There will be some fireworks going off during the Junior Freestyle tournament at the 2017 U.S. Open. As Jordan Burroughs and Kyle Dake look to light things up at 74kg on the senior level, NCAA Champion Mark Hall will be starting the fire at the same weight on the Junior level. But he will not be alone. Each weight class has some potential match-ups that you certainly will not want to miss.
55kg: Daton Fix vs Gavin TeasdaleThese two met last year in the finals and can surely give us some repeat excitement in this year's finals as well. The future stars of the Cowboys and Nittany Lions have some incredible attacks and can score from just about anywhere. We can see Fix and his the inside trip take on Teasdale and his deadly head pinch.
Check out their bout from last year's finals.
60kg: Mitch McKee vs Micky PhillippiAs McKee was making his first appearance at the NCAA tournament this year, Phillippi was redshirting. We saw McKee take on the toughest competition throughout the season and we know that he will be bringing some high level offense. We haven't seen Phillippi much so at all, but you know that he will be bringing his stingy defense to the party.
Check out when they met at PWC in high school.
63kg: Nick Lee vs Luke PletcherThis might be one of the most highly anticipated match-ups. Lee got some senior level experience this year while Pletcher was thrust into the starting line-up for the Buckeyes where he made his first appearance at the NCAA tournament. This should be a pretty epic battle between two of the Big Ten's young talent. Also, Kaden Gfeller will be in the mix as well.
66kg: Pat Lugo, Yianni Diakomihalis, Kanen StorrThere is a three pronged approached to the toughness at 66kg. Yianni D just made his return to the mat where he was barely even tested, Storr had an incredible redshirt year where he wrestled both folkstyle and freestyle and placed at just about everything he entered, and Lugo finished his season as an NCAA qualifier. As a two-time Cadet World Champ all eyes will probably be on Yianni as everyone looks to see how he does against high level competition after returning from injury.
Watch the last time Yianni D and Karen Storr met.
70kg: David Carr vs Griffin ParriottParriott is as tough as they come and Carr, a 2016 Cadet world medalist, is stepping up to the Junior level for the first time. The redshirt freshman is coming off a redshirt year where he got to sharpen his skills in a few open tournaments so I expect a pretty fired up Parriott. For Carr this will be a good test to see where he stacks up.
74kg: David McFadden, Mark Hall, Hayden Hidlay, Jake Allar, Trent Hidlay, Thomas Bullard, Evan WickAll I can really say is that this is going to be fun. Naturally, Hall is the favorite here, but there are some hammers that will look to stand in his way. Each round of this bracket has a potential can't-miss match.
84kg: Zahid Valencia, Nick Reenan, Jelani EmbreeValencia is the returning world team member at this weight so he's the favorite, but having Reenan and Embree here who like to go big always makes things fun.
96kg: Chase Singletary, Kevin Snyder, Ben Darmstadt, Sammy ColbrayThe footnote here is that everyone wants to get a gauge of Chase Singletary against great competition. Singletary went wire-to-wire as the No. 1 ranked 220-pounder this year, but now he has three guys in front of him that spent the last year on the college level. Snyder will be his teammate which is a pretty interesting dynamic in itself. Darmstadt presents a different problem here. I see Darmstadt with the edge here, but like I said, this will be a good way to see where Singletary is at as he enter the college ranks.
Note: Darmstadt and Singletary split matches in high school during Darmstadt's senior year.
Listen to Darmstadt credit the Singletary loss for his motivation after winning Fargo title.