The Bones Wrestling Club will be well represented at the USA Wrestling National Championships, which will take place July 13-21 at the Fargodome on the campus of North Dakota State University.
"We had six kids qualify for nationals," said club director Steve Ansani, who also is the varsity coach at Valley High School. "Our previous high was in 2004. We had five that year.
"It's great to have so many kids going to Fargo. Having three wrestlers from Valley in the mix makes it even more enjoyable."
Ansani started the club in 1995 to introduce area wrestlers to freestyle and Greco-Roman competition.
"The kids couldn't think of a club name that first year, so they went with my high school nickname -- Bones," Ansani said. "We have workouts twice a week, starting right after the PIAA championships."
Three of the six qualifiers are from Valley -- Terrell Fields, Marcus Davenport and Patrick Dewitt.
"All three are underclassmen," Ansani said. "They will begin their junior year in September."
Fields is the only Fargo veteran in the group.
"Last year, I was one of the younger kids competing in the Cadet Division," Fields said. "I came within one match of placing [at 160 pounds]. My goal this year is to make it to the finals. I've been there before, so I know what to expect."
Fields qualified for Cadet Nationals at two different tournaments.
"I went to the Northeast Regional at Bloomsburg University and won my weight class in freestyle and placed third in Greco-Roman," Fields said. "I also went to the [Pennsylvania Amateur Wrestling Federation] state tournament and won my weight class [title] in both styles."
Fields competed in the 182-pound weight class at both qualifiers, but may be able to move down to 170 for the trip to Fargo.
"I wrestled at 170 at the Junior National Duals," said Fields, referring to a tournament in Daytona, Fla., June 12-16.
Fields had a 5-1 record in Greco-Roman and went undefeated with a 5-0 mark in freestyle.
"Our freestyle team won the national title and I was named an All-American for having a 5-0 record," Fields said. "I even had a big win in the championship match against Illinois.
"It was a lot of fun, especially since I got to spend some time on the beach."
Davenport, who is Fields brother, qualified for Cadet Nationals at 170 pounds. Dewitt is also competing in the Cadet Division at 120 pounds.
"It's great to have a couple teammates joining me," Fields said. "Coach Ansani will also be there. He's coaching the Pennsylvania Cadet freestyle team. It's nice to know he will be in my corner."
The other three members of the Bones Wrestling Club heading to Fargo are Plum's John Marrotto, Shady Side Academy's Nolan Wise and Kiski Prep's Zach Kelly. Marrotto is a recent graduate. Wise and Kelly will be juniors in September.
Marrotto and Wise are competing in the Junior National Tournament, while Kelly is entered in the Cadet National Tournament. All three may be competing at 145 pounds.
"My final season at Plum ended in disappointment," said Marrotto, referring to his fourth-place finish in Section 1-AAA and seventh-place finish in the WPIAL tournament. "I fell a couple wins short of qualifying last year. Going to Fargo gives me a chance to finish my high school career on a positive note."
Marrotto has talked with two former Plum teammates, D.J. Martin and Anthony DiLonardo, about his maiden voyage to Fargo.
"Both have been there before," Marrotto said.
"They told me it's a great time and that I shouldn't pass up this opportunity."
Marrotto will wrestle at Gannon University in the fall.
"It looks as if I will be redshirting this coming season," Marrotto said. "I like that idea. It will give me time to get adjusted to college and my academic schedule."