Anthony Ausherman recently put an exclamation mark on his wrestling season.
The seventh grader at Waynesboro Area Middle School placed second at the Middle Atlantic Wrestling Association Eastern National Championships in Salisbury, Maryland.
The Eastern Nationals, which brings in talented grapplers from up and down the East Coast, is the final rung of a ladder that started at the district level.
Ausherman won his first three contests inside the Wicomico Civic Center before losing to Port Matilda, Pennsylvania 175-pounder Kyle Scott in the championship match, 7-2.
Ausherman didn’t give up a point until he wrestled Scott in the championship match. The 175-pounder shut out Takota Smith of Yorkshire, New York, 7-0 to advance to the quarterfinals.
There, Ausherman major decisioned Budd Lake, New Jersey wrestler Nicolas Gonzalez by the score of 9-0.
Then, in the semifinals and a berth in the title bout against Scott on the line, Ausherman toughed out a 3-0 decision against Eoghan Savage of Halifax, Pennsylvania.
Ausherman, who started wrestling at the age of five at the Frederick County Mat Club under founder Yank Strube – and has been a member of Tuscarora Youth Wrestling for the past five years – has been busy on the mat since the end of the Braves season in February. The son of Donnie and Janelle Ausherman was 27-2 at WAMS.
He recently competed in the Pennsylvania Junior Wrestling Junior High State Championships in Johnstown and punctuated a busy two months with his impressive work at the Eastern Nationals.
He also competed in the Keystone State Championships, and the Tournament of Champions in Ohio.
Ausherman’s path to Eastern Nationals began with a runner-up finish at the Waynesboro District Tournament on March 13. Ausherman fell to Fairfield’s Caleb Tyler in the title match.
But Ausherman had to bump up a weight class (220 pounds) because he was ever-so slightly over 175 pounds.
Ausherman again placed second in his next tournament, this one the Juniata District Tournament in early April.
It was Ausherman’s first of three matches against Scott.
“They are friends, that’s the messed-up part,” quipped Donnie Ausherman. “They met through wrestling and have been friends ever since. When (Scott) wrestled in youth wrestling, he wrestled for TYW as well.”
The second contest between Ausherman and Scott took place at the West Regional Tournament on April 15-16 at Penn State University.
Ausherman, whose family moved to Waynesboro from Maryland the year Anthony was born, decisioned Ian Wysocki of Hanover, 5-0, and then eked out a 1-0 win against Silas Wachter, also of Hanover.
Scott notched a fall against Ausherman in the finals.
“I had a little more confidence (at Eastern Nationals),” Ausherman said of his bout against Scott. “I took a shot and got two points off of that. That made the score 5-2, and he reversed and got two.”
A highlight for Ausherman at Salisbury was seeing Penn State national champion Aaron Brooks, whose father, John Brooks, was in Ausherman’s corner. Aaron, a graduate of North Hagerstown High School, was an honorary guest at Eastern Nationals and greeted wrestlers as they walked from the tunnel to the mat area.
“Anthony likes (John’s) style of coaching,” said Donnie. “He’s a real good coach in the corner.”
Another big supporter (and coach) for Ausherman has been Jeff Hickok.
“Jeff has helped Anthony get to where he is today,” said Donnie. “I always consider him a second dad. He’s devoted time and building character. If Jeff was going somewhere for wrestling, Anthony was with him.
“Jeff has a different coaching style. He gets in on a personal level, gives them that different edge. He’s not much of a talker, and when he’s with the kids, he really relates to them.’
While Anthony was wrestling, he was also competing for the middle school track and field team in the 100- and 200-meter dash events, the 400-relay team and long jump.
He has played youth football for a number of years and will participate in the spring BK Classic all-star game in Woodbridge, Virginia in mid-June.
In addition to sports, Anthony likes playing video games, riding his bike, playing pick-up basketball. His favorite subjects in school are science and social studies.