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GHS graduate Ryan Whittle to wrestle at Clarion University

Updated 11:27 pm, Tuesday, February 12, 2013
  • Greenwich native Ryan Whittle, who is completing a post-graduate year at Wyoming Seminary, will wrestle for Divsion I Clarion University next season. Photo: Contributed Photo
    Greenwich native Ryan Whittle, who is completing a post-graduate year at Wyoming Seminary, will wrestle for Divsion I Clarion University next season. Photo: Contributed Photo

 

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Ryan Whittle didn't have to wrestle with a decision regarding his future after arriving at Wyoming Seminary College Preparatory School in the fall.

The 2012 Greenwich High School graduate and standout wrestler aimed to continue his career on the mat at the Kingston, Pa.-based school known for producing premier grapplers.

"When I applied and got in I knew that coming here would broaden my options," Whittle said. "I knew I would have an opportunity to wrestle for a great program for a year and have a chance to go to college and wrestle."

A postgraduate student at Wyoming Seminary, Whittle recently committed to wrestle at Clarion University (Clarion, Pa.) in the fall.

"I really enjoyed my visit there," Whittle said. "I liked the campus, they made me feel welcome and it's a great school. One of the goals I've always set for myself was to be a Division I athlete, so I'm very excited."

Always a contender, Clarion finished 18th at the NCAA Division I National Championships a year ago. Whittle flourished on the mat his senior season at Greenwich, recording 35 victories, while winning 83 percent of his matches in the 171-pound class. The Cardinals' MVP last season won the Shelton Invitational, garnered the first-place medal at the Shoreline Invitational Tournament, and placed second at both the FCIAC and Class LL Championships. He ended his varsity career at GHS with more than 80 wins.

"The Greenwich wrestling program did so much for me mentally and physically," said Whittle, who also played football for the Cardinals. "How we trained at Greenwich wasn't too far off from the training we go through here (Wyoming Seminary)."

Whittle gladly returned to his wrestling roots during the Holiday break.

"I went to the Greenwich/Stamford match and helped coach (George Albano) out a little bit during practice," Whittle said. "Seeing George was great. He was one of the best coaches I ever had."

Since joining the Wyoming Seminary squad, Whittle has certainly been challenged.

"The level of competition here during practice is so high," said Whittle, who has won most of his matches while wrestling at 170 and 160 pounds for the school. "Some of the best wrestlers in Pennsylvania go here, so you have to bring your `A' game. In Connecticut, I felt like I was the top dog, but here I'm just another good wrestler trying to get better every day."

Defending Pennsylvania Prep state champion Wyoming Seminary is currently the second-ranked prep school in the nation, according to InterMat Wrestling. Wyoming Seminary seniors Eric Morris (182-pound class, headed to Harvard), Garrett Ryan (220, Columbia) and Jeremy Schwartz (113, UPenn) will also wrestle at the collegiate level.

"Everyone pushes each other to improve on this team," Whittle said. "Losing in this room is not acceptable."

Whittle said the Blue Knights follow the lead of their head coach Scott Green.

"He's a tough guy, but not one to yell or raise his voice," said Whittle, a deeply religious young man. "You know he means business though. He expects us to always give our best effort, which is the mentality we have."

Whittle credits Green and the administration at Wyoming Seminary for helping him realize his dream of wrestling at the next level.

"He (Green) spoke to Clarion for me and told me what the culture at the school is going to be like," said Whittle, who also credited his parents for the inspiration they've provided over the years. "My guidance counselors here at school have been awesome."

Indeed, Whittle knows wrestling has helped him reach, what will soon be the next chapter in his academic and athletic career.

"The sport has taught me so much," he said. "It's taught me discipline, dedication and how to set goals and work hard to reach them."

david.fierro@scni.com;

203-625-4423

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