HORSEHEADS, N.Y. (WETM) – The Mark Stephens Classic is back.
An event that first started in 2009, the classic brings in some of the state’s best wrestling teams to compete for the top spot in dual meet format. The action begins at 5 pm at Horseheads Middle School and is fixing to be a must-watch weekend. Wrestling will conclude on Saturday with the championship round.
The tournament is named in honor of the late-great, Mark Stephens. A local fixture in the sport for decades as a wrestler, coach, official and friend. Stephens was the first-ever overall state champion for Elmira Southside wrestling back in 1966.
After serving his country in Vietnam, the sport of wrestling gave Mark his full purpose. The purpose of helping others reach their potential and simply get better on the mat. Stephens coached several local standouts through the rise of his offseason Glider 3 Style Wrestling Club.
Sadly, Stephens passed away in 2013. But, Mark was able to witness the tremendous growth for the sport of wrestling not only in the tournament but also the region.
Thursday, 18 Sports stopped by Horseheads high school to speak with those who knew him best, former Blue Raider head coach, Shane Lese, and his brother, Mike Stephens. Mike is currently the modified wrestling coach at Horseheads, the very same position hist brother Mark held in the 1990’s.
We get you ready for all the action this weekend at Horseheads and take a look back on the impact Stephens made on the area.