ROCKTON — Fernie Silva is ready for the follow-up when people find out he will wrestle in college for Notre Dame.
Nope, not that Notre Dame. The Hononegah High School senior signed his letter-of-intent with Notre Dame College of Ohio an NCAA Division II school in the Mountain Conference.
Silva, the second oldest of four wrestling Silva brothers, says he’s happy with his decision.
“Everyone on the team is motivated and pushing each other,” Silva said. “I liked the environment and the intensity. It was like a family.”
A very competitive family, that is. Notre Dame won back-to-back NAIA national wrestling titles in 2010 and 2011 and after switching to NCAA D-II in 2013, the Falcons won another national title.
Silva should fit in well at Notre Dame, which is located in South Euclid, Ohio, 10 miles east of Cleveland, and has an enrollment of 2,250. He already has 104 career victories at Hononegah. A three-time NIC-10 varsity champion and three-time All-NIC-10 selection, he has qualified for the state tournament twice and finished second as a sophomore.
Silva was also a member of the 2014 National High School Duals Tournament Team.
“He’s the face of Hononegah wrestling,” head coach Jason Glodowski said. “We’re very proud of what he has done and we’re going to hate to see him go.”
Assistant coach Danny Alcocer has helped Silva since his days on the Hononegah Kids Wrestling Club.
“He has put in a lot of hard work and dedication on the mat and off,” Alcocer said. “He has traveled the country wrestling in tournaments. That makes a difference. You get 40 matches during the year and these guys get another 40 in the off-season. He has accomplished a lot and it’s great he’s going to go off to college, but we have one more goal to accomplish this year.”
Silva returned from surgery on his MCL to play football his junior year, but injured the other knee during the season. He returned in time to go 19-3 at 145 pounds, win a conference title and earn All-Area honors for a third time. He also qualified for state.
This fall, he skipped the gridiron and he’s 100 percent healthy for the wrestling season.
“I just decided to focus on wrestling this time around,” he said.
As for being currently ranked 17th in the nation, Silva said, “I’m not concerned about rankings right now, but I’m sure I’ll be up there when the time comes.”