World champs Hall, Diakomihalis, Steveson among star semifinalists at UWW Junior Freestyle Nationals

By Richard Immel, USA Wrestling | April 28, 2017, 9:21 p.m. (ET)
Photo: Two-time Junior World Team member Zahid Valencia advances to the UWW Junior Nationals semifinals in Las Vegas. Photo by John Sachs,

LAS VEGAS – The UWW Junior Freestyle Nationals semifinals are set after an action-packed day of wrestling at South Point Arena in Las Vegas.

Age-group World champions Mark Hall, Yianni Diakomihalis and Gable Steveson all advanced to tomorrow’s semifinals set for 12 p.m. (PT).

The reigning Junior World champion at 74 kg/163 lbs., Hall exerted his force to the tune of four 10-0 technical fall wins with his longest bout lasting 2:09. Hall was a Cadet World champion in 2014 and a NCAA champion as a true freshman for Penn State this season.

Hall will battle past Junior Nationals All-American and Wisconsin product Evan Wick in the semifinals. The other side of the 74 kg bracket pits Iowa freshman Alex Marinelli against Virginia Tech All-American David McFadden.

Diakomihalis and Steveson both won their second Cadet World title last summer. Both men won three matches impressively to qualify for the semis. Diakomihalis takes on Northwestern’s Ryan Deakin in the 66 kg/145.5 lbs. semifinals, while Steveson will wrestle Anthony Cassioppi in the 120 kg/264.5 lbs. semifinals.

2014 Cadet World silver medalist Jordan Wood is close to a finals matchup with rival Steveson at 120 kg. Standing in Wood’s way is defending UWW Junior Nationals champion Rylee Streifel. The two met in the UWW Junior World Team Trials finals last year with Wood winning two matches to none.

Dynamo Daton Fix went unscored upon today on his run to the 55 kg/121 lbs. semifinals. He will square off against multiple-time Fargo All-American Alex Thomsen of Iowa tomorrow afternoon. Fix is a two-time World medalist, winning Cadet World bronze in 2015 and Junior World bronze in 2016.

Two-time Junior World Team member Zahid Valencia picked up four 10-0 technical falls on his road to the 84 kg/185 lbs. semifinals. Valencia, a third-place finisher at the NCAA championships for Arizona State this year, will face Jaron Smith of Terrapin WC for a spot in the finals.

Minnesota’s highly-touted Mitch Mckee found his way to the 60 kg/132 lbs. semifinals against Jacob Silzer with four wins, three by technical fall. 2016 Cadet World silver medalist Vitali Arujau made the other 60 kg semifinal with three technical falls of his own. He will face Tariq Wilson of Wolfpack WC tomorrow in the semis.

The UWW Junior Nationals resume tomorrow morning at 9 a.m. (PT) with consolation rounds, followed by the semifinals and medal matches at 12 p.m. (PT). Every match from Las Vegas can be viewed live on

Complete brackets and match-by-match results from all of the morning action can be found on FloArena.

April 28-29, South Point Arena in Las Vegas, Nev.

Semifinal Matchups
50 kg/110 lbs.

Malik Heinselman (Olympian WC) vs. Brendon Garcia (Steel City Elite)
Dack Punke (Unattached) vs. Jason Holmes (Thorobred)

55 kg/121 lbs.
Daton Fix (Titan Mercury WC) vs. Alex Thomsen (SWIFT)
Brandon Courtney (Sunkist Kids) vs. Paul Bianchi (Bison WC)

60 kg/132 lbs.
Mitchell Mckee (Minnesota Storm) vs. Jacob Silzer (IRTC)
Tariq Wilson (Wolfpack WC) vs. Vitali Arujau (Finger Lakes)

63 kg/138 lbs.
Nick Lee (Nittany Lion WC) vs. Sam Turner (Wyoming RTC)
Kaden Gfeller (Team BIG) vs. Luke Pletcher (Titan Mercury WC)

66 kg/145.5 lbs.
Yianni Diakomihalis (Finger Lakes) vs. Ryan Deakin (Northwestern)
Patricio Lugo (Edinboro RTC) vs. Kanen Storr (C-RTC)

70 kg/154 lbs.
Griffin Parriott (Boilermaker RTC) vs. Philip Conigliaro (Unattached)
Joe Lee (Maurer Coughlin WC) vs. David Carr (Titan Mercury WC)

74 kg/163 lbs.
Mark Hall (Nittany Lion WC) vs. Evan Wick (Wisconsin)
Alex Marinelli (Iowa) vs. David McFadden (SERTC-VT)

79 kg/174 lbs.
Kaleb Young (Iowa) vs. Ahmed Alford (Navy-Marine Corps RTC)
Jacob Covaciu (Wisconsin) vs. Joseph Grello (Scarlet Knights WC)

84 kg/185 lbs.
Zahid Valencia (Arizona State) vs. Jaron Smith (Terrapin WC)
Max Dean (New York AC) vs. Nick Reenan (Wolfpack WC)

96 kg/211 lbs.
Joshua Roetman (Navy-Marine Corps RTC) vs. Andrew Marsden (Titan Mercury WC)
Nathan Traxler (Stanford-California RTC) vs. Chase Singletary (Blairstown WC)

120 kg/264.5 lbs.

Gable Steveson (Minnesota Storm) vs. Anthony Cassioppi (Hononegah WC)
Rylee Streifel (Minnesota Storm) vs. Jordan Wood (Lehigh)

Quarterfinal Results
50 kg/110 lbs.

Malik Heinselman (Olympian WC) tech. fall Brandon Kaylor (Team Aggression), 13-2
Brendon Garcia (Steel City Elite) tech. fall Corey Muniz (River Valley WC), 10-0
Dack Punke (Unattached) tech. fall Riler Weir (Team BIG), 12-2
Jason Holmes (Thorobred) dec. Hunter Lucas (Terrapin WC), 11-6

55 kg/121 lbs.
Daton Fix (Titan Mercury WC) tech. fall Andrew Alirez (TNWC), 11-0
Alex Thomsen (SWIFT) tech. fall Drew Mattin (Burnett Training Wrestling), 10-0
Brandon Courtney (Sunkist Kids) dec. Dylan D’Emilio (Burnett Training Wrestling), 8-1
Paul Bianchi (Bison WC) tech. fall Patrick Mckee (Minnesota Storm), 12-2

60 kg/132 lbs.
Mitchell Mckee (Minnesota Storm) tech. fall Trent Olson (Wyoming RTC), 11-1
Jacob Silzer (IRTC) tech. fall Devan Turner (Orange Crush WC), 10-0
Tariq Wilson (Wolfpack WC) tech. fall Chance Ikei (Arizona State), 15-4
Vitali Arujau (Finger Lakes) tech. fall Matt Santos (Michigan State), 11-1

63 kg/138 lbs.
Nick Lee (Nittany Lion WC) tech. fall Briar Cochran (C-RTC), 10-0
Sam Turner (Wyoming RTC) dec. Jacob Greenwood (GRIT Athletics), 4-0
Kaden Gfeller (Team BIG) tech. fall Ben Freeman (Michigan RTC), 10-0
Luke Pletcher (Titan Mercury WC) tech. fall Brandon Kier (Stanford-California RTC), 10-0

66 kg/145.5 lbs.
Yianni Diakomihalis (Finger Lakes) tech. fall Dominick Demas (Columbus WC), 10-0
Ryan Deakin (Northwestern) tech. fall Jaron Jensen (Wyoming RTC), 17-6
Patricio Lugo (Edinboro RTC) tech. fall Yahya Thomas (Chicago RTC), 11-0
Kanen Storr (C-RTC) tech. fall Keegan Shaw (Iowa), 11-0

70 kg/154 lbs.

Griffin Parriott (Boilermaker RTC) tech. fall Mike Dangelo (Princeton WC), 16-2
Philip Conigliaro (Unattached) tech. fall Jack Taddeo (Naval Academy Prep School), 10-0
Joe Lee (Maurer Coughlin WC) tech. fall Jose Champagne (Minnesota Storm), 19-9
David Carr (Titan Mercury WC) dec. Austin Kraisser (Campbell), 11-10

74 kg/163 lbs.
Mark Hall (Nittany Lion WC) tech. fall Trent Hidlay (Bison Legend), 10-0
Evan Wick (Wisconsin) dec. Hayden Hidlay (Wolfpack WC), 8-5
Alex Marinelli (Iowa) tech. fall Jeremiah Kent (MoWest), 10-0
David McFadden (SERTC-VT) dec. Jake Allar (Minnesota Storm), 16-12

79 kg/174 lbs.
Kaleb Young (Iowa) dec. Canten Marriott (Missouri WF), 6-4
Ahmed Alford (Navy-Marine Corps RTC) dec. Joshua Ugalda (Terrapin WC), 8-6
Jacob Covaciu (Wisconsin) dec. AJ Pedro (Pedro’s WC), 6-2
Joseph Grello (Scarlet Knights WC) dec. Riley Demoss (Princeton WC), 8-4

84 kg/185 lbs.
Zahid Valencia (Arizona State) tech. fall Andrew Price (Lehigh), 10-0
Jaron Smith (Terrapin WC) tech. fall Hunter Ritter (Wisconsin), 14-4
Max Dean (New York AC) dec. Jeremiah Imonode (West Point WC), 12-8
Nick Reenan (Wolfpack WC) tech. fall Logan Gruszka (Southern Illinois), 14-1

96 kg/211 lbs.
Joshua Roetman (Navy-Marine Corps RTC) dec. Samuel Colbray (C-RTC), 6-6
Andrew Marsden (Titan Mercury WC) dec. Ben Darmstadt (New York AC), 13-9
Nathan Traxler (Stanford-California RTC) tech. fall Brady Wetter (Wisconsin), 14-4
Chase Singletary (Blairstown WC) tech. fall Kevin Snyder (Titan Mercury WC), 10-0

120 kg/264.5 lbs.
Gable Steveson (Minnesota Storm) tech. fall Jarrod Snyder (Cal State Bakersfield), 10-0
Anthony Cassioppi (Hononegah WC) tech. fall Brandon Metz (Unattached), 13-2
Rylee Streifel (Minnesota Storm) tech. fall Christian Araneo (Princeton WC), 11-0
Jordan Wood (Lehigh) dec. Shawn Streck (Boilermaker RTC), 5-0