PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) – Rutherford wrestler Xavier Stillgess caught the eyes of local coaches, but now he’s getting recognized at the national level as well. Stillgess was invited to compete at the NHSCA High School Wrestling Nationals this year.
“It’s a pretty big thing, when I first got the invitation I was pretty shocked,” Stillgess said. “It’s pretty exciting.”
Rams head wrestling coach Jarod Melvin said it was no surprise that Stillgess was invited to compete.
“Every match he gives it his all and he’s worked with a lot of different coaches,” Melvin said. “He pushes himself whether it be with wrestling or football or anything he participates in so I mean I kinda expected it of him to at least get some recognition.”
The Rams junior has had some top finishes this year already. He placed second in the 195 weight class at the Gator Brawl and placed first in that weight class at the George Mulligan Memorial Tournament.
However, saying yes to competing in nationals this year wasn’t so easy. The competition is on the same weekend at the Rutherford prom.
“I’m the junior class president and so I set the whole thing up, so I had to chose one, but I’m not guaranteed to go next year [to nationals] so I’m gonna go this year,” Stillgess said.
Stillgess may not be dancing the night away on March 27, but he will be getting down on the mat and competing against other elite wrestlers for the title of All-American.
The competition is set for March 27-29 in Virginia Beach, VA.