The 2017 Walsh Jesuit Ironman will continue the long and storied tradition of what is undoubtedly the toughest in-season tournament in the country.
As usual, the field is loaded, and we'll get to determine some of the best teams and wrestlers in the country. Make sure you catch up with this week's pre-Ironman national rankings, because you know they are guaranteed to change when next Wednesday rolls around.
The tournament starts Friday at 1 PM Eastern time in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, and continues Saturday beginning at 11 AM, so be sure to watch every match LIVE on Flo. Now, let's check out a little preview for the first seven weights as well as predictions from the three of us who will be on-site covering the tournament.
- David Carr - Perry (Massillon), OH
- Will Lewan - Montini Catholic, IL
- Anthony Artalona – Tampa Prep, FL
- Josh Kim - Santiago (Corona), CA
- Josh Humphreys - Parkersburg South, WV
- Jake Silverstein - Hauppauge, NY
- Jake Marsh - Marysville, OH
- Jashon Hubbard - Steubenville, OH
- Jace Luchau - Selma, CA
- Joey Sanchez - Graham, OH
- Paddy Gallagher - St. Edward, OH
- William Kaiser - Blair Academy, NJ
- Luca Frinzi - Bethlehem Catholic, PA
- Aurelius Dunbar - Mercersburg Academy, PA
- Hunter Yackee - Wauseon, OH
- Chris Hisey - Malvern Prep, PA
Commentary: Coming in hot is an incredible potential final between Iowa State commit David Carr and Michigan signee Will Lewan. Although an injury ultimately kept Lewan from competing at Who's #1, had he been able to this weight would have three WNO participants because Anthony Artalona is also involved. Artalona was sixth last year, losing to the likes of Connor Brady, Julian Ramirez, and Grant Willits.
Our 4/5 quarterfinal was very nearly the Super 32 final in October, with Josh Kim finishing second and Josh Humphreys losing in overtime in the semis. Future Nebraska Husker Jake Silverstein gets to face potential bracket-busting freshman Paddy Gallagher in the round of 16 and then has to get through Artalona to get to Cadet world champ Lewan.
Jake Marsh just beat Super 32 champ and Ironman placer Ryan Thomas in overtime last weekend. Jashon Hubbard was third at Ohio states last year, while Jace Luchau was third at Fargo in July.
Nomad's Picks: 1. Carr 2. Lewan 3. Kim 4. Gallagher
Willie’s Picks: 1. Carr 2. Lewan 3. Artalona 4. Marsh
Holmes' Picks: 1. Carr 2. Lewan 3. Artalona 4. Humphreys
- Andrew Merola - Blair Academy, NJ
- Ryan Thomas - Graham, OH
- Erich Byelick - Lake Highland Prep, FL
- Jake Hendricks - Wyoming Seminary, PA
- Kevon Freeman - Lake Catholic, OH
- Caleb Wise - Broken Arrow, OK
- Noah Blake - Del Oro, CA
- Austin Murphy - Elder, OH
- James Limongi - Genoa Area, OH
- Matt Ortiz - Montini Catholic, IL
- David Cumberledge - St. John (Ashtabula), OH
- Parker Benekas - Ponderosa, CO
- Zane Hinzman - Parkersburg South, WV
- Dominic Solis - McDonogh School, MD
- Zach Reese - Lockport Township, IL
- Trey Sizemore - La Salle, OH
Commentary: Two-time National Prep champ Andrew Merola comes in as your top seed and is an absolute pain to wrestle. He beat Peyton Robb in a ridiculous match at Night of Conflict in October and has a general history of winning late. We already mentioned Thomas lost last weekend but had been white hot before that in winning Super 32 and the Grappler Fall Classic.
Erich Byelick has appeared vulnerable, but on paper I don't see his road stopping from making the semis. Four-seed Jake Hendricks is a classic Wyoming Seminary Greco guy, having made last year's Fargo and this year's Akron final in that style. He's heading to Penn in the fall.
There's a lot to be learned before the quarterfinals about the 5-8 seeds. Kevon Freeman was a D2 Ohio state champ, Caleb Wise is a returning placer, and Noah Blake is a Cali state placer. In the nine seed is underrated James Limongi, an Ohio state champ as a sophomore.
Nomad's Picks: 1. Thomas 2. Merola 3. Hendricks 4. Limongi
Willie’s Picks: 1. Merola 2. Thomas 3. Hendricks 4. Freeman
Holmes' Picks: 1. Merola 2. Byelick 3. Thomas 4. Wise
- Julian Ramirez - Blair Academy, NJ
- D.J. Shannon - Christian Brothers College, MO
- Rocky Jordan - Graham, OH
- Emil Soehnlen - Perry (Massillon), OH
- Braeden Redlin - Allen, TX
- Carson Kharchilav - Olentangy Liberty, OH
- Nate Jimenez - Marmion Academy, IL
- Grant Cuomo - Brewster, NY
- Christian Rodriguez - Selma, CA
- Jacob Lagoa - St. John (Ashtabula), OH
- Micah Ervin - Union County, KY
- Brady Chrisman - Medina, OH
- Nick Giantonio - Christiansburg, VA
- Garrett Kappes - McDonogh, MD
- Nicholas Florschutz - Malvern Prep, PA
- Tyler Gianakopulos - Clovis, CA
Commentary: If things go chalk, we'll get an Agony in Ames rematch between Julian Ramirez and DJ Shannon in the finals. That is, unless you factor in three-time bass fishing state champ Rocky Jordan, the younger brother of former St. Paris Graham stars Bo and Mickey Jordan. Rocky has more bass fishing state titles than wrestling.
Emil Soehnlen already knocked off then No. 1 Trent Hidlay at Super 32. Can he knock off Hidlay's WNO finals opponent Julian Ramirez, in the semis? A battle Ohio fans likely can't wait to see is the quarter between Jordan and Carson Kharchilav, who placed fourth at Super 32 this year.
Nate Jimenez and Jacob Lagoa is an excellent round of 16 matchup, with the winner being a very salty opponent for Shannon in the quarters. I don't love Micah Ervin's draw, but he is absolutely dangerous from the 11 spot. Grant Cuomo took Chris Foca to the brink at Journeymen and will present issues for Ramirez in the quarters.
Nomad's Picks: 1. Soehnlen 2. Jordan 3. Ramirez 4. Khachilav
Willie’s Picks: 1. Ramirez 2. Jordan 3. Shannon 4. Soehnlen
Holmes' Picks: 1. Shannon 2. Soehnlen 3. Ramirez 4. Jordan
- Ryan Karoly - Malvern Prep, PA
- A.J. Ferrari - Allen, TX
- Trevor Lawson - Olentangy Liberty, OH
- Leo Tarantino - Blair Academy, NJ
- Victor Marcelli - Jackson (Massillon), OH
- Tate Samuelson - Castle View, CO
- Darrien Roberts - Wyoming Seminary, PA
- Gavin Potter - Broken Arrow, OK
- David Heath - St. Vincent-St. Mary, OH
- Trevor Swier - Montini Catholic, IL
- Jack Wimmer - McDonogh, MD
- Dan Benoit - Mount Carmel, IL
- Blake Wilson - LaSalle, OH
- Erik Eva - Christiansburg, VA
- Charles Sanders - Elder, OH
- Tyler Surges - Marmion Academy, IL
Commentary: This is where we start to see a bit of a drop off due to it still being football season as well as that upper weight talent is a little less concentrated than lower weights on a national scale. Ryan Karoly is looking for yet another finals appearance and will hit a boot scoot at least 10 times the first day.
AJ Ferrari is already a highly sought after prospect from his Fargo title, and an Ironman title would push him into the super elite group of blue-chip sophomores. If it happened, he would have taken out the #3-ranked Karoly and #10-ranked Trevor Lawson in successive order.
Below Lawson are some on the bubble-type guys who could break back into the rankings, such as Leo Tarantino, Victor Marcelli, Tate Samuelson, and Darrien Roberts. The 11 seed, Jack Wimmer, was an NHSCA freshman nationals champ.
Nomad's Picks: 1. Ferrari 2. Karoly 3. Lawson 4. Tarantino
Willie’s Picks: 1. Ferrari 2. Karoly 3. Lawson 4. Tarantino
Holmes' Picks: 1. Ferrari 2. Karoly 3. Tarantino 4. Roberts
- Michael Beard - Malvern Prep, PA
- Jared Ball - Hilliard Darby, OH
- Zach Marcheselli - Broken Arrow, OK
- Cody Howard - St. Edward, OH
- Austin Cooley - Wyoming Seminary, PA
- Gage Braun - Graham, OH
- Jayden Woodruff - Ponderosa, CO
- Peter Christenson - Montini Catholic, IL
- Michael Baker - LaSalle, OH
- Jacob Good - Clovis, CA
- Charlie Cadell - Christian Brothers College, MO
- Jared Miller - Reynolds, PA
- Trent Lindsey, Clovis North, CA
- Michael Drobnick - St. Ignatius, OH
- Ty Kwak - Christiansburg, VA
- Peyton Craft – Blair Academy, NJ
Commentary: Michael Beard is back for one more year of terrorizing high school wrestling and might even have a chip on his shoulder after losing at Who's #1. Of all returning athletes, he has the second most returning team points. He only had one non-bonus-point match last year, and that was against Austin Cooley, who he could see in the semis.
Beard should see Super 32 champ Jared Ball in the finals, who was third here a year ago and went on to finish third at Ohio D1 states. There are several other nationally ranked athletes in this field, including #9 Cody Howard, #11 Cooley, #14 Zach Marcheselli, and #18 Gage Braun. Even for a tournament like Ironman, that is pretty deep for an upperweight.
It's not favorable being in Beard's path, but I know I'll be watching eight-seed Peter Christenson, an Akron finalist in Greco, and Peyton Craft, who is originally from Ohio but wrestles for Blair. Craft is one of the nation's best freshmen.
Nomad's Picks: 1. Beard 2. Ball 3. Howard 4. Cooley
Willie’s Picks: 1. Beard 2. Marcheselli 3. Howard 4. Ball
Holmes' Picks: 1. Beard 2. Howard 3. Ball 4. Cooley
- Braxton Amos - Parkersburg South, WV
- Ben Goldin - Lake Highland Prep, FL
- Ian Edenfield - Laurel Highlands, PA
- Antonio McCloud - Elder, OH
- Owen Trephan - Blair Academy, NJ
- Johnny Shafer - Graham, OH
- Garrett Bledsoe - LaSalle, OH
- Zach D'Anna - Brecksville-Broadview Heights, OH
- Brayden Ray - Santiago (Corona), CA
- David Aranda - St. John Bosco, CA
- Breslin Walker - Cuyahoga Valley Christian Acad., OH
- Wade Wheeler - Amherst County, VA
- Aiden Gill - St. Ignatius, OH
- Jens Ames - St. Christopher’s, VA
- Michael Doggett - Wyoming Seminary, PA
- Brendan Devine – Malvern Prep, PA
Commentary: The scuttlebutt is Braxton Amos' high school folkstyle debut. Well, tournament debut, as Parkersburg South has already wrestled a few duals. The big question will be, how much did coaches scout Amos from bottom, where he showed vulnerability at Super 32, particularly when getting ridden in legs. Also, is there anyone who can challenge him, as Ben Goldin has already lost twice to Peter Acciardi, whom Amos beat in the S32 finals.
I'm very excited to see Owen Trephan again. Originally a Pittsburgh kid, he moved to South Carolina, won an NHSCA title and is now Blair's 220. Antonio McCloud might have his hands full if he goes under Trephan. I'm not as familiar with Pennsylvania state runner-up Ian Edenfield, so this could be a great coming-out party for him.
Nomad's Picks: 1. Amos 2. Goldin 3. Trephan 4. Shafer
Willie’s Picks: 1. Amos 2. Edenfield 3. McCloud 4. Shafer
Holmes' Picks: 1. Amos 2. Goldin 3. Bledsoe 4. Shafer
- Seth Nevills - Clovis, CA
- Cohlton Schultz - Ponderosa, CO
- Jordan Earnest - Wadsworth, OH
- P.J. Mustipher - McDonogh School, MD
- Alec Moore-Nash - Elder, OH
- Louden Haga - Parkersburg South, WV
- Curtis Ruff - Lake Highland Prep, FL
- Tyler Connolly - Marysville, OH
- Antonio Cutrie - Wyoming Seminary, PA
- Jacob Cover - Hilliard Darby, OH
- Faze Thomas - Christian Brothers College, MO
- Alex Sosa - Wauseon, OH
- Derrick Elrod - St. John (Ashtabula), OH
- Mike McNicolas - Montini Catholic, IL
- Kraig Correll - Blair Academy, NJ
- Brian Kilbane – St. Edward, OH
Commentary: The Big One, both literally and figuratively. For the first time in a while, Ironman should probably end on a heavyweight match, this one between #2 Cohlton Schultz and #3 Seth Nevills. The California senior finally lost for the first time in his high school career, though it was to a college sophomore at a college open. After his Cadet world title in Greco this summer, Schultz has committed to heavyweight for the rest of his career.
Louden Haga was a Fargo finalist and Amos' training partner. He could certainly have a good showing. Jordan Earnest is an Ohio commit, so hopefully we get some Bobcats fans in attendance rooting him on. P.J. Mustipher was the Maryland private schools champ last year.
I have no idea what to make of Matt Cover being the 10 seed. He's ranked 19th at 195, but he's bumping up two weights. I'll take a flyer on him.
Nomad's Picks: 1. Schultz 2. Nevills 3. Earnest 4. Cover
Willie’s Picks: 1. Schultz 2. Nevills 3. Ernest 4. Mustipher
Holmes' Picks: 1. Schultz 2. Nevills 3. Earnest 4. Haga