At only 15 years old, Josh Stillings has been winning national championships for years.
Finishing up his sophomore year at Pennridge coming off a year in which the Rams had a disappointing showing at the District 1-AAA team duels — by their standard — Stilling went on to win the individual district title, and the South East Regional title before losing in the third place match at the PIAA Championships.
“When I got to states, I was there freshman year, and freshman year the goal was just to get to states and now the goal changed to placing at states,” Stillings said.
Stillings is off to a busy offseason that has consisted of a lot of winning. It started with a win in the 2016 NHSCA (National High School Coaches Association) Sophomore National Championship. Stillings was the No. 2 seed entering the tournament and came out standing atop the podium.
“It was just exciting to be at a big stage like that and be able to perform well,” he said. “It felt really good winning it. It was my goal. My goal was to finish above my seed and I was seeded second.”
Stillings’ wrestling career started when he was five years old and the winning quickly followed suit. Stillings has been wrestling on a national level since age 10 and has accumulated nine national championships in his youth career.
The winning didn’t stop NHSCA championship as last week he won 170 pound USAW Northeast Regional Cadet Greco Championship and won silver in 170 at the USAW Northeast Regional Cadet Freestyle Championship, tournaments that saw over 1,800 athletes compete.
Hopefully for Stillings the winning will not stop there as his performance in the tournament qualified him for USA Wrestling Cadet Nationals in Fargo, North Dakota in July — the biggest national high school event of the year.
As for Stillings’ future moving forward he wants to wrestle in college but as a sophomore hasn’t put a lot of thought towards that yet he more focused on how he can lead the Rams to postseason prominence again and capture a PIAA title, something that feels inevitable cant elude him much longer.
It would almost be unfair or unjust to say anything short of a state championship these next years for Stillings would be a failure or disappointment but given his career trajectory and the expectations he places on his self that is the standard.
“Freshman year my goal was to make it to states, sophomore year was to place and my next two years I want to win states,” he said. “(I want) to start dominating the kids I’m wrestling instead of just beating them by one or two points, start separating the gap and just keep getting better.”