-Johnstown. "This will be my second trip to the Disney Duals. Last year, I had a 6-4 record and our team finished 12th in the standings."
Coles and his Young Guns teammates will be doing a lot of wrestling at the Disney Duals, but it won't be all work and no play.
"We get a five-day park pass for Disney World," he said. "And the last day, the coaches take us to Universal Studios for the day."
Soon after that trip, he will begin preparing for his second trip to Fargo, N.D., for the USA Wrestling Junior Nationals.
"We report for training camp on July 9," Coles said. "The tournament begins July 15."
He will compete in both styles.
"Last year, I went 2-2 in Greco-Roman, then placed fifth in the country in freestyle," Coles said. "This year, my goal is to become a double All-American and improve on my finish in the freestyle tournament. I'd like to finish higher on the podium."
Coles realizes that a strong performance in both tournaments would enhance his recruiting status.
"I need to finish strong in both tournaments,. With so many college coaches watching, a strong finish can only help."
Coles has already made a couple of unofficial visits, and is planning two more.
"I've made unofficial visits to Virginia and Lock Haven," Coles said. "I also plan to make [unofficial] visits to Kent State and Edinboro. And we'll see who else is interested after the tournaments."
Coles has recorded 90 wins since making his varsity debut as a 130-pound freshman. He posted a 29-10 record that year, won a Section 2-AA title and placed fifth in the WPIAL.
He moved up to 135 as a sophomore and placed second in Section 1 and fourth in the WPIAL. He finished the season with a 23-7 record after dropping a 6-2 decision to Canon-McMillan's Dario Dobbin in the consolation for third place. That left him one win short of a PIAA berth.
Last season, Coles competed in the 145-pound weight class, which was clearly the deepest of the 14 weight classes in the WPIAL Class AAA tournament. He placed third in Section 1, then captured the WPIAL title and placed fourth at the PIAA event. Coles finished the season with a 38-7 record.
"I had a real good weekend at the WPIAL tournament," Coles said. "I wrestled smart and did what I had to to win. I found that when you get to the WPIAL level, you can't hold back. You got to go out and get it."
Coles will be joined at Fargo by at least one Norwin teammate. Kevin Miller and Drew Phipps have qualified for Cadet Nationals. Miller posted a 16-18 record last season at 106 pounds in his varsity debut as a freshman.
"Kevin [Miller] qualified in both styles in the 100-pound weight class," Norwin coach Todd Schuchert said. "Drew [Phipps] is an incoming freshman who qualified at 185 pounds, but I'm not sure if he can afford the trip."
Coles also will be accompanied by his father at Fargo.
"My dad and a few of his friends will be flying to Fargo for Junior Nationals," Coles said. "It will be great to have somebody there to cheer me on."
First Published June 21, 2012 12:00 am