FORT MILL — Four of Fort Mill High’s best wrestlers will be heading to Virginia and Pennsylvania this week to compete in two national tournaments.
Junior Tyler Turner, sophomore Jake Strong and eighth-grader AJ Leitten will be heading to the National High School Coaches Association wrestling championships in Virginia Beach.
Reigning state champion Nick Leitten will be heading to the campus of Indiana University in western Pennsylvania to wrestle at the Flo Nationals.
Unlike the NHSCA, the Flo Nationals doesn’t divide up the tournament based on which grade a wrestler is in.
That means Nick Leitten could face anyone in the country in his weight class – 138 pounds, down from his state title winning class of 145 pounds. The Flo Nationals will be held April 5-6.
“It’s harder because there is no separation of grade level,” said Fort Mill head coach Chris Brock.
“They really try to create an environment that is highly attractive to D-I college coaches.”
The NHSCA will be take place April 3-7 at the Virginia Beach Convention Center.
Turner, who finished second in the state will be in the 120-pound junior weight class, and Strong will be in the 120-pound sophomore weight class. AJ Leitten will be in the 105-pound middle school weight class.
Despite taking a lower number of wresters than usual to the postseason national events, Brock said this crew will do well.
“They are all capable,” he said. “I think they will do well. Everybody there is super talented. It is important for our program to go to events like this.”
AJ Leitten has the chance to become the first two-time national champion in Fort Mill’s program, having also won a national championship in 2011.
Nation Ford’s Collin Godbout will also be going to the NHSCA and wrestling in junior division at 126 pounds.
“We are very proud that Collin is going to the National tournament,” said Falcons’ head coach Paul Richardson. “He also participated in the Super 32 in November. Collin is working hard and we are expecting him to do well at Nationals.”
Richardson said that Nation Ford could send another wrestler as well, but that hasn’t been confirmed.