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HomeEmpowerLocalHernando Wrestling Club Kicks Off Post Season at Two Major National Events

Hernando Wrestling Club Kicks Off Post Season at Two Major National Events

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Over the last two weekends, Coach David Pritz of Hernando Wrestling Club, traveled over 3,500 miles to Virginia Beach, VA and Spokane, WA bringing several wrestlers to compete in two of the toughest national tournaments in the country.

On the weekend of April 5, 2024, Pritz and coaching staff (Heaven-Leigh Jackson and Brian Peña) brought 12 wrestlers to NHSCA High School Nationals in Virginia Beach, VA to compete against some of the best boys and girls in the country. 3 of the 12 would earn All-American status.

Jeremiah Chavis became Hernando Wrestling Club’s first National Champion in its history. Chavis won the 230 lb bracket in the middle school division. “He had a dominant performance not surrendering a single takedown in any of his matches,” said Coach David Pritz about Jeremiah’s performance.

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“Shaw Garrett had an amazing tournament and proved he can compete with the best kids in the country,” said Pritz. Garrett placed 8th in the 160 lb sophomore division becoming the third Hernando wrestler ever to All-American at High School Nationals for Hernando Wrestling Club.

Noah Leota competes at NHSCA Middle School Nationals in Virginia Beach, VA.
 [Photo by Cynthia Leota]
Noah Leota competes at NHSCA Middle School Nationals in Virginia Beach, VA.
[Photo by Cynthia Leota]

Noah Leota placed 8th in the 135 lb bracket in the middle school division becoming the second middle schooler to All-American for Hernando Wrestling Club. “His composure and grit really shined throughout the tournament,” said Pritz.

Emma Bauknight and Mariah Earl both finished one match away from earning All-American status. Other wrestlers in attendance at NHSCA High School Nationals were Nathalia Espinal, Daniela Espinal, Sydney Bridenstine, Makenzie Etlzroth, Chloe Stinnett, Morgan Johnston, and Kian Blyss.

On the weekend of April 12, 2024, over 1,500 of the best female wrestlers from around the country traveled to Spokane, WA to compete in the 2024 USMC Women’s National Championships and World Team Trials. Coach David Pritz of Hernando Wrestling Club brought 3 wrestlers, Emma Bauknight (53 kg), Sydney Bridenstine (57 kg), and Grace Leota (73 and 76 kg).

Emma Bauknight finished 2-2 with a tech fall 10-0 win and pinfall victory over two girls from Washington. “There are so many girls out there working hard like me and it shows at these big tournaments,” Emma said, “The next step for me moving forward is to train hard and prepare for all the other national tournaments this summer.”

Sydney Bridenstine finished 1-2 with a pinfall victory over Isabella Casprowitz from Nevada. “My goal going into the tournament was to get the experience to see what I need going into the college level,” said Sydney. Bridenstine is a senior and will be wrestling at the next level for Lindsey Wilson College in Kentucky next year.

Grace Leota finished with 7 wins across two age divisions (U17 and U20). In the U17 age division, she made it to the 7th/8th place match out of 34 girls. In the U20 division, she finished one match away from being an All-American. “I set out to make the world team and not doing so is a hard pill to swallow,” said Grace. “I had to realize this is not my last wrestling tournament and I have many more chances to reach my goal.”

Coach Pritz spoke after the tournament about the girls’ performance:
“Women’s Nationals is arguably the toughest tournament for girls in the country. I am proud of Grace, Emma, and Sydney for challenging themselves at a tournament of this caliber,” Pritz said. “All three of them came away with wins and we learned a lot. We will continue to chase the toughest competition across the country as we pursue our goals.”

Hernando Wrestling Club has a full schedule of wrestling in the upcoming weeks that will eventually lead to the Freestyle and Greco State Championships in May held at Silver Spurs Arena in Kissimmee, FL.

National Champion Jeremiah Chavis gets his hand raised. [Photo by Cynthia Leota]
National Champion Jeremiah Chavis gets his hand raised. [Photo by Cynthia Leota]
Shaw Garrett competes at NHSCA High School Nationals in Virginia Beach, VA.
[Photo by Cynthia Leota]
Shaw Garrett competes at NHSCA High School Nationals in Virginia Beach, VA.
[Photo by Cynthia Leota]
Left to right Grace Leota and Coach David Pritz coaching mat side at Women's Nationals in Spokane, WA. [Photo by Cynthia Leota]
Left to right Grace Leota and Coach David Pritz coaching mat side at Women’s Nationals in Spokane, WA. [Photo by Cynthia Leota]
Left to right Sydney Bridentstine with Emma Bauknight at Women's Nationals in Spokane, WA. [Photo by Cynthia Leota]
Left to right Sydney Bridentstine with Emma Bauknight at Women’s Nationals in Spokane, WA.
[Photo by Cynthia Leota]
Grace Leota (right) controls her opponent with the Russian tie at Women's Nationals in Spokane, WA. [Photo by Cynthia Leota]
Grace Leota (right) controls her opponent with the Russian tie at Women’s Nationals in Spokane, WA.
[Photo by Cynthia Leota]
Grace Leota gets her hand raised in the U20 division at Women's Nationals in Spokane, WA. [Photo by Cynthia Leota]
Grace Leota gets her hand raised in the U20 division at Women’s Nationals in Spokane, WA. [Photo by Cynthia Leota]
Shaw Garrett places 8th at NHSCA High School Nationals in Virginia Beach, VA. (Photo Courtesy of NHSCA)
Shaw Garrett places 8th at NHSCA High School Nationals in Virginia Beach, VA. (Photo Courtesy of NHSCA)
National Champion Jeremiah Chavis stands atop the podium at NHSCA Middle School Nationals. (Photo Courtesy of NHSCA)
National Champion Jeremiah Chavis stands atop the podium at NHSCA Middle School Nationals. (Photo Courtesy of NHSCA)
Noah Leota places 8th at NHSCA Middle Nationals. (Photo Courtesy of NHSCA)
Noah Leota places 8th at NHSCA Middle Nationals. (Photo Courtesy of NHSCA)

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