Pico, Snyder, Coon and Tomasello among champs in loaded FILA Junior Nationals freestyle finals

By Chris Casper | April 19, 2014, 8:35 p.m. (ET)
Aaron Pico takes down Zain Retherford for a takedown in the big finals showdown between past Cadet World Champions at 66 kg. Photo by John Sachs, Tech-Fall.com

ASICS/Las Vegas Open Championships Interview Playlist (including FILA Jr. interviews)

LAS VEGAS,Nev.– The 2014 FILA Junior National freestyle finals was a showcase of many of the top young college stars and talented high school athletes from across the nation. For fans, the star power of the finalists put some extra attention on the event this year.

In a battle of the last two Americans win a Cadet World title, 2013 Cadet World champion Aaron Pico of Titan Mercury Wrestling Club battled 2012 Cadet World champion Zain Retherford of the Nittany Lion WC. Pico, a 17-year-old high school athlete who is focusing only on freestyle, went up against Retherford, fifth in the NCAA Championships this year as a true freshman.

Both wrestlers came out strong but Pico took the lead with a nice early takedown and added another takedown with a minute left in the first period. Although Retherford had his opportunities, Pico came out in the scoring situations and won 7-0.

Pico, who was looking forward to the opportunity to face Retherford, has been working hard to improve from last year, when he was a FILA Junior Nationals double champion. Pico’s performance was recognized with the Outstanding Wrestler Award for the event.

“I have been working hard. I am fortunate to have my coach push me to work on things that I don’t want to work on,” Pico said, “When I saw Retherferd in my bracket it motivated me, but I never take anyone I wrestle for granted.”

Kyle Synder of the Sunkist Kids, the defending Junior World champion in freestyle, faced a very competitive Kevin Beazley of the Virginia Beach RTC in the 96 kg final. Snyder is a high school senior who moved from Maryland to the Olympic Training Center for his senior year in high school, and like Pico, is only competing in freestyle.

Beazley had already won the gold medal for the 2014 FILA Junior Greco-Roman gold and was a member of last year’s Junior World Team. He is an NCAA qualifier for Old Dominion.

Synder’s strength seemed too much for Beazley to handle as Synder took him down repeatedly, winning match with a technical fall of 10-0. Synder felt he wrestled very well today.

“I felt like I wrestled very crisp today—yesterday I felt very sluggish,” Synder said, “The next tournament, I will compete in is in Turkey May 12-17, and we are bringing a solid team there.”

The only double champion in the FILA Junior Nationals this year was Adam Coon of the Cliff Keen WC, a former Cadet World champion who was an NCAA qualifier this year for Michigan. Adam Coon scored an 11-0 technical fall over OTC resident Garrett Ryan of the Sunkist Kids, 11-0.

Coon says the competition was challenging and he’s ready to go back to work when he gets home and train.

“You know there were tough competitors here, but that’s what you expect when coming out to a national tournament,” Coon said, “I am ready to go home and start training even harder.”

The 55 kg final featured three-time Junior World champion Nathan Tomasello of the Ohio RTC who faced Cadet World Team member Steven Micic of Region Wrestling Academy. The momentum swung back and forth between the two wrestlers, but Tomasello had an effective low single-leg takedown attack in the second period, sealing his victory at 10-5.

Tomasello believes competitors can’t hang with him on the mat, due to the fact that he has been training hard as a member of the Ohio State program,

“No one can compete with me on my feet when I am constantly hand fighting and looking for shots. And that’s what it took,” Tomasello said, “Training at Ohio State gives me a lot of good partners to practice with—it helps me out a lot.”

The 74 kg final was nothing short of all-out excitement from beginning to end, when Anthony Valencia of Team Tribe Wrestling won a criteria decision over Isaiah Martinez of the Illinois RTC/Titan Mercury, 10-10.

Valenciawas in control most of the match, but slowly Martinez started making a comeback. Martinez hit a huge four-point throw to tie it up with 16 seconds left in the match. Although many in the crowd, and perhaps the athletes also were not sure who had the edge, it was Valencia who had his arm raised.

Illinois RTC star Zane Richards went right to work at 60 kg, shooting in on Matthew Kolodzik of Blair Academy, and getting his first take down. He continued to dominate the match. Thirty seconds into the second period, Richards ended the match with another take down, to win the match with a technical fall of 10-0.

Winning with a dominant 10-0 technical fall at 63 kg was Joseph McKenna of LVAC, who stopped Christopher Carton of the Univ. of Iowa in the finals.

Other individual champions were Kirk Johansen of Izzy Style at 50 kg, Logan Massa of St. John`s at 70 kg, Peter Renda of Wolfpack WC at 79 kg, Ricky Robertson of Wisconsin Wrestling Training Center at 84 kg

At Las Vegas, Nev., April 19

Freestyle Results

Men - 50 KG / 110.25 lbs
1st Place - Kirk Johansen of Izzy Style Wrestling
2nd Place - Michael Beck of TEAM Penguin
3rd Place - Matthew Schmitt of team missouri
4th Place - Bryce Brimhall of SYRACUSE
5th Place - Josiah Seaton of Bonner Springs High School Wre
6th Place - Edison Garcia of Orange County Wrestling Club
1st Place Match - Kirk Johansen (Izzy Style Wrestling) won by tech fall over Michael Beck (TEAM Penguin) (TF 13-2)
3rd Place Match - Matthew Schmitt (team missouri) won by tech fall over Bryce Brimhall (SYRACUSE) (TF 10-0)
5th Place Match - Josiah Seaton (Bonner Springs High School Wre) won by tech fall over Edison Garcia (Orange County Wrestling Club) (TF 10-0)
7th Place Match - () received a bye () (Bye)

Men - 55 KG / 121.25 lbs
1st Place - Nathan Tomasello of Ohio RTC
2nd Place - Stevan Micic of Region Wrestling Academy
3rd Place - Dalton Macri of Canon McMillan
4th Place - Eli Hale of Cowboy Wrestling Club
5th Place - Trey Andrews of Bear Cave WC
6th Place - Johnson Mai of NYC-RTC
7th Place - Timothy Lambert of Nebraska Wrestling Training Ce
8th Place - AJ Rees of Team OTC
1st Place Match - Nathan Tomasello (Ohio RTC) won by decision over Stevan Micic (Region Wrestling Academy) (Dec 10-5)
3rd Place Match - Dalton Macri (Canon McMillan) won by decision over Eli Hale (Cowboy Wrestling Club) (Dec 10-2)
5th Place Match - Trey Andrews (Bear Cave WC) won by injury default over Johnson Mai (NYC-RTC) (Inj. 0:00)
7th Place Match - Timothy Lambert (Nebraska Wrestling Training Ce) won by forfeit over AJ Rees (Team OTC) (FF)

Men - 60 KG / 132.25 lbs
1st Place - Zane Richards of IRTC/TMWC
2nd Place - Matthew Kolodzik of Blair Academy
3rd Place - George Fisher of CKWC
4th Place - Jack Hathaway of Northwest Regional Training Ce
5th Place - Joshua Rodriguez of Bison WC
6th Place - Anthony Giraldo of Scarlet Knight Wrestling Club
7th Place - Nate Thomas of Unattached
8th Place - Nick Zanetta of Unattached
1st Place Match - Zane Richards (IRTC/TMWC) won by tech fall over Matthew Kolodzik (Blair Academy) (TF 12-0)
3rd Place Match - George Fisher (CKWC) won by decision over Jack Hathaway (Northwest Regional Training Ce) (Dec 15-13)
5th Place Match - Joshua Rodriguez (Bison WC) won by decision over Anthony Giraldo (Scarlet Knight Wrestling Club) (Dec 12-8)
7th Place Match - Nate Thomas (Unattached) won by injury default over Nick Zanetta (Unattached) (Inj. 0:00)

Men - 63 KG / 138.75 lbs
1st Place - Joseph McKenna of LVAC
2nd Place - Christopher Carton of University of Iowa
3rd Place - Devin Reynolds of Northwest Regional Training Ce
4th Place - Anthony McHugh of Rocky Mountain Regional Traini
5th Place - Jason Estevez of Buffalo Grapplers Wrestling Cl
6th Place - Gabe Grahek of Wisconsin Wrestling
7th Place - Dante Rodriguez of Team RodCo
8th Place - Mitchell Friedman of Bison WC
1st Place Match - Joseph McKenna (LVAC) won by tech fall over Christopher Carton (University of Iowa) (TF 10-0)
3rd Place Match - Devin Reynolds (Northwest Regional Training Ce) won by tech fall over Anthony McHugh (Rocky Mountain Regional Traini) (TF 16-6)
5th Place Match - Jason Estevez (Buffalo Grapplers Wrestling Cl) won by decision over Gabe Grahek (Wisconsin Wrestling) (Dec 7-0)
7th Place Match - Dante Rodriguez (Team RodCo) won by tech fall over Mitchell Friedman (Bison WC) (TF 11-0)

Men - 66 KG / 145.5 lbs
1st Place - Aaron Pico of Titan Mercury Wrestling Club
2nd Place - Zain Retherford of Nittany Lion Wrestling Club
3rd Place - Jake Short of Unattached
4th Place - Jared Reis of Northwest Regional Training Ce
5th Place - Anthony Ashnault of Rutgers
6th Place - Andrew Crone of Unattached
7th Place - Jamel Hudson of Blue & Gold Wrestling Club
8th Place - John Fahy of IRTC/TMWC
1st Place Match - Aaron Pico (Titan Mercury Wrestling Club) won by decision over Zain Retherford (Nittany Lion Wrestling Club) (Dec 7-0)
3rd Place Match - Jake Short (Unattached) won by tech fall over Jared Reis (Northwest Regional Training Ce) (TF 13-2)
5th Place Match - Anthony Ashnault (Rutgers) won by tech fall over Andrew Crone (Unattached) (TF 12-2)
7th Place Match - Jamel Hudson (Blue & Gold Wrestling Club) won by decision over John Fahy (IRTC/TMWC) (Dec 14-6)

Men - 70 KG / 154.25 lbs
1st Place - Logan Massa of St. John`s
2nd Place - Ryan Blees of Matpac Wrestling Club-Bismarck
3rd Place - Brandon Sorenson of University of Iowa
4th Place - Kyle Langenderfer of IRTC/TMWC
5th Place - Blayne Briceno of Iowa State
6th Place - Markus Scheidel of NYC-RTC
7th Place - Daniel Lewis of Mo west championship wrestling
8th Place - Cody Law of Nittany Lion Wrestling Club
1st Place Match - Logan Massa (St. John`s) won by tech fall over Ryan Blees (Matpac Wrestling Club-Bismarck) (TF 10-0)
3rd Place Match - Brandon Sorenson (University of Iowa) won by tech fall over Kyle Langenderfer (IRTC/TMWC) (TF 13-1)
5th Place Match - Blayne Briceno (Iowa State) won by decision over Markus Scheidel (NYC-RTC) (Dec 16-15)
7th Place Match - Daniel Lewis (Mo west championship wrestling) won by tech fall over Cody Law (Nittany Lion Wrestling Club) (TF 11-0)

Men - 74 KG / 163 lbs
1st Place - Anthony Valencia of Team Tribe Wrestling
2nd Place - Isaiah Martinez of IRTC/TMWC
3rd Place - Jon Jay Chavez of suples wrestling club
4th Place - Chad Pyke of Wolfpack Wrestling Club
5th Place - Fox Baldwin of USOTC
6th Place - Brandon Kingsley of Unattached
7th Place - Zachary Beard of Cowboy Wrestling Club
8th Place - Garett Hammond of Nittany Lion Wrestling Club
1st Place Match - Anthony Valencia (Team Tribe Wrestling) won by decision over Isaiah Martinez (IRTC/TMWC) (Dec 10-10)
3rd Place Match - Jon Jay Chavez (suples wrestling club) won by tech fall over Chad Pyke (Wolfpack Wrestling Club) (TF 14-4)
5th Place Match - Fox Baldwin (USOTC) won by tech fall over Brandon Kingsley (Unattached) (TF 18-7)
7th Place Match - Zachary Beard (Cowboy Wrestling Club) won by decision over Garett Hammond (Nittany Lion Wrestling Club) (Dec 10-8)

Men - 79 KG / 174 lbs
1st Place - Peter Renda of Wolfpack Wrestling Club
2nd Place - Brian Harvey of West Point Wrestling
3rd Place - Jordan Ellingwood of Central Michigan RTC
4th Place - Jacob Morrissey of Purdue
5th Place - Ray Waters of Arizona State
6th Place - Stacey Davis of Wolfpack Wrestling Club
7th Place - austin dewey of Bronco WC
8th Place - Khalil Shakur of Life Running Eagles Wrestling
1st Place Match - Peter Renda (Wolfpack Wrestling Club) won by tech fall over Brian Harvey (West Point Wrestling) (TF 13-2)
3rd Place Match - Jordan Ellingwood (Central Michigan RTC) won by tech fall over Jacob Morrissey (Purdue) (TF 10-0)
5th Place Match - Ray Waters (Arizona State) won by tech fall over Stacey Davis (Wolfpack Wrestling Club) (TF 13-4)
7th Place Match - austin dewey (Bronco WC) won by tech fall over Khalil Shakur (Life Running Eagles Wrestling) (TF 11-1)

Men - 84 KG / 185 lbs
1st Place - Ricky Robertson of Wisconsin Wrestling
2nd Place - Timothy Dudley of Nebraska Wrestling Training Ce
3rd Place - Gabe Dean of Cornell University
4th Place - Nikko Reyes of IRTC/TMWC
5th Place - Brett Pfarr of Minnesota Storm
6th Place - Matt Reed of Sooner Wrestling Club
7th Place - Alex Meyer of University of Iowa
8th Place - Myles Martin of New Jersey
1st Place Match - Ricky Robertson (Wisconsin Wrestling) won by decision over Timothy Dudley (Nebraska Wrestling Training Ce) (Dec 11-8)
3rd Place Match - Gabe Dean (Cornell University) won by tech fall over Nikko Reyes (IRTC/TMWC) (TF 11-1)
5th Place Match - Brett Pfarr (Minnesota Storm) won by decision over Matt Reed (Sooner Wrestling Club) (Dec 13-4)
7th Place Match - Alex Meyer (University of Iowa) won by injury default over Myles Martin (New Jersey) (Inj. 0:00)

Men - 96 KG / 211.5 lbs
1st Place - Kyle Snyder of Sunkist Kids
2nd Place - Kevin Beazley of Virginia Beach RTC
3rd Place - Nathan Rotert of South Dakota State University
4th Place - Troy Hembury of NYC-RTC
5th Place - Brad Johnson of Sooner Wrestling Club
6th Place - Scottie Boykin of Chattanooga Regional Training
7th Place - Parker Hines of Rocky Mountain Regional Traini
8th Place - Matt Williams of Bakersfield
1st Place Match - Kyle Snyder (Sunkist Kids) won by tech fall over Kevin Beazley (Virginia Beach RTC) (TF 10-0)
3rd Place Match - Nathan Rotert (South Dakota State University) won by decision over Troy Hembury (NYC-RTC) (Dec 7-2)
5th Place Match - Brad Johnson (Sooner Wrestling Club) won by tech fall over Scottie Boykin (Chattanooga Regional Training) (TF 10-0)
7th Place Match - Parker Hines (Rocky Mountain Regional Traini) won by decision over Matt Williams (Bakersfield) (Dec 11-6)

Men - 120 KG / 264.5 lbs
1st Place - Adam Coon of CKWC
2nd Place - Garrett Ryan of Sunkist Kids
3rd Place - Michael Kroells of Minnesota Storm
4th Place - Nathan Butler of Stanford - Unattached
5th Place - Brooks Black of IRTC/TMWC
6th Place - Jon Scanlan of Iowa State
7th Place - Newton Smerchek of Central Michigan RTC
8th Place - Raymond O`Donnell of Princeton Amateur Wrestling So
1st Place Match - Adam Coon (CKWC) won by tech fall over Garrett Ryan (Sunkist Kids) (TF 11-0)
3rd Place Match - Michael Kroells (Minnesota Storm) won by decision over Nathan Butler (Stanford - Unattached) (Dec 8-4)
5th Place Match - Brooks Black (IRTC/TMWC) won by tech fall over Jon Scanlan (Iowa State) (TF 11-1)
7th Place Match - Newton Smerchek (Central Michigan RTC) won by tech fall over Raymond O`Donnell (Princeton Amateur Wrestling So) (TF 12-2)