Saturday, September 12, 2020

Gone, Lost & Forgotten: Their Best = Old Dominion

 The alma mater of one of amateur wrestling's most well known & popular journalist, Jason Bryant, the history of Old Dominion wrestling is long & illustrious.  Started in the 1957-1958 season, Monarch wrestling came to an end after the 2019-2020 season, scapegoating the alleged budget restraints caused by Covid-19 as their reasoning. 

The 1982 & 1984 Eastern Regional Champions, the Monarchs also won the 1994 Colonial Athletic Association team title. 

ODU Wrestling: Where Are They Now? James Nicholson '11 - Old Dominion  University
James Nicholson 
125 lbs 

Coming all the way from Des Moines Roosevelt high school in Iowa, James Nicholson soon proved himself to be one of the greatest wrestlers that the CAA has ever seen.  Winning titles in 2008, 2009, 2010 & 2011 he is not only Old Dominion's only four time champion, he's one of the only four time champions the CAA ever had.  Along with this phenomenal accomplishment Nicholson earned NCAA Division I All American honors twice.   Putting together a career record of 138-20, he was eighth as a freshman in 2008 & eighth as a senior in 2011. 

Chris Brown
165 lbs 

A two time state champion for Great Bridge High school, Brown won three CAA titles in 2008, 2009 & 2010.  As a senior in 2010, he earned an eighth place All American finish at the NCAA Division I championships.  He graduated with a record of 138-42. 

Carl Ragland

A three time Mason Dixon conference champion, Ragland made the 1966 NCAA Division II finals as a sophomore.  Redshirting in 1967, he came back in 1968 going 30-2 on the season with his only losses coming at the NCAA Division II championships.  Despite not placing in 1968, Ragland came back strong in 1969 not only winning the NCAA Division II title, but pinning his way to a Gorriaran award. 

He later became a Traffic Safety Engineer for the U.S. Department of Transportation

Wayne Bright

Putting together a career record of 65-11, Wayne Bright won three Mason Dixon titles for the Monarchs.  At the NCAA Division II level, Bright was fifth in 1969, winning a title in 1970.  As a result of winning the NCAA Division II championship, he was invited to the NCAA Division I tournament where he finished in fourth place. 

Most notable about Bright was that he once wrestled Dan Gable & led him by two points going into the third period.  He was eventually pinned by the legendary Cyclone grappler, but who all can say they had a lead on Dan Gable? 

Ray Pond
142 lbs 

Pond earned NCAA Division II All American honors in 1974 with a third place finish

Terry Perdew
118 lbs 

Add Terry Perdew to your list of wrestlers who never won a high school state title that went on to win a title at the next level.  A two time state runner-up for Chesapeake, Perdew won the NCAA Division II title in 1974. 

Buddy Lee
134 lbs 

Argued by some to be the greatest jump roper in the world, Lee came to Old Dominion from Highland Springs high school where he won a state title with a career record of 90-41.   Competing for the Monarchs, Lee won Eastern Regional titles in 1979, 1980 & 1982.   At the NCAA Division I level, he was fourth in 1980 & seventh in 1982 at the NCAA Division I championships.  He graduated with a career record of 122-25. 

Jody Staylor 
126 lbs 

One of the famous Staylor brothers of Great Bridge high school, Staylor won three state titles before starting his career off at North Carolina.  He transferred to Old Dominion, where he won CAA titles in 1994 & 1995, making the NCAA Division I finals as a junior in 1994. 

Peter Horst
134 lbs

Horst won a Eastern Regional title for the Monarchs in 1991 & then in their inaugural season in the CAA, he won a title there in 1992.  Going 57-14 during his varsity career, Horst took sixth place honors at the NCAA Division I tournament in 1991. 

Nick Hall

Going 115-18 during his illustrious career, Hall won back to back CAA titles for the Monarchs in 1995 & 1996.  Placing fifth at the 1995 NCAA championships, Hall looked poised to perhaps win an NCAA Division I title in 1996.  Unfortunately he ruptured discs in his back in the quarterfinals & had to forfeit his way out of the tournament.  Up until that moment, he was 36-0 on the season. 

He later became an account manager of wine & spirits, as well as a volunteer wrestling coach. 


Ryan Williams
141 lbs 

A two time CAA champion, Williams made the NCAA Division I finals in 2009.  He ended his career with a 137-41 career record. 

Brad Anderson

Anderson won Eastern Regional tiles in 1982 & 1983

Noel Clavel

Clavel won Eastern Regional titles for the Monarchs in his sophomore & junior seasons of 1990 & 1991.  As the Monarchs moved into the CAA, he won a CAA title in 1992. 

Jeff Rusak
174 lbs 

A four time NCAA qualifier for the Monarchs, Rusak won CAA titles in 2001 & 2002.  Going 135-19 during his carer in his senior season of 2002, Rusak went 35-2, with his only losses coming at the NCAA championships. 

Chris Mecate
141 lbs 

Mecate had one of the most decorated careers during his time as a Monarch.  As a freshman in 2013, he finished fourth at the Southern Scuffle & he won a CAA title.   As a sophomore in 2014, with the CAA discontinuing wrestling, Mecate finished as the Mid American Conference (MAC) runner-up.  He also placed third at the Southern Scuffle.  As a junior in 2015, he was fifth at the Midlands, once again earning runner-up honors at the MAC.  He earned NCAA Division I All American honors with a sixth place finish.  As a senior in 2016, he was eight at the Midlands, securing a MAC title & his second NCAA Division I All American honor with a fifth place finish. 

Billy Curling
174 lbs

Curling is a fantastic story of believing in yourself, never giving up & trusting in your coaches advice & direction to turn your wrestling career around.  In his freshman season, Curling went an embarrassing 4-9.  By the time he was a junior in 2013, he won a CAA title & he finished as the MAC runner-up in 2014.  He ended his career with 69-49 career record. 

Lenny Richardson
149 lbs 

Another standout Monarch with a colorful career was Lenny Richardson.  As a freshman in 2013, Richardson made the CAA finals.  As a sophomore in 2014, he was seventh at the Southern Scuffle making the MAC finals.  Taking seventh at the Midlands, Richardson once again took MAC runner-up honors in 2015, capturing NCAA Division I All American honors with a seventh place finish.  Injuries would unfortunately hamper the Monarch in his final season of competition, but he still managed to take a fourth place finish at the Midlands. 

Jack Dechow
184 lbs 

Jack Dechow had an assortment of accomplishments during his 110-19 career at Old Dominion.  As a freshman in 2014 he won a MAC title & took fourth place honors at the NCAA championships.  As a sophomore in 2015 he won another MAC title as well as a Midlands title.   In 2016 he was the MAC runner-up.  In his final year as a Monarch, he finished at the runner-up at the Midlands & won his third MAC title. 

We were fortunate as wrestling fans to get Dechow on the mat as he could have as easily ended up on the gridiron.  Along with winning a state title in wrestling, he also helped his high school to a state title in football. In the championship game he scored four touchdowns & rushed for 244 yards. 

Larry Early 
157 lbs 

A two time Illinois high school state champion for Oak Park, Early originally began his career at the University of Minnesota.  Coming to Old Dominion, he was fourth at the MAC championships in 20018, making the MAC finals in 2019 & earning NCAA Division I All American honors with a eighth place finish. 

As a senior in 2020, Early finished in third place at the MAC tournament, looking poised to earn a second appearance on the award stand.  Unfortunately he would not get the opportunity, as the NCAA Division I tournament was canceled due to Covid-19. 

Michael McGee
125 lbs 

Winning MAC titles for the Monarchs in 2018 & 2019, due to Old Dominion's decision to discontinue wrestling, Michael McGee will finish up his career at Arizona State. 

Sa'Derian Perry
141 lbs

Perry is living, walking, breathing proof of how unfair & cruel situations have been to the sport of wrestling at the collegiate level.  We are far from the only sport in the fight.  History shows us that other sports such as swimming & diving, gymnastics & as of late due to Covid-19, tennis have also been hit dramatically hard.  Yet as you've followed "Gone, Lost & Forgotten" it is clear that wrestling has more than had it's share of disappointment. 

The Florida high school state champion out of Lake Gibson began his career at Eastern Michigan where he was third at the MAC earning NCAA Division I All American honors with an eighth place finish. Due to the avarice of athletic director Scott R Wetherbee, Perry was forced to find a new home when the Eagles discontinued their wrestling program. 

Earning back to back fourth place MAC finishes, Perry was met with back to back bad news when he first found out that due to Covid-19 he wasn't going to get an opportunity at another NCAA medal.  A short time later he discovered that for the second time in his career his school, this time Old Dominion was telling him that his efforts & his accomplishments meant nothing to them, as they too would discontinue wrestling. 

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