Trojan Wrestling Announces Incoming ClassAugust 16, 2012
ANDERSON, S.C. – Anderson University head wrestling coach Dock Kelly will welcome one of the largest classes in program history this fall with the addition of 14 newcomers.
The Trojans are looking to bounce back from a sub-par 2011 campaign and open the season at the University of Virginia on Nov. 3, when the Trojans will square off against Ohio University, UT Chattanooga and the host Cavaliers.
“I am excited about this outstanding group of student-athletes that we have been blessed to sign for this upcoming 2012-13 wrestling season,” said Kelly. “This is by far the best academic class that we have signed during my tenure and I am especially excited about the impact that they are going to make in the classroom.
On the wrestling mat, we have several legitimate blue chip prospects that could very well become program changers for Anderson University,” he added. “I expect this group of incoming and transfer signees to make an immediate and significant impact on both the regional and national level. We have lofty expectations for this group and I'm expecting this class to rise to the challenge and meet all of the goals that we have set. Our schedule is as challenging as ever, but I am confident that it will prepare our wrestlers to perform and peak for the regional and national competitions. Iron sharpens iron, so we have put together a schedule that we anticipate will expedite the development of our entire recruiting class.”
High School: Mount Anthony Union High School (Bennington, Vt.)
Career Wrestling Record: 215-31
Projected Collegiate Weight Class: 133
Son of: Jon and Linda Hale
High School GPA: 2.953
Notes: Named a National all American by the National High School Coaches Association senior … Was a three-time state champion and placed third twice at the New England’s … 2012 Dave Schultz High School Excellence Award winner for the state of Vermont.
Coach Kelly on Hale: “Zak is a five-star student-athlete who is loaded with talent. He is a thoroughbred wrestler who is determined to do whatever it takes to become the best. ZAk is an accomplished wrestler who comes from a rich wrestling heritage in Vermont. He will make an immediate impact and will be a contender on the national level from day one.”
High School: Richland Northeast High School (Columbia, S.C.)
Career Wrestling Record: 133-37 (owns the school’s highest individual wins record in school history)
Projected Collegiate Weight Class: 141
Son of: Alberto and Carolyn Benitez
High School GPA: 3.5
Notes: 2012 South Carolina State Champion … 140-pound Folkstyle champion in 2011 … Won numerous Freestyle & Greco Roman tournaments … Member of the Honor Society … Studied Honors Art and excelled in math … Took part in teacher cadet program … Also considered The Citadel, Appalachian State, Duke, Newberry and Limestone, but chose Anderson University because of the great environment and what it has to offer … Brandon is a from a military family and has been all over Europe and lived in Italy for three years) and lived in multiple states in the United States (Wash, N.C., Mo. and Ga.).
Coach Kelly on Benitez: “Brandon is a dedicated and hard-working wrestler who is committed to doing whatever it takes to become great. He flew under the radar for much of his wrestling career but we feel that he is going to blossom into a great collegiate wrestler.”
High School: White Knoll High School (Columbia, S.C.)
Career Wrestling Record: 159-20 (114 pins)
Projected Collegiate Weight Class: 165/174
Son of: Arrona Winston
Notes: 2011 and 2012 South Carolina State Champion … Claimed third-place in 2010 … 2012 USA Wrestling All-American Honorable Mention.
Coach Kelly on Lackey: “Jamal was a “steal” for us to sign. He was by far the best recruit in the state of South Carolina this year. He is a beast of an athlete that has benefited from outstanding high school coaching. Jamal is going to become an elite college wrestler with his work ethic and competitive fire.”
High School: Eau Claire High School (Columbia, S.C.)
Career Wrestling Record: 52-21
Projected Collegiate Weight Class: 184
Grandson of: Barbara Portee
High School GPA: 3.3
Notes: Named Best All Around Wrestler in 2012 … 2012 Region Champion … Named Most Coachable Wrestler in 2011 … Earned second place in the region in 2011 … Served as Team Captain in both 2011 and 2012.
Coach Kelly on Ashford: “Antonio is a quality young man who has a tremendous passion for wrestling. He is a hard worker who is going to develop into a good collegiate wrestler.”
High School: The Bolles School (Jacksonville, Fla.)
Career Wrestling Record: 176-40
Projected Collegiate Weight Class: 157/165
Son of: James and Beverly Pye
High School GPA: 2.9
Notes: Varsity wrestler since seventh grade … Four-time state qualifier … Member of Team Florida multiple times … Greco and Freestyle state champion.
Coach Kelly on Pye: “Robbey is a quality student-athlete. He is a dedicated and hard-working young man who is going to grow into a solid middleweight wrestler for us. His scrappy style is going to pay dividends for him once he transitions to the collegiate style of wrestling.”
High School: Franklin High School (Franklin, Mass.)
Career Wrestling Record: 115-29
Projected Collegiate Weight Class: 125
Son of: Joe and Donna Williams
High School GPA: 3.4
Notes: Two time Hockomock Conference Champion … Division One Central Sectional Champion and Outstanding Wrestler … Division One State Finalist and claimed fifth in New England Tournament … Eagle Scout and member of Music Honors Society.
Coach Kelly on Williams: “Greg is another quality wrestler coming to us from the New England area. Greg is an accomplished student and his wrestling is just as impressive. Greg was a late-bloomer in high school and we are expecting great things from him as a true freshman. His style of wrestling is going to allow him to experience success early and often.”
High School: TL Hanna High School (Anderson, S.C.)
Career Wrestling Record: 52-6
Projected Collegiate Weight Class: 174
Son of: Tom and Susan Allen
High School GPA: 3.25
Notes: Two-time State Qualifier … 4A Region Champ … Named TL Hanna Most Outstanding Wrestler in 2012 … Claimed 4th at Upperstate and fourth at State in 2012 … Runner-up at 2012 Dixie Nationals … Won the North Henderson North Knight Invitational, Woodmont/Wild Cat Invitational, Westside High School Invitational, Anderson County Dual Championships and the Laurens Raider Invitational.
Coach Kelly on Allen: “Jake is a local star that really impressed us with his attitude and work ethic. It is only a matter of time before Jake makes the transition from good to great on the wrestling mat. Jake is going to solidify our upper-weight class, and we are excited to have him here in our program.”
Kevin “KJ” Johnson, Jr.
High School: Forest Park High School (Woodbridge, Va.)
Career Wrestling Record: 148-47
Projected Collegiate Weight Class: 149/157
Son of: Kevin Sr. and Sonya Johnson
Notes: Three-time Cardinal District Champion … Two-time Northwest Regional Champion … Two-time AAA Virginia State Finalist … Claimed fifth at 2011Council Rock Escape the Rock … Took seventh at 2011 Powerade … Won the 2011 757 Sundevil Challenge, the 2011Virginia Beach Nationals, the 2011 St. Christopher Classic and the 2012 Melee ‘til Midnight … Claimed second at the 2011 Mount Mat Madness … Named a 2012 Junior Olympic Freestyle All-American with a second-place finish.
Coach Kelly on Johnson: “KJ is an outstanding student who is also an incredible athlete. He is a rare student-athlete that possesses all of the tools to be great both in the classroom as well as on the wrestling mat. KJ has an incredible upside, and we are expecting great things from him. KJ has the pedigree and skill set to compete for a national championship as a true freshman. He was easily the best recruit in the state of Virginia this year and we are blessed to have a student-athlete of KJ’s caliber here at Anderson University. ”
Remaining 2012 Wrestling Signees:
• Luke Durden
• Zackery Farmer
• Jonathan Mudd
• Zachary Newton
• Spencer Foucher
• Timothy Turner
• Samuel Parkinson