SADDLE BROOK, N.J.– Larry Biggs assembled a hall of fame wrestling career at Saddle Brook High School.
Four decades after a third place finish in the NJSIAA state wrestling tournament, the 1977 graduate took gold at last weekend's USA National Veterans Wrestling Championship at the South Point Hotel in Las Vegas.
“Your brain still works like it's 1977, but your body just doesn’t listen," said Biggs, 56, who competed in the heavyweight division. "We don't move like we used to.”
His childhood friend, Hackensack native Vito Errico, convinced Biggs to enter the tournament.
At first Biggs thought it was a "crazy idea,” but he flew out from his Hermosa Beach, Calif. home to train with Errico, who lives in Armonk, N.Y.
Errico had to drop weight and compete in the lower weight class after losing a coin flip bet to Biggs. But he left Sin City with gold in the Greco Roman and freestyle categories at 215 pounds.
They both qualified for the Freestyle Veterans World Championships , which take place in Warsaw, Poland in October.
“The camaraderie was great," said Biggs, who owns a medical device company. "It was a great experience."
Biggs wasn't far from his old stomping grounds, UNLV, where he wrestled for two years but didn't graduate from.
Prior to that, Biggs was a two-time state champion discus thrower and wrestling state third (158) at Saddle Brook High School. He was inducted into the Athletics Hall of Fame in 2014.
Biggs weighs at 240 pounds and took on guys that were 40-45 pounds heavier. The next time out, he'd like to cut weight.
“If i did it again, I’d want to compete at 215 weight class – if I had the mental discipline to do that,” he said.