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Top 50 Countdown - #18-#17

By MI Grappler , 04/02/20, 2:30PM EDT


18. Paul Donahoe

Donahoe was one of the top lightweights in the nation as a high schooler, winning two state championships for Davison and placing 2nd and 3rd as well.  He won double titles at the FILA Cadet Nationals in 2001, following that up with double AA honors in Fargo that summer, where he was 2nd in freestyle and 3rd in greco.  The next year he won Junior Freestyle and added two more FILA Cadet AA honors.  As a senior, Donahoe won another Junior Freestyle title, was 2nd in Junior Greco, and won Senior Nationals. 

WrestlingUSA named Donahoe Wrestler of the Year in 2004, and he was also named to the Asics/Tiger All-American team as a 1st Team selection.  He was an Honorable Mention pick as a sophomore in 2002.  Also in 2004, he represented TeamUSA at the Dream Team Classic, scoring a fall over his opponent from California. 

His college career began at Nebraska, where he advanced to the bloodround at NCAA's during his freshman year.  As a sophomore, he entered the NCAA's as the six-seed and ended up knocking the #3, #2, and #1 seeds in order to win the NCAA championship at the Palace of Auburn Hills.  Donahoe would place 3rd for the Huskers as a junior, and closed out his career with an NCAA runner-up finish for Edinboro as a senior.

Following college, Donahoe competed on the Senior level for one year, placing 4th at the World Team Trials in 2010.  He returned to Michigan where he now coaches his club, Team Donahoe, which has become one of the top clubs in the nation.

Flowrestling Videos:
Post-NCAA title Press Conference, 2007
Donahoe Right After NCAA Finals Win
2003 Davison Highlights
The Biggest Upset, 2007

Senior National finals vs Matt Steintrager at 30:10

17. Casey Cunningham

Cunningham won two Class C-D high school state championships for Fulton-Middleton and was fifth as a sophomore.  He was a double Cadet All-American in 1992, placing 3rd in freestyle and 8th in Greco.  In 1994, he was 6th in Junior freestyle.  He was a WrestlingUSA All-American and an Asics/Tiger Honorable Mention All-American.

His career continued at Central Michigan where he became perhaps the greatest Chippewa of all time.  A four-time NCAA qualifier, he was the 2nd-ever CMU wrestler to make the national finals as a junior, when he finished second at NCAA's.  A year later, he would make history and become the first NCAA Champion in program history.  He also helped lead the '98 and '99 teams to the two best NCAA finishes in school history (5th in '98, 7th in '99).

Cunningham was named Team MVP all four years for the Chips, and won three MAC titles.  He was MAC Freshman of the Year in 1996, OW at the MAC Championships in 1999, and was twice named MAC Wrestler of the Year.  With a career slate of 134-19, his 134 wins are the most in school history.  Cunningham was inducted into the CMU Hall of Fame in 2009 and the MAC Hall of Fame in 2015.

He was a mainstay on the Senior level following college, twice finishing runner-up at the US Nationals, and adding a pair of runner-up finishes at the World Team Trials.  Additionally, he was 5th at the University Worlds in 2000 and a 2008 Pan-Am Championships silver medalist.  

On the coaching side, Cunningham spent ten seasons with Central Michigan after graduation, and then was an Assistant at Iowa State for Cael Sanderson for two seasons before Sanderson wisely hired him at Penn State as well.  He has been with the Nittany Lions for the past 11 years, a time in which they have won eight NCAA titles, including four straight.

Flowrestling Videos:
CMU Interview, 2007
Borrelli on Cunningham, 2007