Collins Hill goes on road to wrestle nation's No. 1 team

Collins Hill went toe-to-toe with one of the nation's top teams last month.

Now the Eagles will see where they stack up against the best team in the country.

Collins Hill will wrestle in the ninth annual Final Four of High School Wrestling Championships today, where it will face off against No. 1 Blair Academy (N.J.).

"That is cool," Collins Hill coach Cliff Ramos said of facing the nation's top team. "We won't back down. It's a little different though. They would beat a lot of small college teams."

Blair, the No. 1 ranked team by Amateur Wrestling News, features seven wrestlers nationally ranked, including three of the country's No. 1 wrestlers.

No. 14 Collins Hill does not have any wrestlers ranked by AWN, but does feature college signees Joel Smith (Arizona State), T.J. Mitchell (Virginia Tech) and C.J. Collins (Fort Hays State).

"Blair has a good shot of shutting out everyone," Ramos said. "If we could win two or three matches I would be overjoyed."

Collins Hill will wrestle Long Branch (Pa.) in the first round, Blair Academy in the second round and Benton (Pa.) in the third round of pool play. The top two teams from each pool advance to the finals and the runner-up from each pool will face each other.

"If we could go 2-1 in our pool, I would be overjoyed," Ramos said.

The eight-team tournament features five teams that are nationally ranked. Along with Blair Academy and Collins Hill, No. 19 Bishop Lynch (Texas), No. 21 High Point (Pa.) and No. 24 Long Branch (Pa.), Benton (Pa.), Easton (Pa.) and Franklin (Mass.) are in the tournament.

Collins Hill has traveled for a national schedule this season, winning the Toshiba Midwest Classic in Kansas City and placing second at the Powerade Invitational. The Eagles lost to No. 4 Brandon (Fla.) by 10 points in a dual last month.

"We went to Kansas City and that was tough. We went to Powerade and that was really tough. This is another level," Ramos said.