Working hard in the summer lifts St. Paul's wrestler

Kurt McHenry qualifying United World Wrestling Freestyle Cadet Nationals World Championships

St. Paul’s School wrestler Kurt McHenry trains like a professional athlete.

The rising sophomore devotes vast amounts of time to practicing, running and lifting weights.

“I am training as much as I can and putting all my efforts into it,” McHenry said. “I am willing to make the sacrifices.”

All the hard work and sweat is paying off.

He earned a spot on the USA Cadet Wrestling National Team after qualifying for the United World Wrestling Freestyle Cadet Nationals World Championships in September in Tbilisi, Georgia, is Russia.

McHenry accomplished that after winning the 92.5-pound division in the ASICS UWW Freestyle Cadet Nationals in Akron, Ohio in early June.

The 16-year-old McHenry, who has been wrestling in national tournaments for four years, went 5-1 in the Freestyle Cadet Nationals and easily topped Missouri’s Jeremia Reno, 12-0 and 10-0, in the best-of-three championship.

“It’s such a big deal to make this team,” McHenry said of the U.S. Cadet Wrestling National Team. “There are only like eight kids on this team from the United States. Last year, I attempted to do it, but I had to have surgery on my shoulder.”

McHenry’s training seems to be nonstop in that he plans to attend the USA Cadet National Team Development Camp in Ohio from July 3-9.

“In past summers I would say I didn’t wrestle this much,” McHenry said. “Usually, right after the school year, I will take a break. This summer, I went right into wrestling and I haven’t taken a break. That puts me at a whole another level,” he added. “I know what I am doing is what it takes to be the best.”

His most ambitious workouts will take place at the USA Olympic Training Center in Colorado in August for a week, and he is also looking forward to going there for a week in mid-July.

“It will be really cool going to a place where all the best athletes in the United States go to train,” McHenry said. “It makes me feel like I want to be one of the best athletes in the United States and possibly win an Olympic title in the future.”

McHenry, a Leesburg, Va. resident who boards with a family in Reisterstown during the school year.

In addition to having a stellar first season on the mat at St. Paul’s, he also served as freshman class president and carried a 3.4 PGA.

McHenry, whose father Kurt wrestled at George Mason and Boston universities, posted a 46-4 record at 103 pounds, winning the Maryland Independent Schools State tournament title and the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association championship.

He also placed second in the Beast of the East and third at National Preps in Pennsylvania.

“To make the national team going to the World Championships can be overwhelming to a young kid,” St. Paul’s wrestling coach Rob Eiter said. “But you have to be pretty dedicated and focused to do this like Kurt. You would never know that he is as young as he is. He is very mature.”

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