USA Wrestling Nation’s best expect...

Nation’s best expected for ASICS/Vaughan Junior & Cadet Nationals in Fargo, N.D., July 16-23

By Gary Abbott, USA Wrestling | July 11, 2016, 6:53 p.m. (ET)

2015 Cadet National freestyle champion Roman Bravo-Young of Arizona in action in Fargo last summer. Photo by John Sachs, Tech-Fall.com

FARGO, N.D. - Every year, the nation's best young wrestlers come together for the world's largest wrestling competition, the ASICS/Vaughan Junior and Cadet Nationals at the Fargo Dome in Fargo, N.D.

This competition produces great stories of champions, many who go on to glory in college wrestling, and ultimately at the World and Olympic levels. This marks the 46th anniversary of the Junior Nationals event, which was first held in 1971 in Iowa City, Iowa.

The tournament is scheduled for July 16-23 and is expected to feature outstanding wrestlers in every weight class. USA Wrestling has official state association team standings in all the divisions held in Fargo, adding to the tradition of state wrestling pride exhibited at this event.

The ASICS/Vaughan Junior Nationals features high school wrestlers in grades 9-12. Every year, the Junior division features talented athletes who are proven winners, as well as many top young stars who are making names for themselves.

Only six have won the coveted USA Wrestling Triple Crown on the Junior level since the program was created in 2007, earned by claiming folkstyle, freestyle and Greco-Roman Junior National titles in the same year. In 2015, there were no Junior Triple Crown winners. Minnesota’s Mitchell McKee won the first two legs with folkstyle and Greco-Roman national titles, but was beaten in the Junior freestyle finals. McKee is eligible to return in 2016 as a Junior.

2015 Junior National freestyle champions who are eligible to return are Jason Holmes of Arizona (100), Louie Hayes of Illinois (106), Brandon Courtney of Arizona (113), Daton Fix of Oklahoma (120), Taylor LaMont of Utah (132), Beau Breske of Wisconsin (170), Nick Reenan of Texas (182), Jordan Wood of Pennsylvania (220) and Osawaru Odighizuwa of Oregon (285).

2015 Junior freestyle runners-up who can return include Jaret Lane of Pennsylvania (100), Liam Cronin of California (106), Drew Mattin of Ohio (113), Jack Mueller of Texas (120), Navonte Demison of California (126), Mitchell McKee of Minnesota (132), Keegan Moore of Oklahoma (138), Evan Wick of California (152), Lucas Jeske of Minnesota (160), Sam Shields-Colbray of Oregon (195) and Kevin Vough of Ohio (285).

2015 Junior National Greco-Roman champions who are eligible to compete in Fargo are Jaret Lane of Pennsylvania (100), Louie Hayes of Illinois (106), Dack Punke of Illinois (113), Dalton Duffield of Oklahoma (120), Gabriel Townsell of Illinois (126), Mitchell McKee of Minnesota (132), Hayden Hidlay of Pennsylvania (152), Kamal Bey of Illinois who was in Colorado this year (170), Nick Reenan of Texas (182), Wyatt Koelling of Utah (195) and Dante Jiovenetta of Florida (285)

Runners-up in the 2015 Junior Greco-Roman Nationals who can return are Elijah Varona of Florida (100), Dylan Koontz of Wisconsin (106), Jordan Martinez of Colorado (113), Matthew Schmidt of Missouri (120), James Pawleski of Illinois (126), Taylor LaMont of Utah (132), Austin O’Connor of Illinois (145), Mason Manville of Virginia (152), Riley Jaramillo of Oregon (160), Andrew Berreyesa of Nevada (170), Andrew Buckley of Missouri (182), Sam Shields-Colbray of Oregon (195), Jordan Wood of Pennsylvania (220) and Carter Isley of Iowa (285).

Many of last year's Cadet National champions are expected to move up into the Junior ranks this year and challenge for titles and All-American honors.

Last year, Illinois was the team champion in Greco-Roman, with Oklahoma the team champion in freestyle. Following Illinois in the Greco-Roman standings were Wisconsin and Minnesota. Behind Oklahoma in the freestyle standings were Ohio and Illinois.

Another indication of the strength of the state teams are the results from the 2016 Junior National Duals, held this June in Tulsa, Okla. Ohio beat Illinois in the freestyle finals, followed by New Jersey, Minnesota and Pennsylvania. Minnesota stopped Illinois in the Greco-Roman finals, followed by California, Washington and Michigan.

The women's Junior freestyle division, now in its 14th year, has grown in size and quality every season, and promises to be very competitive again this year.

2015 Junior National women’s champions eligible to return are McKayla Campbell of Ohio (97), Sariyah Jones of California (105), Ronna Heaton of South Dakota (112), Gracie Figueroa of California (117), Teniya Alo of Hawaii (121), Teshya Alo of Hawaii (139), Skylar Grote of New Jersey (148), Rachel Watters of Iowa (159) and Kenya Spencer of Michigan (172)

2015 Junior National women’s runners-up eligible to return are Vayle Rae Baker of Pennsylvania (97), Aleeah Gould of California (105), Michaela Beck of New York (117), Gabrielle Garcia of California (125), Desiree Giamarusti of Illinois (130), Kayla Marano of New York (148), Sydnie Thiesen of California (172) and Victoria Espinoza of California (198).

Last year, the Junior National team champion in women’s freestyle was California, followed by New York and Washington.

The Women's Freestyle National Duals will be held in Fargo. In the past, this event was just for Juniors (grades 9-10), but has now been expanded to allow Cadets to also participate on the state-level Junior teams.

California was the champion at last year’s Women’s Junior Duals, having beaten New York in the finals. Only four teams won the Junior Duals in its history, California six times, Texas twice, with New York and Washington once.

The Cadet Nationals are for wrestlers who are 15 and 16 years old, some of the best young talents in the country.

There have been 21 wrestlers to win a Cadet Triple Crown since the program began in 2003. In 2015, there was only one Cadet Triple Crown winner, Moshe Schwartz of Colorado at 88 pounds. Schwartz is too old to be a Cadet this year and is expected to star of the Junior level.

2015 Cadet National freestyle champions who are eligible to return are Jordan Decatur of Ohio (106), Nicholas Raimo of New Jersey (120), Sam Sasso of Pennsylvania (132), Ryan Karoly of New Jersey (160) and Gable Steveson of Minnesota (220).

2015 Cadet National freestyle runners-up who are eligible to return are Ridge Lovett of Idaho (88), Travis Ford-Melton of Illinois (100), Brock Hardy of Utah (132), Ian Malesiewski of Pennsylvania (195) and Cohlton Schultz of Colorado (220).

2015 Cadet National Greco-Roman champions who are eligible to return are Malik Johnson of Missouri (106), Nicholas Raimo of New Jersey (120), Travis Wittlake, Jr. of Oregon (160) and Cohlton Schultz of Colorado (220).

2015 Cadet National Greco-Roman runners-up who are eligible to return are Derek Ramos of Idaho (88), Jace Koelzer of Kansas (94), Benji Peak of Wisconsin (100), Peyton Robb of Minnesota (113), Brock Hardy of Utah (132) and Ryan Karoly of New Jersey (160).

The team champions in both Cadet Greco-Roman and Cadet freestyle last year was Illinois. Placing second in Greco-Roman was Kansas, followed by Colorado. Placing second in freestyle was Pennsylvania, followed by New Jersey.

The 2016 Cadet National Duals were held in York, Pa. this June and showcased many of the stars expected in Fargo. In Greco-Roman, Minnesota beat Pennsylvania in the finals, followed by Illinois, Michigan and Oklahoma. In freestyle, Illinois beat Pennsylvania for the title, followed by New Jersey, Minnesota and Iowa.

Last year was the fifth year that there was a Cadet National tournament for girls in Fargo, and the tournament continues to grow in size and intensity.

2015 Cadet National women’s freestyle champions who are eligible to return are Vayle Rae Baker of Pennsylvania (88), Alleida Martinez of California (101), Alisha Howk of Missouri (108), Gracie Figueroa of California (115), Jerzie Estrada of Colorado (124) and Jesse Kirby of Virginia (172)

2015 Cadet National women’s freestyle runners-up who are eligible to return are Katlyn Butcher of Indiana (88), Angelina Gomez of Texas (95), Marissa Gallegos of Colorado (108), Emily Cue of Colorado (143) and Sarah Engedal of Wisconsin (154).

California won the 2015 Cadet National women’s freestyle team title followed by Colorado and Texas.

The ASICS/Vaughan Junior Nationals and the Cadet Nationals brings together hundreds of wrestling volunteers, including referees, pairing officials, coaches, state leaders and tournament operation workers, all who provide the opportunity for more than 4,000 athletes to pursue their dreams.

The ASICS High School All-American Teams for both boys and girls will be honored during the week in Fargo, and the ASICS Boys Wrestler of the Year and the ASICS Girls Wrestler of the Year will be announced.

All of the matches on all of the mats from the 2016 ASICS/Vaughan Junior & Cadet Nationals will be broadcast live through a partnership between USA Wrestling and Flo Wrestling, through the Flo Pro platform.

For updated articles, features and results from Fargo, visit TheMat.com (www.themat.com).

SCHEDULE FOR CHAMPIONSHIP FINALS IN FARGO
Saturday, July 16 - Cadet Women’s Finals at 7:00 p.m. Central
Monday, July 18 - Cadet Greco-Roman Finals at 2:00 p.m. Central
Tuesday, July 19 - Junior Greco-Roman Finals at 2:15 p.m. Central
Tuesday, July 19 - Junior Women Finals at 5:45 p.m. Central
Wednesday, July 20 - Women Freestyle Duals Finals at 3:30 p.m. Central
Friday, July 22 - Cadet Men’s Freestyle Finals at 2:00 p.m. Central
Saturday, July 23 - Junior Men's Freestyle Finals at 10:00 a.m. Central