Four college wrestling greats – Sam Harry, Billy Stuart, Yoshi Nakamura and Jon Trenge – will be welcomed into the EIWA Hall of Fame as members of the Class of 2015, the Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association announced Monday.
The induction ceremony for the four wrestlers representing three mat programs — Penn State, University of Pennsylvania, and Lehigh University – who competed during divergent eras, as far back as 70 years ago, to as recently as a decade ago, will take place on Saturday, March 7, 2015 at Lehigh’s Stabler Arena, immediately preceding the finals of the 2015 EIWA conference championships. (Note: Penn State is no longer a part of the EIWA; the Nittany Lions now compete in the Big Ten.)
“There was an unprecedented list of outstanding EIWA wrestlers and coaches seriously considered for induction into our Hall of Fame this year,” said EIWA Hall of Fame Committee Chairman Jamie Moffatt. “The Committee respected the achievements of wrestlers across several generations by electing Sam Harry, a central-Pennsylvania wrestling stalwart from the 1930s and 40s; Billy Stuart, an EIWA and NCAA champion in the 1960s; Yoshi Nakamura, a three-time EIWA champion in the early 2000s; and, Jon Trenge, also a three-time EIWA champion in the 2000s. These individuals have earned the highest respect of their peers not only in the wrestling community but in their chosen careers. We welcome them into the Hall of Fame.”
Sam Harry, a 1946 Penn State grad, won the EIWA title at 128 pounds in 1942 and 1946, and was runner-up at 136 pounds in 1943. He competed at the NCAAs twice – in 1942 and 1946. In 1942, he lost in the semi-finals, but eventually finished in third place… with a similar outcome at the 1946 NCAAs. Prior to becoming a Nittany Lion, Harry made history by being the very first Pennsylvania state wrestling champion as a sophomore for Clearfield High School, winning the 85-pound title at the 1938 PIAA state championship at 85 pounds – the first weight class wrestled in Pennsylvania’s first high school state wrestling championship event. Harry passed away in 2011.
A 1966 graduate of Lehigh, William “Billy” Stuart was an EIWA champion and NCAA titlewinner in 1965. During that season, he compiled a perfect 21-0 record at 137 pounds. Stuart’s career record at Lehigh was 50-6-2 while placing 2-1-2 at the Easterns, and first and third, respectively, at the 1965 and 1966 NCAAs. Along with Mike Caruso and Joe Peritore, Stuart was part of the “Terrific Trio” of Lehigh wrestlers who placed NCAA top 3 in eight of nine attempts. In addition, Stuart wrestled freestyle for the New York Athletic Club while attending graduate school at Penn State in 1966-67.
Yoshi Nakamura, who graduated from Penn in 2002, was a three-time EIWA champion in 1999, 2001 and 2002, and a two-time NCAA All-American, finishing seventh in 2001 and third in 2002, both times at 157 pounds. While at PeIn 2002, Nakamura was voted Ivy League Wrestler of the Year. While at Penn, Nakamura placed third at the 2001 Freestyle World Team Trials. He later placed sixth at the 2004 US Olympic Trials mini-tournament and won a University Freestyle National championship. He portrays a Japanese wrestler in the new movie “Foxcatcher.”
A 2005 Lehigh grad, Jon Trenge compiled an impressive career on the mat, as a three-time EIWA champ, and three-time NCAA All-American, making it to the finals twice. Trenge ranks first in career wins, third in bonus-point victories, and fourth in falls in the storied history of the Mountain Hawk mat program, despite having suffered a torn retina which forced him to wear protective eye goggles. The saga of his senior year became the genesis for the documentary “Veritas: The Story of Jon Trenge.” Trenge is now an instructor and assistant wrestling coach at his high school alma mater, Parkland, in Pennsylvania, as well as assistant coach at the Lehigh Valley Athletic Club.