2018 UWW Cadet and U23 World Team Trial Qualifier

2018 Cadet Trials Preview

2018 Cadet Trials Preview

2018 Cadet Trials Preview

May 29, 2018 by Willie Saylor
2018 Cadet Trials Preview

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United States at Cadet Worlds 2014-2017


42KGCole SkinnerOH5th
Kurt McHenryVAGold
46KGKurt McHenryVAGold
Malik HeinselmanCO12th
50KGJulian TaggOH7th
Aaron CashmanMN8th
54KGRobert HowardNJ13th
Roman Bravo-YoungAZ10th
58KGJordan DecaturOH17th
Vito ArujauNYSilver
63KGJacori TeemerNYBronze
69KGWill LewanILGold
David CarrOHBronze
76KGAaron BrooksMDGold
Travis WittlakeORBronze
85KGGavin HoffmanPABronze
Jacob WarnerILBronze
100KGGreg KerkvlietMNGold
Gable StevesonMNGold

Team USA62ptsGold
Team USA67ptsSilver


42KGMalik HeinselmanCO16th
Gavin TeasdalePA5th
46KGDylan D’EmilioOH5th
Cade OlivasCA7th
50KGGavin TeasdalePA7th
Spencer LeePAGold
54KGDaton FixOKBronze
Daton FixOK10th
Carter HappelIA21st
63KGJared VerkleerenPAGold
Jared VerkleerenPA16th
69KGBrady BergeMN13th
Mason ManvilleVAGold
76KGJoe Grello*NJ14th
Mark HallMIGold
85KGOwen WebsterMNBronze
Hunter RitterMD16th
100KGGable StevesonMNGold
Jordan WoodPASilver

Team USA55ptsSilver
Team USA50ptsBronze



Alex Almeyda, NJ - Returning 4th

Chance Lamer, OR - Akron Runner-Up

Drake Ayala, IA - Fargo Champ

Eli Griffin, OK

Jordan Williams, OK 

Maxximus Martinez, CA - Western Regional Champ

Stevo Poulin, NY - Pan Am Trials Champ

Richard Fedalen, MD - Northeast Regional Champ

Zack Mattin, OH - Western Regional Champ

Commentary: As a freshmen state champ, Eli Griffin is the elder statesman of the class. Ayala was also a freshman and was state runner-up to Cullan Schriever. 

Almeyda, who will be a freshman at Bergen Catholic, beat Fargo champ Ayala and lost to eventual world teamer Cole Skinner last year. Ayala then beat Almeyda 9-3 at Folk Nats this spring. In that tournament, Jordan Williams, who doesn't have much of a freestyle resume, beat Ayala 11-6 in a back and forth match in the finals.

Poulin beat Fedalen in the Pan Am Trials finals, and then turned that into a Pan Am title this past weekend. He outscored all four of his opponents 10-0, with no match making it to the second period.

Another incoming stud freshman, Maxximus Martinez also won a Folk title. Martinez and Williams came down to the last second in Tulsa back in January.

Willie's Picks:  1) Griffin   2) Williams   3) Martinez   4) Almeyda

Nomad's Picks: 1) Williams   2) Martinez   3) Ayala   4) Poulin



Brenden Chaowanapibool, WA

Cole Skinner, OH - Returning Champ

Gary Steen, PA - State Champ

Jacob Mann, MO - Central Regional 3rd

Kase Mauger, ID - Fargo 7th

Kyle Rowan, OH - Fargo 4th

Richard Figueroa ll, CA - Fargo 3rd

Vince Cornella, CO - Northwest Champ

Danny Wask, NJ - NE Regional 3rd

Commentary: Skinner won this tournament last year at the opening weight and just missed a world medal, taking 5th. 

That's not to say the treading will be easy for Skinner. Figueroa was 3rd at Fargo last year and as a high placer at Ironman, Super 32, and FloNationals, was ranked #2 in the nation.

Rowan's two losses at Fargo last year both came to Sheldon Seymour, the Pan Am rep, and he beat Mauger. Seymour beat Skinner and Danny Wask at Pan Am trials.

Steen and Cornella won state titles; Steen beat Seymour 7-0 at PA states. Wask is a solid incoming freshman to Blair.

Willie's Picks:  1) Figueroa   2) Rowan  3) Cornella   4) Skinner

Nomad's Picks: 1) Figueroa   2) Steen   3) Seymour   4) Skinner



Andrew Chambal, MI - Fargo Runner-Up

Anthony Ferrari, TX

Carter Young, OK - Fargo Runner-Up

Cooper Flynn, TN - Fargo 4th

Cullan Schriever, IA - Fargo 6th

Hayden Halter, WI - State Champ

Justin Bierdumpfel, NJ

Matthew Ramos, IL - Fargo Runner-Up

Nick Babin, NJ

Ryan Miller, NJ - Fargo 4th

Tristan Lujan, CA - State 4th

Wyatt Yapoujian, CO

Commentary: Three Fargo Runners-Up headline the field. In 2017, Young lost in Fargo finals at 94lbs to Jett Strickenberger, Chambal lost at 100 to Dylan Ragusin, and at 106 Ramos lost to Zeke Escalera. Schriever was a Fargo Champ in 2016 before placing 6th last year.

Despite all the credentials, there aren't many head-to-heads among them as they all sort of converge in weight. Miller over Schriever in Fargo consi's is about it.

Flynn from Tennessee is tough as nails. He made the National Prep finals for McDonogh, MD this year, but does most of his best work from top in folk. Bierdumpfel has been on the scene for a minute now but hasn't quite broken through. 

I like Young, who has sort of filled out and matured a lot since a year ago. Along with Ramos, I think the path goes through him.

Willie's Picks:  1) Young   2) Ramos  3) Flynn   4) Miller

Nomad's Picks: 1) Young   2) Ramos   3) Miller   4) Schriever



Caden McCrary, GA

Caleb Henson, GA

Caleb Rathjen, IA - Northern Plains Champ

Dominick Serrano, CO - Fargo Runner-Up 

Evan Buchanan, VA

Gavin Brown, OH - Central Regional Champ

Jesse Mendez, IN - FloNats 3rd

Joey Cruz, CA - FloNats Runner-Up

Julian Tagg, OH - Returning Champ

Maximo Renteria, CA - Western Regional Champ

Noah Surtin, IL - Fargo Champ

Robert Howard, NJ - Returning Champ

Ryan Crookham, PA - Returning 6th

Teague Travis, MO

Trevor Mastrogiovanni, NJ - Fargo 5th

Vincent Zerban, MO - Fargo 5th

Aaron Nagao, CA - Western Regional Champ

Nick Masters, GA - Fargo Runner-Up

Commentary: Absolutely loaded bracket with so much young talent. It guarantees the U.S. gets an excellent World Team Rep as no one is getting through this bracket easily. You'll have to be mentally tough and consistent.

Let's start with Robbie Howard, who won what is essentially the same weight class last year when he came through unseeded and beat Teske, former World Team Member Aaron Cashman, and Chris Cannon to win the spot. This year he'll be the top seed and the man to beat. Colorado stud Dominick Serrano should be the 4. Mastrogiovanni, who ended up 3rd at 50kg last year with his only loss coming to Tagg (8-7) will likely be the 5.

The two seed should be Julian Tagg, who was also a WTM last year (at 50KG). His bracket included Mastrogiovanni and Isaac Salas, who beat Surtin in the semi's. I see Surtin, who beat Masters last year in Fargo finals at 113, as the 3 seed. 

That's one group. The other distinct group is a bunch of incoming freshmen hammers. Ryan Crookham won a Super 32 title already. Jesse Mendez made Folk Nats finals, and Joey Cruz made the finals of the HS division at FloNationals.

Joey Cruz is gonna be a problem. His pace is ridiculous. And unlike in folk, his opponents won't be saved by the edge or by leg passing to a stalemate. The unfortunate thing for him is that Cadets are 2-minute periods. Still. Gimme him in a 3-match barnburner with Howard. 

If there's an angle to Cruz's game in which he might be susceptible it could be in getting countered while converting takedowns. We haven't seen him in such positions and there are numerous guys that are good there including Crookham and Tagg. 

A little more on Mastro - he was teched by Sokol at Cadet duals and then took 5th at Fargo getting teched by Sokol again and then Phil Moomey. But I think he's a different guy now, mentally and physically, as could be seen in his win over Kurt McHenry. 

Willie's Picks:   1) Mastrogiovanni   2) Howard   3) Tagg    4) Cruz

Nomad's Picks:  1) Mastrogiovanni   2) Tagg   3) Howard   4) Crookham



Caleb Tanner, OK - Fargo 4th

Cody Chittum, TN - NE Regional Champ

Cael Happel, IA

Isaac Riddle, WI - Central Regional Runner-Up

Joshua Saunders, MO - Fargo Champ

Keegan O`Toole, WI - Fargo 4th

Ky Haney, WA - Western Regional Runner-Up

Marckis Branford, PA - Fargo 7th

Phillip Moomey, NE - Fargo 3rd

Reece Witcraft, OK

Reid Ballantyne, MN

Ryan Franco, CA - Fargo Runner-Up

Stockton O`Brien, UT - Western Regional 3rd

Terrell Barraclough, UT

Vince Mannella, GA

Commentary: Saunders beat Franco in Fargo finals last year and is off to a scorching hot freestyle start this summer. He just beat 2016 Cadet World Silver Medalist Vitali Arujau in Vegas, placing 3rd among college competition.

O'Toole was 4th in the same Fargo bracket, losing to Franco 6-0 in the quarters. Both are coming off injuries that prevented them from competing at FloNationals.

After a rough Akron in which he was probably undersized at 58kg, Moomey placed third in Fargo down at 120. The Cornell commit lost in the second round, then ran through the backside with 10 (TEN!) straight victories, posting a pin over Caleb Tanner, and teching both Mastrogiovanni and Terrell Barraclough.

There are several kids that I really think can make a name for themselves. O'Brien and Barraclough have been right on the cusp. Tanner lost early at Fargo and wrestled six consi matches including wins over Witcraft and Branford to place 4th.

Reid Ballantyne has just one loss over the past two years in big school Minnesota, but had to injury default out of Northern Plains. Also keep an eye on Chittum, who won two regionals and tore everyone up doing so.

Willie's Picks:  1) Saunders   2) Tanner   3) Franco   4) O'Toole

Nomad's Picks: 1) Saunders   2) Franco   3) O'Toole   4) Moomey



Aiden Medora, WI - Fargo Runner-Up

Alex Mosconi, IN - Fargo 4th

Brant Whitaker, MO - Northern Plains Champ

Bryce Andonian, OH - Central Regional Champ

Cade DeVos, IA - Fargo 5th

Carson Manville - Fargo Champ

Cael Valencia, CA

Fidel Mayora, IL - Fargo Champ

Isaiah Gonzalez, WA

John Martin Best, WV - Central Region Champ

Joseph Zargo, NJ - NE Regional Champ

Joseph Martin, CA

Kevon Davenport, MI - Fargo Runner-Up

Luka Wick, CA - Fargo 8th

Luke Surber, OK

Matt Lee, IN

Michael Weber, MT - Fargo Runner-Up

Victor Voinovich, OH - Fargo 3rd

Commentary: Three Fargo finalists here, all from three different weights.

A year after losing iin the best-of-three finals to Jordan Decatur, Carson Manville is back looking to make the Cadet team. I'm always dubious of kids doubling up (Carson is wrestling GR as well), but he's good enough to get it done. 

Medora, who lost in the finals at Fargo to Manville, is also here. He gave Voinovich his only loss in that bracket. Voinovich beat Mosconi in the 3/4 match.

Andonian just beat Voinovich for the Central Regional title. I love both guys, but man, has Andonian been rising lately. 

Perhaps the most dynamic of the group is Davenport who was a runner-up to Fidel Mayora in Fargo last year. And I like him a touch better with the shorter periods.

Weber has had a cranky year. He looked great in Fargo when he was a runner-up, 6-5, to Alex Facundo. But he leveled off in folk. Now, he's posting big freestyle wins again. He's a threat.

I also like Devos as a darkhorse. He's had an excellent spring.

Willie's Picks:   1) Andonian   2) Davenport     3) Manville   4) Devos

Nomad's Picks: 1) Davenport   2) Andonian   3) Manville   4) Mayora



Aaron Gandara, AZ - Fargo Runner-Up

Alex Facundo, MI - Fargo Champ

Bubba Wilson, KS

Connor O'Neil, NJ - NE Regional Champ

Coy Cohenour, MT - Western Regional Champ

Donnell Washington, IN - Central Regional 3rd

Graham Calhoun, IN

Jace Luchau, CA - Fargo 3rd

Jack Darrah, MO - Northern Plains Runner-Up

Joshua Otto, WI - Fargo 4th

Kyle Mosher, NY

Lance Runyon, IA - Fargo 3rd

Luca Frinzi, PA - Fargo 6th

Paddy Gallagher, OH - Fargo 6th

Sonny Santiago, CA

Trey Munoz, CA - Fargo 7th

Tyler Ross, MO

Commentary: A year ago at this tournament, Alex Facundo made his national debut. Very quietly. He lost opening round to Jacori Teemer, who of course, would go on to win the spot on the team and take 3rd in the whole wide world. Facundo rattled off some good wins and then didn't place, losing to Kevon Davenport. Thereafter he promptly put the country on notice that he's the best freshman in the country. He won Fargo, giving Lachau his only loss there, and placed 3rd at Super 32 (losing to seniors Mason Phillips and Alex Lloyd). And he's crushed everyone since.

Along with Facundo, three others were Fargo AA's in the 145lb bracket. Luchau took 3rd beating Frinzi, who beat Munoz in consi semi's. Munoz, the son of OK State NCAA Champion, Mark Munoz, beat Luchau during the folk season and finished as state runner-up.

Gandara was the Runner-Up to Starocci at 152.

Runyon and Gallagher were both AA's at 138. Gallagher beat Runyon in the quarters, but triple dipped and Runyon outplaced him. When they were still in 8th grade, Gallagher and Facundo split, with Facundo taking the first round at Flo Kickoff Classic and Gallagher returning the favor at Flo Tulsa Nationals.

Willie's Picks:  1) Facundo   2) Gallagher   3) Frinzi   4) Munoz

Nomad's Picks: 1) Facundo   2) Gallagher   3) Gandara   4) Otto



Abe Assad, IL - Fargo Runner-Up

Carter Starocci, PA - Fargo Champ

Chris Foca, NJ - Northeast Regional Champ

Darrien Roberts, PA - Fargo 3rd

David Key, GA - Fargo Runner-Up

Gage Hockett, OK

Gerrit Nijenhuis, PA - Fargo 4th

Greyden Penner, MO - Northern Plains Runner-Up

Jacob Logan, NY - Fargo Runner-Up

Jacob  Boumans, IL

Jonathon Fagen, ID - Fargo 4th

Julian Ramirez, FL - 2016 Fargo Runner-Up

Kyle Haas, KS - Fargo 8th

Nathan Haas, CA

Patrick Kennedy, MN - Fargo 3rd

Peyton Craft, OH

Rocky Elam, MO - Fargo 6th

Zach Glazier, MN - Fargo 5th

Commentary: I know we're often prisoners of the moment (and sometimes susceptible to hyperbole), but find me a better bracket. There are 11 Fargo AA's, 5 of which reached a final. Incredible!

Let's start with Ramirez. He reached Fargo finals in 2016, losing to Aaron Brooks. He beat Key in the quarters that year. 

Ok, now we can get to last year's results. Starocci was champ at 152, Key was runner-up to Robby Kanniard at 160, and Assad was runner-up to AJ Ferrari at 170 where Kennedy beat Nijenhuis for 3rd. Kennedy's only loss was also to Ferrari. Logan was a runner-up at 182 to Devin Winston, in the same bracket where Roberts beat Fagan for 3rd.

Got it?



Now try to handicap it. With an X factor like Foca, who has little freestyle experience. It's not easy. Even if you could sensibly project seeds, there's so much talent and early round fire, it doesn't even help. It's going to be chaotic. 

Willie's Picks:  1) Ramirez   2) Kennedy   3) Starocci  4) Roberts

Nomad's Picks: 1) Kennedy  2) Starocci  3) Ramirez  4) Logan



AJ Ferrari, TX - Fargo Champ

Braxton Amos, WV - Fargo Champ

Gabe Christenson, IA

Gavin Carter, KS

Jacob Cardenas, NJ - FloNationals Champ

Kolby Franklin, PA - Pan Am Trials 3rd

Matthew Cover, OH - Fargo Runner-Up

Santos Cantu, OR - Fargo 4th

Wyatt Hendrickson, KS - Fargo 3rd

Commentary: A year ago, Amos was returning from injury at the time of Akron. This year, there was a blessing in that the new UWW weights offer 92kg which should suit Amos well. The two-time Fargo freestyle champ beat Cantu and Cantu beat Franklin at Pan Am Trials this spring.

Ferrari was the Fargo Champ at 170, beating Kennedy in quarters, Nijenhuis in semi's, and  Assad in the finals. 

Franklin took 3rd by beating Jacob Kaminski, a nationally ranked wrestler that placed 3rd in Amos' 220 Fargo bracket last year.

Cover, Hendrickson and Cantu were all in the 195lb bracket at Fargo last year that was won by Ashton Sharp. Cover beat Cantu in the semi's. Hendrickson beat Cantu for 3rd.  

Willie's Picks:  1) Ferrari   2) Amos   3) Cardenas   4) Cover   

Nomad's Picks: 1) Ferrari   2) Amos   3) Cardenas   4) Cover  



Andy Garcia, CO

Apollo Gothard, IL

Braxton Mikesell, WA - Western and Northwestern Regionals Champ

Daniel Kerkvliet, MN - Cadet World Champion

Hunter Catka, PA - Fargo 6th

Isaac Righter, MD - Pan Am Trials Runner-Up

Joshua Heindselman, OK

Louden Haga, WV - Fargo Runner-Up

Luke Luffman, IL - Fargo Runner-Up

Commentary:  Kerkvliet, who won Cadet World Gold last year when the weight was 100, is heavy favorite to repeat in Akron (and the World). The phenom just made the Junior Team at 97kg among college competition.

Luffman was the runner-up to Amos last year in Fargo. 

After winning a state title, Catka beat nationally ranked Eli Pokorney at  the Pan Am Trials one round before losing to Righter, 9-2. 

Mikesell beat Gothard in the finals of USA Folk Nationals.  

Willie's Picks:  1) Kerkvliet    2) Catka   4) Luffman   4) Righter

Nomad's Picks: 1) Kerkvliet   2) Catka   3) Luffman   4) Righter