ODU Athletics

ODU Adds Eight for 2018 Class, Four from Power State-Illinois

November 09, 2017
By ODU Athletics

NORFOLK, Va. – Old Dominion University Head Wrestling Coach Steve Martin announced the addition of eight wrestlers on Thursday.

“This class satisfied several needs at multiple weigh classes from 125 lbs. to 285 lbs. What we like about this class is that they are all hard workers and hard work is the path to NCAA Titles. They are also great role models and students off the mat,” ODU Head Coach Steve Martin said. “Half of this class is from the state of Illinois and that is a major goal for our program. Daryl Thomas and Mike Dixon did an outstanding job securing kids that are the right fit for our program and they are to be commended!”

Tyler Delaware - Washington, Ill. - Washington HS - 125/133
Tyler Delaware is an Illinois State Champion and a two-time state finalist. He won the 2016 Greco-Roman Illinois State Championship. Delaware is a 2016 Cadet Freestyle National Team Champion and member of the 2016 Cadet Greco National Dual Team third finish.

Daryl Thomas on Delaware – “Tyler is a hard nosed kid that comes from one of the best high school programs in the state of Illinois. He fits the mold of being great on and off the mat as he is an exceptional student. He will study computer science.”

Savion Haywood - Bloomington, Ill. - Bloomington - 133/141
Savion Haywood won the 2017 Illinois Greco Roman State Championship and is a three-time Illinois state placer, finishing as high as fourth place. He won the 2017 Conflict at Carver Championship and was an All-American with a third place finish at the 2017 preseason national tournament. He was also a Cadet National Greco All-American in 2015 with a sixth place finish. He ranked as high as No. 19 on Flowrestling.com at 132 pounds.

Daryl Thomas on Haywood – “Savion is a very mature kid who loves to compete year round. He is an exceptional athlete that will transition well at the next level. Like Tyler Delaware, he is also exceptional in the classroom. He will be studying engineering.”

Cole Smith - Channahon, Ill. - Providence Catholic - 157/165
A two-time Illinois State place-winner, Cole Smith was a state finalist last year as a junior. He was ranked as high as No. 12 in the country at 152 pounds by Flowrestling.com.

Daryl Thomas on Smith – “Cole Smith comes from a storied high school program in Illinois, Providence Catholic. He wrestles extremely hard and is always looking to score points. He’s also pretty polished in the top position, which we love. He is undecided on what he will study.”

Juwan Robinson - Allen, Texas - Allen - 165 
Juwan Robinson is a three-time Texas State finalist and two-time Texas state champion (2015,17). Robinson ranked as high as No. 87 nationally by Flowrestling.com in their top-100 rankings for all wrestlers. He won the 2017 Texas State Freestyle Championship at 160 pounds and is a three-time high school All-American. In 2016, he was named the John Hancock Memorial Most Outstanding Wrestler. He is also a running back on the Allen football team.

Daryl Thomas on Robinson – “Juwan is another exceptional athlete that also played running back for the No. 8 ranked football program in the country. He comes from a great family and we feel he is a diamond in the rough. He has a huge upside since he has been splitting time between football track and wrestling. He really only wrestled 5-6 months out of the year since he plays on one of the best football teams in the country. Once he’s focused on wrestling full time he will make big jumps.  He is another guy in this group that excels in the top position. He is interested in studying IT or computer science.”

Christos Avergos – Henrico, Va. – Henrico – 165
Christos Avergos is a two-time Virginia State finalist, as well as a 2017 VAWA Freestyle and Greco Virginia State finalist. He is a two-time Virginia National team member.

Mike Dixon on Avergos – “Coached by former ODU alum Mark Strickland and wrestled for Team Predator. We try to get as many team predator guys as we can each year. He is a hard-nosed kid that will come in and compete with our current guys in the weight class. He will major in business.”

Kellen Ekern - Mexico, Mo. - Mexico HS - 174 
Kellen Ekern is a two-time Missouri State Champion and holds a 94-5 record. As a sophomore, he earned NHSCA All-America honors.

Daryl Thomas on Ekern – “Kellen is a hardworking kid from a tough high school program. He enjoys competing and has competed nationally at a high level. He’s a phenomenal student as well carrying over a 4.0 GPA. He will study physical therapy.” 

Matthew Hennessey - Plainfield, Ill. - Plainfield North - 197/285
Matthew Hennessey placed sixth in the Illinois State Tournament as a junior. He was a 2015 preseason national champion. Hennessey is No. 17 nationally at 195 pounds by Wrestling USA.

Daryl Thomas on Hennessey – “Matt is the fourth of our group from Illinois. He is a big athletic kid that’s extremely physical. He also is skilled for a big guy in the top position. We like his upside a lot. He will study business here.”

River Henry – Chattanooga, Tenn. - McCaullie School - 285  
A Tennessee State Champion as a junior, River Henry is a three-time Tennessee state place winner and a two-time Southern Prep Slam Champion. He is a two-time All-American, a Prep National Finalist and freestyle state champion.

Mike Dixon on Henry – “River can move very well for a big guy. He also is very tough in the top position. He’s proven himself at the national level by placing at National Prep Championships multiple times. River is interested in studying mechanical engineering here.”

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