All-M.A.S.H team: How injuries have affected high school careers

Updated: January 24, 2012

By Willie Saylor, WIN STAFF

In a preseason article last fall, long-time WIN prep analyst Rob Sherrill noted the rather recent responsibility incumbent upon wrestling writers: follow the movement of the country’s top wrestlers as they transfer schools.

Willie Saylor

Along with college signings, high school transferring is another thing outside the circle we have to keep our eyes on.

But this season, there seems to be one more: injuries.

Injuries are part of the sport. But this year it seems as if they’ve affected the nation’s best at an increased ratio.

Some prepsters had off-season surgery and will miss the season. Some had hopes that they will come back, but can’t. Some have rebounded to the extent they’ll be able to take the mat after all.

With so many statuses up-in-the-air, here is an update.

113 pounds: Zeke Moisey, Bethlehem Catholic, Pa.

One of the nation’s top young talents, Moisey placed twice at Super 32 before wrestling a high school bout (as an eighth and ninth grader). If you saw him wrestle last season, you undoubtedly witnessed his shoulder pop out once or three times.

After placing at a monster 112-pound bracket at the state tournament last year, Moisey had shoulder surgery and was out for the summer. He came back this winter and took third at the Ironman and made the Beast finals at 113 pounds before defaulting out with issues to that same shoulder. He’s expected back at 120 pounds going forward.

120 pounds: Nate Thomas, Kasson-Mantorville, Minn.

Thomas is a name you probably haven’t come across recently. But he was one of Minnesota’s brightest lightweight stars. A two-time Fargo AA, Thomas was injured at last year’s Clash, a tournament where he’s posted a perfect 13-0 record.  It was at last season’s Clash that Thomas suffered a shoulder injury. He battled through the season, placing second at the state tournament, before undergoing surgery. Still recovering, he’s not yet returned to action.

120 pounds: Kevon Powell, Montini Catholic, Ill.

An Ohio University recruit, Powell has placed in the top three in Illinois three times, winning the state title as a sophomore. He’s placed in Fargo, Virginia Beach and twice at the Cheesehead. In December, Powell had a fine fourth-place finish at Ironman. But injuries forced him to miss this year’s Cheesehead for the second straight year. He’s expected back soon.

138 pounds: Case Garrison, St. Paris-Graham, Ohio

One of the top-ranked kids in the country, Garrison was victim of a season-ending knee injury. The state runner-up had surgery and will move on to Oklahoma State next year.

145 pounds: Mitch Minotti, Easton, Pa.

A three-time state placewinner, Minotti had to have shoulder surgery after winning NHSCA Junior Nationals. The rehab had him out until late December, but he’s back in action, undefeated and looking to defend his state title before heading to Lehigh next fall.

160 pounds: Devon Gobbo, Delbarton Prep, N.J.

Gobbo is one of the country’s best-kept secrets. Despite being a phenomenal talent, he flies under the radar in comparison to other stars. After reaching the Beast of the East Finals last year, his senior season figured to be a banner year. But he was injured in the Super 32 quarters last October. It was a season-ending knee tear. He’ll continue his career next year at Harvard.

170 pounds: Jason Luster, Pittsburgh Central Catholic, PA

Shoulders and knees. It’s a recurring theme with wrestlers. Luster had to shut it down due to the former. He placed at Super 32 for the third time last fall, but recently had shoulder surgery. He heads to West Virginia next year.

170 pounds: Tsvetomir Petrushev, Peachtree, Ga.

Coming from Georgia, Petrushev isn’t as well known as most. But if you’ve ever seen him go, he’s a fantastic talent. Nationally ranked in the off-season, Petrushev suffered head injuries after being hit by a car this summer.

182 pounds: Steve Congenie, Villa Park, Ill.

Congenie really made waves at last winter when he decisively beat highly-regarded Sam Brooks in the state finals. Congenie had shoulder issues and hoped to get through this season before he heads to Cornell next year. Unfortunately, he had to shut it down and will miss his senior year.

Heavyweight: Dawson Peck, Chambersburg, Pa.

Peck was a state runner-up in Hershey last year in a wildly entertaining final. He went on to win the NHSCA Junior Nationals at 220. But at Fargo this year, he tore ligaments in his elbow in his very first bout. Despite battling on and earning All-American status, Dawson was later informed his elbow would require Tommy John surgery, which he had in late summer. Originally suspected to miss his entire senior season, he recently informed me he’ll be back in action soon, attempting to earn a state title before he heads to Virginia Tech next fall.

And the Missing in Action List …


126 pounds: Zain Retherford, Benton, Pa.

A state champion and two-time Super 32 placer, Retherford was a Fargo All-American this summer. Afterward, he transferred from Line Mountain to Benton. But a much-publicized series of hearings ruled Retherford ineligible for one season. Expect Retherford to be hungry next off-season.


Heavyweight: Doug Vollaro, Oviedo, Fla.

One of the best big men in the country, Vollaro once again reached AA status in Fargo. He then won a Super 32 title in October. Signed to Lehigh, Vollaro graduated a semester early and will not compete during his senior year.