2023 Ironman Wrestling Tournament

Ironman Wrestling Tournament Preview For Insane 165 lbs Bracket

Ironman Wrestling Tournament Preview For Insane 165 lbs Bracket

The Ironman Wrestling Tournament bracket at 165 lbs has 5 wrestlers ranked in the top 5 including 4 who have competed at Who's Number One.

Dec 6, 2023 by David Bray
Ironman Wrestling Tournament Preview For Insane 165 lbs Bracket

The Ironman field at 165 lbs is as deep as any bracket in recent memory. Wrestling fans will get to watch five wrestlers ranked in the top five in their weight classes including four guys who have already competed at Who's Number One. Here's what you need to know about Ironman's toughest weight class.

The Favorites

#1 (170 lbs) Angelo Ferrari, Mellisa, TX (Iowa)

#1 (160 lbs) Joe Sealey, Wyoming Seminary, PA (Penn State)

#2 (160 lbs) Will Henckel, Blair Academy, NJ (uncommitted)

#3 (160 lbs) LaDarion Lockett, Stillwater, OK (uncommitted)

It's hard to think of many deeper Ironman brackets than this year's at 165 lbs. Not only does it include five top-five ranked wrestlers, it includes four wrestlers who have competed at Who's Number One, three of whom notched victories there.

Iowa commit Angelo Ferrari is probably the number one favorite. He's ranked #1 at 170 lbs and owns a victory over Joe Sealey, the #1 ranked man at 160 lbs. Ferrari hasn't wrestled Sealey since Who's Number One in 2022, but that was a decisive victory that earned him the nation's top spot.

Ferrari hasn't competed against Henckel of Lockett, but he did train with Lockett when he was in Stillwater, Oklahoma for the first two years of his high school career. In fact, Lockett and Ferrari both won Ironman titles for the Pioneers in 2021.

Angelo Ferrari's WNO victory over Joe Sealey


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Joe Sealey earned his number one spot at 160 lbs win a victory over Blair Academy's Will Henckel at Who's Number One. That win flipped the result of their previous meeting at U20s. Sealey, a 2024 Penn State commit, also owns a freestyle win over LaDarion Lockett from Elite 8 Duals in 2022.

Since Sealey was seeded 2nd and Lockett 3rd, they appear to be on a collision course for the semifinals. This would be their first meeting in freestyle and their first since Lockett's freshman year. Since their last meeting, both Lockett and Sealey have won U17 World titles.

Lockett is currently the #3 ranked recruit in the class of 2025, and he's uncommitted. A victory at Ironman would further cement his status as a must-have prospect.

Joe Sealey's WNO victory over Will Henckel


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Like Lockett, Blair Academy's Will Henckel is also one of the top uncommitted recruits in the class of 2025. He's ranked #8 in the class at the moment, and nearly every top program in the country is interested in his services. It's not hard to understand why. He has split matches against #1 Sealey and notched a victory over Lockett at Ironman last year. That match was a bit controversial as it ended on a caution, but the fact remains, Henckel got his hand raised.

Henckel's path through the bracket is tough. He's seeded to see #5 Ethan Birden in the quarterfinals then #1 (170 lbs) Angelo Ferrari in the semis before a potential rematch with either Sealey or Lockett in finals. While his road is the bumpiest of all the top four, don't be surprised if he navigates it.

The Contenders

#5 (160) Ethan Birden, Dublin Coffman, OH (Ohio State)

#15 (152) Clayton Giddens-Buttram, Bixby, OK (Oklahoma)

Ohio State commit Ethan Birden tops the list of contenders who could crack the top four, in fact, he already has a win over Joe Sealey from Ironman a year ago en route to the Ironman finals. He followed that performance up with an Ohio state title and third place finishes this year at Fargo and Super 32.

Bixby Oklahoma's Clayton Giddens-Buttram is an Oklahoma commit with no shortage of strong performances. He won a loaded Oklahoma high school bracket last spring and took out current #4 Kody Routledge along the way. The future Sooner also placed 7th at Ironman last year and will be looking to climb higher on the podium this weekend.

Ethan Birden's upset over Joe Sealey at Ironman 2022


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Sleepers & Darkhorses

Aiden Peterson, St. Edward, OH

Anthony Rinehart, Crown Point, IN

Ben Smith, South Summit, UT

Dominic Sumppolec, Notre Dame, PA

Emmitt Sherlock, Gilman School, MD

Evan Rizzo, Brecksville, OH

Jude Randall, Edmond North, OK

Riley Johnson, Skutt Catholic, NE

Ryan Schneider, Green Farms Academy, CT

While 165 lbs is the most top-heavy bracket in the tournament, it has no shortage of credentialed wrestlers outside the top-20 who are poised to make a run at some of the top dogs.

Crown Point, Indiana's Anthony Rinehart placed 6th here a year ago and would love to find his way back on the podium. There are also a number of NHSCA placers including Aiden Peterson (who made the NHSCA finals earlier this year), Ben Smith, Dominic Sumppolec, Emmitt Sherlock, Evan Rizzo, and Ryan Schneider. Of that group, Sherlock was also a Fargo All-American. Skutt Catholic's Riley Johnson was also a Fargo All-American. Edmond North's Jude Randall has also proven to be dangerous, having racked up ranked wins over the past 12 months.

165 lbs Pre-Seeds

Complete Ironman pre-seeds for every weight are available here.

1. Angelo Ferrari - Melissa, TX

2. Joe Sealey - Wyoming Seminary, PA

3. LaDarion Lockett - Stillwater, OK

4. William Henckel - Blair Academy, NJ  

5. Ethan Birden - Dublin Coffman, OH

6. Clay Giddens-Buttram - Bixby, OK

7. Anthony Rinehart - Crown Point, IN

8. Emmitt Sherlock - Gilman School, MD

9. Maximus Norman - Baylor School, TN

10. Jude Randall - Edmond North, OK

11. Andrew Reall - Ponaganset, RI. 

12. Luca Felix - University, WV

13. Dante Hutchings - Pomona, CO

14. Evan Rizzo - Brecksville, OH

15. Bryce Kohler - Graham, OH

16. Landen Johnson - Massillon Perry, OH


1) Angelo Ferrari 2) Joe Sealey 3) LaDarion Lockett 4) Will Henckel 5) Ethan Birden 6) Clayton Giddens-Buttram 7) Aiden Peterson 8) Emmitt Sherlock