Throughout the week, we've showcased some of the stud line-ups that will look to claim the Junior National Freestyle Duals title, but we're going to take a deeper look at how these teams match up against each other.
Oklahoma went back-to-back last year and have a line-up that can complete the three-peat, but teams like California, Iowa and New Jersey will certainly put up a huge fight to keep that from happening.
So let’s take a look at the top eight teams that I believe will be in the gold/silver pool in contention for the title.
And make sure you don’t miss a second of the action the next two days as we crown another Junior National Freestyle Duals Champ live on FloWrestling.
ScheduleFriday, June 24 (EST. 36 Freestyle Teams)
6:30 AM to 7:30 Freestyle Officials Breakfast & Assignment Meeting
7:30 AM to 8:00 AM Freestyle Coaches Meeting
9:00 AM to 12:30 PM Freestyle Session 1: (16 mats): Rounds 1, 2, & 3 -- Preliminaries, Consolations, & Semifinals
12:30 -- 1:30 PM -- LUNCH BREAK
1:30 PM to 8:00 PM Freestyle Session 2: (16 mats): Rounds 4, 5 & 6 -- Consolations, Placement (1st-8th), & True 2nd: Round 1 - Preliminary Duals Color Pools (Gold/Silver, Bronze/Copper, Red/Blue, Green/Yellow)
Saturday, June 25
8:00 AM to 8:30 AM Freestyle Officials Breakfast & Assignment Meeting
9:00 AM to 3:00 PM Freestyle Session 3: (16 Mats): Rounds 2, 3 & 4 - (16 mats) Preliminary Duals and Finals Placement Match (Awards to follow)
It’s only right that we start with the returning champs. The Gfeller-Fix combination returns to this year’s squad and will look to lead a tough team back to the top. Also returning to this year’s team is Rhett Golowenski, who was an absolute terror on last year’s team and took out everyone in his path. He’s another year tougher, and will surely be a force again.
Jacob Butler looks like a mini-Josh Koscheck (because of his bright-blonde 'fro) and is a considerable x-factor. He had the Oklahoma crowd on its feet during the Greco tournament as he put on a throwing clinic. He will be a good addition to the team.
Oklahoma will add another heavy hitter in Wyatt Sheets, who’s got power and great defense to go along with the ability to throw anyone for four. Another set of guys that dazzled during the Greco portion were Brik Filippo and Dalton Duffield. Also, keep an eye on Beau Duffey. If he can stay on the right path this weekend, it would be wise for opponents to stay out of the way. He’s got great ability and can battle.
Throw in Jet Taylor and Jaryn Curry, and you’ve got a recipe for disaster. These Cowboys will be ready for a showdown with anyone, and I wouldn't want to get in their way as they look for their third title.
When you look at this line-up, you can clearly see they are coming to win, and win big. It's been a while since California put together a group of guys this powerful.
From the jump, the first name that sticks out is Justin Mejia, who's known for being a folkstyle terror. He's got three California state titles, and will be in the hunt to become just the second wrestler in the state's single class history to win four.
Anthony Mantanona will also be in the mix--the FloNational champ is extremely explosive and exciting to watch. Mantanona will be joined by Jeremy Thomas at 170. Thomas and Mantanona wrestled in the state finals this past season, so teaming them up will certainly cause some problems for the other states in contention.
The Wick brothers, Evan and Zander--who are ranked third and fourth in the country in their respective weight classes—will man the middle of the line-up with Thomas and Mantanona.
Jaden Enriquez will help Mejia take care of the lower part of the line-up along with David Campbell. Campbell seemed to have some endurance issues during Greco, so we'll have to see if we can just chalk it up to Greco fatigue. Adding depth here will be Chase Zollman and Liam Cronin.
Iowa is bringing what it always does: hard-nosed toughness. These guys can battle, and battle hard. Fargo Greco runner-up Carter Isley will play the anchor here, and look to lead a cast that consists of eight other state champions.
The big gun in the line-up is Carter Happel, who has a Fargo title under his belt along with an appearance at the Cadet World Championships. At the bottom of the line-up will be Kyle Biscoglia, who will be the guy down low looking for big points as future Hawkeye Jack Wagner pitches in to do the same.
Nelson Brands will bolster the middle of the line-up along with Colton Clingenpeel and Marcus Coleman. The man that pulled off one of the biggest upsets of the post-season, Wyatt Wriedt, will help Isley up top.
And you can never overlook three-time state champ Brock Rathbun. He is the other half of the one-two punch with Happel at 132 and 138.
OK, Jersey boys, we get it. You're bringing the heat. This line-up is stacked with talent. This roster features 11 ranked guys—that’s right, 11. Headlined by No. 1, Chase Singletary, these guys could be a contender to knock off Oklahoma.
Fellow Blair Buccanneer Michael Colaiocco will fill the spot at 113. He will be followed by Super 32 champ Sebastian Rivera and ironman Ty Agaisse. If you’ve seen Agaisse’s state finals match from two years ago, you understand why he's an ironman.
Three more Blair Bucs—Requir Van Der Merwe, Andrew Merola and Brandon Dallavia—will add top-ranked toughness, and Kyle Bierdumpfel will bring some stinginess at 160.
The Bergen Catholic contigent of Joe Grello and Kyle Mulligan will add more depth with No. 20-ranked heavyweight Erik Chakonis sitting up top looking to handle the big boys.
Hopefully they had time to regroup after winning the Greco title yesterday, because if not, these other teams will make sure they don’t complete the sweep and claim the titles in both styles.
This line-up features world team members, Fargo champions and guys that are down for a good fight. That’s what give Minnesota a bit of an edge—they have a ton of fun, and their style is tough to compete with.
McKee brothers Patrick and Mitch will cross over to freestyle and bring just about everyone from the title-winning Greco team with them. Keegan Moore held down the fort at 220 during the Greco tournament, and will be even deadlier now that he can shoot a blast double and drive a guy into the cheap seats.
Cadet world bronze medalist Owen Webster is an absolute grinder who will be in the line-up at 182. The man bun-rocking and reckless Lucas Jeske will bring some heat after a great showing in Greco. And Jake Allar and Calvin Germinaro will bring a lot of strength to the line-up.
Other notable guys include Joey Gliva and Jakob Bergeland.
Can Illinois bounce back from their Greco loss in the finals to contend for the freestyle title? Maybe.
Fargo champs Gabe Townsell and Louie Hayes will switch to freestyle on the third day of the tournament. Townsell took a tough loss in the finals, so bouncing back here in freestyle would be just what he needs to get back on track. Anthony Madrigal, Austin O'Conner and Joey Melendez are a trio you don't want to mess with.
Fargo runner-up Jaime Hernandez will join the team for freestyle along with Patrick Brucki and Travis Piotrowski.
This is a bunch of tusslers who like to throw guys around. It was pretty apparent during Greco, and will come in handy during freestyle.
Starting things off for the state that's round on the outside and high in the middle is Lucas Byrd. Don't let his size fool you—he's got some pretty powerful tricks up his sleeve. Coming with Byrd will be last year's cadet world team member, Dylan D’Emilio, and Drew Mattin. These guys were one helluva tag team during Greco and will be even deadlier during freestyle.
Ben Darmstadt and Jacob Campbell will look to handle things at 195 and 220 as Corey Shie and Tariq Wilson add some more power at 132 and 138. Dom Demas will do the same at 145. Ohio has a great deal of talent that will be hard to compete with.
Team Pennsylvania didn't shine in Greco, but they're built more for leg grabbin' rather than throwing.
Fargo champion Sammy Sasso will look to lead to the team from the Keystone State along with FloNational runner-up Trent Hidlay. FloNational champion Jaret Lane will be in the line-up at 106, and prep national champion Eric Hong, who made his way up to 170 after wrestling 145 all season, will look to bring his dynamic style to the line-up as well.
Up top, they have Zane Black, Jake Woodley and Brendan Furman, who will aim to hold things down against the big boys.
All in all, there are going to be some great matches. Oklahoma will be the favorite until someone knocks them off. They've once again built a line-up to take the title, and should be able to do so. But the states that have the best chance of stopping them in their tracks are California and New Jersey.
Can Oklahoma defend its home turf once again, or will they be taken down by one of these other high-powered teams? Only time will tell.