Three-time state champion and two-time national champion Cody Ross has signed with the University of North Carolina for the upcoming fall.
Ross, who owns the Springstead records for wins (186), was dominant in his tenure with the Eagles. He had narrowed his choices to American, James Madison, Tennessee-Chattanooga, Duke, North Carolina State, Ohio State, Buffalo, and UNC around the end of the prep wrestling season in February.
“The facilities (in Chapel Hill) were amazing,” Ross said. “I’ve never seen anything like them.”
Ross also touted the coaching staff, namely assistant Cary Kolat. The former freestyle gold medalist at the Pan-American Games in 1999 is a smaller-build grappler who used to compete at 142 pounds. His experience should be vital to Ross’s progress.
The Tar Heels were 6-14, 2-3 in the ACC, but North Carolina coach C.D. Mock led the team to four victories in its last five duals meets, all away from home.
Ross joins a young roster that included only five seniors last season. Projected to compete at 149 pounds at the collegiate level, he will be competing with three returning sophomores and redshirt senior Jon Burns (4-5 last season) for time on the mat at that weight class.
“I like it this way,” Ross said. “I will be the underdog, and that should motivate me.”
Springstead’s Sean Redman also signed the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga last week.
Redman is eighth in program history with 146 wins but didn’t reach his full potential until his senior season when he won the state title at 145 pounds. He will join former teammate Nick Soto, who qualified for the NCAA Championships as a freshman with the Moccasins.
“It has a lot to do with Nick being there,” Springstead coach Eric Swensen said. “(Sean) loves the coaches that are there. They are well-informed. It should be a good fit.”
Redman had his heart set on Chattanooga as soon as he began looking at colleges. When he found out that he was accepted by the program, he was excited at the opportunity.
Chattanooga had only three wrestlers last season at Redman’s projected weight class (149). One was a graduating senior, but the Moccasins return two seniors in Alex Hudson (2-1 last season) and Dean Pavlou (14-11 last season).