CHS’ Chris DeBien tops in nation

Senior wrestler takes NHSCA champion title

SARALYN NORKUS Banner Sports Writer
Posted 3/30/15

Cleveland High senior Chris DeBien further solidified his claim on the title of the most prolific wrestler in the area, over spring break.

Having already become a four-time Tennessee state …

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CHS’ Chris DeBien tops in nation

Senior wrestler takes NHSCA champion title

Posted

Cleveland High senior Chris DeBien further solidified his claim on the title of the most prolific wrestler in the area, over spring break.

Having already become a four-time Tennessee state champion only a month ago, DeBien traveled to Virginia Beach, Va., to compete in the National High School Coaches Association High School Nationals.

Five matches later, DeBien came away with a 3-1 victory over New York’s two-time state champ and No. 13 in the nation Ben Lamantia, to claim the title of NHSCA Senior National Champion.

“This is my first national title — I’ve gotten second twice and I remembered how that felt and didn’t want to feel that way again,” DeBien declared.

“I’m glad I won, but tomorrow is a new day and I’ll get right back to training. The feeling is good at the moment, but gloating is not wise if I’m looking at the long run towards other titles. Wrestling is a grind, and you can’t afford to lose any ground, especially at the national level.”

Wrestling in the 126-pound weight class, DeBien got his first win in the competition over Missouri’s Jason Carson due to a pin fall with 49 seconds left.

DeBien’s next opponent, Erik Pruszinkski of New Jersey, forfeited, which advanced the UTC-bound wrestler to the quarterfinals, where he defeated four-time Montana state champ Gresh Jones 7-2.

According to DeBien, his greatest challenge of the tournament came in the semifinals against Oklahoma’s Markus Simmons, who just so happened to be the 11th ranked wrestler in the nation.

“Our match went into triple overtime and the final score was 5-4. I got an escape in the last period after riding him out the period before,” he explained.

Following his tough and impressive semifinals win, DeBien had Saturday to prepare for his title match with Lamantia.

“You can’t underestimate any wrestler — you have to be prepared and have the same mindset for every match, as well as believe and have faith in yourself and the preparation you put in,” the senior stated.

“Luckily, I’m wired to like that, and want the matches that everyone wants to watch. Being the unknown and underdog wrestler just feeds that fire. Everyone thinks I’m just some kid that’s from Tennessee, which is a state not very rich in wrestling. I’m gaining respect from everyone, and am looking to be the best wrestler in the country.”

The first period between DeBien and Lamantia ended 0-0. In the second period, DeBien got an escape to take a 1-0 lead. The Cleveland wrestler picked up his final two points thanks to a takedown near the end of the period. The only point given to Lamantia came in the third period from an escape.

“It’s a great feeling. I work hard for what I do and my coaches, teammates, friends and family are a tremendous part of my success,” DeBien stated. “I want to thank Josh Bosken, Jake Yost, Joey Knox and Eric Phillips as well as all of my teammates, friends and family for all their support and help.”

DeBien also acknowledged that he wrestles for the “Audience of one,” the one being the ‘Man upstairs.’

Having added a national title to his resume, DeBien is now ready to turn his sights on the freestyle and Greco national championships in Fargo, North Dakota, where he has previously finished in second place.

“My next goal is to win that tournament and become a Triple Crown champion, winning nationals in every style,” he declared. “After that, I will start to prepare for the start of my collegiate career at UTC with Coach Eslinger and Coach Bedard. I have dreams of being UTC’s first NCAA Division I national champion.”

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