By Jim & Tony Nordland

     Henry Cejudo who at the age of 21 became the youngest American wrestler to ever win a gold medal and made wrestling history on August 19th in Beijing, China, when he captured the 121-pound weight class. Cejudo has an interesting background, and has overcome many adversities in his young life, he  was born on February 9, 1987 in Los Angeles, and when he was four, his mom, Nelly moved the family of seven kids to New Mexico and two years later to Phoenix, Arizona. Henry began wrestling in junior high school and went on to become a four-time state champion, claiming two titles in Arizona and two in Colorado and compiled an impressive 126-2 overall record. In his senior year he competed in the Dapper Dan Classic and represented the US team at 125 pounds and defeated his PA opponent, 6-4, en route to an US All-Star team win. Later that year, he captured the U.S. Nationals and bypassed college, and instead began his training at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. Cejudo replied an the recent interview, "It was at the OTC where I got to sleep in my own bed for the first time in my life." It was here when he began his intense workouts with Iowa coach Terry Brands and developed into one of the premier lightweights in both the nation and the world. Other coaches that aided Cejudo's development were Dave Bennett and U.S. freestyle coach Kevin Jackson, who recently commented, "Henry is going to win a lot of world and Olympic titles for us and himself, he is the future of USA Wrestling." In the Olympic competition Cejudo trailed his first three opponents and rallied to gain victories in each, thus setting up the the gold medal match against Tomihiro Matsunaga of Japan. It that match, Cejudo scored with a leg shot and two-point exposure in the opening stanza and in the second period executed a high-crotch and tossed Matsunaga to his back for three points and won, 3-0. Upon returning to the United States, Cejudo has become one of the most popular Olympic athletes and has appeared on the Today show (NBC), the Early Show (CBS), ABC World News and the Tonight Show with host Jay Leno. In that interview, Leno said, "You must have been a tough kid kid growing up and I bet nobody ever took your lunch money", Cejudo replied, "I never had any lunch money." Cejudo, now 22, has taken some time off from his training and is planning to compete at the summer Olympics in 2012 in London, England. He is currently involved with promoting
Team Cejudo apparel with customized T-shirts and wrestling sneakers, due out on July 4th. For further information contact teamcejudo.com .
     Special thanks t
o Friends of Massapequa Wrestling Inc., especially Steve Strumwasser & Vito Mundo, who coordinated this recent interview/clinic at Massapequa HS and Bill Miller of Lighthouse Wrestling who professionally edited this masterful production. In closing, everyone can now see why why coach Jackson feels Cejudo is the future of wrestling, he is a great competitor, affable and has a true passion for the sport and people.

Four New York prepped wrestlers were named to the Amateur Wrestling News All-Rookie Team. They were Hostra teammates; Steve Bonanno (29-15), 6th at 125 and PJ Gillespie (21-15), 4th at 149, Desi Green (40-9) of Buffalo, 2nd at 149, and national high school pins leader Hunter Meys (29-12) of Boston ,at 174 pounds. Alex Ekstrom (226-19) a four-time state champion from Palmyra Macedon HS was named as the Northeast Regional winner for the prestigious Dave Schultz High School Excellence Award. Forty-nine seniors were chosen for the honor. Ekstrom who earned a 3.38 GPA will compete at Oklahoma University next year and projects at 133 pounds.
2008 USA Olympic Gold Medalist, Henry Cejudo, speaks to wrestlers from all over Long Island at the Massapequa Clinic.