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Several wrestlers used FloNationals as a launching pad to new identity.
In wrapping up our FloNational coverage, here is a baker's dozen prospects that elevated their status.
#13 - JR. Matt Lee, Indiana
Wins: Austin Boone
Losses: Jace Luchau
Willie's Assessment: Lee continues to develop. His trajectory is not unlike his brother Joe's. He teched Michigan 3xer and lost a tight one to Lachau who is very tough to score on and who has emerged as one of the most consistent freestylers in high school. It was a good follow up to Lee's first state title.
#12 - FR. Zeke Seltzer, Indiana
Wins: Anthony Noto
Losses: Rocco Welsh, Jake Rundell
Willie's Assessment: For me it was all about the eyeball test. You don't usually put a 7th place finisher as a guy who 'jumped levels,' but I loved what I saw: talent and motor out of a freshman. I think he has a bright future.
#11 - SO. Kyonte Hamilton, District of Columbia
Wins: Nathan Deasey
Losses: Hunter Catka
Willie's Assessment: Like Seltzer, Hamilton's inclusion is not exactly about the finish. Hamilton was already known as a young talent, but one that had football to consider. His stock rose simply by entering the tournament; a move that signaled a commitment to the sport. He's still raw, and lost on some positions he frankly just wasn't used to being in. His increased activity this spring/summer could see him improve drastically.
#10 - SO. Joey Fischer, Pennsylvania
Finish: 1st in both styles
Wins: Kelly Dunnigan
Willie's Assessment: Fischer becomes an interesting prospect. We've all seen how difficult it is for projected 125lbers to hold that weight. With Fischer down at 106 (for three straight days) combined with his past results (Fargo Champ), he's a guy to monitor going forward.
#9 - JR. Walker Stephenson, South Carolina
Wins: Jack Darrah, Dayton Pitzer
Losses: Clayton Ulrey
Willie's Assessment: I listed Stephenson as my darkhorse pick in the preview. But I didn't envision him reaching the finals. Stephenson has had some decent results, and reached the blood round at NHSCA's last month. But this performance, including a win over PA State Champ, Pitzer, put him on the radar.
#8 - FR. Mitch Mesenbrink, Wisconsin
Wins: Michael Kilic, Ramon Ramos, Ryan Franco
Losses: Ben Alanis
Willie's Assessment: Fresh off a title at USAW Folk Nats, Mesenbrink turned in an awesome performance. He beat Kilic and Ramos, who both won NHSCA's. And in the 3rd place match while trailing 6-0, he pinned two-time Fargo finalist Franco. Absolutely awesome tourney in a deep, deep bracket.
#7 - SO. Ben Alanis, Arizona
Wins: Mesenbrink, Caleb Lemmons, Ryan Franco
Losses: Jesse Mendez
Willie's Assessment: Alanis is tough and gritty and stays in good position. This backs up a 3rd place showing at NHSCA's. He's part of Valiant Prep, a new school founded by Eric Larkin and Angel Cejudo that could, in itself, be listed as a 'stock up' on this list.
#6 - FR. Joey Cruz, California
Wins: Richie Figueroa, Max Black, Chance Lamer
Willie's Assessment: Cruz has been highly praised before (he reached the finals of FloNats last year and beat Trevor Mastrogiovanni this season), so his performance is not very surprising. But it's a confirmation of how could he can be when everything is clicking for him. Although he's just a freshman, he's one of the brightest lightweight prospects in the country.
#5 - SO. Nic Provo, Connecticut
Finish: Pan Am Team Member - 2nd in GR, 3rd in FS
Wins: Levi Haines (2x), Chance Lamer, Gary Steen
Losses: Richie Figueroa
Willie's Assessment: Provo was 5th at National Preps, which isn't too shabby. But it's nothing that would have prepared us for this: a tourney in which he beat two PA State Champs and last year's World Team Member. And he looked good doing it; other than his loss to Figs, he didn't surrender a single point.
#4 - JR. AJ Kovacs, Connecticut
Wins: Cael Valencia, John Martin Best, Donald Cates
Willie's Assessment: Kovacs was among the list of contenders, so he's not a total surprise. But his title keeps his recent trajectory trending upwards. At NHSCA's he beat PA State Champ Andrew Cerniglia. Here he beat Cali Runner-Up Valencia, Fargo Runner-Up Best, and Fargo 3rd Cates.
#3 - JR. Joey Zargo, New Jersey
Wins: Micah Norwood, Matt Singleton, Caleb Henson, Vinny Zerban
Willie's Assessment: 65kg was absolutely loaded and it was won by a wrestler that DNP'd at Beast of the East and his state tournament. Zargo beat Norwood (NHSCA Runner-Up), Henson (S32 4th), Zerban (NHSCA Champ) and Singleton (NHSCA Champ). He'll need to show a bit more consistency and follow up this performance. But he's a great kid that loves the sport and he upped his stock tremendously.
#2 - JR. Sage Serbenta, Michigan
Wins: Brandon Green, Tanner Mendoza, Joey Walker
Willie's Assessment: Who?! Seriously. It's not often I've never heard of a kid. Serbenta won his first state title in February but has never posted an encouraging result at a national tournament. Here he beat NJ State Champ Green, NHSCA Champ Mendoza, and Walker, who was previously ranked.
#1 - JR. Silas Allred, Indiana
Finish: Pan Am Team - 1st in FS, 2nd in GR
Wins: John Poznanski, Nathan Haas
Willie's Assessment: How can I justify the #2-ranked wrestler in the country being the biggest 'surprise'? Two things - Allred's level of dominance and doing it in FS/GR. Look, we all knew he was good but not THIS good. He was 3rd at Super 32 (losing to Cardenas) and won single class Indiana. But that didn't prepare us for what we saw at FloNats. Allred goes from the perception of a guy who is ranked 2nd because all the seniors were removed to an elite talent that we should consider an AA threat sooner than later when he begins his career at Nebraska.