All of Lynbrook should tip its cap to eighth-grader Matthew Renz, an eighth-grader who earned All–American honors by placing fifth in the national middle school wrestling championship, the 25th Annual NHSCA Championships, held in Virginia Beach from March 27-30. The top two wrestlers in each state were invited.
Renz qualified for the tournament by placing first in Nassau County and ranking second in New York State in his weight class, 230 pounds. He was undefeated in nine matches during his season, then went on to win the Coral Tournament in Smithtown.
In Virginia Beach, Renz wrestled in five matches in one day, March 30, with 20-minute breaks in between matches. He lost the first one, 4-3 to the No. 1 wrestler from Alabama, but wasn’t deterred. He got into a groove after that and won his next three matches. He lost to the eventual third-place wrestler in triple overtime.
He father, Lynbrook JV wrestling coach Rich Renz, said neither he nor his son would trade the experience for anything.
“It was an unbelievable experience,” he said. “The environment was awesome and we were ecstatic about how Matt wrestled. I’m very proud of my son.”
Renz said there were competitors from Alabama, Pennsylvania, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Utah and Virginia at the tournament.
Renz said the experience was made even more enjoyable by the presence of another Lynbrook kid, Joe Becker, and his father Hilary. Becker wrestled in the 95-pound weight class and went 2-2. Hilary is the President of the Lynbrook Titans Youth Wrestling team, where Matthew Renz got his first taste of wrestling. The young Renz loved wrestling from the start, but does not necessarily love wrestling most.
“He’s a three-sport athlete,” said Rich Renz. “He plays football and lacrosse, too. His favorite sport is whichever on he is playing at the time.”