He’s going to a place that no Logan High School wrestler has ever gone.
The national tournament.
Cotterall, a LHS senior wrestler, who won the 285-pound class in the recent state wrestling tourney in Huntington, is scheduled to take part in the national high school wrestling tournament beginning on Thursday at Virginia Beach, Va.
Cotterall was honored on Tuesday morning at a pep rally at Logan High School’s Willie Akers Arena. Also honored were the Class AAA state champion Logan basketball team, the 2009 Class AAA state champion Logan High School cheerleaders and the LHS Pep Club, which was given the State Spirit Award at last week’s state basketball tournament at the Charleston Civic Center.
Cotterall, also a standout football player at LHS, joins an elite group of the nation’s best prep wrestlers. More than 2,500 wrestlers from 47 states, including 14 four-time state champions and 53 three-time state champions, are scheduled to take part in the event which runs until Saturday.
Cotterall is set to leave for Virginia Beach on Wednesday afternoon.
“It’s very exciting,” Cotterall said when asked about having the chance to compete in the nationals. “Every time I step out onto the mat my adrenaline rushes through the roof.”
Cotterall comes into the nationals with a 31-3 record. He pinned Wheeling Park’s Zack Kimmins in 3:28 at the Big Sandy Superstore Arena to claim the Class AAA state championship. Cotterall became only the third wrestler in LHS history to win a state title with the others being Cornelius Godfry and Andrew Jackson.
“It was an amazing feeling to pin the guy,” Cotterall said. “It was great. When I went in the odds were really against me. I went into the state tournament ranked eighth but I really showed up to wrestle and (Logan) Coach (Josh) Fry really picked up my conditioning. We conditioned anywhere from two and a half hours to three hours every day pretty much non-stop. He wrestled with me along with my other wrestling partners. They came in fresh and wrestled with me and pretty much tore me down to nothing.”
Cotterall had earlier pinned Michael Berardi of John Marshall High School in the Class AAA quarterfinals in 3:37 to advance to the championship match.
Cotterall said when he arrives at Virginia Beach on Wednesday he will be practicing for Thursday’s big event.
“Tomorrow, we’re going to be conditioning with different coaches and college coaches who are going to show us some new moves,” he said. “They’re going to help us get in condition for the tournament which starts on Thursday.”
Cotterall said he expects the competition at the nationals will be brutal.
“There will be people coming from California and Iowa. There’s a guy from Iowa that’s supposed to be pretty nasty,” he said. “There’s a chance that I could win or could lose. I will just go into each match hoping for the best.”
Fry said the talent level will be extremely high at the nationals.
“It’s the best of the best across the country,” he said. “Every college coach in the country will be there recruiting. There’s kids that will be there who are four-time state champions. Any guy who is ranked nationally will be there. There will be kids from Iowa where wrestling is big, along with Pennsylvania and Ohio. High school wrestling is also huge in Oklahoma and California. There’s 13 tournaments just to make it to state championships in California because of the size of the state.”
Cotterall said the national tourney is not double-elimination like it is in the West Virginia state tournament.
“You have to win your first match. If you lose your first match, you are out,” he said.
Fry said Cotterall wrestled well all season.
“Mike is on a roll,” he said. “He has won 13 consecutive matches by pin, which is pretty impressive. In the finals, there were only two matches won by pin and Mike’s match was one of them. He wrestled all of his matches with none of them making it to the third period. Every one was by pinfall within the first two periods. That’s pretty impressive.”
Cotterall is a 3.80 GPA student and said he would like to land a wrestling scholarship.
He said Division I schools such have Navy, WVU, Penn State, USC and California have shown interest.
Going to the national tourney is not cheap, so Cotterall said he’s been doing a bit of fundraising the last few weeks to pay for his expenses.
“I sold candy for two or three weeks to pay for the gas money and the other expenses,” he said.
Cotterall seemed humbled by Tuesday’s pep rally.
He was introduced by P.A. man Justin Turner and walked out onto the floor into the spotlight to a thunderous applause from the crowd, which was made up mostly of the LHS student body.
“I’m just glad that Logan is being successful in all sports,” Cotterall said.