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Super 32 has a long and amazing history. It’s become one of the pillars of the wrestling season. The alumni go on to great things in both their college and international careers, and there are memorable moments and matches made every year.
What often gets lost over time is what kids ‘were’ in high school. Kyle Snyder, David Taylor, Zain Retherford, Spencer Lee - the names of these past champions jump off the page at you because their still doing their thing at the highest level.
But while the list of Super 32 alumni that have successful college/international careers is long and lengthy, my message to high school fans is to sometimes take in what these guys are simply in the moment. Whether they go on to future success or not, there are high school guys that are simply amazing right now.
In fact, my fondest memories S32 are not of the aforementioned legends, but of guys like Ben Whitford, Nicky Hodgkins, and Steve Spearman. At the time they wrestled at Super 32, they were awe inspiring. Over time we forget just how damn tough Frank Cagnina or Marshall Peppelman were; how electric Freddy Rodriguez was, or how Alex Cisneros just always managed to win.
Sometimes, if you allow yourself to be a high school wrestling fan without looking at it through the lens of recruiting and senior careers, it becomes a touch more enjoyable. Read through the list of Super 32 finals and placings and it can keep you occupied and entertained for hours.
Well, that’s my message anyway. Take it or leave it.
One thing that’s not in dispute is the significance that this event now holds. It changes fortunes for wrestlers and perspectives of coaches, rankers, and fans.
And it serves as a quasi-kickoff to the high school season. As such, in this preview I’ll focus on a re-set of sorts, giving head-to-head context of the top contenders as we prepare for what will undoubtedly be another amazing show.
Learn up! Wrestling season is here! Enjoy the ride.
2017 Finals: Cullan Schriever, IA dec. Richie Figueroa, CA, 4-2
2012 Finals: Nick Suriano, NJ dec. Spencer Lee, PA, 4-3
2007 Finals: Alex Cisneros (CA) dec. Jacob Crawford (VA) 3-2
The Ranked: (13)
#1 - Richard Figueroa (CA) - Cadet World Silver
#2 - Nick Fea (NY)
#3 - Braxton Brown (TX) - State Champ
#7 - Cole Skinner (OH) - 2017 Cadet World 5th
#9 - Jordan Williams (OK) - Fargo Cadet Champ
#10 - Stevo Poulin (NY) - Fargo 3rd
#11 - Alex Almeyda (NJ) - Fargo Runner-Up
#12 - Joseph Fischer (PA) - Fargo JR Champ
#13 - Levi Haines (PA)
#15 - Drake Ayala (IA) - Fargo 4th
#16 - Max Black (CO) - Fargo 5th
#19 - Jack Maida (NJ) - Fargo 7th
#20 - Zachary Espalin (AZ) - Fargo 4th
8th-Maxximus Martinez, CA - Fargo Champ
8th-Nasir Bailey, IL
Rocco Camillaci, NY - State 5th
Joey Cangro, NJ - S32 Middle School Runner-Up
Dylan Chappell, PA
Alex Cottey, IN - Fargo 7th
Christian Decatur, NC - State Champ
Richard Fedalen, MD - Fargo 5th
Carter Fousek, IA - Fargo Runner-Up
Paul Garcia, NE
Aiden Lewis, PA - S32 Middle School Champ
Kyle Montaperto, NC - S32 Middle School Champ
Danny Nini, FL - State Champ
Diego Sotelo, IL - State Runner-Up
Gary Steen, PA - State Champ
Jett Strickenberger, CO - 2017 Fargo Cadet Champ
Brett Ungar, NJ - State 6th
Matt Vulakh, PA - State 8th
Kyle Waterman, PA - State 5th
Hayden Zinken, CA
Figs comes in as the undisputed #1. He’s won Cali States, Akron, and made the finals at Cadet Worlds since his appearance here last year where he lost to Schriever in the finals. He beat Skinner, the reigning World Teamer at the time, 9-1 in Akron.
I think Nick Fea is the next best kid in the bracket. We’ll see where he gets seeded. The incoming Wyoming Seminary freshman beat Braxton Brown last month at Waterway Duals.
There are three kids here that I think could make jumps based on now being fully sized 106’s. Stevo Poulin did great in Akron and Fargo and I consider him much better in folk. Jordan Williams didn’t have a great Akron, but a couple months later he was lights out in Fargo. Expect him to be a finalist contender.
The third is my darkhorse pick - Jett Strickenberger. He was a Fargo Champ in 2017 at 94lbs but took some lumps at 106 as a Frosh. If he’s full-sized, he’s gonna ‘upset’ some ranked guys. Book it.
I’d like to mention two others - Maxximus Martinez who won Fargo and was Runner-Up at the Cadet Trials. He’s among the most talented but I think he’ll be much too small.
And let’s see if Levi Haines can keep it rolling. The incoming freshman just beat three ranked foes at Journeymen.
Willie's Picks: 1. Figueroa (CA) 2. Fea (NY) 3. Williams (OK)
4. Brown (TX) 5. Strickenberger (CO) 6. Poulin (NY) 7. Fischer (PA) 8. Almeyda (NJ)
2017 Finals: Ryan Crookham, PA dec. Eric Barnett, WI, 2-0
2012 Finals: Ryan Millhof, GA dec. Sean Russell, GA, 1-0
2008 Finals: Devin Carter (VA) dec. Robert Dyar (AL) 9-5
The Ranked (11)
#1 - Greg Diakomihalis (NY) - CORNELL - Cadet Trials 3rd
#3 - Cullan Schriever (IA) - IOWA - Returning Champ
#4 @ 106 - Vince Cornella (CO) - State Champ
#6 - Jacob Moran (IN) - INDIANA - NHSCA Champ
#8 - Sam Latona (AL) - VIRGINIA TECH - Returning 7th
#9 - Logan Agin (OH) - State 3rd
#10 - Dustin Norris (OH) - Fargo 4th
#12 - Daniel Cardenas (CO) - Fargo Runner-Up
#13 - Cooper Flynn (MD) - Fargo 3rd
#17 - Joey Thompson (MN) - Fargo 5th
#20 - Jordan Titus, NY - NHSCA Runner-Up
Terry Adams, NY - State Champ
Nick Babin, NJ - Returning 6th
Paxton Creese, MN - Fargo GR Champ
Koby Early, NC - NHSCA 8th
Josiah Encarnacion, NY - State 4th
Ivan Garcia, NY - State 5th
Tim Levine, CA - Prep 4th
Nick Kayal, NJ - State 4th
Garrett Lautzenheiser, OH - Fargo 8th
Tristan Lujan, CA - NHSCA Champ
Jacob Mann, MO - Cadet Trials 4th
Kase Mauger, ID - Cadet Trials 7th
Quinn Melofchik, NJ - State 7th
Ben Monn, PA - State 6th
Jacob Moon, OH - Ironman 6th
Nico Nardone, NJ - State 3rd
Anthony Noto, NY - Returning 7th
Dean Peterson, NJ - State Runner-Up
Jeremiah Reno, MO - Returning 3rd
James Riveira, MD - State Champ
Zeke Seltzer (IN) - Fargo 6th
Troy Spratley, NY
Greg D., with wins over both Schriever (at Akron) and Burks (WNO), has established himself as the clear top dog. That being said, this weight is incredibly deep; he’ll be tested early and often.
It’s so deep that picking someone to navigate it with no slip ups might be a fool’s errand. But Greg and Schriever, last year’s champ at 106, are the frontrunners. Greg was 6th at 113.
Also in the mix to make the finals should be Sam Latona and Jeremiah Reno. Latona hasn’t wrestled in a major in quite a while. He won Fargo in 2017. Reno DNP’d at Fargo, losing by tech to Dominic Chavez and Jon Prata. But he had a fantastic 3rd place showing a year ago at S32 with wins over Burks, Bouzakis, Lautzenheiser, and Moran. His only loss came to Richie Figueroa. I think Reno rebounds here.
I really like the 2nd and 3rd place finishers from the Fargo 113 bracket. Daniel Cardenas is one of the top FR in the country. And Cooper Flynn continues to impress. Both lost only to Burks in July.
Give me Norris as a darkhorse pick. He has good leg attacks working off ties. And he’s huge. If he can finish his shots on some of the scrambly guys, he’s gonna be problems.
Keep an eye on Spratley. He hasn’t wrestled in many majors, but the word is that he’s the real deal.
Willie's Picks: 1. Greg D. (NY) 2. Schriever (IA) 3. Norris (OH)
4. Reno (MO) 5. Flynn (TN) 6. Cardenas (CO) 7. Lujan (CA) 8. Spratley (NY)
2017 Finals: Adam Busiello, NY dec. Travis Ford-Melton, IL, 4-2 OT
2012 Finals: Sam Krivus, PA dec. Josh Alber, IL, 5-1
2008 Finals: David Klingsheim (CA) maj. dec. Frank Goodwin (MD) 12-0
The Ranked (10)
#4 - Julian Tagg (OH) - Cadet Trials Runner-Up
#7 - Lucas Byrd (OH) - MARYLAND - Ironman 5th
#9 - Ryan Crookham (PA) - Returning Champ
#10 - Nic Bouzakis (FL) - Returning 5th
#11 - Ryan Sullivan (PA) - PITT - State Champ
#12 - Maximo Renteria (CA) - State Champ
#13 - Corey Gamet (MI) - N.D. STATE - Fargo 5th
#17 - Anthony Clark (NJ) - Returning 5th
#20 - Dylan Cedeno (NJ) - FloNationals 4th
#20 @ 126 - Kyle Gollhofer (GA) - N. IOWA - Returning 6th
Adam Allard, IA - State Champ
Patrick Allis, AZ - State Champ
Sammy Alvarez, NJ - NC STATE - State Runner-Up
Beau Bayless, PA - FloNationals 7th
Brandon Chletsos, PA - S32 Middle School 3rd
Tyler Crew, GA - State Champ
Killian Delaney, PA - State Runner-Up, NHSCA Runner-Up
Carson Eldred, IN - State 4th
Dean Hamiti, IL - State Champ
Ryan Jack, CT - Journeymen Champ
Peyton Keller, OH - FloNationals 5th
Nick Krug, GA - State Champ
Antonio Lorenzo, CA - CAL POLY - Returning 4th
Brayden Lowery, IN - State 5th
Ben Lunn, MN - State Runner-Up
Matt Maloney, PA - LOCK HAVEN - State 5th
Richie Markulics, PA - EDINBORO - State 3rd
Nick Masters, GA - Cadet Trials 7th
Brock McMillen, PA - FloNationals Champ
Lachlan McNeil, CAN - Cadet Pan Am Champ
Jesse Mendez, IN - FloNationals 3rd
Nick Oldham, IA - State Champ
Kurtis Phipps, PA - FloNationals 6th
Ramon Ramos, AZ - State Champ
Oscar Sanchez, OH - OHIO - State Runner-Up
Carson Sauriol, CA - State 5th
Jordan Strmiska, TX - State Runner-Up
Destin Summers, ID - State Runner-Up
Noah Surtin, IL - MISSOURI - Returning 3rd
Wyatt Yapoujian, CO - State Runner-Up
Nain Vasquez, IL - State 4th
Eddie Ventresca, NJ - State 3rd
Will Vombaur, CO - State Champ
Incredibly loaded. Tons of contenders to place. There will be Round of 64 matches that will be of consequence.
Tagg beat Crookham 5-4 in Akron, Crookham beat Bouzakis there 5-2. How good is Bouzakis? In Akron he teched eventual Fargo Runner-Up Caleb Rathjen. He also just beat Gamet in the finals of GFC.
Surtin has been an enigma. At one time he looked like one of the best 125 prospects in America, but he’s hit a cold streak, going just 2-2 in Fargo and falling out of the rankings completely. With Top 3 finishes in several majors, he has the ability. Let’s see if he gets back on track here. He beat Clark here last year.
In Greensboro in 2017 Clark beat Diakomihalis, Sanchez, Latona, Cedeno, and Oldham.
Those are the guys I think have established themselves as clear contenders. As far as darkhorses...where do we start?
Alvarez has a ton of talent as evidenced by his Beast win over Robbie Howard last year. But he’s 0-for-2 in his last two opens (S32 and FloNats). He did beat Ventresca, 1-0 last year, and I’m super high on Ventresca. I think he makes noise this weekend.
Another guy I like is Antonio Lorenzo. He won S32 two years ago beating Greg D. in the finals and was 4th last year.
Ryan Jack is coming off a JMen title with a win over Sean Pierson.
And finally, give me Killian Delaney to beat guys he’s not supposed to. I think the country will know his name after this weekend. He lost a close and controversial bout to Greg D. at Waterway last month.
Willie's Picks: 1. Tagg (OH) 2. Crookham (PA) 3. Clark (NJ)
4. Bouzakis (FL) 5. Renteria (CA) 6. Delaney (PA) 7. Ventresca (NJ) 8. Lorenzo (CA)
2017 Finals: Jakob Camacho, CT dec. Beau Bartlett, AZ, 6-4
2012 Finals: Joey Dance, VA dec. Michael Kemerer, PA, 4-3
2008 Finals: Tucker Armstrong (OH) dec. Frank Cagnina (NJ) 3-2
The Ranked (9)
#2 - Dominick Serrano (CO) - Fargo Champ, FloNationals Champ
#3 - Adam Busiello (NY) - PENN ST. - 3x S32 HS Champion
#4 - Travis Ford Melton (IL) - PURDUE - Returning Runner-Up
#8 - Sean Pierson (PA) - FloNationals Runner-Up
#9 - Kai Orine (MO) - NC STATE - Fargo 5th
#14 - Teague Travis (MO) - Fargo 3rd
#15 - Bretli Reyna (FL) - NHSCA Runner-Up
#17 - Reid Ballantyne (MN) - Fargo 4th
#20 - Vinny Zerban (MO) - Fargo 8th
Austin Almaguer, WA - State Champ
Earl Blake, MD - Fargo 7th
Logan Boe, IN - State 5th
Ashton Brandon, IN - State 7th
Elijah Bundro, PA - State 4th
Dylan Burnoski, IL - State 4th
Colton Camacho, PA - FloNationals 7th
Marcus Castillo, AZ - LITTLE ROCK
Brayden Curtis, IN - State Champ
Tommy Deck, KY - State Champ
Jackson DiSario, GA - State Champ
Cian Fischer, WI - State Runner-Up
Logan Heil, OH - CLEVELAND ST. - State 6th
Caleb Henson, GA - S32 Middle School Runner-Up
Noah Horst, TN - Fargo 8th
Tyler Hunt, GA - Returning 6th
Chris Kelly, AZ/OH - State Runner-Up
Michael Kilic, GA - S32 Middle School Champ
Trey Lane, FL - VIRGINIA - State Champ
Brandon LaRue, NJ - State 6th
Caleb Lemmons, FL - State 4th
Vince Manella, GA - State Champ
Gabe Martinez, TX - State Runner-Up
Caden McCrary, GA - Cadet Trials 6th
Bret Minor, KS - State 3rd
Joey Olivieri, NJ - State Champ
Brayden Palmer, TN - FloNationals 7th
Brandon Paulson, CA - State 6th
Brock Peele, IN - State 7th
Zach Redding, NY - State Champ
Davin Rhoads, OH - State 7th
Jake Svihel, MN - State Runner-Up
Hunter Watts, IN - State Champ
Gabe Willochell, PA - State 6th
Zack Witmer, PA - State 5th
Shayne Van Ness, NJ - NHSCA Champ
Contrasting 120, the 126 field seems top heavy and the top contenders more certain.
Busiello’s run at S32 is, frankly, absurd. Win or lose this year, three straight (and more if you count MS) S32 titles in a row is unlikely to ever be replicated.
Now, for history. Can Busi make it four?
Here’s the book on him: he takes the occasional loss - sometimes to guys that have no business beating him - but he just gets it done in Greensboro.
Back is Ford-Melton, who pushed him to the brink in the finals last year. Manella just beat him in Grappler Fall Classic last week. But remember, Ford-Melton also lost at GFC last year before making S32 finals.
The other obvious threat is Dom Serrano, who is, when he’s on, darn near unbeatable. He won both FloNationals (over Pierson) and Fargo (over Burnett). However, in between he lost to Teague Travis. In Akron, Travis beat Serrano, Dylan Ragusin, and Zeke Escalera.
I’m taking those four as the top placers.
My top darkhorse is Joey Olivieri. Ultra talented, Olivieri went from state champ as a FR at 106 to 3-2 at Fargo 126. If he’s grown into and adjusted to the weight, it wouldn’t surprise me to see him make a dent in this bracket.
I’m also interested in GA’s Tyler Hunt who took 6th last year beating Asa Garcia, majoring Mosha Schwartz, and losing to Connor McGonagle, Dylan D’Emilio, and Sammy Hillegas (all Top 10 guys) by a total of 4 points.
Watch for Indiana's Brayden Palmer who beat Manella and Reyna to win GFC.
Willie's Picks: 1. Serrano (CO) 2. Busiello (NY) 3. Ford-Melton (IL)
4. Travis (MO) 5. Orine (MO) 6. Palmer (TN) 7. Olivieri (NJ) 8. Hunt (GA)
2017 Finals: Joey Silva, FL dec. Jesse Vasquez, CA, 3-2
2012 Finals: Dean Heil, OH dec. Aaron Pico, CA, 11-9 OT
2008 Finals: Zachariah Neibert (OH) dec. Sam Sherlock (PA) 3-0
The Ranked (14)
#4 - Beau Bartlett (PA) - Returning Runner-Up
#5 - Julian Chlebove - ARIZONA ST. - Returning 5th
#7 - Sam Hillegas (PA) - Returning 4th
#8 - Dylan D'Emilio (OH) - OHIO ST. - Returning 5th
#10 - Joshua Edmond (MI) - Fargo Cadet Champ
#11 @ 138 - Patrick Noonan (PA) - NHSCA Champ, FloNats 3rd
#12 - Malyke Hines (FL) - LEHIGH - Returning 5th
#14 - Asa Garcia (IN) - INDIANA - FloNationals 3rd
#14 @ 138 - Frankie Tal-Shahar (FL) - Cadet Trials Runner-Up
#15 - Mick Burnett (OH) - Fargo Runner-Up
#16 - Kenny Hermann (PA) - State 4th
#16 @ 126 - Wyatt Henson, MO - Fargo 3rd
#20 - Justin Rivera (FL) - FloNationals 4th
#20 @ 138 - Gabriel Hixenbaugh (AL) - CAMPBELL
Matt Bianchi, WI - State Champ
Cael Berg, MN - State 5th
Marckis Branford, PA - GEORGE MASON - Cadet Trials 7th
Jack Ganos, WI - State Runner-Up
Will Grater, NJ - State 8th
Jordan Hamdan, MI - FloNationals 7th
Kellyn March, SD - Fargo 6th
Justin McDougald, NY - State Runner-Up (to Busiello)
Darren Miller, PA - BUCKNELL - State 3rd
Mark Montgomery, NJ
Nick Moore, OH - State Runner-Up
Val Park, OK - FloNationals 8th
Gianno Petrucelli, CA - State 6th
Marcos Polanco, CA - State 4th
Ryder Ramsey, OK - ARMY - Fargo 8th
Chris Rivera, FL - State 3rd
Julian Sanchez, OH - ARMY - Returning 8th
Logan Sciotto, NY - State 3rd
Ryan Sokol, MN - 2017 Fargo Champ
Nick Vafiadis, VA - S32 Middle School Runner-Up
A fantastic field of five Top 10 guys, and 70% of all the ranked guys in the nation, 132 offers both high level star power without any foregone conclusions. Any combination of these guys will make the 132lb finals one of the best of the day.
Bartlett led Josh Saunders early in Akron before Saunders won the bout with par terre offense.
Bartlett lost in the finals last year to Jakob Camacho after beating Hillegas (4-1) in semi’s. The other loss for Hillegas was to Connor McGonagle in the 3rd place match. He beat D’Emilio and Edmond along the way. The Edmond match was a close 4-3 decision and Edmond looked fantastic in Fargo, teching his way to the finals. However, Bartlett beat Edmond 8-0 in Akron.
Speaking of Akron, Tal-Shahar was the runner-up in that bracket. He didn't have a good Fargo, but just beat Edmond and Hines to win Grappler Fall Classic.
The real curveball is Julian Chlebove. He wrestled 132 last year and looked small for the weight. He placed 5th losing to Quinn Kinner and Jesse Vasquez while beating Saunders and Crace. His time off the mat might give you a reason to lower expectations a bit, but I’ve seen him recently (at Waterway Duals) and he looks ready to compete - even at a S32 level.
So we have a top tier group of Saunder-Bartlett-Chlebove-Hillegas-D’Emilio-Edmond-Tal-Shahar. Should any of them make the final, no one would bat an eye. With such a strong core I have no problem calling Noonan my darkhorse despite being ranked 11th in the country. I see no one else able to crack the top group. And Noonan gets lost because he missed the state tournament with an injury only to go on and win NHSCA’s and its tournament of champions. That being said, he did lose to Justin Rivera early at FloNationals.
A lot of eyes will be on Sokol, who won Fargo in 2017 before having to stay off the mat for an extended time due to injuries. He returned last week and went 3-1 with a loss to Eddie Bolivar.
Willie's Picks: 1. Chlebove (PA) 2. Bartlett (AZ) 3. Hillegas (PA)
4. D'Emilio (OH) 5. Noonan (PA) 6. Tal-Shahar (FL) 7. Edmond (MI) 8. Burnett (OH)
2017 Finals: Ryan Anderson, PA dec. Jaden Abas, CA, 3-2 OT
2012 Finals: Zain Retherford, PA dec. Neal Malloy, IN, 5-0
2008 Finals: David Taylor (OH) dec. Josh Kindig (PA) 1-0
The Ranked (11)
#3 - Jaden Abas (CA) - STANFORD - Returning Runner-Up
#4 - Gabriel Tagg (OH) - N. CAROLINA - Fargo Runner-Up
#5 - Jesse Vasquez (CA) - Returning Runner-Up
#6 - Jordan Crace (OH) - MICHIGAN ST. - Ironman Runner-Up
#7 - Mosha Schwartz (CO) - FloNationals Champ
#8 - Manzona Bryant (OH) - FloNationals Runner-Up
#9 - Luke Baughman (OH) - INDIANA - Ironman 4th
#10 - Ed Scott (PA) - Fargo 5th
#12 - Lucas Revano (NJ) - PENN - Fargo 4th
#17 @ 145 - Devin Schwartzkopf (MO) - NHSCA Runner-Up, FloNats 3rd
#19 - Jackson Dean (DE) - PENN - Fargo 3rd
Dylan Avery, OJ - State Champ
Sincere Bailey, IL - State 3rd
Joey Bianchi, WI - State Runner-Up
Noah Castillo, FL - State 3rd
Jagger Condomitti, PA - Fargo 6th
Derek Gilcher, MI - State Champ
Job Greenwood, CO - State Runner-Up
Conner Gimson, IN - State 5th
Isaiah Gonzalez, WA - State Champ
Peyton Hall, WV - FloNationals 6th
Max Kauffman, AL - State Runner-Up
Ty Linsenbigler, PA
Alek Martin, OH - State Runner-Up
Aiden Medora, WI - WISCONSIN - FloNationals 8th
Wade Monebrake, OH - State Runner-Up (to Decatur)
Alex Mosconi, IN - State Runner-Up
Bryce Nickel, AZ - NHSCA Final
Micah Norwood, OH
Stockton O’Brien, UT - State Champ
Luke Odom, IL - ILLINOIS - Fargo 3rd
Cam Robinson, PA - State 5th
Cayden Rooks, IN - INDIANA - State Runner-Up
Alex Samson, NY - State 6th
Blake Saito, OH - State 8th
Nick Stonecheck, GA - State Champ
Gavin Quiocho, WV - State Champ
Aaden Valdez, CO - State Runner-Up
Nick Valfiadis, VA - S32 Middle School Runner-Up
Alec Viduya, IN - State 4th
Chase Warden, TX - Fargo 5th
Dylan Weaver, NJ
Tyler Williams, PA - State 6th
I love this weight.
Although there is a certain pecking order - one that includes Abas, Tagg, Vasquez, and Crace - it differs from 132 in that the top tier at that weight seems impenetrable, where here, I could see someone coming out of ‘the others’ to make the finals.
Tagg (who was 2nd) and Abas (3rd) beat Crace (6th) in Fargo. Abas just lost to O’Toole (registered at 145 here) at WNO. Also in Fargo, Crace beat Revano. He defaulted to Scott in the ⅚ match.
Vazquez took just two losses last year, Both to Joey Silva and both very narrowly - in the finals here and in Ironman semi’s. He hasn’t wrestled a match since Juniors at US Open Week and I’m dying to see him again. He’s incredibly difficult to score on and is a strong contender to make it back to the finals.
The next group has been a bit up and down, but very capable of multiple big wins. Schwartz was just 3-2 here last year losing to Tyler Hunt and D’Emilio. But he stopped cutting so much weight and went on a tear, taking 3rd at NHSCA’s and 1st at FloNats where he beat Medora and Bryant.
His one loss at NHSCA’s...Schwartzkopf, who went 2nd at NHSCA and 3rd at Flo. He lost in NHSCA finals to Colton Yapoujian.
Both Schwartzkopf and Revano were at Journeymen last week at 145. Schwartkopf was 2nd, beating Darracott and losing to Cael Valencia. Revano was 4th and lost to both. Revano beat Scott in Fargo consi semi’s, 7-6. Scott was also 3rd at NHSCA’s where he beat Peyton Hall.
Willie's Picks: 1. Vasquez (CA) 2. Abas (CA) 3. Tagg (OH)
4. Crace (OH) 5. Schwartzkopf (MO) 6. Schwartz (CO) 7. Scott (PA) 8. Linsenbigler (PA)
2017 Finals: Mason Phillips, WA md. Quincy Monday, TX, 13-4
2012 Finals: Grant Leeth, MO default Solomon Chishko, PA
2008 Finals: Andrew Alton (PA) maj. dec. Taylor Massa (MI) 15-5
The Ranked (12)
#2 - Ryan Anderson (PA) - IOWA ST. - Returning Champ
#2 @ 138 - Keegan O'Toole (WI) - MISSOURI - Fargo Champ
#3 - Fidel Mayora (IL): Cadet Trials Runner-Up
#4 - Kevon Davenport (MI) - NEBRASKA - Cadet Trials 3rd
#8 @ 152 - Christopher Donathan (OH) - State Runner-Up
#9 @ 152 - Michael North (OH) - MARYLAND - FloNationals Champ
#14 - James Whitaker (MI) - VIRGINIA - FloNationals Champ
#15 - Ryan Vulakh (PA) - GEORGE MASON - Returning 7th
#16 - Cael Valencia (CA) - Fargo 3rd
#17 - Charlie Darracott (GA) - State Champ
#19 - Andrew Cerniglia (PA) - State 4th
#20 - Caleb Dowling (PA) - State Runner-Up
Kolby Allred, VA - State Champ
Alec Cook, WV - State Champ
Jaxon Garoutte, CO - State Runner-Up
Dashawn Farber, GA/PA - State Champ
Erik Gibson, PA - S32 Middle School Runner-Up
AJ Kovacs, CT - State Champ
Liam Lusher, WV - State Runner-Up
Matt Lee, IN - State 7th
Alfonso Martinez, AZ
Warren McDougald, NY - State 3rd
Chance McLane, MT - State Champ
Gabe Miller, PA - PENN - State 6th
Avry Mutschler, MI - KENT ST. - FloNationals 8th
Antonio Petrucelli, PA - Fargo 4th
Brayden Roberts, WV - State Champ
Antonio Segura, CO - Fargo 8th
Alex Strashinsky, NJ - Fargo 7th
Anthony Ulaszek, CO - State 4th
Wade Unger, NJ - State 5th
Alex Whitworth, GA - State Champ
Luka Wick, CA - State 5th
Lucas Willis, FL - State Champ
Joey Zargo, NJ - Fargo 7th
Fargo Champ (O’Toole) and defending S32 (Anderson) with tons of threats throughout.
Anderson has been incredibly consistent. After winning S32 last year where he beat Abas and Marshall Keller, Anderson’s only losses have been to Top 3 guys: Manville (whom he also beat), Aragona, and Real Woods.
None of our next three ranked contenders came to S32 last year.
O’Toole took 5th at Akron and then won Fargo where his path was Mosha Schwartz, Ed Scott, and Gabe Tagg. He’s coming off a win over Abas and a loss to Aragona at WNO. I think he’s gonna be a bit undersized and perhaps (as a Junior) a year away from winning a S32 belt, but he’ll be in the mix for a high placing.
Next up is Fidel Mayora who is just a bull. He’s a tough out and upped his stock in Akron beating Luke Surber and Cade Devos before taking 1 of 3 against Manville in the finals.
Davenport also didn’t appear at S32 a year ago but is a finalist contender. His Akron ledger was almost as identical to Mayora’s. He took 3rd, losing only to Manville beating Surber, Scott, and eventual Fargo Champ Bryce Andonian.
My next title contender is FloNat’s Champ James Whitaker who first made his mark on the national scene at S32 last year, placing 5th with wins over Mitch Moore and Vulakh. He won FloNationals with wins over Marshall Keller, Jason Kraisser, and Darracott.
That’s my finalist group: Anderson-O’Toole-Mayora-Davenport-Whitaker.
I think Donathan and North, who finished 2nd and 4th in their same state tourney bracket will be mid-placers. Last year neither placed in Greensboro, with Donathan losing to Cam Amine and Josh Otto and North losing to Brock Mauller and an unranked wrestler. North would rebound with four ranked wins at Ironman and a FloNats title with wins over Otto and Kolby Ho.
I like a couple darkhorses to contend for placings. Cael Valencia just went 3rd in FS, 1st in GR in Fargo and just knocked off Lucas Revano and Devin Schwartzkopf at Journeymen. And give me him and AJ Kovacs (CT) to surprise some people.
Willie's Picks: 1. Anderson (PA) 2. Davenport (MI) 3. O'Toole (WI)
4. Whitaker (MI) 5. Donathan (OH) 6. Mayora (IL) 7. Valencia (CA) 8. North (OH)
2017 Finals: Brevin Balmeceda, FL dec. Josh Kim, CA, 4-0
2012 Finals: Mark Hall, MN dec. Garrett Hammond, PA, 8-5
2008 Finals: Jackson Morse (MI) dec. Joseph Napoli (PA) 4-3
The Ranked (9)
#2 @ 160 - Brevin Balmeceda (FL) - OK STATE - Returning Champ
#3 - Connor Brady (OH) - VIRGINIA TECH - Fargo 3rd
#4 - Cameron Amine (MI) - MICHIGAN - Returning 5th
#5 - Thayne Lawrence (PA) - State Champ
#13 @ 160 - Aaron Gandara (CA) - Cadet Trials 7th
#16 - Sonny Santiago (CA) - Cadet Trials 5th
#17 - John Martin Best (WV) - Fargo Runner-Up
#18 - Clayton Ulrey (PA) - Fargo 5th
#20 - Cole Handlovic (PA) - State 6th
BJ Bailey, IL - State Runner-Up
Bennett Berge, MN
Nick Bennett, NJ - State Runner-Up
Donny Cates, NC - NC STATE - Fargo 3rd
Lucas Da Silva, GA - State Champ
Drew Eller, GA - State Champ
Baylor Fernandes, IL - MINNESOTA - State 4th
Nathan Haubert, PA - LEHIGH - State Champ
Johnny Lovett, FL - State Champ
Christian Minto, FL - NHSCA 4th
Kyle Mosher, NY - COLUMBIA - State 5th
Joey Martin, CA - S32 Middle School Champ
Jacob Mariakis, GA - State Champ
Nathan Moore, WA - State Champ
Elliot Rodgers, IN - State Runner-Up
Daniel Segura, OH - State 4th
Daniel Snediker, WA - State Champ
Balmeceda is the returning champ. His only losses in the last year are to Facundo last week at WNO and to Justin Ruffin who was 3rd in the S32 bracket Balmeceda won.
Connor Brady is one of the most consistent performers in the country that never won ‘a big one’. He placed 5th here two years and 3rd at Fargo in July. This could be his moment. He just came off a Journeymen tournament in which he beat Lawrence (5-4) and majored John Martin Best (11-1).
Lawrence burst on the national scene last year at this very event when he beat Alex Lloyd. His losses were to eventual champ Mason Phillips and then Lloyd in the blood round.
Amine makes for three guys who stand out as obvious title contenders. He was 5th at both last year’s S32 and this year’s Fargo where he teched Gandara but had to default to Lloyd in the semi’s when he rolled his ankle.
While the rest of the field has the ability to knock anyone off, they fall into the next tier.
Best was the Fargo Runner-Up to Carson Manville. Santiago beat him last week at Journeymen and lost to Lawrence (5-1). Brady beat Santiago in the blood round at Fargo.
Haubert, a PA State Champ, went 0-2 at Journeymen last week. Let’s see how he comes back.
Jacob Mariakis was a blood round finisher here last year. He and Fernandes should be in the mix for a placing.
Keep an eye on Joey Martin. The incoming freshman will eventually be a star.
Willie's Picks: 1. Brady (OH) 2. Lawrence (PA) 3. Amine (MI)
4. Balmeceda (FL) 5. Santiago (CA) 6. Best (WV) 7. Ulrey (PA) 8. Gandara (AZ)
2017 Finals: Ryan Thomas, OH dec. Dustin Plott, OK, 8-7 OT
2012 Finals: Isaiah Martinez, CA dec. Josh Llopez, MD, 9-4
2008 Finals: Marshall Peppelman (PA) dec. Brandon Rolnick (NJ) 3-1
The Ranked (7)
#1 - Alex Facundo (MI) - Cadet World Bronze
#7 @ 170 - Matthew Ortiz (IL) - INDIANA - Ironman 6th
#8 - Joshua Otto (WI) - WISCONSIN - Cadet Trials Runner-Up
#11 - Gavin Kane (GA) - NHSCA 3rd
#12 - Tyler Stoltzfus (PA) - NHSCA 3rd
#16 - Farouq Muhammed (OH) - Returning 4th
#20 - Jacob Lagoa (OH) - State Champ
Vince Andreano, NJ
Ethan Baney, PA - State 4th
Noah Blake, CA - AIR FORCE - State 3rd
Graham Calhoun, IN - NHSCA Champ
Jack Chesman, NY - State Runner-Up
Coy Cohenour, MT - NHSCA 6th
Corey Connolly, NY - State 4th
Ethan Davis, FL - State Runner-Up
Aurileus Dunbar, PA - State 3rd
David Ferrante, IL - State 4th
Kekana Fouret, ID - NHSCA 5th
Luca Frinzi, PA - LEHIGH - State 7th
Hunter Jump, OK - State Champ
Troy Mantanona, CA - State 7th
Ty McGeary, PA - State 6th
Jaxon Moore, UT - State Runner-Up
Collin Nation, FL - State Runner-Up
Ben Pasiuk, OH - State Runner-Up
Cory Peterson, IL - NHSCA 5th
Todd Perry, FL - State Champ
Wyatt Pfau, CO - State Champ
Cole Rees, PA - NHSCA Champ
Keller Rock, AZ - State 3rd
Brenden Severs, OH - S32 Middle School Runner-Up
Donnell Washington, IN - NHSCA Runner-Up
Max Wilner, CA - NHSCA Champ
Despite Facundo winning Fargo Cadets last year, it wasn’t until his 4th place finish in Greensboro that he got people all in a tizzy. Now he’s known as one of the best pound-for-pound wrestlers in the country entering just his sophomore season and he’s in a field which, despite having a lot of depth, he should have little trouble navigating.
Ortiz beat Blake at Ironman last year. Otto has been hot and cold. The ‘hot’ was making the Akron finals and taking 1 of 3 bouts from Facundo.
Farouq Muhammed is my surprise finalist pick of the tournament. He was 4th here last year losing only to Balmeceda and Ruffin and wins over Otto, Jake Marsh, Matt Grippi, and Peter Enos.
Give me Kane and Stoltzfus as the next, ‘mid’ tier. Kane won 4-3 at Journeymen after Stoltzfus beat Gandara.
The darkhorse to watch is Calhoun. He’s had a number of ranked wins, so the ability is there. If he can put a consistent tourney together he can make a run. He beat Kane at JMen but lost to unranked Connolly.
I also really like Donnell Washington and have been waiting for him to bust out. He was the NHSCA Runner-Up to Balmeceda. He also placed 8th in Akron.
Willie's Picks: 1. Facundo (MI) 2. Muhammed (OH) 3. Otto (IL)
4. Ortiz (IL) 5. Stoltzfus (PA) 6. Calhoun (IN) 7. Kane (GA) 8. Washington (IN)
2017 Finals: Patrick Kennedy, MN dec. Chris Foca, NJ, 10-6
2012 Finals: Cody Wiercioch, PA dec. Brett Harner, PA, 5-3
2008 Finals: Andrew Clement (VA) dec. Stephen Doty (MO) 1-0
The Ranked (9)
#4 - Dustin Plott (OK) - OK STATE - Returning Runner-Up
#5 - Patrick Kennedy (MN) - IOWA - Returning Champ
#8 - Alex Cramer (IL) - OLD DOMINION - NHSCA Runner-Up
#9 - Christopher Foca (NJ) - CORNELL - Returning Runner-Up
#10 - Kai Bele (FL) - NC STATE - Ironman 6th
#12 @ 182 - Luke Nichter (PA) - State Runner-Up
#12 - Troy Fisher (KS) - NORTHWESTERN - NHSCA 4th
#13 - Edmond Ruth (PA) - LEHIGH - NHSCA 5th
#16 - Greyden Penner (MO) - Fargo 3rd
Derek Blubaugh, IN - State 6th
Kolton Clark, AL - State Runner-Up
Adrien Cramer, IL - NHSCA 7th
Jack Darrah, MO
Ashton Habeil, FL - NHSC Runner-Up
Brett McIntosh, OH
Leonard Pinto, PA - NHSCA 3rd
Shane Rietsma, NJ - NHSCA 6th
Matt Rogers, NY - State 4th
Brian Schneider, DE - State Champ
Joseph Walker, IN
It’s not often that we get three returning finalists in an upperweight bracket. 170 seems to be the deepest in the country and the beautiful thing about it is these guys compete very often.
Plott lost to Ryan Thomas (now at Minnesota) in last year’s finals at 160. Just after, Kennedy beat Foca, 10-6.
Plott went on to make the finals of the JR Open in April.
Kennedy took 6th in Akron. But in retrospect, it wasn’t your typical 6th place. He beat Foca and Winston but lost to Starocci, David Key, and Jake Logan. Every one of those guys are Top 10.
Foca was 7th in Fargo with losses to Starocci and Keckeisen. He’s coming off a great showing at JMen with a win over Rietsma and a 14-1 major of Bele. He pinned Ruth at Disney Duals.
A number of these guys were in the same NHSCA JR bracket. Cramer beat Fisher in the semi’s before losing to Jackson Turley. Fisher beat Christian Rodriguez and split matches with FloNationals’ finalist Jared McGill. Ruth was 5th in the bracket, also beating Rodriguez and losing to McGill.
Cramer also just won a GFC bracket where Bele lost to two unranked wrestlers. And he teched Foca at JR Duals.
I’m interested to see Kolton Clark. He didn’t place at Fargo, but he had two wins this summer over Fargo finalist Robby Kanniard.
Also interested in Nichter, the state runner-up to Trent Hidlay.
Willie's Picks: 1. Plott (OK) 2. Kennedy (MN) 3. Foca (NJ)
4. Ruth (PA) 5. Cramer (IL) 6. Fisher (KS) 7. Nichter (PA) 8. Bele (FL)
2017 Finals: Cody Mulligan, PA dec. Josh Stillings, PA, 4-3
2012 Finals: Jake Taylor, PA dec. BJ Toal, OH, 3-1
The Ranked (11)
#2 - Abe Assad (IL) - IOWA - Cadet World Bronze
#3 - Carter Starocci (PA) - Fargo 4th
#6 - Jackson Turley (VA) - RUTGERS - NHSCA Champ
#6 @ 170 - Gerrit Nijenhuis (PA) - NHSCA Champ
#9 - Zach Glazier (MN) - IOWA - Cadet Trials 5th
#11 @ 170 - Christian Rodriguez (CA) - FRESNO ST. - NHSCA 6th
#16 - Rocky Elam (MO) - Fargo Champ
#17 - Carson Brewer (IN) - FloNationals 3rd
#18 - Julian Gorring (PA) - APPALACHIAN ST. - State Runner-Up
#19 - Sammy Deprez, NY - BINGHAMTON - State 3rd
#20 - Nathan Haas (CA) - Fargo Runner-Up
Vince Baker, GA - State Champ
Sam Fisher, VA - Fargo 7th
Christian Knop, AL - NC STATE - NHSCA Runner-Up
Mike Misita, NJ - NHSCA Runner-Up
John Poznanski, NJ - Fargo 4th
Trey Sizemore, OH - State 7th
Chase Stegall, MO - NHSCA Runner-Up
Both Iowa commits, Assad (1st) and Glazier (5th) had their arrival party in Akron. Assad beat Starocci in a tight 2-2 match. He teched Nijenhuis 15-4.
Starocci, that was his only loss and he beat Key, Kennedy, Penner, and Hatcher. Glazier had a similar ledger: his losses were to Ramirez and Key and he beat Hatcher, Logan, and Darrien Roberts.
Brewer beat Glazier here last year (3-0) but neither placed.
Elam beat Nathan Haas in Fargo finals. Poznanski was 4th in that bracket.
Deprez is coming off a breakout Journeymen where he beat Turley, Knop, and Stegall.
Gorring was the state runner-up to last year’s S32 Champ Cody Mulligan.
Willie's Picks: 1. Starocci (PA) 2. Assad (IL) 3. Turley (VA)
4. Glazier (MN) 5. Nijenhuis (PA) 6. Elam (MO) 7. Gorring (PA) 8. Brewer (IN)
2017 Finals: Jared Ball, OH dec. Lucas Davison, IN, 5-1
2012 Finals: Matt McCutcheon, PA dec. Ray O’Donnell, PA, 4-1
2008 Finals: Derrick Borlie (VA) pinned Nick Mills (OH) 1:30
The Ranked (7)
#3 - Jacob Cardenas (NJ) - CORNELL - Cadet Trials 5th
#5 - Wyatt Hendrickson (KS) - AIR FORCE - Fargo 3rd
#7 - Konner Doucet (OK) - OK STATE - Cadet Trials Runner-Up
#9 - Silas Allred (IN) - Folk Nats Champ
#11 - Santos Cantu (OR) - State Champ
#12 - Matthew Cover (OH) - PRINCETON - Fargo & Akron 8th
#18 - Kolby Franklin (PA) - Fargo Runner-Up
Logan Andrew, FL - State Champ
Stephen Buchanan, WI - State Champ
Jacob Good, CA - State 4th
David Harper, GA - Fargo 7th
Brandon Hoselton, IL - NHSCA Runner-Up
Kevin McKosky, MD - NHSCA 6th
Brent Paulus, OH - Fargo 8th
Hunter Tobiasson, CO - State Runner-Up
Easton Turner, MI - State Champ
Malcolm Wiley, GA - State Champ
Jack Wimmer, PA - NHSCA 4th
Cardenas enters the tournament as a clear favorite after a state title, a FloNationals title, and an Akron where he split matches with returning S32 Champ Amos. Last week he soundly beat Silas Allred to win Journeymen.
Allred should be considered one of the candidates to make the finals opposite Cardenas in a group with Hendrickson and Doucet.
Hendrickson’s only loss at Fargo came to Peter Christensen and he teched Cantu. He also teched Franklin, the Fargo double Cadet finalist, in Akron.
Doucet split matches with Christensen, beating him in Akron where his only losses were to Ferrari in the finals, and losing to Christensen in Fargo.
Cover lost in Fargo to Hendrickson and beat both Franklin and Andrew in Akron.
I’m keeping an eye on the youngsters. Franklin and Harper are both freshmen that had going showings in Fargo. I think they’ll make jumps after getting their feet wet with their first HS major.
Willie's Picks: 1. Cardenas (NJ) 2. Hendrickson (KS) 3. Doucet (OK)
4. Allred (IN) 5. Harper (GA) 6. Buchanan (WI) 7. Franklin (PA) 8. Cover (OH)
2017 Finals: Braxton Amos, WV dec. Peter Acciardi, NJ, 3-1
2012 Finals: Kyle Snyder, MD dec. Thomas Haines, PA, 8-4
2008 Finals: Antonio Giorgio (PA) maj. dec. Christian McLean (NC) 9-0
The Ranked (5)
#1 - Braxton Amos (WV) - Returning Champ
#4* - Yaraslau Slavikouski (MA) - NHSCA Champ
#6 - Joshua Heindselman (OK) - OKLAHOMA - Fargo 5th
#8 - Garrett Kappes (MD) - Fargo 7th
#19 - Nathan Deasey (AZ) - Fargo Champ
Kyle Cornwell, IN - State 5th
Grady Greiss, NE - State Runner-Up
Chase Horne, GA
Jacob McMaster, PA - State 3rd
KJ Miley, MO - Folk Nats 7th
Tarik Sutkovic, AZ - NHSCA 7th
Name recognition and clout have Amos as a shoe-in repeat champ with this field. And though I’m picking Amos to do so, Slavikouski does have a win over Amos in freestyle.
The asterisk next to Slavikouski is because he’s out of eligibility for both NFHS and National Preps. In short, he’s too old to wrestle high school. He was ranked 4th at the end of the season before he was removed from the rankings.
He has been the Prep runner-up to Michael Beard the last two years and win NHSCA JR’s in a very solid bracket that featured Jacob Bullock, FloNats Champ Lewis Fernandes, Heindselman, and Sutkovic.
Garrett Kappes is also an interesting story. He wrestled 170 last season, placing 5th before bulking all the way up to 220 and placing in Fargo.
Something got in to Deasey. After not placing in his state tournament he went 2nd at NHSCA, 2nd at Folk Nats, and 1st at Fargo.
Cornwell majored Miley to win Hoosier Preseason.
Willie's Picks: 1. Amos (WV) 2. Slavikouski (MA) 3. Heindselman (OK)
4. Deasey (AZ) 5. Kappes (MD) 6. Cornwell (IN) 7. McMasters (PA) 8. Sutkovic (AZ)
2017 Finals: Anthony Cassioppi, IL md. Max Darrah, MO, 8-0
2012 Finals: Jesse Webb, VT dec. Luke Fleck, PA, 9-4
2008 Finals: Sam Brownlee (PA) dec. Joe McElhinney (PA) 3-1
The Ranked (6)
#10 - Jorden Pryor (MD) - MARYLAND - Returning 6th
#11 - Thomas Mukai (VA) - Pan Am Trials Champion
#16 - Isaac Righter (MD) - Cadet Trials 6th
#17 - Andy Garcia (CO) - State Champ
#18 - Colby Whitehill (PA) - CLARION - Fargo Runner-Up
#19 - Louden Haga (WV) - LEHIGH - NHSCA Runner-Up
Alex Coleman, OH
Aidan Conner, TX - PRINCETON - State Champ.
Michael Kramer, TN - Returning 5th
Noah Koch, OH - State 3rd
Matuesz Kudra, MA - Journeymen Champ
Jalen Stephens, PA - Fargo 5th
As a whole, this group represents a lot of talent but a lot of inconsistency. In other words, it’s a group of darkhorses. One of them will make a name for himself.
I’d consider Pryor the leader of the pack, but not by much. In fact, Kramer beat him in the ⅚ bout here a year ago. Pryor teched Garcia in Fargo.
Mukai, a state Champ from Robinson, VA, beat Righter in the finals of the Cadet Pan Am Trials. In the semi’s Righter beat Hunter Catka (PA), who is regarded as )ne of the best big men in the country.
Righter was also 3rd at NHSCA Soph’s. Haga was 2nd and Kramer 3rd in JR’s though they didn’t hit. Haga was a Runner-Up in Fargo in ‘17 but went just 1-2 in Akron this spring.
There are couple tough Texas big guys I like and Conner is one of them. He beat one of the others (Sean DelMonte) and went undefeated at Junior Duals. Though he hasn’t faced the toughest competition, I’m really interest to see just how good he is.
Willie's Picks: 1. Pryor (MD) 2. Whitelhill (PA) 3. Righter (MD)
4. Mukai (VA) 5. Kramer (TN) 6. Conner (TX) 7. Kudra (MA) 8. Garcia (CO)