Athletic accolades are nothing new to Joseph Vanderplas. The senior left-hander is such an accomplished pitcher, he received a scholarship to play baseball at the University of Tennessee.
On Saturday, Feb. 12, the home crowd at Fairfax High School showered Vanderplas with applause not for his work on the mound, but for his dominance on the mat.
Vanderplas pinned Westfield’s Jacob DeLeon in the third round of the 215-pound championship match during the Northern Region wrestling tournament — the only pin recorded by any grappler during the finals round. Rebel fans erupted when Vanderplas earned the title.
"It felt great just knowing I had worked hard for it all season," Vanderplas said, "and it was finally going to happen. … I think this is my biggest accomplishment — besides getting a scholarship to Tennessee — in any sport."
Vanderplas won the award for most pins in the shortest amount of time, recording three in 7 minutes, 45 seconds.
Fairfax finished 13th with 50.50 points. Nick Lowstuter (103 pounds) finished sixth. Robinson won the team title with 260.5 points, followed by Westfield (208) and South County (118).
The state tournament will be held Feb. 18-19 at Robinson Secondary School. Vanderplas said he wants to knock off North Stafford’s Justin Tribble, who has beaten the Fairfax grappler twice this season.