Thomas Payne of Poquoson became acclimated to college wrestling in 2012-13 with one of the nation's best programs: Bloomsburg (Pa.).
Payne, competing at 125 pounds, finished 4-9 with a pair of victories by pin. All of his action came in individual tournaments, and he did not take the mat in a dual match. But he got a matside seat for plenty of excitement.
The Huskies captured their first Eastern Wrestling League dual-meet championship and finished 17-3, then took third place in the EWL tournament. The Huskies, who earned victories over nationally ranked foes Maryland, Pittsburgh and Edinboro, finished 15th in the National Wrestling Coaches Association poll. They sent six wrestlers to the NCAA championships.
Bloomsburg will face some transition in 2013-14, though. John Stutzman, who was named the EWL Coach of the Year, left to become head coach at the University of Buffalo, where he had been an assistant. Danny Song was named interim head coach for Bloomsburg.
Payne won the state Group AA championship for Poquoson High at 103 pounds in 2010 and took third at 112 in 2011, when he was a junior and finished 43-7. Payne wasted little time becoming immersed in wrestling; he began attending the Virginia Duals when he was 4.
He has undergone three knee surgeries but has come back to wrestle every time, and he was on the Poquoson honor roll.
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