Collin Gaj wins national championship

The 132-pound freshman captured the National High School Coaches Association wrestling title a year after taking the Junior High School title.
Posted on 03/28/2022
Quakertown Community High School wrestler Collin Gaj became a national champion for the second consecutive year, winning the National High School Coaches Association freshman 132-pound title.By Gary Weckselblatt

Quakertown Community High School wrestler Collin Gaj became a national champion for the second consecutive year, winning the National High School Coaches Association freshman 132-pound title. A year ago, as a student at Strayer Middle School, Collin captured the coaches' Junior High School championship. He is the first Panther to win a national title.

“That’s a prestigious event,” Coach Kurt Handel said. “It takes a special athlete to win. That’s quite impressive.”

Collin, who finished fourth in the Pennsylvania state championship in Hershey earlier this month, said he “goes out to win every time I’m out there. It’s pretty cool to finish first. They’ve been getting me ready for this since I was 10. Quakertown coaches teach us how to win.”

Quakertown had several wrestlers compete in the national event at the Virginia Beach Sports Center. Calvin Lachman finished third at 182 pounds, and Mason Ziegler, who was injured during the tournament, finished eighth at 120 pounds. Assistant coach Dan Ziegler made the trip with the wrestlers, who included Issac Williams, Tyler Scheibenhofer, Evan Hilton, Gavin Carroll, Max Hibsman, and Zach Borzio.

To have three wrestlers place is amazing for any program,” Coach Handel said. “This has been a heck of a year. I’m still in awe of how well these guys did. Man, what an amazing run.” The Panthers won the District One Southeast Regional championship, took their sixth consecutive Suburban One League Liberty Division championship, and Coach Handel earned District One Coach of the Year honors and his 300th dual meet victory.

Gary Weckselblatt, QCSD Director of Communications, writes about the people and the programs that impact the Quakertown Community School District. He can be reached at 215-529-2028 or [email protected]
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