Former Althoff wrestler inducted Illinois wrestling hall of fame

Involved in the sport of wrestling since he was a 6-year-old, Belleville native Mike Greenfield has few regrets about his athletic career.

With the help of many coaches along the way, Greenfield used his talent to win a pair of state titles at Althoff. He went on to a scholarship at Central Michigan University, then took his knowledge of the sport to the University of Nebraska, where he helped coach some of the top young wrestlers in the nation.

Now, more than three decades after strapping on the head gear for the first time, Greenfield is about to receive one of the top wrestling honors in Illinois.

Currently the director of programs and facilities at Jackie Joyner-Kersee Center in East St. Louis, Greenfield will be inducted into the Illinois Wrestling Coaches and Officials Association Hall of Fame on Saturday at the Holiday Inn of Countryside in suburban Chicago.

Greenfield, 40, is one of three area wrestlers who will be honored. Jan Gitcho, of Granite City, and former Southern Illinois University Edwardsville wrestling great and head coach Booker Benford also are being inducted. Greenfield said he will not attend the ceremony.

“First of all, it’s a tremendous honor. When you look a some of the names of the people that are in the Hall of Fame, it’s really something,” Greenfield said. “To be included in that group is just very special. I actually received notice earlier this year that I had been selected, and then we (the HOF Class of 2017) were recognized before the semifinals of the state tournament.

“What makes it even better is to be going in with Booker and Jan. To have three people from Southern Illinois go in the same year shows that we got some respect from Northern Illinois. Sometimes wrestling in Southern Illinois doesn’t get that from the northern part.”

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