Whitford Bolsters Strong Group of Michigan Commits

By Steve Widzinski
MI Grappler High School Analyst

12/13 – The future of the University of Michigan wrestling program seems to be looking brighter by day.  Last week the Wolverines landed yet another high profile recruit when St. Johns junior Ben Whitford announced his intentions to wrestle at U of M following his prep career.  Whitford, who is only a junior, is ranked as the #2 wrestler at any weight class in the class of 2013 by Intermat.

Titles at Fargo, Super 32 and the Cheesehead Invitational are among the many accolades Whitford has earned in his illustrious high school career, which is still far from over.  While many wrestlers would be satisfied after achieving as much as Whitford has, his ambition appears to be stronger than ever.

“I want to be the best wrestler in history,” said Whitford.  “I want to be that kid that’s remembered or talked about whenever people bring up wrestling. I really have a passion for the sport and I want to get to higher levels where no one has ever gone. I want to be the best ever.”

With his commitment to Michigan, Whitford
believes he will be in the best possible position
to his fuel his ambition and continue his pursuit
of greatness.  Following the restructuring of the
Wolverine’s coaching staff this summer, few
programs can offer a better situation for a wrestle
with aspirations to compete internationally.

“I really want to expand my goals and be on some
world teams and win some world and Olympic
medals,” explained Whitford.  “And Michigan has
the coaching staff and workout partners who will
help me get to those goals.”

Familiarity was another key factor in Whitford’s
decision to commit early.  Over the past two years,
when Whitford attended school and competed at
Marmion Academy in Illinois, he grew familiar
with Wolverine coach Sean Bormet while training
at Bormet’s widely praised Overtime School
of Wrestling.

“Knowing I have a coach Sean Bormet there and that he understands my style and has trained me for the last 2 years is really big” told Whitford.  Joined by head coach Joe McFarland and assistant Donny Pritzlaff, Bormet completes a highly respected coaching staff that made a big contribution towards Whitford’s choice.

“The coaching staff was probably the biggest thing for me, having three outstanding coaches on one team is really big,” Said Whitford.  “And the kids they are bringing in is huge too, I will have great teammates to workout with plus all of the national guys training at U of M.”

One teammate in particular had a key impact on Whitford’s commitment to the Wolverines.  Taylor Massa, a current high school teammate of Whitford’s, made headlines this fall when he announced that his college career would be spent wrestling in Ann Arbor for Michigan.

“Massa committing was probably one of the biggest keys that helped me to decide if Michigan was for me,” Whitford explained.  “We have many of the same goals and the same desire to be the best in the country and keep on going beyond everyone else.”

While their future at U of M looks very bright, Massa and Whitford’s current focus in on the season at hand.  The tandem represents two key components of the St. Johns’ lineup, a team with the talent to compete with any other in the nation.  The Red Wings are currently ranked third nationally by Intermat, and enter the season with their eyes on a national title.

“My expectations for St. Johns are very high, we talk about it all the time,” Whitford said.  “We would be the only national champions in Michigan history.  I want to be one of the greatest teams in not only Michigan history but also in the country.  To be the best of the best would be great.”

It is an exciting time for Whitford, who will be able to direct his focus solely towards improving himself and his teammates now that his college commitment is out of the way.  Regardless of how this season plays out, one thing is certain: Whether he is wrestling for St. Johns, the University of Michigan or the United States of America ,there is a great deal of success on the horizon for Ben Whitford.

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