Marcum caps Free State wrestling career with national title

photo by: Contributed photo

Free State High senior Matthew Marcum poses in front of the finalist's backdrop at the NHSCA wrestling meet in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Marcum won the 220-pound bracket to cap off his high school career with a national title.

A Class 6A state wrestling title just wasn’t enough for Free State senior Matthew Marcum.

Marcum (220 pounds) became the first wrestler from Lawrence to secure a national title this past weekend, besting three-time North Carolina state champion Caleb Beaty 6-2 in the championship round of the National High School Coaches Association wrestling tournament in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

History was first made when Marcum pushed through the semifinal round, battling for a 2-1 win over New Jersey’s Robert Canterino to make him the first Lawrence-area wrestler to ever qualify for the final round of the national tournament.

“I was shooting for semis and then when I got to semis, I was two matches out,” Marcum said. “I wrestled a little conservative in the (semifinal) and in my last one I just gave it my all and it paid off.”

The national title victory saw Marcum finish his senior season undefeated at 54-0, the first Firebird ever to do so, after finishing 6-0 in the final tournament of his high school career. Rounding out his senior year, Marcum is still evaluating his college decision but plans on studying business marketing.

A ways from home, Marcum said seeing the amount of talent from across the country come together to compete in one building stood out the most.

“There were 200-plus-man brackets at this place,” Marcum said. “Just all the people from each town and state are crazy. I probably had 30 different states in my bracket.”

Three Firebirds – Marcum, senior Eric Streeter (145 pounds), and sophomore Grayson Hagen (132 pounds) – made the trip to Virginia. Streeter, who won a state championship at 144 pounds last month, fell short in the round of 64. Hagen, who placed fifth at state, fell in the opening round but picked up three wins in the consolation rounds on Saturday.

photo by: Contributed photo

Flanked by Free State High teammates Eric Streeter, left, and Grayson Hagen, right, Matthew Marcum shows off his championship bracket at the NHSCA meet in Virginia Beach, Virginia, where the FSHS brought home a national championship.

Free State coach Randy Streeter did not make the trip to Virginia for the tournament, but that did nothing to temper his excitement over Marcum’s accomplishment.

“Marcum dominated his championship finals match on Sunday afternoon at the Virginia Beach Events Center,” Streeter posted on Free State’s athletics website on Sunday. “Get the firetrucks washed and waxed. LPD, run the big white taxis through the Club Carwash. Let’s get a parade set up for this young man who makes us all so proud both in the classroom and on the mat.”

Marcum is just one of three Lawrence area wrestlers, and the first from Free State, to receive All-American honors at the NHSCA tournament, joining former Sunflower Kids Wrestling products Reece Wright-Conklin and Alan Clothier.


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