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Ohio's Chris Kallai named USA Wrestling Volunteer of the Month

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - USA Wrestling has named Chris Kallai of Wadsworth, Ohio as the April Volunteer of the Month. Kallai is being recognized for the role he has played in developing wrestling in Ohio as the state chairman of Ohio-USA Wrestling, as well as for his work as the tournament director of the FILA Cadet and University Nationals.

"This was the first year the FILA Cadets and Universities were held in Akron, and the tournament was a huge success," said Travis Shives, Manager of National Events for USA Wrestling. "The tournament was 25 percent larger than ever before, yet with Chris' leadership, the event was second-to-none."

Kallai's interest in wrestling was sparked by an older brother, which led to Chris starting to wrestle when he was a student at Erwine Junior High. Chris and his brothers were successful in their respective careers, which allowed for Chris to enter the coaching ranks. For the past 23 years, Kallai has been coaching, with the majority of his time spent at Wadsworth High School.

Since taking over as the chairman for USA-Ohio, Chris has helped carry on a tradition of Ohio fielding one of the most successful Cadet and Junior level national teams. He has been able to continue with national success, while still promoting grassroots opportunities for its members. Because of this approach, USA Wrestling membership is up by over 35 percent in Ohio this year.

Chris has been very successful in organizing a nucleus of individuals that help him in his efforts in Ohio. "Leo Saniuk is my right hand man," said Kallai. He also singled out Tom Knupp, John Cvetic, and Dave Cline as being instrumental to the overall success of USA-Ohio.

Not one for being recognized, Chris said, "There are a lot of people who help behind the scenes. Without them, things would not run smoothly."

When asked what gives him the most satisfaction by his involvement in wrestling, Chris said, "Helping the kids achieve their goals and directing them to help other kids." He goes on to note that he enjoys making friends all over the country.

In addition to directing a successful FILA Cadet and University National tournament, Chris and Ohio-USA Wrestling are responsible for the upcoming Central Kids and Cadet Regional Championship.

Chris, along with his wife of 28 years, Debbi, has three sons, Christopher Jr., Matthew, and Josh. Wrestling is a family-affair for the Kallais, as Debbie is a pairing official, and all three sons are USA Wrestling officials. Though Christopher Jr. and Matthew are now coaching, Josh is competing for Muskingum College.

In addition to being a teacher at Wadsworth High School, Chris Kallai has been running his own construction business for the past 25 years.

The Volunteer of the Month program is managed by USA Wrestling's State Services department. Nominations will be accepted from state associations and individuals. Send your suggestions to Tony Black at

April 2007 - Chris Kallai, Wadsworth, Ohio
March 2007 - Aaron Polansky, Charlton, Massachusetts
February 2007 - Anthony Flatt, Lawrenceville, Georgia
January 2007 - Randy Hinderliter, Ottawa, Kansas
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