St. C. native receives wrestling HOF honor

St. Clairsville graduate Chase Holcomb wrestled during his prep career because he loved the sport and competition.

And never once did he think of himself as anymore than just another wrestler and member of the team.

However, because the current Ohio University Eastern freshman never allowed a rare spinal condition known as Sacral Agenesis Caudal Regression slow down his determination and desire, Holcomb caught the eye of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame’s Ohio Chapter.

“I don’t know the (hall of fame) found out,” Holcomb said. “A few months ago, they called and talked to mom and were looking for some information.”

Holcomb actually didn’t give it much thought from that point on, but about a month ago, he received a letter in the mail informing him that he’d been chosen as the 2012 recipient of the Medal of Courage Award winner, which is given annually to a current or former wrestlers who has overcome exceptional challenges in his or her life.

“It’s just crazy to think that I am going to be honored in a hall of fame,” Holcomb said. “It was just an awesome feeling when I opened that letter.”

Holcomb will be recognized with the other Class of 2012 honorees on Nov. 18 at The Embassy Suites in Dublin.

“I’ve been thinking about the speech I’m going to have to make, but I honestly have no idea what I am going to say,” Holcomb said.

Holcomb began wrestling in sixth grade and wrestled every year thereafter despite his condition which causes him to walk with canes.

Winning didn’t come easy for Holcomb during his career, but he didn’t let that discourage him whatsoever.

“I found other things in the sport to be appreciative of,” Holcomb said. “I won some matches, but there were times when I got down on myself because when you wrestle, you want to win, but I knew I was out there giving it my all and working hard.”

Holcomb won’t be the Ohio Valley native recognized in the Class of 2012. Bridgeport graduate Walt Tolarchyk will be inducted and recognized with the Lifetime of Service Award. Tolaychyk will be featured in next Sunday’s edition.

Staskey can be reached at