Alexander “Lenny” Richardson won the 2012 NHSCA Senior National Championship at 145lbs this past weekend. Lenny, a Senior from St. Peters Prep in Jersey City, NJ, was the returning Junior National Champion from 140lbs. This years road to a national championship was harder than last year.
The National High School Coaches Association (NHSCA) has been running the Senior National Championships for over 23 years. A non-for-profit organization, the NHSCA runs several educational programs, runs the National High School Sports Hall of Fame, awards Scholarships and runs national events in many sports. Some of the greatest wrestlers in United States history have competed at NHSCA Senior National Championships. The event allows an athletes to compete at the lowest weight the certified at. In both the semi-finals and finals Lenny had to overcome opponents that were considerably bigger than he was.
In the semi-finals he wrestled Alec Mooradian of Michigan. Alec was a 4X Michigan State Finalist, 3X Michigan State Champion and one of the greatest wrestlers to come out of regional powerhouse Detriot Catholic Central. He competed at 152 this season. Despite his size and ability to neutralize Lennys speed from the neutral position, Alec was no match for Lenny’s mat wrestling. Lenny was able to earn an escape in the second period and then ride Alec for the entire third period to earn the victory.
In the finals Lenny found himself up against an even bigger opponent, 4X West Virginia State Champion Dylan Cottrell. Dylan won the West Virginia State Championship at 145lbs this past season but wrestled as high as 160. Compared to Richardson who certified at 138 and conteplated competing at that weight most of the season, Cottrell was considerably bigger. Dylan used his strength and the out of bounds line to keep Lenny from scoring on his feet. In the second period Lenny earned the reversal to take a 2-0 lead. In the 3rd period Lenny was taken down off of a scramble and unable to earn the escape going into overtime. The first overtime went scoreless and both wrestlers rode each other out going into the sudden death ride out. Lenny chose top and his opponent exploded from bottom.
Lenny dropped to an ankle and tried to hold on. The official, Gerald Moore, held on as long as he could, giving Lenny a chance to build up, watching as he was kicked (accidentaly) in the face he was finally forced to call a stalemate. With 14 seconds between him and a national championships Lenny summoned one more burst of strength and was able to break his opponent down and prevent him from escaping, earning a hard fought, 3-2 OT victory!
Gerald Moore is one of the NHSCA’s most experienced officals and was honored prior to the start of the finals for his years of service. At 75 years old Gerald Moore has retired from the NSHCA and CWOA, however, he will return as an evaluator and continue to educate young officials. Official Moore has been a great supporter of Apex Wrestling and Champion Athletes competitors and has always been fair and balanced in his approach to officiate and educate others in the sport of wrestling.
After the finals Lenny Richardson was also honored by receiving the 2012 Adam Frey Memorial Award for overcoming great adversity over the course of his wrestling career. Lenny’s character and leadership skills have not been unnoticed by the community and this is a great honor. For more information on the Adam Frey foundation and on Adam Frey visit: www.adamfrey.us