Sturgeon earned his selection through his actions on the mat in Lake Mary at the Tournament of Champions tourney where he went 4-0 and defeated Jay Taylor of Oviedo by a 6-2 decision in the Championships Finals.
At stake in the finals was the #2 ranking in Class 3A at 1989 as Sturgeon went into bout ranked second with Taylor right behind him at number three. Since Sturgeon won their head-to-head meeting, those rankings remained the same for week 6. Caylor Williams of Palm Bay is the Top Wrestler at 3A and also in the All State category.
In the finals with Taylor , Sturgeon said his strategy was, "Staying very low. I had to change up my style to avoid his ankle picks. And just being tough and hanging in there."
In the match, Taylor got on the scoreboard first by scoring two points with a takedown right off the back. He then released Sturgeon to give up an escape to lead 2-1. But that was the last points that Taylor scored.
"After he let me up, I got smarter and he didn't take me down again," said Sturgeon. At the start of the second period, he took top and tried to throw legs he was in sort of a crab ride. I elevated the leg and had a reversal went head hunted and got him for three points more for a nearfall"
Last year, Sturgeon placed third in the state in the 171-pound class. He finished with a record of 38 wins and just two defeats. One of those defeats came in the semifinals of the state tourney where he lost a narrow 6-4 decision to Niko Brown of Kissimmee Osceola. Brown went on to win the state title while Sturgeon had to win two more bouts to capture the bronze medal.
Sturgeon says that Brown was the toughest opponent that he has ever faced. Sturgeon said Brown was, "Another hard nosed wrestler. He really kicked me in stomach, not literally but I remember him almost day as that match stays with me."
This year, Sturgeon has 22 wins and just two losses. His losses are to Caylor Williams of Palm Bay and Luis Alba of Cypress Creek.
As for the future, Sturgeon says that he is, "Kind of in the deciding process. I'm talking to some and I'm going to take the SATs again."
Sturgeon has just one goal for 2009. "States is the one," said Sturgeon. "I definitely have a shot at winning it but I have to wrestle my best."
Sturgeon started wrestling at the end of 4th grade. One of his earliest memories was going to Indiana on a USA Wrestling trip to compete on the Schoolboy Duals team where this writer was one of the trip leaders.
His first coach was JD Robbins with the Jets Wrestling Club when they were at University High.
When asked if you could wrestle any other wrestler past or present, who would it be?
Sturgeon answered, "I'd like to wrestle to wrestle [Caylor] Williams again. It was a tough match – he won at Timber Creeks duals when he took me down in overtime. I'd like another shot at him."
In closing, TJ was given the opportunity for a say what he wanted in terms of a shout out.
"I'm a hard worker, trying to stay humble. Pray to God before every match hoping for the best. I like to keep my brain clear, just relax and think, go my happy place. If you have watched the movie Happy Gilmore, you'll know what I mean by that."
"I want to say hello to the people that support me. There are many coaches that have helped me, pretty much every coach at every school that I have been with in Central Florida. A special thanks to John Hauser, who was my Dad's wrestling coach, he let me in his room. All his boys, Todd and CJ Hauser, helped me out."
"Finally, a big shout to my Mom & Dad who always been my biggest fans."
TJ Sturgeon's Stats at University High School
Senior: 22 – 2
Shark Tournament Champion
Lyman Tournament Champion - Outstanding Wrestler Heavy Weights
Lake Mary Tournament Champion - Outstanding Wrestler - Heavy Weights
Junior: 39 – 2; 3rd at State at 171 pounds in Class 3A:
Lyman Tournament Champion
Lake Mary Tournament Champion
District & Regional Champion
6th in the Nation @ NHSCA Nationals in Virginia Beach