A 3-time NCAA Champion from Penn State, Carter Starocci won his third title in 2023, with a perfect 24 – 0 record at the 174 pound weight class. He now looks to join the U.S. Olympic Team.

As found on Penn State University’s website, below is Carter Starocci’s bio (note that it does not seem to be updated to include the 2022- 2023 statistics). Learn about this wrestler’s career:


Athletic: Two-time All-American (2021, 2022)…Two-time NCAA Champion (2021, 2022)…Big Ten Champion (2022)…All-American as a freshman…Named Big Ten Freshman of the Year (2021)…2021 NCAA Champion at 174…2021 Big Ten Runner-Up…Won Big Ten and NCAA titles as a sophomore.

Season: Rolled to perfect 23-0 record as a sophomore…Won Big Ten title…Became two-time All-American and two-time NCAA Champion, winning crown in Detroit…Ended sophomore season with a 37-2 career record with six majors, six tech falls and five pins.
Sacred Heart (11/13): Pinned Alex Marciniak (2:12).  Oregon State (11/13): Rolled to a 17-2 tech fall over Mateo Olmos (4:49). Army West Point (11/18): Rolled to 23-5 tech fall over Army’s Clayton Feilden (6:56). Penn: Rolled over #21 Nick Incontrera, posting a 13-3 major. Lehigh (12/5): Notched 13-3 major with 3:36 in RT over Jake Logan. Collegiate Duals (12-20-21): Went 3-0 in Florida, including a major, a tech and a decision over #12 Chris Foca of Cornell. Indiana (1/9): Pinned Sean Grim (2:07) in Rec Hall.  Rutgers (2/16): Tech fall over Connor O’Neill (19-2 at 4:25). Michigan (1/21): Hard-fought 2-1 win over #6 Logan Massa. Michigan State (1/23):  Rolled to a 19-3 tech fall over Marty Larkin (3:32). Iowa (1/28):  Used escape in tie-breaker and rideout to beat #2 Michael Kemerer 2-1 (tb) in Iowa City. Rider (2/20): Majored Shane Reitsma 22-9 in dual finale.
Big Ten Championship (3-0, 1st, Champion): Won first Big Ten title in Lincoln, Neb.; Went 3-0 with a fall; pinned Dominic Solis of Maryland, got forfeit win over #4 Michael Kemerer of Iowa, and downed #5 Logan Massa of Michigan 5-1 in the finals.
NCAA Championships (5-0, 1st, NCAA Champion): Became two-time NCAA Champion with 5-0 run at NCAAs in Detroit. Pinned #33 Connor O’Neill of Rutgers (6:38), beat #16 Adam Kemp of Cal Poly and #9 Mike Labriola of Nebraska in quarterfinals. Dominated #4 Hayden Hidlay of N.C. State 10-3 in semifinals. Beat #2 Mekhi Lewis of Virginia Tech, 5-5 (TB2, RT) in a thrilling NCAA title match in finals, one of five Penn State Champions.

Season: Posted 14-2 overall record…Two majors, one tech, one pin…Big Ten Runner-Up (174)…Earned All-America honors as a freshman…2021 NCAA National Champion (174) in first trip to NCAA tournament.
Indiana/Northwestern (1/30): Went 2-1 in opening day tri-dual at Northwestern…Began day with a 18-1 tech fall (2:37) over Indiana’s Robert Detars in the extra bouts at 174, then suffered a close 10-9 upset loss to Donnell Washington in the dual meet…Took down Northwestern’s Troy Fisher 4-1 in dual victory over the Wildcats. Wisconsin (2/2): Posted 5-3 win over Jared Krattiger in Madison. Michigan (2/14): Beat #2 Logan Massa 7-1 (tb), using a four-point turn in the tie-breaker to break away for the win in Ann Arbor…Named Big Ten Wrestler of the Week (2/16)Ohio State (2/19): Used tie-breaker escape then rideout to post thrilling 2-1 (tb) win over #3 Kaleb Romero in dual at Columbus. Michigan (2/14): Majored Maryland’s Phillip Spadafora 15-6 in Rec Hall dual debut.

Big Ten Championships (3-1, 2nd, NCAA Qualifier):  Was Big Ten runner-up at 174, losing to #1 Michael Kemerer in the finals. Beat #6 Kaleb Romero and #2 Mikey Labriola to reach the finals. Went 3-1 with a pin overall. Was named 2021 Big Ten Freshman of the Year.
NCAA Championships (5-0, 1st, National Champion):  Went 5-0 in his first trip to the NCAA tournament to become the NCAA National Champion as a freshman.  Downed the #30 and #14 seeds to reach the quarterfinals. Beat #6 Andrew McNally of Kent State in the quarters and then used a ride-out and escape point to beat #2 Demetrius Romero of Utah Valley 2-0 in the semis to advance to the NCAA finals. Scored midway through extra time to beat #1 Michael Kemerer 3-1 (sv) to win the national title.

Season: Wrestled unattached in open tournaments during his redshirt season…Went unbeaten during the year…Posted an 18-0 overall record with three pins, two tech falls and six majors…Won the 174-pound Southern Scuffle title.

Wrestled at Cathedral Prep in Erie…Four-year letterman and four-year team captain…Rolled to a 172-10 record for the Ramblers…Won state title as a senior with a 46-0 mark…Won state title as a junior with a 50-0 mark…Took second at states as a sophomore and placed as a freshman as well…Received academic honors twice…Has two older siblings, brother, Chris and sister, Ceci.


Date     Wt.    Result        Opponent                                       Place     Rec
11/13    174    WBF           Alex Marciniak, Sacred Heart (2:12)          dual       1-0
11/13    174    W, 17-2       Mateo Olmos, Oregon State (TF; 4:49)      dual       2-0
11/18    174    W, 23-5       Clayton Fielden, Army (TF; 6:56)               dual       3-0
12/3      174    W, 13-3       #21 Nick Incontrera, Penn (major)             dual       4-0
12/5      174    W, 13-3       Jake Logan, Lehigh (major)                     dual       5-0
12/20    174    W, 13-4       Pat Schoenfelder, Northern Iowa (major)    dual       6-0
12/20    174    W, 3-2         #12 Chris Foca, Cornell                          dual       7-0
12/21    174    W, 17-2       Zen Coleman, Arizona State (TF; 4:50)       dual       8-0
1/7        174    W, 8-3         Dominic Solis, Maryland                          dual       9-0
1/9        174    WBF           Sean Grim, Indiana (2:07)                        dual     10-0
1/16      174    W, 19-2       Connor O’Neill, Rutgers (TF; 4:25)            dual     11-0
1/21      174    W, 3-2         #6 Logan Massa, Michigan                     dual     12-0
1/23      174    W, 19-3       Marty Larkin, Michigan State (TF; 3:32)      dual     13-0
1/28      174    W, 2-1 (tb)    #2 Michael Kemerer, Iowa                       dual     14-0
2/20      174    W, 22-9       Shane Reitsma, Rider (major)                   dual     15-0
3/5        174    WBF           Dominic Solis, Maryland (2:13)                 B1G     16-0
3/5        174    W, med.forf. #4 Michael Kemerer, Iowa                      B1G     17-0
3/6        174    W, 5-1         #5 Logan Massa, Michigan              B1G (1st)     18-0
3/17      174    WBF           #33 Connor O’Neill, Rutgers (6:38)         NCAA     19-0
3/17      174    W, 10-4       #16 Adam Kemp, Cal Poly                   NCAA     20-0
3/18      174    W, 6-1         #9 Mikey Labriola, Nebraska                 NCAA     21-0
3/18      174    W, 10-3       #4 Hayden Hidlay, North Carolina State  NCAA     22-0
3/19      714    W, 5-5 (TB2, RT) #2 Mekhi Lewis, North Carolina St.  NCAA (1st)     23-0

Date     Wt.    Result        Opponent                                       Place     Rec
1/30     174     W, 18-1       Robert Detars, Indiana (TF; 2:37) IU extras       1-0
1/30     174     L, 9-10        Donnell Washington, Indiana            dual        1-1
1/30     174     W, 4-1        Troy Fisher, Northwestern                dual       2-1
2/2       174     W, 5-3       Jared Krattiger, Wisconsin                dual       3-1
2/14      174     W, 7-1 (tb) #2 Logan Massa, Michigan                dual       4-1
2/19      174     W, 2-1 (tb) #3 Kaleb Romero, Ohio State           dual       5-1
2/22     174     W, 15-6      Phillip Spadafora, Maryland (major)  dual       6-1
3/6      174     WBF          Phillip Spadafora, Maryland (4:47)     B1G       7-1
3/6      174     W, 2-0        #6 Kaleb Romero, Ohio State            B1G       8-1
3/6      174     W, 3-1 (sv)  #2 Mikey Labriola, Nebraska              B1G       9-1
3/7       174     L, 2-7         #1 Michael Kemerer, Iowa        B1G  (2nd)      9-2
3/18     174     W, 10-2       #30 Victor Marcelli, Virginia (maj.) NCAA     10-2
3/18     174     W, 8-2        #14 Hayden Hastings, Wyoming     NCAA      11-2
3/19     174     W, 6-3       #6 Andrew McNally, Kent State     NCAA     12-2
3/19     174     W, 2-0        #2 Demetrius Romero, Utah Valley  NCAA     13-2
3/20     174     W, 3-1 (sv)  #1 Michael Kemerer, Iowa       NCAA (1st)     14-2




The South Dakota State Wrestling Team had 12 – 4 record during the 2022- 2023 season. This, under the leadership, of head coach Damion Hahn.

As found on the South Dakota State University’s website, below is head coach Damion Hahn’s bio (note that it does not seem to be updated to include the 2022- 2023 statistics). Learn about this coach’s career:

Damion Hahn is overseeing a successful rebuilding of South Dakota State University wrestling as he enters his fifth season at the helm of the Jackrabbits’ program. Hahn has compiled a 33-26 career dual record and has coached four All-Americans and 14 NCAA qualifiers during his tenure in Brookings.

During the 2019-20 season, the National Wrestling Coaches Association selected 149-pounder Henry Pohlmeyer, 184-pounder Zach Carlson and 197-pounder Tanner Sloan as second-team All-Americans after the NCAA Championships were canceled at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Also during the 2019-20 campaign, the Jackrabbits turned in their first winning dual season under Hahn by posting a 12-6 overall record, including a 6-3 mark in the Big 12. Included in the dual wins were victories over nationally ranked Northern Iowa and Stanford.

SDSU also improved by six spots in the Big 12 Conference tournament, finishing fourth in the team standings at the 2020 competition.

Highlighting the 2020-21 season, Clay Carlson wrestled his way to an eighth-place finish at nationals in the 141-pound division. Carlson also was honored as the 2021 Big 12 Wrestling Scholar-Athlete of the Year, an award he would receive again the following year.

In all, five SDSU wrestlers earned a trip to the NCAA Championships in March 2021.

The Jackrabbits returned to the winning side of the ledger during the 2021-22 campaign and also cracked the national rankings as a team for the first time since early in Hahn’s first season. SDSU compiled a 13-4 dual record that included a 21-12 victory at ninth-ranked Missouri, marking the program’s first dual win over a top-10 opponent.

In postseason competition, SDSU placed sixth at the 2022 Big 12 Wrestling Championship and set four wrestlers on to the NCAA Championships in Detroit.

Hahn was hired at SDSU on April 9, 2018, following more than a decade of success as a member of the coaching staff at Cornell (N.Y.).

Hahn’s teams also have performed well in the classroom, earning Top 30 Scholar Team All-America honors from the National Wrestling Coaches Association each of the past two seasons. The 2021-22 squad ranked seventh among Division I programs with a 3.465 grade-point average and six Jackrabbits were recognized individually as NWCA Scholar All-America honorees.

“Damion represents everything we are looking for in being able to take our wrestling program to the next level,” said SDSU Director of Athletics Justin Sell in announcing the hire. “His success both as a collegiate wrestler and coach, along with his ability to recruit high-achieving student-athletes on and off the mat, made him the ideal candidate. He is a tremendous ambassador for the sport who will work tirelessly to ensure wrestling thrives both on our campus and across the country.”

Hahn spent 12 years as an assistant coach and later the associate head coach at Cornell in Ithaca, New York. During his tenure, the Big Red recorded 11 top-10 team finishes at the NCAA Championships, including consecutive runner-up finishes in 2010 and 2011. He mentored 50 All-Americans, 12 of whom were individual NCAA champs.

Cornell also won 12 straight Ivy League dual championships and 11 consecutive Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association team titles.

In accepting his first head coaching position, Hahn made a return to the Midwest. As a collegiate wrestler at Minnesota, Hahn won NCAA individual national titles as a junior and senior. A four-time All-American, he also was a three-time Big 10 individual champion and was named the Jesse Owens Big 10 Male Athlete of the Year in 2004.

The Golden Gophers won team NCAA championships during both his freshman and sophomore seasons. He finished his collegiate career with a 118-21 record.

Hahn was inducted into the University of Minnesota’s M Club Hall of Fame in 2018.









  • University of Michigan’s Cameron Amine, who made it to semi-finals in 2023 Division 1 NCAA Championships at the 165 pounds weight class, ultimately finished 4th in that prestigious tournamnet this season. This earned him his third All-American honors, after being seeded 11th when he entered the tournament. Below is Amine’s bio, as found on the University of Michigan wrestling website (note that it may not be updated to include the 2022 – 2023 statistics):

    Junior/Sophomore (2021-22)
    • Academic All-Big Ten; NWCA All-Academic Team
    • NCAA All-American, 165 pounds
    • Claimed fourth place at the NCAA Championships (March 17-19) with a 4-2 record
    • Earned a 3-1 overtime decision over Iowa’s #3 Alex Marinelli in the NCAA quarterfinals; also defeated Wisconsin’s #4 Dean Hamiti, 7-5, in the consolation semis
    • Placed second at Big Ten Championships (March 4-5) with a 3-1 mark; fell to Iowa’s #2 Alex Marinelli, 2-1, in the championship match
    • Defeated Ohio State’s #4 Carson Kharchla, 3-1 SV, in the Big Ten semifinals
    • Earned a career-best 20 wins; went 9-2 in dual meets, including a 5-2 Big Ten mark
    • Placed fifth at the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational (Dec. 3-4) with a 3-2 mark
    • Earned two overtime wins over Harvard’s #12 Philip Conigliaro, 3-1 SV and by fall 7:29, at CKLV

    Sophomore/Freshman (2020-21)
    • Academic All-Big Ten; NWCA All-Academic Team
    • U-M Athletic Academic Achievement Award
    • NCAA All-American, 165 pounds
    • Claimed seventh place at the NCAA Championships (March 18-20) with a 5-2 record
    • First Wolverine freshman to earn All-America honors in four seasons (2017)
    • Placed third at the Big Ten Championships (March 6-7) with a 4-1 mark
    • Defeated Nebraska’s #19 Peyton Robb, 4-1, in the third-place match
    • Shared the team wins lead with a 14-4 record, including a 5-1 mark in dual meets
    • Used a third-period ride and turn to defeat Penn State’s #6 Joe Lee, 4-1 (Feb. 14)
    • Beat Rutgers’ Brett Donner, 10-4, in varsity debut (Jan. 8)

    Freshman (2019-20)
    • Redshirted season; competed unattached in four open tournaments
    • Captured the 165-pound title at the Edinboro Open (Feb. 1) with a 5-0 record
    • Runner-up at the Purple Raider Open (Jan. 19) with a 2-1 mark
    • Went 4-2 at the Midlands Championships (Dec. 29-30)
    • Placed fifth at the Michigan State Open (Nov. 2) 4-2 record
    • Defeated Northern Illinois’ Izzak Olejnik, 2-1, in collegiate debut at the MSU Open

    • Graduated from Detroit Catholic Central High School (2019)
    • Captured three Michigan state titles, winning at 152 pounds (2019), 145 pounds (2017) and 125 pounds (2016)
    • Four-time Michigan state finalist; claimed runner-up honors at 152 pounds as a junior (2018)
    • Named the MHSAA 2019 Male Wrestler of the Year
    • Michigan recipient of the 2019 Dave Schultz High School Excellence Award
    • Posted a career prep record of 167-15, including a 40-0 mark as a senior
    • Contributed to three straight DCC Michigan team state titles (2017, ’18, ’19)
    • Six-time Fargo All-American; reeled off five straight wins, outscoring his opposition, 53-2, to reach the semifinals in 2018 before an injury forced him to default out of the tournament
    • Two-time Super 32 placewinner (2017, ’18), including a runner-up finish as a senior
    • Honor Roll
    • Ranked as the No. 17 overall recruit by FloWrestling and No. 2-ranked 152-pound wrestler

    • Enrolled in the School of Kinesiology, majoring in sport management
    • Born on August 3, 2000
    • Son of Sam and Tonya Amine; dad wrestled at Michigan (1988-90)
    • Has two siblings, Jordan and Breanna; Jordan wrestled at Michigan (2015-18)
    • Uncle, Mike Amine (1986-89) and cousins, Malik (2016-19) and Myles (2017-22), also wrestled at Michigan




Drexel University had a 10 – 8 team record during the 2022- 2023 season. Drexel wrestling head coach Matt Azevedo’s bio, as found on the Drexel Wrestling Team’s website (this may not be updated to include 2022 – 2023 statistics):
Matt Azevedo, the Mert and Joanne Hill Head Coach of Wrestling, is in his 12th season as head coach of Drexel Wrestling after joining the Dragons in April 2011 following successful coaching stints at Cornell and Cal Poly. Azevedo has led the program’s resurgence and ushered in a new era of Drexel Wrestling in the EIWA. The 2020 inductee into the California Wrestling Hall of Fame is the eighth head coach in the school’s history and replaced Jack Childs, who retired after 35 seasons at Drexel.The Dragons have climbed onto the national scene and into the national rankings under Azevedo. The Dragons earned their first USA Today/NWCA DI Coaches Poll national ranking under Azevedo and remained ranked in the Top 25 for six weeks during the 2016-17 season. The following year, the Dragons finished the 2017-18 regular season ranked in the top 25 of four separate polls – USA Today/NWCA DI Coaches, FloWrestling, Intermat tournament and Intermat dual – for the first time in program history.On the mat, the Dragons have won 84 matches, including 10-win seasons under Azevedo’s guidance. In 2016-17, Drexel finished with 13 dual victories, its most since the 2006-07 season. The Dragons have taken down ranked nationally ranked opponents in three of the last seven years – No. 21 Rider, 18-14, in Feb. 2018; No. 25 Princeton in Dec. 2016; and No. 20 Northwestern, 21-20, in Nov. 2015. Drexel also dramatically came back to tie the overall score at 20-20 on a late third-period pin against No. 5 Lehigh in Dec. 2017, despite the Mountain Hawks winning on criteria. The Dragons also recorded major victories over Penn in 2016, their first since 1989, against Hofstra in 2013, their first since 1997, and against Binghamton in 2020, their first since 2006.Azevedo has coached 40 NCAA Wrestling Championships qualifiers in his first 11 seasons at the helm. Despite having the 2019-20 season cut short and the 2020-21 season shortened due to the pandemic, the Dragons had all 10 wrestlers place at the EIWA Championships for the first time in program history and sent a program-best (tied with 2002 season) six wrestlers  to the NCAA Tournament in St. Louis. Parker Kropman (157) Michael O’Malley (174), and Bryan McLaughlin (197) each qualified for their second appearance in tournament while Julian Flores (141), Luke Nichter (149) and Evan Barczak (165) each received their first automatic bid to NCAA’s. During the 2022 season, O’Malley made his third-straight NCAA appearance and came within one win of All-American status. He was joined at the NCAA Championships by Barczak for the second straight year. In 2020, Antonio Mininno (125), O’Malley (174) and Bryan McLaughlin (197) earned automatic bids to their first-ever championships, and Ebed Jarrell (165) received an at-large selection to the tournament. Additionally, Parker Kropman (157) was named the first alternate at his weight class. In 2019, Drexel qualified four Dragons for the NCAA Championships in Pittsburgh: Kropman (149), Jarrell (165), Stephen Loiseau (197) and Joey Goodhart (285). In 2018, the Dragons sent a then program-best five wrestlers to Cleveland, Ohio for NCAAs.

Four Dragons have gone on to win conference championships during Azevedo’s tenure, including three since the school joined the EIWA. O’Malley was the school’s latest winner after taking home the EIWA title at 174 in 2022. Matt Cimato won the EIWA title at 149 pounds in 2016, the year after Kevin Devoy won the EIWA title at 133 pounds in 2015. In 2013, 197-pounder Brandon Palik became Drexel’s final CAA champion. The Dragons have seen the EIWA podium become commonplace over the last eight years as 51 wrestlers have placed at the conference tournament. In 2021, Drexel had all 10 wrestlers place at EIWA’s, passing the previous program-record eight in 2018. The Dragons performance was highlighted by a second-place finish by O’Malley (174), a third place finish by Nichter (149) and three fourth-place finishes by Flores (141), McLaughlin (197) and Barczak (165).

In the classroom, Drexel Wrestling has been a standout academic program in the nation. Drexel finished as an NWCA DI Top 30 All-Academic Team eight of the last nine seasons and has boasted the nation’s best team GPA twice. In 2021, the Dragons earned a spot as the seventh highest GPA in the nation at 3.46 and led the list of individual honorees. In 2020, the Dragons claimed high honors with a 3.59 GPA. The year prior, the Dragons were the top academic DI wrestling team in the country with a program-best 3.63 GPA. The Dragons have had 32 NWCA Academic All-America individual selections during that time, including 10 in 2021. They have also had 47 wrestlers have earned EIWA All-Academic Team selections since the award began in 2016, including eight in 2020, 2021 and 2022. Also, 11 wrestlers have been named Philadelphia Inquirer Academic All-Area At-Large Team selections, including Jarrell in 2020 when he was named a co-performer of the year. Jarrell capped a stellar five-year career in University City with an appearance on the CoSIDA Academic All-District 2 Men’s At-Large Team.

While at Cornell, Azevedo helped the Big Red earn nine All-America honors, nine EIWA champions and seven Academic All-Americans. He also guided the team to back-to-back second-place finishes at the NCAA championships, which marked the best performance in school history. Prior to his time at Cornell, Azevedo spent seven seasons as an assistant coach at Cal Poly, where he coached seven All-Americans and eight Pac-10 champions. He also helped guide Cal Poly to its highest finish in school history at the Pac-10 championships by placing second in 2004 and 2006.

Azevedo wrestled collegiately at Arizona State and Iowa State, each for two seasons. He advanced to the NCAA Tournament in three of his four seasons. Azevedo graduated with a bachelor’s degree in liberal studies from Iowa State in 2002. He continued his wrestling career after graduation and went on to be a seven-time U.S. National place winner, two-time U.S. National Team member and won the 2008 U.S. Open National Championship.



Renaissance Boy Mario Del Vecchio One of Country’s Best 8th Grade Wrestlers, Weightlifting Phenom, Star of Multiple Movies & Top Student

This past season, he pinned the 11th grader who placed 3rd in the Florida High School States. He pinned the 12th grader who placed 4th in the Florida High School States. He was a High School State Placer. He was a High School Region Champ. He was a High School County Champ. He was a High School District Champ. Named First Team All-County by Florida Today/USA Today, he had a 40 – 8 High School record (with 32 pins and 4 tech falls). With 90% of his wins being pins and tech falls, he was in the top 5 highest Pin/TF % in the entire state for wrestlers with over 30 wins. He scored back points in all of his matches that he wrestled (except 3), so in almost 95% of his matches he put his opponents on their backs; that puts him in the Top 5 for all High School wrestlers in the State of Florida who wrestled at least 30 matches. And over the past year, he beat 24 wrestlers who were High School State Placers/Qualifiers this past season – and he has defeated 32 High School wrestlers who are currently ranked in the Top 20 in the state, including last week defeating the #2 ranked 11th grader who placed 3rd in the Florida High School States (in the weight class one heavier than him), increasing his post-season record to 40 – 4. Accordingly, in the post-season, he has already equaled the number of wins he attained during the regular season. These statistics are particularly astounding, showing absolute dominance for a high school wrestler.

So, who is this high school senior or junior who has carried out all these accomplishments, you ask? Nope, he’s not a senior or junior. Okay, then who is this aberrational sophomore (could it possibly be a freshman)? Nope, not a sophomore or freshman either. In fact, this kid is not in high school at all. It’s Mario Del Vecchio, an 8th grader. Yup, you read that correctly. Del Vecchio is an 8th grader, wrestling for Cocoa Beach High School. And as Florida’s most-frequented wrestling Facebook page and website – The Florida Wrestling Room – noted in a post earlier this week, Del Vecchio is “a true 8th grader, he was never held back.”

Finding some of these statistics so hard to fathom, ESN spent several hours verifying them on TrackWrestling; and yes, they’re all straight up facts. Watching many of Del Vecchio’s matches (hundreds of them can be found on a private YouTube channel going through personal Facebook pages, in addition to many on TrackWrestling and FloArena), the viewer indeed sees complete domination, in addition to a relentless competitor. Not only a pin-master, Del Vecchio is known for incredibly fast pins, with a selection of videos of high school very quick pins here: Pins Opponent in 10 Seconds, Pins Opponent in 11 Seconds, Pins Another Opponent in 11 Seconds, Pins Opponent in 12 Seconds, Pins Opponent in 14 Seconds, Pins Opponent in 18 Seconds, Pins Opponent in 23 Seconds, Pins Opponent in 27 Seconds. The significantly older ages of his opponents just doesn’t factor, nor does an opponent being heavier than him (he often wrestles up in weight class).

Del Vecchio, who is 14 (he will turn 15 at the end of September), ultimately placed 6th at the FHSAA State Tournament at 113 lbs this season. That 6th place finish, while extraordinary for a middle schooler (especially since 4 of his States’ matches were against seniors, one against a junior, and one against a freshman), doesn’t really provide the accurate ranking in the state for his weight class/division: in addition to pinning the 7th place finisher (a senior), as detailed at the beginning of this article, he also pinned the 3rd & 4th place finishers (a junior & senior), so Del Vecchio is more like 2nd or 3rd in the state in terms of overall rankings. Here is just one of his victories from the Florida States (as can be seen on TrackWrestling). And here’s another of his wins from that FHSAA Tournament.

In winning the championship at the Cape Coast Conference Tournament – Brevard County’s county tournament – Del Vecchio was the only 8th grader in the finals (and there was only one 9th grader in the finals, the rest were upper classmen). He also was the first 8th grader in his school’s history to win that tournament. And the Florida Today/USA Today newspaper named him as the only 8th grader to the 2023 All Space Coast Wrestling Team – First Team High School All County. Furthering this trend, last month, Cocoa Beach High School presented this 8th grader with its 2022-2023 Most Outstanding Wrestler award. Additionally, the school issued Del Vecchio awards for: Most Wins, Most Pins, Most Tech Falls, and Highest Placement in the States. Pictured are the varied trophies and medals he took home from that team ceremony.

Social media postings help demonstrate the type of wrestler – and person – who Del Vecchio is. In one post, Del Vecchio said, “There were 5 other middle school kids who were Region Champs in Florida. It’s cool to be in a group with these great wrestlers.” The word “cool” is a bit humble because, as The Florida Wrestling Room headlined in an article, “Out of 2,688 High School Region Participants in Florida, Just 6 True Middle Schoolers are Region Champs” (Del Vecchio was one of those extraordinary middle school wrestlers).  Regarding those 3rd & 4th state placers who he pinned (one was in the first round at the State Tournament and the other was in the Region finals), Del Vecchio stated in a post, “Yeah definitely proud of those wins, but they’ve gotten me too. Have to say we’re all about even. Got a lot of respect for those guys.” And Del Vecchio, who you can see in numerous social media photos and videos wearing a Jesus Trained t-shirt and doing the sign of the cross before each match, ends most of his social media posts with “All Glory to God.”

In not stopping – at all – since the State Tournament, as detailed earlier herein, social media posts show he’s nearly undefeated in 40 post-season matches. See match from a few weeks ago where Del Vecchio defeats a top high school wrestler from Maryland. In profiling Del Vecchio’s performance last month at one of America’s biggest national tournaments, the Adidas Nationals in Missouri, a post on The Florida Wrestling Room declared:

“Mario Del Vecchio – 4th Place in 8th grade 115 lbs. Del Vecchio, who had a very dominant 4 wins that included 3 pins (27 sec, 1:29 & 2:05) and a 9-2 win, wrestled in the largest size bracket in the tournament—a 22 man bracket. Only 2 points separated him from the 1st Place and 2nd Place finishers. Del Vecchio lost a super close 3-2 semifinals match to the kid who took 2nd Place (and that kid lost by one point in the finals)—meaning Del Vecchio and the top 2 finishers were all very close. Notable wins in this tournament: Del Vecchio’s wins included beating a High School State Placer (5th) from Florida, a Middle School State Champ from New Mexico, and a Middle School State Champ from Louisiana. These particularly fierce competition wins (and him being in the biggest bracket) make it so that Del Vecchio really stands out on this list.” Here’s one of his wins from the Adidas Nationals (as can be seen on FloArena). And here’s another of his victories from that national tournament.

In response to his Adidas performance and national standing, Del Vecchio wrote in a social media post, “Very happy with we’re I’m at, maybe I’m in top 10 or so at this point for my age and weight. Still have to keep working, learning. Won’t ever underestimate anyone, but won’t ever overestimate anyone either. My dad’s advice, and he’s right on with that.”

No doubt that Del vecchio is in that top 10 range nationally at this point, as a wrestler. But where he’s in his own, unique, #1 – call it one-and-only status – is as a true modern-day Renaissance Boy. A sidenote: his father (mentioned above), Kenneth Del Vecchio has, for years, been labeled by media as a “modern-day Renaissance Man” (will detail some about him below). The younger Del Vecchio has also, for some time now, been afforded this similar headline – as “Renaissance Boy.”

Going along with his wrestling prowess, Del Vecchio is a weightlifting phenom as well. It’s often said that a man who can bench press his weight 10 times is a pretty strong guy. But what about a 14-year-old boy? Just last month, Del Vecchio, now 125 lbs, pressed 135 lbs for 20 reps on decline bench press (see video here). Anyone who understands weightlifting knows that this is truly phenomenal for a kid his age/weight—that’s 10 more pounds than a 14-year-old’s weight, that he pressed for 20 reps. That’s amazing.

And these stunning weightlifting feats by Del Vecchio have been going on for quite some time. If one looks up the nation’s record (actually the world record) on AAU for flat bench press – for a 114 lbs 13-year-old – AAU lists it as 138.9 lbs. Well, on the day before Del Vecchio turned 14, he broke that record, in bench-pressing 140 lbs on flat bench while weighing 113 lbs (see video here). Of course, as Del Vecchio’s father noted in a Facebook post with the video, there are multiple different organizations that list records, plus Del Vecchio’s lift was in the gym (not a competition)—but, still, this has to place the kid in about the top 5 in the country for his weight/age. Just eight months later, Del Vecchio’s max flat bench press is now significantly higher than the 140 lbs mark he hit the day before his birthday.

Yes, it’s genetics. The Renaissance Man father, Kenneth Del Vecchio – a very outspoken critic of steroid users – was/is one of the pound-for-pound strongest men in the country. In winning many drug-free competitions in his teens, 20s and 30s, Del Vecchio, at one point, maxed out at 385 lbs while weighing 165 lbs on flat bench (which put him in about the top 5 nationally). And, in an absolutely staggering lift, on decline bench he pressed 450 lbs while weighing 165 lbs. Just about a month ago, Del Vecchio, now 54 – and weighing 170 lbs –  bench-pressed 225 lbs for 23 reps on decline (see video here). For his age/weight, that has to put him #1 in the country—what other 54-year-old at that weight could do that? Actually, what guy at any age (at 170 lbs) can bench press 225 lbs for 23 reps? Kenneth Del Vecchio, a bit of a controversial individual with a bit of an ego-maniac-type persona as described more fully later in this article, remarked in his Facebook post about that lift, “I believe that’s more weight/reps than most guys in the NFL.” In checking, ESN couldn’t find anyone under 175 lbs in the NFL (WR, CB, Safety types) who can do that, so go for the personal props.

Back to the Renaissance Boy, Mario Del Vecchio. Not as well-known about him is an overall successful MMA-type background that the kid rarely acknowledges, saying in a post,”It’s really all about wrestling to me. Folksyle wrestling. I don’t want to be one of those types who tries do everything in combat sports. Most of the time, that doesn’t work out too well.” Also sometimes not noted is that Del Vecchio is a standout student, who primarily receives straight A’s. “I missed a few times, though,” Del Vecchio wrote in a social media post. Beyond the standard fare of academia, however, is that Del Vecchio has a photographic memory, a rare ability that has greatly benefitted him in an exciting, artistic career path (this ability, and its usefulness, is more aptly described by a film and TV actress below).

Yup, Del Vecchio has an acting career. A real acting career – in real movies with real movie stars. And he is represented by a leading agent.

Having acted in over 10 movies – all feature films that star multiple Oscar winners and nominees – Del Vecchio has played the lead role in two movies: A Wrestling Christmas Miracle and A Karate Christmas Miracle. Del Vecchio is represented by BMG, one of the leading child acting agencies, which has offices in NYC, LA, and Atlanta.

Starring Martin Kove (“Cobra Kai”; The Karate Kid), Gilbert Gottfried (Emmy nominee; Problem Child), Scott Schwartz (A Christmas Story; The Toy), Jimmie Walker (Golden Globe nominee; “Good Times”), Michael Winslow (Police Academy; Spaceballs), Todd Bridges (“Different Strokes”; “Everybody Hates Chris”), Julie McCullough (“Growing Pains”; Sharknado), Buddy Fitzpatrick (American Criminal), and Mario Del Vecchio (A Karate Christmas Miracle), A Wrestling Christmas Miracle is an inspirational, funny, thrill-ride family Christmas movie.  Here is the film’s trailer.

Starring Eric Roberts (Academy Award nominee; Best of the Best; The Expendables),“Cobra Kai” star Martin Kove (The Karate Kid; Rambo),  Julie McCullough (“Growing Pains”; Sharknado), and Mario Del Vecchio (A Wrestling Christmas Miracle), A Karate Christmas Miracle is an inspirational, thrill-ride family Christmas movie. Here is the film’s trailer.

USA Today and The Record, one of New Jersey’s largest daily newspapers, reporting about Del Vecchio’s acting exploits (and his photographic memory), wrote (see entire article here):

“He hasn’t missed a line; a word. It’s highly unusual,” Julie McCullough said during a break in filming Sunday. “I knew he had it in him, but to carry a whole feature, I wasn’t sure.”

A straight-A student at Highland Elementary School in Midland Park, Mario comes off as a seasoned pro on set, said McCullough, who has had a guest-starring role on “Growing Pains” and other popular TV sitcoms.

“He knows the script. He takes direction. And he has the look,” McCullough said.

“He’s a little girls’ dream,” McCullough said.

It’s difficult to talk about Mario Del Vecchio – who many would also say is a wrestling coach’s dream (based on reading so many different coaches’ praiseworthy comments about him, as a wrestler and person, in social media posts) – without some more talk about his father, Kenneth Del Vecchio—who many say is “this [professional’s/person’s] dream”, but who many others say is “this [professional’s/person’s] nightmare.” ESN has, like so many other media outlets, profiled the older Del Vecchio on multiple occasions. The positive/negative nature of his coverage by ESN, as elsewhere, depends upon who’s reporting about him.

The facts about Kenneth Del Vecchio are correctly stated in this below bio—his accomplishments are extraordinary. He’s definitely a one-and-only, like his son:

Kenneth Del Vecchio is an acclaimed filmmaker who has written, produced and directed over 30 movies that star several Academy Award and Emmy winners and nominees. His films are distributed through industry leaders such as Sony Pictures, Lionsgate, NBCUniversal, Millennium Entertainment, Cinedigm, Screen Media Films, Anchor Bay, Gravitas Ventures, and eOne Entertainment. He has starred in numerous movies, as well. Mr. Del Vecchio is founder and chairman of Hoboken International Film Festival, called by FOX, Time Warner, and other major media “One of the 10 Biggest Film Festivals in the World.” He also is the author of some of the nation’s best-selling legal books, including a series of criminal codebooks published by Pearson Education/Prentice Hall and ALM. A best-selling criminal suspense novelist, he penned his first published novel at only 24-years-old. In addition, he has appeared as a legal analyst on hundreds of TV news shows for major news networks (Fox News, i24 News, Newsmax). He is the owner of the Criminal Law Learning Center, where he has taught thousands of police officers and lawyers…And he is a former Judge, who also has tried over 400 cases as a practicing commercial litigation, criminal defense, and entertainment law attorney; he is a partner at the law firm Stern, Kilcullen & Rufolo. Here is a bio video on Kenneth Del Vecchio that has it all.

Notwithstanding his great professional successes (or perhaps because of them), adversaries of Kenneth Del Vecchio have called him bombastic, hard, argumentative, overly masculine, and yes – an ego maniac. However, it seems many others have complimentary words for him.

Legendary actor Paul Sorvino (GoodfellasNixon) called Del Vecchio “an extraordinary man.” Two-time Academy Award nominee Charles Durning (TootsieThe Best Little Whorehouse in Texas) exclaimed that “Kenneth Del Vecchio is an excellent filmmaker and would make a great leader!” Academy Award nominee Eric Roberts (The ExpendablesThe Pope of Greenwich Village) stated that “Kenneth Del Vecchio is the only judge I ever agreed with in personal conversation. He’s got some great views about freedom and liberty…and he’s a little bit nuts!” TV star Joyce DeWitt (”Three’s Company”) declared that Del Vecchio has “a vision and concept based on excellence and integrity.” Academy Award nominee Robert Loggia (ScarfaceBig) said of Del Vecchio: “The man is honest. Hard-working. Talented. And oh so intelligent.”

Whether one likes him or not, Kenneth Del Vecchio has, indeed, delivered an inconceivable list of professional accomplishments that warrant his longstanding title as a “Modern-day Renaissance Man.” But this article is really about the younger Del Vecchio – Mario Del Vecchio – who, too, has already delivered a lengthy list of aberrational accomplishments, which warrant him being headlined as a “Modern-day Renaissance Boy.” And, as his father noted in a social media post, “My son is a far better wrestler than I ever was.” And as ESN is noting here, there isn’t anything not to like about Mario Del Vecchio—love that Jesus Trained shirt and love that he recognizes so publicly that “All Glory to God.”

This article has been updated, with more facts, since its original publication.


As found on Kutztown University’s website, below is Collin Wickramaratna’s bio. Learn about this wrestler’s career:

  • CLASS:  Senior
  • WT. CLASS:  133
  • HOMETOWN:  Marlton, N.J.
  • HIGH SCHOOL:  Cherokee
  • PREV SCHOOL:  Ursinus
  • MAJOR:  Exploratory Studies

2019-20 | SOPHOMORE

  • NWCA Division II All-American (133 lbs.)
  • NCAA Division II Super Region 1 champion (133 lbs.)
  • All-PSAC First Team (133 lbs.)


2019-20 | SOPHOMORE

  • Made an immediate impact with the Golden Bears, going 24-2 and qualifying for the NCAA Division II Championships at 133 lbs.
  • Led the team in wins, dual wins (13), dual points for (64), pins (seven) and major decisions (six)
  • Recorded a perfect 7-0 mark in dual matches against PSAC opponents
  • Opened the season with a 4-1 record and fourth-place finish at the ESU Open, Nov. 10
  • Produced a pin and four major decisions en route to winning the 133-pound bracket at the Centenary Bob Quade Cyclone Open, Dec. 8
  • Knocked off eighth-ranked Eric Bartos of Mercyhurst with a pin in 3:51, Feb. 1
  • Broke into the final NWCA regular season national rankings at No. 9, Feb. 21
  • Scored an overtime takedown of sixth-ranked Tyler Warner (Pitt-Johnstown) to win the Super Region 1 title, 4-2, Feb. 29
  • Named NWCA Division II All-American following the cancellation of the NCAA Championships due to the COVID-19 pandemic


  • Qualified for the NCAA Division III Championships at 125 pounds as a freshman with the Division III Bears
  • Compiled 30-8 record
  • Won Centennial Conference Championship at 125 lbs.
  • Finished as NCAA Mideast Region runner-up
  • Also placed at the Messiah Invitational (second), Ursinus Fall Brawl (third) and Citrus Invite (third)
  • Won a pair of consolation matches at NCAA Championships and came a win shy of All-America status




As found on Oklahoma State University’s website, below is head coach John Smith’s bio. Learn about this coach’s career:

John Smith is a name synonymous with wrestling success.

The Oklahoma State head coach won six consecutive world championships as a competitor from 1987-92, including gold medals at the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul and at the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona. Additionally, he owns five national championships as head coach of the Cowboys.

Recently completing his 30th year, Smith accepted the head coaching position at Oklahoma State in 1992 and the numbers and accomplishments since that time speak for themselves. He has led his alma mater to five NCAA team titles in 1994, 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006, and he has coached 33 NCAA individual champions and five Olympians. Under his watch, the Cowboys have brought 21 team conference tournament championships, two Big 12 regular season titles and 126 individual conference titles back to Stillwater. He has seen his student-athletes earn All-America recognition 148 times, an average of 4.9 All-America honorees per year. Smith also has coached two Hodge Trophy recipients in Alex Dieringer and Steve Mocco.

He was recognized as the National Wrestling Coaches Association coach of the year in 1994 and 2003 and is a 15-time selection as his conference’s coach of the year (1994 and 1996 in the Big Eight and 1997, 1998, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2010, 2011, 2013 2014, 2015 and 2016 in the Big 12).

Most recently, Smith led his squad to its ninth consecutive Big 12 tournament title, with three Cowboys claiming individual Big 12 Conference titles in 2021.

This past season, the Cowboys went 10-0 in duals on the year, marking the program’s 47th undefeated regular season and second in three seasons. Oklahoma State qualified eight wrestlers to the NCAA Championships in St. Louis, Missouri, with Wyatt Sheets being added to the tournament as a late addition at 157 pounds. Entering the tournament ranked sixth in the nation, the Cowboys finished third for the 16th time with Smith at the helm. Six wrestlers earned All-America honors including national runner-up Daton Fix (133), Boo Lewallen (149), Sheets (157), Travis Wittlake (165), Dakota Geer (184) and true freshman national champion AJ Ferrari (197).

The Pokes greatly outperformed their seed at the tournament, placing 39 spots higher as a team than what was expected by their original seeds. The next highest was 18 points below OSU with 21.

In 2019 the Cowboys finished with a 15-0 dual mark. It was the first undefeated team for the Cowboys since 2005. The Pokes earned spots at nine weights for the NCAA Championships in Pittsburgh, where Nick Piccininni (125), Daton Fix (133), Dakota Geer (184), Preston Weigel (197) and Derek White (HWT) claimed All-America honors.

OSU brought home a third-place finish from the national tournament for the second time in three years and finished in the top three for the 15th time with Smith at the helm.

A native of Del City, Okla., Smith owns a 449-65-6 career dual match record as a head coach (.863 winning pct.).

The Pokes took a full squad to the NCAA Championships in St. Louis in 2017, where Dean Heil finished off an undefeated season at 32-0 to take home his second-straight NCAA title at 141 pounds.

Joining Heil on the podium were seven other Cowboys to tie a program record: Nick Piccininni (4th, 125), Kaid Brock (5th, 133), Joe Smith (4th, 157), Chandler Rogers (5th, 165), Kyle Crutchmer (7th, 174), Nolan Boyd (6th, 184) and Preston Weigel (6th, 197). Brock and Piccininni combined to become the first pair of Cowboy freshmen to notch fifth-place-or-better finishes in the same year since 2001.

The Cowboys finished the 2017 national tournament in third despite scoring 103 team points to mark the 12th time that an OSU wrestling team has surpassed 100 points at the event, wrapping up a campaign that saw the Pokes go 14-1 in dual action.

Smith led OSU to four consecutive NCAA team championships from 2003 through 2006.

The 2003 squad compiled a perfect 17-0 dual meet record, won the Big 12 team title, crowned six individual Big 12 champions and featured a pair of NCAA individual champions in Johnny Thompson and Jake Rosholt.

The NCAA Champion Chris Pendleton-led squad sported a 17-2 dual meet record, won the Big 12 team title and crowned four individual Big 12 champions in 2004.

Under Smith’s watch, Oklahoma State compiled a 21-0 dual meet record in 2005, the most recent undefeated dual season before the 2019 season. That team capped the season with one of the most dominant showings in the history of the NCAA Championships when an NCAA-record five Cowboys were crowned NCAA champions. Zack Esposito won at 149 with Johny Hendricks taking the 165 championship. Pendleton repeated as an NCAA champion at 174, Jake Rosholt claimed the title at 197 and Steve Mocco won the heavyweight championship. OSU wrestlers compiled a 38-9 record at the NCAA Championships that year and the Cowboys set school records for points, margin of victory and national champions. Oklahoma State scored 153 team points to top second-place Michigan by 70 points.

Smith and the Cowboys went 16-2 in dual meets en route to claiming their fourth consecutive NCAA team title in 2006, under the leadership of Hendricks and Rosholt, who both claimed their second consecutive NCAA individual championships.

Smith won his first of five NCAA team championships in 1994 when the Cowboys compiled a 13-1 dual meet record, won the Big 8 team championship, crowned four individual Big 8 champions and three NCAA individual champions in Alan Fried, Mark Branch and Smith’s younger brother and first-ever four-time NCAA champion, Pat Smith.

For all of the championships and success he continues to enjoy as a coach, it is his career as a wrestler that is the stuff of legend. Smith truly was the best wrestler in the world.

In brief, Smith compiled a 105-5 record as a high school wrestler at Del City High School in Del City, Okla., before beginning his collegiate career at Oklahoma State, where he put together a 152-8-2 record that included a pair of NCAA individual championships in 1987 and 1988. He was a three-time All-America selection in 1985, 1987 and 1988. On the international stage, Smith rolled to a 100-5 career record that included six world championships (1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991 and 1992), two Olympic gold medals (1988 and 1992), two Pan American Games gold medals (1987 and 1991) and two Goodwill Games gold medals (1986 and 1990).

To this day, Smith holds Oklahoma State school records for career victories (152), single-season victories (47 in 1988), career bonus-point wins (113), single-season bonus-point wins (39 in both 1987 and 1988) and single-season bonus point win percentage (90.7 in 1987). A three-time Big Eight Conference individual champion in 1985, 1987 and 1988, Smith wrestled primarily at 134 during his collegiate career, where he strung together a 124-4 overall record. He also competed at 126, compiling a 27-4-2 overall mark, and won his lone career match at 142.

After Smith’s junior year at Oklahoma State, he won the first of his six world championships in Clermont-Ferrand, France. Smith was the only collegiate wrestler to win a world championship while still in college until 2017 when Kyle Snyder (Ohio State) claimed a title in Paris. Following his graduation in 1988, Smith qualified for the U.S. Olympic freestyle team and came away from the Seoul Olympics with the first of two Olympic gold medals and the second of six consecutive world titles.

Three more world championships ensued in 1989, 1990 and 1991 before Smith claimed the second of his Olympic gold medals at the 1992 Barcelona games to cement his legacy as one of the greatest wrestlers of all time.

His list of awards and honors received befits someone who earned the distinction of being the best wrestler on the planet. Smith was honored as the first wrestler to ever claim the James E. Sullivan Award as America’s outstanding amateur athlete when he won the award in 1990. He was the first American ever chosen as the Master of Technique and Wrestler of the Year by the International Wrestling Federation (FILA) when he received the honor in 1990. In 1992, he was presented with the Amateur Athletic Foundation’s World Trophy, becoming the first North American wrestler to earn the honor. A 2003 inductee into the FILA International Wrestling Hall of Fame, a distinguished member of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame and a 1997 inductee into the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame, Smith was recognized as one of the 100 Greatest Olympians of All Time at the 1996 Atlanta Games. That same year, Smith was inducted into the OSU Athletic Hall of Honor.

Smith was the 1991 selection as FILA’s Outstanding Wrestler of the Year after earning Man of the Year honors from Amateur Wrestling News in 1988, Athlete of the Year recognition from USA Wrestling in 1989 and Sportsman of the Year honors from the U.S. Olympic Committee in 1990.

In 2004, the U.S. Olympic Committee presented Smith with the Titan Award, and the next year, he joined his brother Pat as one of 15 wrestlers named to the NCAA’s 75th Anniversary Team.

The Smith family legacy is strong at Oklahoma State, as John’s older brother Lee Roy was a three-time All-American in 1977, 1979 and 1980 and claimed the 1980 national championship. John was a three-time All-American in 1985, 1987 and 1988 with a pair of national titles in 1987 and 1988 and younger brother Pat was a four-time All-American with four national championships in 1990, 1991, 1992 and 1994.

Smith also successfully established a wrestling club that allows wrestlers from across the country to prepare and train for international competition. The Gator Wrestling Club sent three former Oklahoma State wrestlers to compete in the 2004 Olympic Games. Jamill Kelly won the silver medal at the 2004 Athens Olympics, with Daniel Cormier finishing fourth and Eric Guerrero also representing the USA in Athens.

In 1995, Smith married the former Toni Donaldson. The couple has three sons – Joseph, Samuel and Levi and two daughters – Isabelle and Cecilia.

Coaching Career
:: Oklahoma State’s All-Time Winningest Coach with a 449-65-6 career record
:: Two-Time NWCA National Coach of the Year (1994, 2003)
:: Five-Time NCAA Champion Coach (1994, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006)
:: 23-Time Conference Champion Coach (1994, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2010, 2011, 2012 (reg seas), 2013 (reg seas/tourn), 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019)
:: 13-Time Big 12 Coach of the Year (1997, 1998, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016)
:: Two-Time Big Eight Coach of the Year (1994, 1996)
:: 33 NCAA Individual Champions Coached
:: 148 NCAA All-Americans Coached
:: 126 Conference Individual Champions Coached
:: Coach, USA Olympic Wrestling Team (2000, 2012)
:: Coach, USA Men’s World Championships Team (1998, 2009, 2010, 2011)
:: Coach, USA Women’s World Championships Team (2017)
:: Coach, USA World Cup Team (1997)
:: Coach, USA Women’s Cadet World Team (2018)

Wrestling Career
:: Six-Time World Champion Wrestler (1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992)
:: Two-Time Olympic Gold Medalist (1988, 1992)
:: Two-Time Pan American Games Gold Medalist (1987, 1991)
:: Two-Time Goodwill Games Gold Medalist (1986, 1990)
:: Two-Time NCAA Wrestling Champion (1987, 1988)
:: Three-Time NCAA All-American (1985, 1987, 1988)
:: Three-Time Big Eight Champion (1985, 1987, 1988)
:: First North American wrestler to claim the Amateur Athletic Foundation World Trophy (1992)
:: First Ever American to earn FILA’s Master of Technique Award (Best technical wrestler in the world, 1990)
:: First Wrestler to win James E. Sullivan Award (Nation’s top amateur athlete, 1990)
:: U.S. Olympic Committee Sportsman of the Year (1990)
:: FILA Outstanding Wrestler of the Year (1991)
:: USA Wrestling Athlete of the Year (1989)
:: Amateur Wrestling News Man of the Year (1988)
:: U.S. Olympic Committee Titan Award (2004)
:: Named one of the 100 Greatest Olympians of All-Time (1996)
:: Member, FILA Hall of Fame (Inducted in 2003)
:: Distinguished Member, National Wrestling Hall of Fame (inducted in 1997)
:: Member, Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame (inducted in 1997)
:: Member, NCAA 75th Anniversary Team (2005)
:: NWCA College Wrestler of the Year (1987)

Records as a Wrestler
International Record: 100-5
Domestic Freestyle Record: 77-3
Collegiate Record: 152-8-2
High School Record: 105-5




After nailing 5th place in the very tough New Jersey Youth State Championships last season, as a 4th-grader, Luke O’Connor – now in 5th grade – is poised to potenntially earn State Champ honors. But not in New Jersey this year.

O’Connor is now wrestling in a new state.


And he is tearing up the Sunshine State. He has kicked off the season with an 11 – 1 record, nailing seven pins and three major decisions. His only loss was against a Georgia State Champ in a hard fought decision.

Wrestling out of Creeks Wrestling Club in northern Florida, alongside another powerhouse New Jersey alum – 7th grader Florida State Champ Mario Del Vecchio who Empire State News recently profiled in an article here – O’Connor just whipped through the Merritt Island IOF State Qualifier last weekend. In winning two different weight classes, 75 lbs and 80 lbs, O’Connor racked up seven wins in this tournament alone. His victories included two matches against a 2021  Florida State Champ: an 11 – 0 major decision and an 8 -2  decision.

Luke O’Connor, who has a cache of slick moves and who wrestles each match like a chess game, has launched an exceptional season in Florida. Reaching the top of the state podium this year is a definite goal–and a realistic one at that. No matter where the kid finishes this year, though, he has already made his mark in Florida.


  • Class:  Junior
  • Weight Class:  133
  • Hometown:  Elkhart, Ind.
  • High School: Jimtown HS
  • Major:  Criminal Justice

2020-21: Went 8-2 as a sophomore…recorded eight two falls…NAIA National Champion at 133-lbs…WHAC Runner-Up to twin brother Matt at 133-lbs…took first place at the Adrian Invite…WHAC All-Academic Team…NWCA Scholar All-American…CoSIDA Academic All-District Team.

2019-20: Went 26-10 as a freshman…recorded eight falls, two tech falls and two major decisions…earned NAIA All-America honors with an seventh-place finish at the NAIA National Championships, defeating twin brother Matt in a match of rock-paper-scissors…Sooner Athletic Conference champion, defeating Matt in the finals…took third at the Patriot Open, Trine Invitational and Indiana Little State Championships…NWCA Scholar All-America Team selection… Selected to the Academic All-SAC Team.

High School: Four-time varsity letter winner for the Jimmies…also played football.

Major: Criminal Justice

Personal: Twin brother Matthew also wrestles for Tech.




• In seven years, Ersland has secured 16 top-100 recruits and five top-25 recruiting classes … the class of 2016 was ranked No. 6 by FloWrestling, No. 7 by InterMat and No. 8 by WIN Magazine … the class of 2017 was ranked No. 13 by FloWrestling, No. 18 by InterMat and No. 22 by TheOpenMat.com … the InterMat ranking is the third highest for Purdue with records dating to 2004 … Ersland is credited with two of those top three recruiting classes: 2016 and 2017 … the class of 2018 was ranked 18th by FloWrestling and 25th by TheOpenMat.com … the class of 2020 was ranked No. 13 by FloWrestling, No. 20 by InterMat and No. 22 by MatScouts … the class of 2021 was ranked 17th by WIN Magazine, No. 20 by InterMat and No. 22 by MatScouts.
• Has sent 45 wrestlers to the NCAA Championships … has matched a program high with eight qualifiers four times in seven years, including the last three years in a row … Purdue previously qualified eight in 1993 and 2003 … the eight qualifiers in 2015 were the most since 2010.
• Forty Boilermakers have placed at the Big Ten Championships under Ersland, with eight earning podium finishes in 2020 and 2021 … the eight placewinners match the program record and are the most since 2004 … Purdue placed fifth at the Big Ten Championships in 2020 (83.0 points), marking the Boilermakers’ best conference finish since 1992, and their most points since points 89 in 2004 … the Boilermakers finished sixth in 2021 (76.0 points), marking the first time Purdue finished in the top-six in back-to-back seasons since placing fifth in 1991 and 1992.
• Ersland’s squad has ranked in 22 straight NWCA Division I Wrestling Coaches Poll’s, dating to Nov. 12, 2019, and has received votes in 57 consecutive polls, every week since the final poll of the 2016-17 season … the Boilermakers have climbed as high as No. 13 in the nation during the streak, earning the votes in three straight weeks in 2018-19, and again in back-to-back weeks during the 2019-20 campaign … Purdue finished the 2019-20 season ranked 15th in the country, the best final ranking for an Ersland-coached team and the top end-of-season mark for the Boilermakers since 2012-13 (No. 14).
• The Boilermakers were tabbed 18th in the 2018-19 preseason poll, the highest preseason ranking since 1991-92 … during the season, the Purdue wrestling team climbed as high as No. 13 in Theraworx NWCA Division I Wrestling Coaches Poll, the program’s highest ranking in nearly 10 years … the last time Purdue was ranked 13th or higher was Feb. 17, 1999, where the Boilermakers checked in at No. 13.
• In 2019-20, Purdue had as many as eight nationally ranked wrestlers at one time, the first time on record in program history, with nine wrestlers earning a national rank at some point during the season … the team repeated the feat in 2020-21, earning nods in eight weight classes simultaneously, and nine different weight classes at some point during the year.
• Seventy-two Academic All-Big Ten Conference honors have been earned by 34 Boilermaker wrestlers … has twice broken program highs in number of honorees, first with 10 in 2015-16 and then 13 in 2018-19 and 2019-20.
• The 2018-19 squad was ranked 18th on the National Wrestling Coaches Association’s Top-30 Scholar All-American Teams list … it was the first time since 2013 Purdue made the list and was the second highest ranked team among six Big Ten Conference programs among the top 30 … the team repeated its top-30 showing in 2019-20, ranking 28th, and was again 1-of-2 Big Ten teams.
• Five Boilermakers were named NWCA Division I Scholar All-American Award winners in 2018-19, setting a new standard for Purdue wrestling … Ben Thornton earned his third NWCA Division I Scholar All-American Award … Max Lyon joined the three-time honoree club in 2021, becoming the sixth in program history … during Ersland’s tenure, nine Boilermakers have been named NWCA Division I Scholar All-American Award winners a combined 15 times.
• Three of Ersland’s wrestlers have received the Big Ten Postgraduate Scholarship, a $7,500 scholarship to be used towards graduate degree education: Andrew Hoselton (2016), Ben Thornton (2019) and Dylan Lydy (2020).
• Coached Kendric Maple to the 2017 U.S. Open Men’s Freestyle National Championships title at 61 kg … coached Griffin Parriott to the 2017 UWW Junior Freestyle National Championships title at 70 kg.
• Put two Boilermakers on the top of the podium at the 2019 Ken Kraft Midlands Championships, marking the first time in program history as Dylan Lydy won the 174-pound championship and Christian Brunner earned the 197-pound crown … coached 2015 Midlands 165-pound title winner Chad Welch to give Purdue its first Midlands champ since 1963 … coached the first two-time Big Ten Wrestler of the Week in Purdue history in Danny Sabatello (2014-15).
• At the 2017 Ken Kraft Midlands Championships a program-record seven wrestlers placed, crushing the previous high of four from 2008, 2006 and 1990 … as a team, the Boilermakers totaled 84 points to place seventh … the 84 points are the most they have ever scored at Midlands, topping 2008’s performance of 82.5 points … they combined to score 367 total match points, which was the fifth most among all teams.
• Matched the program’s best team finish at the 2019 Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational, placing fifth with 92.5 points, the most ever for the Boilermakers since they began attending the tournament in 2002 … had three individuals advance to the finals as Dylan Lydy won the 174-pound championship, while Devin Schroder and Christian Brunner were runner-up at 125 and 197, respectively … had five individuals place, matching the program’s best mark set in 2004.
• In 2015, Tony Ersland was one of nine head coaches that were in their first season as a Division I head coach and one of 13 coaches that were in their first year at the helm of their respective program … his eight NCAA qualifiers were the most among both groups … he was also the only coach among both groups to have his team in the final USA Today/NWCA Coaches Poll.