Heslin wins 15U Greco-Roman national title, places on Pan Am squad – Connecticut Wrestling Online

Jackson Heslin of Marlborough, center, won a U15 national wrestling title in the United States in Greco-Roman last weekend in Wisconsin. Heslin stands with a USA Wrestling official and John Knapp, right, a Poway Elite trainer. (Photo courtesy of Sam Janicki / SJanickiPhoto.com)

Jackson Heslin, a 14-year-old wrestler from Marlborough, won the USA Wrestling 15-and-under National Championship at 52 kilograms (114 pounds) at the Woodside Dome in Wisconsin Dells, Wis., In Greco-Roman. He also finished fifth in the 15 and under acrobatic tournament.

Both victories helped Heslin secure a spot on the U.S. squad for the upcoming U15 Pan American Championships for United World Wrestling (UWW) October 21-24 in Mexico City, Mexico.

Heslin went undefeated in the Greco-Roman tournament with five straight wins. In the preliminary round of the tournament, he won three games including a pair of technical crashes. Heslin swept away Brock Weiss of Jersey Shore, Pa., Best of three finals with an 8-0, 10-0 victory.

In the 52 kg freestyle tournament, Heslin won his first three games before losing 10-0 in 2:37 to eventual tournament champion Benjamin Davino of St. Charles, Illinois, in the semifinals. . After a 2-0 consolation semifinal loss to Aaron Stewart of Waukegan, Ill., Heslin finished fifth with a 13-2 victory over Jake Knight of Bettendorf, Iowa.

Jackson Heslin of Marlborough puts a Brock Weiss on the back during the final of the U15 Greco-Roman National Tournament in Wisconsin. (Photo courtesy of Sam Janicki / SJanickiPhoto.com)

While Heslin lives in Marlborough, he trained and represented Poway Elite in Poway, California, about 20 miles northwest of San Diego.

John Meyers, who grew up in Connecticut and won three State Open Championships at Hall in West Hartford (1986-88), is Poway’s head coach.

“(Jackson) is a great wrestler,” Meyers said. “He’s a great competitor. But he has company in Poway to wrestle with other children.

Poway has kids as young as six who compete in freestyle, Greco-Roman and folk competitions in California and across the country.

The program has seen five wrestlers advance to places on Pan American American teams and two to gain places on world teams in recent years. Brock Bobzien of Poway High won a national title in the Cadet Greco-Roman 60kg division in Wisconsin and secured a spot on the U.S. squad that will compete in the Cadet World Championship tournament.

“We don’t want to stop at state championships or regional championships,” Meyers said. “The ultimate goal should be a world or Olympic championship. We instill this in our children from an early age. For me, this is what is expected of our children. We go there to win. We don’t go (to these tournaments) just to gain experience.

Heslin and Poway Elite will compete in two upcoming tournaments. They will compete at the Western Regional Championships May 13-15 in North Logan, Utah, and the National Under 16 Tournament in Westfield, Indiana, June 9-12. Heslin will be part of the California team at the National Duals.

Gerry deSimas, Jr., is the publisher and founder of Connecticut Wrestling Online. He is an award-winning writer and has covered sports in Connecticut and New England for over 35 years. He was inducted into the New England High School Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2018.

Robert J. King