Page, John look to translate success at Eden into contributing quickly in collegiate ranks
Tom Page and Ryan John were two of the more impact male athletes in Eden High School’s Class of 2012.Both hope that impact can be felt right away in the collegiate ranks.
On Wednesday (April 25), the high school celebrated Tom Page, who will wrestle and further his education at Division I American University in Washington D.C., and John, who is to play football and attend Division II Mercyhurst in Pennsylvania.
It only seems fitting that Page will continue his wrestling career into college. The Eden senior, who will go down as one of the finest Raiders’ wrestlers in the history of the program, plans to take his next step on the mat at American. In addition, he’ll follow in the footsteps of his coach and father, also a Tom, as a college wrestler.
While being coached by his father for most of a six-year varsity career, Page set an Eden record with 202 wins against only 33 losses and 94 victories by pin, in addition to becoming the first wrestler at the school to qualify for and place in four State Championships, each time after winning a Section VI Division II title.
This year, he won a single season record 52 matches, including a third consecutive third-place finish in state competition. In his first states, Page placed by taking fifth.
“I’ll take away from here what it takes to win and remember what I did to get there and then just bring that to the college level to keep working hard to get to the caliber that those guys are at,” said Page, who also considered Columbia and University at Buffalo.
Page said he felt very welcomed on the campus of American and among the college’s wrestling team. He noted that once he was offered both athletic and academic scholarships to the college it made the decision for him. “I felt like it would be a good place to spend the next four or five years,” Page noted.
His impact at American could be immediate. Page has been told he could start as a freshman if he can win wrestle-offs in the preseason. His father said Tom was one of three wrestlers invited to go to the university right after high school graduation to get a jump on the season and compete for a starting job.
Page is working to get his conditioning up for longer periods in college, along with improving his technique. An extra minute is tacked on in the first of three periods at the college level.
As much as Page may be a competitor, wrestling is only an avenue for what he hopes are bigger and better things. He plans to major in biochemistry and intends to go to medical school afterward to become a surgeon.
John has had his eye on playing football at Mercyhurst since completing his senior season with Eden this fall. A fierce defensive end and team captain, John will also go down as the kicker who nailed this year’s longest field goal in Western New York at 40 yards.
He had a few options at the Division III level and Temple was looking at him as a possible walk-on, but John believed Mercyhurst best suited his ideal school, being on the smaller side, and gave him an opportunity to play right away at a high enough level. He’s been told Mercyhurst has some holes to fill in its kicking game.
John has been attending kicking camps for years, traveling throughout New York and Pennsylvania and at one point to Texas to receive the best instruction and get himself a look from potential college suitors. He credited his father, Dale, for helping him follow his dream by being supportive and paying for all of these camps.
After bouncing around to several kicking coaches, John has landed with former University at Buffalo’s Adam Polanski, who has been very helpful to the soon-to-be Eden graduate over the past several weeks. John also works with local kicking instructor Sam Watts and weightlifting coach Ben Woods, who’s also a former kicker.
While John has come to enjoy kicking, he also sees it as an opportunity to play a bigger role on the Mercyhurst football team. If he bulks up, John said he may get an opportunity as a sophomore to start playing some defense, which is another one of his loves.
John credits his football coach, Chuck Tilley, with being a positive influence on him the past two seasons. “He’s taught me that winning wasn’t always the No. 1 thing; it was becoming a better man, and in the future, a better father and husband,” John noted.
“Ryan is a dedicated student-athlete who leads others by setting a strong example,” Tilley had said in a statement after the season.