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|Chris Curtis named USA Wrestling Junior Person of the Year|
By Gary Abbott USA Wrestling
Chris Curtis of Toms River, N.J., has been named the Junior Person of the Year by USA Wrestling, the national governing body for amateur wrestling in the United States. This award goes to a nationally respected leader who works with athletes and programs on the Junior level (grades 9-12).
Curtis has been involved with wrestling for 40 years, and has been active with USA Wrestling for 30 years. He has taken leadership roles in the sport as a referee and a coach on all levels, with exceptional service on the Junior level.
He is considered one of the nation's most talented and experienced wrestling officials. Curtis has held a FILA International licence for 20 years, and has been ranked as a Category 1 for the last 10 years. He has held a USWOA national category M1 ranking for 22 years. He has served as the Officials Director for USA Wrestling New Jersey for the last 15 years.
Curtis has worked 47 Junior Regional competitions, not only in the Northeast but all across the nation. He has officiated at the Junior Nationals 26 times. Six times, he has been the head official for the Northeast Junior Regionals, and three times served as the clinician at the event. Curtis has also served as either the head official or the clinician at the National Junior Duals three times. Curtis serves as the officials representative on New Jersey's Junior Council.
On the national level, Curtis has served on the USWOA Executive Board for the last six years. He was chairman of the USWOA Evaluation Committee and the Scholarship Committee. Curtis also served as the head of timers and scorers at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, Ga. and the 2003 World Championships in New York City.
Curtis coached high school wrestling in New Jersey for 29 years. As a coach, he sponsored several international Junior dual meets and has been a Junior team leader for the state three times. Curtis has taken New Jersey wrestlers to compete at the Northeast Junior Regionals.
Chris Curtis is willing to help USA Wrestling and the sport, no matter what has to be done. At tournaments in his state and region, Curtis volunteers to assist with registration, membership sales or whatever is needed. He helps set up events, and does not leave until the tournament is completed and all of the work is finished. He has done this for decades, and continues to make a major impact on the lives of young athletes and on the sport. For this, he has been named Junior Person of the Year.
Junior Person of the Year
1997 - Tom Lehman, Michigan
1998 - Don Murray, New York
1999 - Bob and Sue Siar, Pennsylvania
2000 - Al Billings, Iowa
2001 - Gene Krebs, North Dakota
2002 - Ed Gould, New York and Pete DiBiase, New Jersey
2003 - Sam Harnsongkram, Louisiana
2004 - Patricia Fox, New Jersey
2005 - Mike Dowden, Indiana
2006 - Chris Curtis, New Jersey