Carson Manville anchors the first Big Board of the new school year. The Class of 2021 has officially started taking classes, and it members will soon be competing in their first varsity matches.
Manville was a no-brainer for the top spot right now. No other freshman has a resume as impressive, and he is borderline in the overall pound-for-pound rankings for all grades.
He is one of three stud freshmen added to Wyoming Seminary (PA)'s lineup
this year, along with No. 8 Zeke Escalera and No. 16 Cole Rees. Manville wrestled for Minnesota in Fargo, while Escalera competed for Kentucky and Rees for Pennsylvania.
Second-ranked Ryan Sokol, one of Manville's teammates in July from the Land of 10,000 Lakes, dominated his way through the 120-pound bracket. That is the same weight we will see him at the end of next month at Super 32
Alex Facundo checks in at No. 3 after taking the 145lb Cadet freestyle crown in Fargo. He is hoping to become a legend at Davison (MI) High School like his coach Paul Donahoe. Rounding out the top five is 126lb finalist Ryan Franco, who is joining an up-and-coming Clovis North (CA) team, and Padraic Gallagher, a Fargo All-American who split with Facundo last season. Gallagher joins the storied St. Ed's program near Cleveland.
There is an obvious disparity that skews toward the smaller weights for this Big Board, which is to be expected for 14- and 15-year-old kids. That will quickly change as there are fewer marquee events for high schoolers than middle schoolers, and they will all have to converge at 106 and 113 for the scholastic season.
Ohio leads the way with 11 ranked guys, followed by Pennsylvania and California with six each. This will also likely change as their high school careers progress, and athletes from states beyond the usual suspects show up for Akron, Fargo, Super 32 and FloNationals. Gems such as Yusief Lillie (WA), Escalera (KY), Kyle Haas (KS), and Cooper Flynn (TN) become harder and harder to be hidden as they move into the high school ranks.
This is unquestionably the most difficult Big Board to put together, from projecting weights to the high schools these guys will attend to whether or not they are being held back a grade. Then there is of course the whole point of the Big Board, which is to assess resumes and project beyond their freshman year. The list and rankings will undoubtedly change as the recruiting process starts to heat up for them next year, but for now, here are 50 solid names to keep an eye on as you prepare for what promises to be an incredible month of high school wrestling in October.
Feel free to leave any thoughts, questions and concerns in the comments below. If you notice a weight, school or state that you believe should be changed, please shoot an e-mail to Daniel.firstname.lastname@example.org or a DM to @wrestlingnomad