USA Wrestling McKee, Bey, Hidlay a...

McKee, Bey, Hidlay among champs crowned in Junior Nationals Greco Roman tourney

By Craig Sesker USA Wrestling | July 21, 2015, 6:14 p.m. (ET)

Minnesota’s Mitchell McKee (in blue) moved one big step closer to a Triple Crown after capturing a Junior Nationals Greco-Roman title on Tuesday afternoon in Fargo. John Sachs photo.

FARGO, N.D. – Minnesota’s Mitchell McKee reversed his fortunes against Utah’s Taylor LaMont.

And stayed in the running for a coveted USA Wrestling Triple Crown in the process.

McKee came out strong and then held off LaMont 4-2 in the Junior Nationals Greco-Roman finals at 132 pounds on Tuesday afternoon in the Fargo Dome.

McKee remains the only Junior wrestler with a shot at a Triple Crown. He captured a USA Wrestling Junior Folkstyle Nationals title in April in Cedar Falls, Iowa. He now needs a Junior Nationals freestyle title late this week in Fargo to complete the historic feat.

McKee won a Junior Nationals freestyle title in 2014.

McKee had come up short in a number of recent meetings against LaMont, a 2014 Junior Nationals Greco champion.

McKee was fifth in the Junior Greco tournament here last year at 126 while LaMont won the title in that division. McKee said he hadn’t beaten LaMont since they were in the Schoolboy division for 13-14 year olds.

“I came in here as the underdog,” said McKee, a 2012 and 2013 Cadet Nationals Greco champion. “And I felt like I didn’t have anything to lose. I felt like I was able to control the ties and follow my game plan. It was a big win for me.”

McKee was one of 15 Junior Nationals Greco-Roman champions crowned on Tuesday. Minnesota added a second title when Ben Brancale downed teammate Ty Johnson 5-1 in the 138-pound finals.

Pennsylvania’s Hayden Hidlay stunned Cadet World freestyle champion Mason Manville of Virginia with an early four-point headlock en route to a 6-3 win in the 152 finals.

“He’s one tough dude, but I had to be tougher,” said Hidlay, who was named Outstanding Wrestler. “I can’t put it into words what this means. I knew I needed to wrestle hard for six minutes, especially against a kid like that.”

Illinois turned in another strong performance to win the team title. Wisconsin was second and Minnesota third.

Kamal Bey of Illinois hit a spectacular body lock to earn a crowd-pleasing 29-second fall over Nevada’s Andrew Berreyeas in the 170-pound finals.

Bey leaped to his feet, did a little dance and then stuck a celebratory backflip.

“It was pretty cool – it was a great experience,” Bey said. “When the lights come on, it’s showtime. I was ready to put on a show.”

Bey hit a big throw early en route to a decisive 9-2 win over 2014 Cadet Triple Crown winner Beau Breske of Wisconsin. Breske beat Bey by a 10-0 technical fall in the Cadet Greco finals last year.

Louie Hayes of Illinois recorded a quick 39-second technical fall over Wisconsin’s Dylan Koontz in the 106 finals. Hayes gained a takedown and a succession of turns in the convincing 10-0 triumph.

“I just wanted to go out there and get the job done as quickly as possible,” Hayes said. “I got sick of losing, and I just started training harder and harder.”

Dack Punke of Illinois improved on last year’s fourth-place finish by defeating Colorado’s Jordan Martinez 1-1 on criteria in the 113 finals.

Gabriel Townsell won an all-Illinois battle in the 126 finals, downing teammate James Pawelski 8-5 to earn the title. Townsell won a Cadet Greco title here in 2013.

“This is awesome,” Townsell said. “That’s all I’ve been training for and I’m happy about winning this. We have a lot of great wrestlers on the Illinois team that want to win national titles.”

Nick Reenan of Texas powered to a 10-0 technical fall in just 26 seconds over Missouri’s Andrew Buckley in the 182-pound finals.

Georgia’s Andrew Webb fell behind 6-0 early, but rallied to earn a wild 17-14 win over Austin O’Connor of Illinois in the 145-pound finals.

“I train the same way all the time, and that’s hard,” Webb said. “I came down a weight class this year, I kept working hard and it paid off for me.”

Cadet World Team member Wyatt Koelling held off returning champion Samuel Shields-Colbray 8-5 in the 195 finals. Colbray was seeking his fourth straight Fargo Greco title after winning Cadets here in 2012 and 2013 before winning Juniors in 2014.

“I have been working really hard,” Koelling said. “I wrestled tough. I knew I was going to probably see him in the finals. I was really motivated after losing here last year.”

Pennsylvania’s Jared Lane struck early with a four-point arm throw en route to notching an 8-3 win over Florida’s Elijah Varona in the 100-pound finals.

“I realized my mistakes,” Lane said of placing eighth at Cadet Nationals here last year. “I just stayed in good position and I worked hard out there. I went out there and tried to score points, and get the title.”

Brett Bye became South Dakota’s first Junior Nationals Greco-Roman champion after hitting a pair of breathtaking throws to defeat Oregon’s Riley Jaramillo by a 10-0 technical fall in the 160 finals.

“It’s pretty awesome to be the first one,” Bye said. “I just came out there and wrestled my match.”

Ohio’s James Ford took control early in gaining a 6-3 win over Pennsylvania’s Jordan Wood in the 220 finals. Ford is a Purdue recruit. Wood was a Cadet World silver medalist in freestyle last year.

Oklahoma’s Dustin Duffield struck for a spectacular lift early and finished with another one to clinch an 11-0 technical fall over Missouri’s Matthew Schmitt in the 120-pound finals.
Florida’s Dante Jiovenetta outlasted Iowa’s Carter Isley 2-1 in the heavyweight finals.

Returning Junior Triple Crown winners Randon Miranda of California and Danny Vega of Arizona both fell in a span of five minutes in the 113-pound semifinals.

Miranda fell 11-6 to Martinez. Vega dropped a 10-0 technical fall to Punke.

Miranda and Vega won Triple Crowns in the Junior division in 2014 before each captured USA Wrestling Folkstyle titles in April in Cedar Falls. 

Junior and Cadet Nationals
July 18-25
Fargo Dome, Fargo, N.D.

Junior Greco-Roman finals

100 pounds
Jaret Lane (Pennsylvania) dec. Elijah Varona (Florida), 8-3

106 pounds
Louie Hayes (Illinois) won by tech. fall over Dylan Koontz (Wisconsin), 10-0

113 pounds
Dack Punke (Illinois) dec. Jordan Martinez (Colorado), 1-1

120 pounds
Dalton Duffield (Oklahoma) won by tech. fall over Matthew Schmitt (Missouri), 11-0

126 pounds
Gabriel Townsell (Illinois) dec. James Pawelski (Illinois), 8-5

132 pounds
Mitchell McKee (Minnesota) dec. Taylor LaMont (Utah), 4-2

138 pounds
Ben Brancale (Minnesota) dec. Ty Johnson (Minnesota), 5-1

145 pounds
Andrew Webb (Georgia) dec. Austin O’Connor (Illinois), 17-14

152 pounds
Hayden Hidlay (Pennsylvania) dec. Mason Manville (Virginia), 6-3

160 pounds
Brett Bye (South Dakota) won by tech. fall Riley Jaramillo (Oregon), 10-0

170 pounds
Kamal Bey (Illinois) pinned Andrew Berreyesa (Nevada), 0:29

182 pounds
Nick Reenan (Texas) won by tech. fall over Andrew Buckley (Missouri), 10-0

195 pounds
Wyatt Koelling (Utah) dec. Sam Shields-Colbray (Oregon), 8-5

220 pounds
James Ford (Ohio) dec. Jordan Wood (Pennsylvania), 6-3

285 pounds
Dante Jiovenetta (Florida) dec. Carter Isley (Iowa), 2-1