Borst wins the 195-pound national title at Super 32

John Borst

A different mindset began forming for Sherando High School senior John Borst after he competed in the USA Wrestling Junior Freestyle Nationals in Fargo, North Dakota, back in July.

Borst was the runner-up at 195 pounds at the prestigious tournament in Fargo, fostering an idea that he no longer had anyone to fear on the wrestling mat. Borst, a two-time Virginia High School League state champion at Sherando, began convincing himself that he is a top-five national talent among other high school wrestlers in his weight class.

The Sherando senior put that new mentality to the test over the weekend at the Super 32 Challenge in Greensboro, North Carolina, and to spectacular results. He won the 195-pound national title on Sunday with a 4-3 victory over Pennsylvania’s Gavin Hoffman.

“I was kind of fed up with myself, of giving myself the lame excuse of, ‘Oh, he’s ranked higher than you. People like him more, so therefore he’s better than you.’ I was just feeding myself that excuse for so long,” Borst said by phone Monday afternoon. “It just clicked one day, ‘Why not you? Why not be the champion?’ And as soon as I turned around and realized that, it was just kind of win after win. I was picking up these huge wins against ranked kids and everyone’s heads were starting to turn, and that’s when I started to pick up momentum and thinking to myself why stop now? So I just kept going, kept going, and I ended up with a belt.”

Borst, who said he was seeded eighth in the Super 32 tournament, went 6-0 against his competition over the weekend by way of two pins, a major and three decision victories. He said his final four matches came against wrestlers ranked in the top 20 in the country, including his final three bouts against top-10 ranked foes.

Wisconsin’s Jacob Raschka, whom Borst beat 14-9 in the semifinal round, was the only wrestler to register a takedown against the Sherando senior, Borst said. Even then, Borst said the takedown came after he got “lazy” while holding a comfortable 8-point lead in the third period.

All of Borst’s scoring in the championship bout against Hoffman came via a pair of takedowns, while Borst let Hoffman up three times to account for a trio of 1-point escapes.

“My defense was very timid, like I didn’t wanna give up any points. I was very stingy about it,” Borst said. “But at the same time my defense was my offense because I just kept scoring points. So the more points I put up on the board, the less points he could.”

Borst said the title match ended in controversial fashion when Hoffman was briefly awarded 2 points for a takedown after a scramble with about seven seconds remaining in the third period, only to have the referee quickly reverse the scoring call after realizing Borst had maintained control of Hoffman’s ankle through the sequence.

Borst, who said he and Hoffman shared a moment of “mutual respect” following the bout, noted that Hoffman’s coaches argued the reversal of the scoring after the match but Borst’s 4-3 win was upheld.

“I mean I wasn’t worried the whole time because I knew. I mean the coaches that were in my corner knew and everyone in the crowd knew that there was no chance that it was 2. But it was scary,” Borst said with a laugh.

The championship marked Borst’s second national title this season – he won the National High School Coaches Association Junior Nationals in April – and is his first in a tournament of that caliber, he said.

“Super 32 is kind of unique in that everybody comes,” Borst said. “Like within my first three matches I hit two kids from California and a kid from Michigan. It’s not usually that you see those kids that are from the Midwest and the West Coast and all those big hammers that are coming into one tournament just to see who’s the best in the country. The fact that the diversity of states is there and that everyone travels just for this one tournament just to find out who’s the best in the country is unique in my mind. I love Super 32 for the fact that, no matter what, the champion’s gonna win.”

Super 32 marked Borst’s first major tournament since his runner-up finish at the FargoDome in late July, and it will be his last until the high school wrestling season begins.

Borst, a Virginia Tech commit, said he plans to sign his national letter of intent with the Hokies on Nov. 10 as part of the early signing period.

Contact staff writer Brad Fauber at 540-465-5137 ext. 161, or bfauber@nvdaily.com.