Mill Valley wrestler Callahan earns All-American honors at NHSCA national tourney
Fresh off of a third-place finish at the Class 5A wrestling state championships in early March, Mill Valley junior Zach Callahan put his talents to the test at the national level.
MVHS coach Travis Keal took Callahan and freshman Jake Ellis to the National High School Coaches Association National Tournament in Virginia Beach, Va., March 30 through April 1.
Callahan held his own against some of the nation’s top wrestlers, and he finished eighth in the junior class at 285 pounds.
“All of the college coaches were out there watching, and he sparked some interest from some Division I schools,” Keal said of Callahan. “That’s why we took him out there.”
Callahan posted a 5-3 record and garnered All-American honors for his eighth-place finish. He’s the second All-American for Mill Valley in the past four years. Leo Beck is the Jaguars’ other All-American.
Callahan won his first match of the tournament in an 8-5 decision against Jesse Montesano of New York. Callahan then was pinned by Aaron House of Kentucky, the sixth-place medalist.
Callahan bounced back with victories with a pair of wrestlers from Maryland and another from Pennsylvania before dropping a 7-2 decision to third-place medalist Steven Dwight of New Hampshire. Callahan lost his final match in a 5-1 decision to Joe DeMichelle from Connecticut.
“A lot of those east coast places have some tough kids. There are some good kids out there,” Keal said.
Ellis posted a 3-2 record and narrowly missed earning All-American honors.
He opened with a 6-4 decision against Pete Rinaldi of New Jersey before being pinned by Ian Shannon of Pennsylvania. Ellis bounced back with two straight victories before being eliminated by Ryan Blees of North Dakota in an 8-0 major decision.
“I’ve sent seniors out there before and the best they’ve done is win two matches,” Keal said. “The best record was 2-2. (Former MVHS state champion) Trevor Boyer went out there last year and went 1-2, so to go out there and compete on that level and win — that’s big for confidence.”