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If you saw the updated high school rankings this week, you might have missed Josh Saunders at 145 pounds, even though he's wrestling at Who's #1 this Saturday.
Sat. Oct. 5 | 6 PM Eastern
Don't worry, we didn't forget about him, and no, he's not hurt. Saunders will be spending most if not all of the season at the OPTC doing freestyle full time with Kevin Jackson and the EAP. A senior at Christian Brothers College in St. Louis, Saunders will still graduate from CBC.
His WNO opponent came onto the scene like a missile, wrecking everyone at Fargo. Anthony Echemendia is a Cuban émigré who graduated from Sunnyside High School in Tucson this summer. Echemendia only got to wrestle half a season of folkstyle, winning an Arizona state title and then doubling up in Fargo for Team Arizona.
This is a bout unlike anything we've ever seen at Who's #1, as Echemendia has already graduated and Saunders may not wrestle any high school folkstyle this season. Both will be starting their senior level freestyle careers soon, with Saunders slated to wrestle at the Senior Nationals - US Olympic Trials Qualifier in Fort Worth, Texas right before Christmas.
Saunders will be going to Cornell after this year, the centerpiece of another excellent recruiting class for the Big Red. Ranked #8 on the 2020 Big Board, he is one of seven recruits in the Top-120 who will be heading to Ithaca for college. Aside from his Fargo title this year at 138, Saunders wrestled at both Cadet and Junior worlds last year. In 2017, Saunders won his first stop sign.
Meanwhile, Echemendia just recently signed with Iowa State. After Fargo, we spoke to Echemendia and his high school coach, where we learned his plans were to become an American citizen and train with United States Army's World Class Athlete Program. It's not clear if he still plans to pursue the WCAP while he's wrestling for the Cyclones.