The Triton College wrestling program has had a long and rich history, winning all four National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) National Championships in Triton school history.
The late legendary coach, Art Kraft, laid the foundation of the program's success. From 1967-85 (18 seasons) as Trojans coach, Triton was crowned National Champions in 1977, 1983 and 1984.
Along with the national success, Kraft guided the Trojans to nine state crowns, coached 44 All-Americans, nine two-time All-Americans and 14 National Champions. Art was named NJCAA Coach of the Year three times.
This winning tradition has been carried over by current Triton coach and Athletic Director Harry McGinnis. In 24 seasons McGinnis has produced 126 national qualifiers, 31 All-Americans, five two-time All-Americans, one National Champion and 112 Academic All-Americans.
McGinnis’s 1997 team was crowned NJCAA (Non-Scholarship) National Champions, and he was named the NJCAA National Coach of the Year. In 2003 his team was named the National Academic Team Award winner with a team GPA of 3.26!
Student-athletes that have committed for the 2012-13 season are; Denzel King, 113 (York), Jermaine Fox, 130, (Proviso West), Lametrios Simmons, 120, (Proviso West), Omer Yilmazer, 120, Turkey, Nikko Liotta, 130, (Mather), Patrick Jackson, 160, (Walther), Manny Vasquez, 138, (York), Andrew Cocozza, 145, (Leyden), Pedro Martinez, 145, (Roberto Clemente), Jerry Harris, 145, (Proviso West), Adam Kornafel, 152, (St. Patrick), Andrew Merolla, 152, (South Elgin), Cody Pooler, 152, (Downers Grove North), John Marino, 152, (York), Brent Madison, 160, (Deerfield), Torrance LaCour, 160, (Williamstown, NJ), Carlos Torres, 170, (Richards), Giovanni Behena, 182, (Morton), Chad Kirkhove, 195, (Sherrard), Matthew Parker, 195, (St. Joseph), Leonardo Bernal, 220, (Elmwood Park) and Marq Brumant, 285, (Oak Park-River Forest).
We will have a good nucleus of returning sophmores that have one year of college wrestling under their belt, they are Travis Fuller, 141, 2012 NJCAA National Qualifier, (Sandwich), Chepe Mariscal, 149, 2012 NJCAA National Qualifier, (Morton), Matt McNulty, 149, (Notre Dame), James Estrada, 149, (Gordon Tech), Don McGregor, 165 (Riverside-Brookfield), Michael Murray, 165 (Lane Tech), Rashad Matthews, 174 (Fenger), Scott Ammons, 197 (Northfield, Ind.) and Jason Dalessandro, 285, (Fenwick).
Michael DeLeon, 285, (Fenton) was injuried for the 2011-12 season and unable to compete, so the 2012-13 season will be his first.
Here is a summary of Triton’s past wrestling championships and accomplishments:
Midwest Region Championships: 1971, 1972, 1976, 1977, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1998
NJCAA National Champions: 1977, 1983, 1984, 1997* (*Non-Scholarship)
NJCAA National Runner-up: 1978 and 1985
NJCAA National Third Place Finishes: 1970, 1971, 1972, 1986, 1994*, 1995*and 2006*