COCOLAMUS - Sean Heggs had a rough ending to his high school career. But the eternernal optimist just changed directions, and is looking forward to wrestling in college.
Heggs on Friday signed his letter of intent to wrestle for Division II Mercyhurst University, a member of the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference. The Lakers are one of three PSAC teams who are not state system schools.
"They gave me a really good offer. You pretty much can't pass up on that deal," Heggs said.
Sentinel photo by JEFF?FISHBEIN
Sean Heggs, center, is flanked by mother Nikki Mamallis and stepfather Chad Feeser as he signs a letter of intent Friday. Joining the ceremony are, from left, East Juniata principal Ben Fausey, former Tiger wrestling coach Adam Dimm, Juniata coach Mike Robinson and assistant principal Kelly Campagna.
Heggs made Juniata County wrestling history when he became the first to qualify for the state tournament while rostered with each of the county's high schools. The East Juniata student made it through the District 4 qualification process as a junior, and landed on the fourth-place step on the medal platform at states.
A year later, after winning gold in District 6 and the Class AA Southwest regional, he suffered an early exit when an injury forced him to withdraw just before he clinched a medal spot.
Now, he wants to try for the top of the medal stand again.
"If you're going to play a sport somewhere, you want to try and be the best you can be," he said. "I've always wanted to go somewhere and wrestle where there's going to be tough competition. I didn't think I was going to be able to hang in there with those guys. But now that I've actually opened up and thought about how everything's laid out, it seems pretty good."
For Heggs, that means as much focus on the classroom as the mat room.
"You have to get your studies, pass your studies. Obviously you're going to go wrestle there because that's what you want to do but you have to look at what's going to happen after college," he said.
Adam Dimm, who was Hegg's coach prior to this year's cooperative merger of Juniata and East Juniata, was not at all surprised that his former charge was offered a scholarship.
"I'm very excited that things worked out the way they did," Dimm said. "To make it through high school and have things fall in place to have an opportunity to go to college and wrestle ... is a neat deal. He's definitely focused."
In a season or two, there will be no one left who wrestled in a Tiger singlet, but Juniata coach Mike Robinson was quick to point out there's still plenty of wrestling talent in the school. He said that adding Heggs and others to the Juniata lineup made both teams better.
"With this jointure this year it was definitely a big plus," he said. "It encouraged the kids and pushed the kids. Sean's one that set the bar high for the East Juniata program.
"When you have a young man come through the program like Sean, good things happen."