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 26 seasons McGinnis has produced 133 national qualifiers, 31 All-Americans, five two-time All-Americans, one National Champion and 127 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 2015-16 season are: Jimmy Gallardo, 113 (Notre Dame), Alexis Barrera, 149 (DePaul Academy), Tom Slattery, 160 (Carl Sandburg), John Pellegrino, 145 (Carl Sandburg), Justin Balkcon, 152 (Rich Central), Logan Mathey, 132 (Sycamore), Austin Shelton, 152 (Oakwood), Derek Horine, 160 (Fleming Island, FL.), Eric Dobbins, 152, (Indianapolis, IN), Valentino Ortiz, 132, (St. Laurence), Jair Torres, 132 (Kelvyn Park), Ean Eichert, 160 (Walther), Jaime Galo, 285 (Elmwood Park), Mario Pagonis. 220 (Maine East) Ohaji Joiner, 152 (Crete Monee) and Javier Orozco, 138, (Morton).
We will have a good nucleus of returning sophmores that have one year of college wrestling under their belt. They are; Shawn Swiderek, 149 (Walther Christian), Horacio Gomez-Soto, 125 (Fenton), Justice Parker, 133 (Bradley, WI), Mike Malles. 141, (Gurnee) Phillip Besser, 141 (South Elgin), Pedro Martinez, 149 (Clemente), Dan Emma, 133 (Sandwich), Gibson Arlasky, 157 (Taft), Matt Murphy, 174 (Andrew), Bobby Carson, 285 (Addison Trail) and Darvell Burgess, 285 (Hope Academy).
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*