Nov. 19 – SIDMAN – Forest Hills senior Dustin Flinn only applied to one school during his recruitment process.
After he was accepted into Coker University, a visit to the campus in Hartsville, South Carolina sealed the deal. On Friday afternoon, Flinn signed his National Letter of Intent to take physical education classes and wrestle at Coker.
“Just the team, the place it’s at,” Flinn explained of his decision to join the NCAA Division II program, which competes in the South Atlantic Conference.
“It’s a small school with a couple of daddy boys down there.
“The coach, everything about it, it’s just beautiful.”
Coker went 4-7 in 2021-22. The Cobras are led by first-year coach Rob Parland, who is third at Coker with 51 wins on the mat.
Ferndale Area High School graduate Noah Korenoski is on the wrestling roster after two seasons at Garrett College in Maryland.
“The school is just a great fit for me,” Flinn said. “They mixed Pa. Wrestling with South Carolina.”
Flinn goes into his senior season with a 68-43 record that includes 24 falls. His record is deceiving as many opposing teams pit their best wrestler against Flinn to avoid a matchup against current North Carolina State freshman Jackson Arrington, a three-time PIAA champion.
The 152-pound Flinn has won 20 or more games in all three of his seasons. Flinn, a two-time District 6 runner-up, has been a starter on the last three District 6 Class 2A dual-meeting championship teams.
Flinn will likely wrestle at 149 or 157 at Coker.
He has big plans for his senior season.
“My goal is to make it to states and places,” Flinn said. “Win another district title for the team and try to win four in a row.”
On Friday, Flinn accomplished a goal he set for himself when he started the sport.
“It’s been a dream since I was little to wrestle in college,” Flinn said.
Flinn’s work ethic has had an impact on his Forest Hills teammates. He has become a reliable grappler for Rangers throughout his career.
“Dustin has been working hard this offseason like he always has and is working even harder during the season,” said Jake Strayer, Forest Hills wrestling coach. “His hard work has paid off as he will continue to take his academic and wrestling career to the next level, which has always been his goal.
“The team, all the coaches and I are proud of him.”
Flinn is the son of Robert and Paula Flinn.
Jake Oswalt is a contributing editor at The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter @TheWizOfOz11.