USA Wrestling Junior Triple Crown winners Randon Miranda of California (right) and Danny Vega of Arizona. John Sachs photo.
FARGO, N.D. – The champions at the two smallest weight classes earned the two biggest achievements in the USA Wrestling Junior division this year.
California’s Randon Miranda (100 pounds) and Arizona’s Danny Vega (106) captured coveted USA Wrestling Triple Crowns after earning Junior Nationals freestyle championships on Saturday morning at the Fargo Dome.
Miranda used a big second period to earn a 14-3 technical fall over Connecticut’s Zack Murillo in the finals.
“I’m excited, I’m happy,” Miranda said. “I worked super hard for this. Every practice I put in the kind of effort to win a Triple Crown. You’ve just got to work hard and think all the time that you’re going to be a champion.”
Vega followed with a tech of his own in rolling to a 12-1 win over Indiana’s Drew Hildebrandt in the finals.
“I was a little nervous, but I knew it would happen,” Vega said. “It’s exciting to do this. I just had to focus on winning the national title today and not worry so much about the Triple Crown. I trained real hard for this.”
Miranda and Vega captured Junior Nationals Greco titles on Tuesday in Fargo after winning Junior Folkstyle Nationals crowns earlier this year in Cedar Falls, Iowa.
New Jersey’s Mason Manville earned his second big title in a week after defeating New Jersey teammate David McFadden 7-2 in the 152-pound finals.
Manville came right to North Dakota after winning a FILA Cadet World freestyle title seven days ago in Slovakia. Manville won Cadet Nationals titles in freestyle and Greco-Roman here in 2013, and also won a Cadet Greco title in Fargo in 2012.
“It’s been crazy,” Manville said. “It’s a grind on the body. I’m tired, but I’m glad I got to do it. I have the Youth Olympic Games coming up, so I needed one more tournament to push me to my max before I get a little bit of rest. It was difficult, but I did it. I stayed focused and stayed ready. My conditioning is a little down because I’m tired, but I can still go.”
New Jersey won a close race for the team title with 58 points, followed closely by Minnesota (53), Oklahoma (53) and Pennsylvania (53).
2013 Junior Nationals freestyle champion Ryan Blees of North Dakota held off 2014 FILA Junior Nationals freestyle champion Logan Massa of Michigan 5-2 in the 152 finals. Blees countered a throw attempt late in the match to earn the match-clinching takedown. Blees is an Oklahoma State recruit.
Blees was named Outstanding Wrestler of the Junior Nationals freestyle tournament.
Minnesota’s Tommy Thorn won his second Junior Nationals freestyle title after topping Missouri’s Ke-Shawn Hayes 5-1 in the 132 finals. Thorn, a past Cadet World Team member, broke a 1-1 tie with a takedown midway through the second period en route to the victory. Thorn is a University of Minnesota recruit.
2013 Junior Folkstyle Nationals champion Bobby Steveson of Minnesota spun behind for a late takedown to edge 2012 Cadet Triple Crown winner Lance Benick of Minnesota 3-1 in the 195 finals.
2014 Junior Folkstyle Nationals champion Mitchell McKee of Minnesota rallied from an early four-point deficit to earn a wild 10-8 win over Charles Tucker of New Jersey in the 126 finals. McKee broke an 8-8 tie with a late score near the edge of the mat to prevail. McKee won Cadet Nationals titles in Greco here in 2012 and 2013.
Oklahoma’s Chandler Rogers captured his fourth Fargo title after earning a 10-0 win over New Jersey’s Josef Johnson in the 170 finals. Rogers won his first Fargo freestyle title after winning a Junior Greco title in 2013 and Cadet Greco titles in 2011 and 2012. Rogers is an Oklahoma State recruit.
2013 Cadet Nationals champion Isaiah White of Illinois took charge in the second period in a 9-3 win over Pennsylvania’s Vincenzo Joseph in the 145 finals. The athletic White executed a backflip to celebrate his win.
2014 Junior Folkstyle Nationals champion Adarious Jones of Illinois downed Jesse Webb of Massachusetts 3-0 in the heavyweight finals. Jones placed second in the Junior Nationals Greco event earlier this week. Jones is a Northern Iowa recruit.
2013 Cadet Nationals freestyle champion Jack Mueller of Texas rolled to a 12-1 victory over Missouri’s Matthew Schmitt in the Junior Nationals freestyle finals at 113 pounds.
Ohio’s Austin Assad overcame an early 5-0 deficit in rallying for an 11-8 win over Georgia’s Sean Russell in the 120 finals. Assad used a series of turns to take the lead for good in the second period.
Utah’s Matt Findlay staged a huge second-period rally to down Pennsylvania’s Brock Zacherl by an 18-8 technical fall in the 138 finals. Findlay is a Boise State recruit. Findlay trailed 8-2 early in the second period before scoring the match’s final 16 points with a hard-charging, aggressive attack.
New Jersey’s Myles Martin looked impressive in earning a quick 10-0 tech over Ohio’s Andrew Kowal in the 182 title bout. Martin placed second in the 2012 Cadet Nationals in freestyle. Kowal finished second in both styles in Fargo.
Iowa’s Marcus Harrington powered to a 6-2 win over Oklahoma’s Andrew Dixon in the 220 finals. Harrington is an Iowa State recruit.
The Junior freestyle finals capped the eight-day ASICS/Vaughan Junior and Cadet Nationals mega-event in Fargo.
Junior Nationals Freestyle
Fargo Dome, Fargo, N.D.
Randon Miranda (California) won by tech. fall over Zack Murillo (Connecticut), 14-3
Danny Vega (Arizona) won by tech. fall over Drew Hildebrandt (Indiana), 12-1
Jack Mueller (Texas) won by tech. fall over Matthew Schmitt (Missouri), 12-1
Austin Assad (Ohio) dec. Sean Russell (Georgia), 11-8
Mitchell McKee (Minnesota) dec. Charles Tucker (New Jersey), 10-8
Tommy Thorn (Minnesota) dec. Ke-Shawn Hayes (Missouri), 5-1
Matt Findlay (Utah) won by tech. fall over Brock Zacherl (Pennsylvania), 18-8
Isaiah White (Illinois) dec. Vincenzo Joseph (Pennsylvania), 9-3
Mason Manville (New Jersey) dec. David McFadden (New Jersey), 7-2
Ryan Blees (North Dakota) dec. Logan Massa (Michigan), 5-2
Chandler Rogers (Washington) won by tech. fall over Josef Johnson (New Jersey), 10-0
Myles Martin (New Jersey) won by tech. fall over Andrew Kowal (Ohio), 10-0
Bobby Steveson (Minnesota) dec. Lance Benick (Minnesota), 3-1
Marcus Harrington (Iowa) dec. Andrew Dixon (Oklahoma), 6-2
Adarious Jones (Illinois) dec. Jesse Webb (Massachusetts), 3-0