Cadet Trials Stock Watch
Cadet Trials Stock Watch
The Cadet Trials brought together a huge collection of high school stars. Here's a look at 10 wrestlers and a couple states who made upward moves.
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The COVID-scrambled high school season provided limited opportunities for the nation’s top talents to gather in one place, thus diminishing movement in the rankings and chances for wrestlers to make big upward gains.
Last weekend’s Cadet World Team Trials provided a fresh change, bringing together perhaps the best collection of high school stars in one place in the last six months. With it, several wrestlers — and a couple states — raised their stock. Here’s a look at a dozen of the biggest gainers after last weekend’s tournament in Wisconsin Dells:
Bobzien qualified for the California state tournament as a freshman but didn’t place and then took seventh last year as a sophomore in a bracket that featured Richard Figueroa, Joey Cruz and a couple other nationally-ranked contestants. He might be better equipped for the international disciplines with his nasty head-pinch and top game. The junior from Poway took a big step forward over the weekend, winning the 60-kilogram Greco title, reaching the freestyle finals and vaulting into the national rankings this week at #14 at 132 pounds.
Hopke is cementing himself as one of the best big guys in the Class of 2024. He followed up a 20-0 freshman season in Wisconsin with a Folkstyle Nationals title and gave double Cadet Trials champ Jim Mullen his stiffest test of the weekend in the 110-kilogram freestyle semis. Hopke led 7-4 with less than 20 seconds remaining before Mullen blasted him for four with a double-leg. He wrestled back to place third.
Hughes reached the Fargo finals in both styles in 2019 and won a freestyle title and owns a pair of Oklahoma state titles, so there was an impressive resume already in place here. But the sophomore from Stillwater added to it over the weekend, registering wins over Super 32 champ Mason Gibson and double Fargo All-American Kannon Webster on his way to a fourth-place finish at 55 kilograms. Hughes also held a 6-0 lead with 20 seconds left in the semis before dropping a 7-6 decision to eventual champion Spencer Moore.
Jesuroga has been a fixture inside the top 10 at 106 and 113 pounds since posting a combined 11-0 record in all three styles at last summer’s Iron Man Duals. He followed that up in October with a third-place finish at Super 32. But last weekend marked a breakthrough to a new realm for the Iowa state champ, who surged to the top of the national rankings at 113 after notching wins against 2019 Cadet World champ Marc-Anthony McGowan, eighth-grade phenom Dalton Perry and sweeping the best-of-three final series against Aden Valencia to earn the 51-kilogram spot on the Cadet World Team.
No state was better represented in the Greco finals last weekend than Idaho. Jadon Skellenger claimed the tournament’s Outstanding Wrestler Award, while Mack Mauger, Treygin Morin and Aden Attao also reached the finals. Mauger and Skellenger reached the finals in freestyle, as well, and Attao placed fourth.
In 1987, four Iowa high school products won NCAA Division I titles. This year, only one Iowan — Gannon Gremmel — reached the Division I podium. But it appears Iowa high school wrestling is upping its top-end talent production again. Iowa had a tournament-high six freestyle semifinalists. Jesuroga became the state’s first Cadet World Teamer in seven years, Aiden Riggins went to a third match in the final series before falling to Levi Haines and eight Iowans placed sixth or better.
Nelson placed third at the Minnesota state meet as a 152-pound eighth-grader in 2019 and earned double All-American honors that summer in Fargo, where he won a Greco title and placed fifth in freestyle, so there’s a lengthy record of high-level success here. But Nelson elevated himself to a higher category with his dominant showing in Wisconsin Dells, where he obliterated the field by a combined 53-1 count, including a pair of 10-0 techs in the final series against then-#4 P.J. Casale.
Rogotzke was a 16U Fargo Greco All-American in 2019 and placed third at the Minnesota state tournament each of the past two seasons, but he’s been a notch or two better each of the last couple weekends. He posted a combined 18-0 record in all three styles at the Midwest Ironman Duals. He won the 80-kilogram Greco title in Wisconsin Dells and placed third in freestyle, scoring a pair of wins over Gabe Arnold.
As a freshman, Scoles toppled two-time state champion and current Badger Aidan Medora in the 2020 Wisconsin state finals. He’s been knocking on the door to the national rankings throughout his sophomore season and finally got an opportunity to test himself against some of the nation’s best. Scoles placed fourth at 71 kilograms. Along the way, he registered a 12-2 tech against Antrell Taylor. His performance vaulted him into the national rankings at #9 at 160.
The freshman from High Point, North Carolina, came seconds away from reaching the 71-kilogram freestyle finals. Sealey pinned Antrell Taylor and nearly knocked off eventual champion Levi Haines, who scored a step-out point with six seconds left to beat Sealey on criteria. Sealey lost to Josh Barr and Taylor on the backside to place sixth, but he surged into the national rankings this week becoming one of two freshmen outside of the two lightest weights to appear in the rankings.
Like Jesuroga and Nelson, Meyer is another sophomore who earned more equity near the top of the national and Class of 2023 rankings with his performance in Wisconsin Dells. The Maryland native jumped two notches to #6 at 145 after blitzing through the 65-kilogram bracket, outscoring his opponents by a combined 64-8 margin.
Skellenger already has more international experience than most his age and he’ll get more later this summer. He took silver in both styles at the 2018 U15 Pan Am Championships, won a Greco gold at the 2019 World School Combat Games and won gold in both styles at the 2019 Tallinn Open in Estonia. Skellenger was one of six wrestlers to reach the finals in both styles last weekend. He was the OW of the Greco tournament and finished runner-up to Meyer in freestyle. His run to the freestyle finals included a victory against fellow freshman Pierson Manville.
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