Penn Hills Perkins ready to wrestle at next level

Thursday, May 2, 2019 | 4:22 PM

Wrestling has been part of Justin Perkins’ life since he was a toddler. He dreamed about being a national champion at the collegiate level.

Perkins will look to accomplish that dream at Notre Dame College (Ohio) in the fall. He signed a letter of intent April 24.

He also was mulling opportunities to wrestle at Waynesburg, Seton Hill, Kent State and Ohio University.

“I believe they are going to train me and give me everything I needed that I didn’t have in high school. It seemed like they needed me,” Perkins said.

“I want to go somewhere that actually needed me and not wanted me. I didn’t want to feel like just another person.”

Notre Dame College, a NCAA Division II program, finished fourth at the NCAA Tournament and featured a champion in the 141-pound weight class.

Perkins, who loves the smaller class sizes, wanted to make sure he went to a winning program that took wrestling seriously.

“It has smaller classrooms, they have a winning team and they are more of a wrestling team than anywhere else I experienced. They seem to be more into wrestling,” Perkins said.

“They promised me I could be a national champ if I go through with the process and give it my all. I’m trying to be a national champ and nothing less.”

During his senior year, Perkins finished fifth in the 132-pound weight class at the Section 1-3A tournament after defeating Hempfield’s Jared Brean, 2-1.

Perkins didn’t place in the WPIAL tournament.

Earlier in the season, Perkins finished fourth at the Allegheny County tournament after losing the third-place bout to North Allegheny’s Max Stedeford, 3-2. Perkins captured the 132-pound title at the Steve DeAugustino Holiday Classic at West Mifflin on Dec. 27-28 after beating West Mifflin’s Tony Salopek by a 16-1 technical fall.

“My main goal was to move on to the next level. Coach Packer coached me for six years. I’m going to try to get a title in college so they can have something to look back on with me being one of their wrestlers,” Perkins said.

During his junior year, Perkins lost both of his matches in the 126-pound weight class at the WPIAL Class 3A tournament after finishing third at the section tournament.

Perkins, who visited Notre Dame College about two weeks prior signing, finished fourth at the section tournament in his sophomore year.

His recruitment process didn’t start until January when Seton Hill reached out to him. Perkins was contacted by Notre Dame College shortly after.

Perkins leaned on his parents for words of encouragement when the recruitment process got off to a slow start. Perkins, who will wrestle at 125 pounds at the next level, will look to use this as fuel for him to end up on top of podium as a national champion.

“They told me to trust the process and my recruiting time will come. People will look into me,” Perkins said.

“I knew that whoever was going to end up with me was going to end up with someone good in their hands because I’m probably one of the most slept on wrestlers.”


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