Apex Coaches: Damion Logan, Erik Norgaard, Foley Dowd, Matthew Wernikoff, Alex Karnitski, Diego Crespo. Apex Staff: Dan Wernikoff .
Damion grew up in Garfield, New Jersey and was a three time New Jersey State Champion and four time finalist for Bergen County powerhouse St. Joseph, Montvale. Damion was also an Asics All-American Team member and invited to the coveted Dapper Dan invitational tournament. Damion was also a fierce freestyle and greco-roman competitor placing top 3 in both divisions in Fargo multiple times. Damion wrestled at the University of Michigan were he was a two time NCAA Division I All-American and led the team in wins and pins in the 1999-2000 season. In the 1998-1999 season he was the University of Michigan’s Most Out Standing Wrestlers at the Big 10 Championships.
Having coached recreation programs, high school and NCAA Division I and III programs Damion brings the a wealth of coaching experience to Apex. Damion has coached at St. Mary’s in NJ, University of Pennsylvania, West Point, and Stevens Institute of Technology.
Generally considered one of the best wrestlers in New Jersey Wrestling History Damion brings all of his knowledge to each and every practice in an easy to understand and well throughout way. He is known for his match strategies, explosive leg attacks, intensity and fundamental approach to top and bottom wrestling.
Erik a Leonia, NJ native, was a four time New Jersey state place finisher, including a 2000 State Championship, for St. Joseph of Montvale. He also placed 3rd at the NHSCA Senior National Championships and was an ASICS All-American. An avid Freestyle and Greco-Roman competitor Erik was a cadet world team alternate and placed in Fargo four years in a row. A four year stater for NCAA Division I Columbia University, Erik recorded over 80 Division I career victories; including a convincing decision over NCAA Champion Jesse Jantzen.Having traveled all over the country learning technique from the likes of Edge founder Ernie Monaco and three time World Champion Lee Kemp, Erik brings a deep technical approach to Apex.
Having been the head coach at St. Joseph, Montvale and turning the program around in two short years, Erik is also well versed in helping athletes peak at the right point in the season. He is known for his leg riding, funk offense and defense teaching, low single, as well as his crackdown offense from the high crotch position.
Erik is also a member of the Region 3 Hall of Fame and St. Joes Hall of Fame.
To email Erik Norgaard: Erik@apexwrestlingschool.com
Foley Dowd recently rejoined the Apex coaching staff after a breif period away. A national prep champion for Peddie Prep in NJ, Foley was a highly recruited wrestler coming out of high school. In addition to winning prep nationals Foley was a Fargo National Champion, ASICS All-American, Dapper Dan participant and Freestyle State Champion. For college Foley ultimately decided to join Damion Logan at Michigan where he went on to be an All-American, University Freestyle All-American, NCAA Academic All-American and Midlands tournament champion.
Foley is one of the most technical instructors on the staff, breaking down and emphasising the smallest details of each technique in a way that is easy to understand and incorporate into your technique. Foley also excels when talking in match strategy and how to make adjustments in the middle of a match. He is also a tremendous motivator and public speaker.
To email Foley Dowd: Foley@apexwrestlingschool.com
Head Assistant Coach
Mathew Wernikoff grew up in Monroe, NY and wrestled for Monroe-Woodbury High School. Monroe is perennially a state ranked team and was a state championship team in 2001. Coach Wernikoff competed locally and abroad in Freestyle and his real passion Greco-Roman Wrestling.
After high school Matthew Wernikoff started coaching in Section 1 NY as an assistant coach at Peekskill City School district where he helped coach the programs first state qualifier in over ten years. From there Mathew moved on to Woodlands High School, a small school in Westchester county, where he served as the Co-Head Coach and then the Head Coach. He produced 4 of the schools 5 100 career wins earners, 5 Section Champions, an All-State Wrestler, several NCAA recruits and many All-Section and All-League wrestlers.
Coach Matthew Wernikoff also was the State director for the NHSCA and ran the NHSCA National Team for 5 years.With over 10 years of experience working with kids Matthew Wernikoff brings a sound fundamental approach to his teaching and is able to motivate athletes of any age. He is also responsible for organizing the Apex travel teams.
To follow Coach Matt on Facebook: Matthew Wernikoff’s Facebook On Twitter: Matthew Wernikoff’s Twitter or his Personal Blog site. Read more here.
Alex comes from Belarus and is the most decorated member of the Apex Coaching Staff. Alex was a 2X University World Champion in Freestyle, which included a win over 3X NCAA National Champion and Olympic Silver Medalist Stephen Abas. A 7x Belarus National Champion Alex wrestled all over the world and was ranked number one briefly. He placed as high as 5th in the world championships, won the prestigious Yargin International Tournament twice and frequently made finals appearances in the NYAC, Sunkist and Dave Shultz International tournaments. Alex’s style blends his eastern European wrestling training with a love for Greco-Roman and Judo techniques. Alex was known for his front headlocks and ability to throw from a variety of positions.Alex has been with Apex for two years and works as an assistant coach for David Brearley High School in Kenilworth, NJ.
While there he helped guide the team to the 2011 Class B State Sectional Championships. He also works as an assistant coach for the Unveristy of Pennsylvania and the private coach of 2011-2012 World Team competitor Matt Valenti. Alex has brought a more worldly approach to the Apex system that continues to pay divends for our athletes on a weekly basis. He also is developing our freestyle and greco-roman program.
Diego has been a member of the Apex Wrestling School staff for two years. He comes to Apex as a coach after having been a competitor for Apex for many years. He is in fact Apex Wrestling’s first NJ State Champion! He is also the only wrestler in Paramus Catholic history to win a state championships and is also the schools only 100 career win earner.
Diego attended Johnson and Wales University where he was a four year stater. A two time Division III National Championship Qualifier Diego was one of the most agile and technical heavy weights in all of college wrestling. Often considered undersized for his weight class Diego used his speed and technique to beat wrestlers much bigger than him.
Diego is currently an assistant coach at Bergen Catholic, one of the top programs in New Jersey. He has trained some of Bergen Catholics top wrestlers including Joe Trause and Johnny Sebastian.
Diego is one of the best upper weight coaches in the entire state. He teaches great fundamental techniques that work for upper weights as well as moves that are typically considered light weight techniques such as the inside trip and ankle pick.
To email Deigo Crespo: Diego@apexwrestlingschool.com
Dan Wernikoff, MICP, CSN
General Manager/Owner/Sports Nutritionist
Dan Wernikoff, owner and founder of Champion Athletes, is a vital part of that Apex Wrestling School Staff. As the General Manager he manages the day to day business for Apex. As our staff nutritionist he provides our athletes with the latest information for weigh management and eating for optimal performance. As the medical director for the National High School Coaches Association Dan also provides injury treatment and re-hab services for all of our members.
Dan’s company Champion Athletes has partnered with Apex Wrestling School to provide the best Strength and Conditioning, Sports Nutrition, Stretching, RE-hab and Pre-hab services available in New Jersey! For more information on Champion Athletes click here.
To email Dan Wernikoff: Dan@champion-athletes.com