Ranked as the No. 1 wrestler in the nation, wrestling phenom and Rich Township High School’s very own Nasir Bailey is quickly taking the country by storm.
As an elite wrestler, Bailey is known for his elite submission moves, stunning quickness and ability to pin his opponent at an efficient rate.
Bailey said his talent didn’t develop overnight but credits his family tree for helping him love the sport he has grown to love today: “wrestling.”
“My grandfather was a [wrestling] State Champ for Bloom Township High School, [back] in 1977,” said Bailey, about his grandfather Walter Futrell, who was the family’s first ever wrestling state champ. “He was both a conference and state champ(ion).”
Bailey said due to his grandfather’s success on the wrestling mat in 1977, it helped spearhead a lineage of wrestlers in his family tree at the high school, college and coaching level as well.
Bailey’s father was a former junior varsity wrestler at Rich East High School, his grandfather was a state champ and wrestled at LSU, his uncle BJ Futrell was a two-time state champion at Mt. Carmel High School and an All American at the University of Illinois, and his two brothers BJ and Bailey won state titles at TF North High School.
“He comes from a long line of wrestlers,” said Matthew Shank, Athletic Director for High School District 227 of Rich Township.”
In addition to having a rich lineage of wrestling greats, Bailey recently defeated an opponent in the “Flo Wrestling’s Who’s Number One” match last weekend.
The event was a special national competition, where two of the top-ranked high school wrestlers at several weight classes were invited out to compete.
According to several reports, the competition was designed to give athletes the right to be considered the best wrestler in the nation. Over the last several months, Bailey trained hard with his assistant coach Mark Duda and Coach Ron, in preparation for the event and the upcoming season.
Bailey went on to defeat his top-ranked opponent Ryder Block (IA), who was ranked #1 all season.
Prior to his match with Block, Bailey wanted to prove to his family, supporters, and classmates that he was the top wrestler in the nation. And with great precision, he did. He fully controlled the match from start to finish.
“We all are extremely proud of Nasir’s accomplishment and all of the hard work that he displays,” says Rich Township’s Athletic Director. “He is a great young man who embodies what hard work and dedication can bring. He acts as a role model to the athletes within our program, and he is a great representative of Rich Township. This is a great moment in this young man’s life and a great light to shine our praise on.”
Bailey said his key to success is to always find imperfection in his wrestling style. And he wants to be known by one word, “respectful.”
“I’m just super grateful that I have a chance to compete at the national level,” said Bailey. “None of this would be possible without the support of my coaches, team, and family. I can’t wait to see what this new season in November brings.”
Bailey told the Crusader that his next match will be held in the state of North Carolina. Not to defend the title but to compete.
Joseph Phillips is the Sports Editor for the Chicago Crusader Newspaper. He is a Chicago native, who has been a sports writer for over 17 years. He also hosts the SC Media News and Sports Network Q&A radio show on WHPK 88.5 FM Chicago.