USA Wrestling Freestyle talents Fi...

Freestyle talents Fix, Hall, Valencia and Steveson among those claiming titles at UWW Junior Nationals

By Richard Immel, USA Wrestling | April 29, 2017, 7:58 p.m. (ET)

Photo: Daton Fix (Titan Mercury WC) works for a takedown against Paul Bianchi (Bison WC) in the 55 kg finals of the UWW Junior Freestyle Nationals. Photo by John Sachs,

Video: UWW Junior Freestyle Nationals Champion Interviews

LAS VEGAS – The UWW Junior Freestyle Nationals concluded on Saturday afternoon at the South Point Arena with a thrilling set of championship bouts headlined by victories from past World champions Mark Hall and Gable Steveson.

Hall reminded wrestling fans why he is the reigning Junior World champion at 74 kg/163 lbs. by quickly dismantling Iowa’s Alex Marinelli 10-0 in the finals. All six of Hall’s matches this weekend resulted in 10-0 technical fall victories, with only one of his matches going to the second period.

“There was one match I didn’t get a turn, so other than that I thought I wrestled great. You know, getting to my attacks and turning guys was the main thing,” Hall said.

For his efforts in Las Vegas, Hall was named outstanding wrestler of the UWW Junior Freestyle Nationals. In addition to topping the Junior World Championships last year, Hall was a Cadet World champion in 2014 and a NCAA champion as a true freshman for Penn State this year.

“Going Juniors was good for me, and you know hopefully make the World Team in a couple weeks from now, and get back to Junior Worlds and repeat,” he added.

Steveson, a two-time Cadet World champion heavyweight, controlled 2014 Cadet World silver medalist Jordan Wood of Lehigh in the 120 kg/264.5 lbs. finals, 9-2. Prior to the finals, Steveson had won four matches all by 10-0 scores.

Still UWW Cadet eligible at only 16 years old, Steveson elected to bump up to the UWW Junior division where he will seek out another World championship. He recently announced his college commitment to the University of Minnesota.

“I stepped up, came to his league, got the win. But this isn’t the tournament I want to win. I want to get out to Finland and win a World title,” Steveson said.

Two-time World medalist Daton Fix capped off his third UWW Junior Nationals title with a 10-0 victory over Paul Bianchi of Bison WC at 55 kg/121 lbs. In total, Fix won four matches on the weekend by technical fall, going unscored upon throughout.

The Oklahoma State commit was a Junior World bronze medalist at 55 kg one year ago. He also picked up a Cadet World bronze medal in 2014.

“It’s always fun getting to wrestle new competition, and I just went out there and wrestled like I always do, try to dominate my opponent,” Fix said. “That’s my goal for this year is to win a Junior World gold medal…that’s my goal. That’s what I’m going to do.”

Two-time Junior World Team member and NCAA All-American Zahid Valencia of Arizona State cemented his third UWW Junior Nationals crown with a 10-0 verdict over 2016 Junior World Team member Nick Reenan of Wolfpack WC. Valencia won all six of his contested bouts by 10-0 scores this weekend.

Minnesota’s Mitchell Mckee secured his second-consecutive UWW Junior Nationals title at 60 kg/132 lbs. with a gutsy finals performance against Cadet World silver medalist Vitali Arujau. Trailing on the scoreboard late, Mckee scored a four-pint move with under 10-seconds to go in the bout to upend Arujau, 13-10.

One of the more impressive performances this weekend belongs to Northwestern’s Ryan Deakin who emerged on top of a talented 66 kg/145.5 lbs. pack in Las Vegas. Deakin came from behind to defeat two-time Cadet World champion Yianni Diakomihalis in the semifinals before stopping a red hot Kanen Storr in the championship match, 8-6.

Ohio State freshman Luke Pletcher battled through a tough 63 kg/138 lbs. bracket to take top prize after edging Wyoming’s Sam Turner in the finals, 8-6. Turner took out highly-touted No. 1 seed Nick Lee of Nittany Lion WC in the semifinals, also by an 8-6 margin.

2016 USA Wrestling Junior Nationals champion Griffin Parriott added another stop sign to his collection with a dominant 9-0 win over Joe Lee of Maurer Coughlin WC in the 70 kg/154 lbs. finals. Parriott is currently in his redshirt freshmen year at Purdue.

Other wrestlers picking up UWW Junior Freestyle Nationals championships were Malik Heinselman of Olympian WC at 50 kg/110 lbs., Jacob Covaciu of Wisconsin at 79 kg/174 lbs. and Andrew Marsden of Cowboy WC/Titan Mercury WC at 96 kg/211 lbs.

Complete brackets, match-by-match results and archived video from the UWW Junior Freestyle Nationals can be found at

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

Final Results
50 kg/110 lbs.

1st – Malik Heinselman (Olympian WC) dec. Dack Punke (Unattached), 4-0
3rd – Jason Holmes (Thorobred) tech. fall Brendon Garcia (Steel City Elite)
5th – Brandon Kaylor (Team Aggression) forfeit Riley Weir (Team BIG)
7th – Hunter Lucas (Terrapin WC) forfeit Nick Onea (Crimson Wave WC)

55 kg/121 lbs.
1st – Daton Fix (Titan Mercury WC) tech. fall Paul Bianchi (Bison WC), 10-0
3rd – Drew Mattin (Burnett Training) tech. fall Alex Thomsen (SWIFT), 12-2
5th – Dylan D’Emilio (Burnett Training) forfeit Brandon Courtney (Sunkist Kids)
7th – Andrew Alirez (TNWC) tech. fall McGwire Midkiff (SWIFT), 10-0

60 kg/132 lbs.
1st – Mitchell Mckee (Minnesota Storm) dec. Vitali Arujau (Finger Lakes), 13-10
3rd – Montorie Bridges (Wyoming RTC) dec. Tariq Wilson (Wolfpack WC), 13-6
5th – Nick Farro (Lehigh) dec. Jacob Silzer (IRTC) 10-10
7th – Paul Glynn (Iowa) dec. Jackson Henson (Sunkist Kids), 8-5

63 kg/138 lbs.
1st – Luke Pletcher (Titan Mercury WC) dec. Sam Turner (Wyoming RTC), 8-6
3rd – Kaden Gfeller (Team BIG) dec. Ben Freeman (Michigan RTC), 9-4
5th – Nick Lee (Nittany Lion WC) dec. Dylan Thurston (IRTC), 12-9
7th – Alex Hrisopoulos (Michigan State) tech. fall Brandon Kier (Stanford-California RTC), 12-0

66 kg/145.5 lbs.
1st – Ryan Deakin (Northwestern) dec. Kanen Storr (C-RTC), 8-6
3rd – Yianni Diakomihalis (Finger Lakes) dec. Dominick Demas (Columbus WC), 10-0
5th – Patricio Lugo (Edinboro RTC) tech. fall Ben Hornickle (Wyoming RTC), 12-2
7th – Cole Martin (Wisconsin) tech. fall Keegan Shaw (Iowa), 10-0

70 kg/154 lbs.
1st – Griffin Parriott (Boilermaker RTC) dec. Joe Lee (Maurer Coughlin WC), 9-0
3rd – Austin Kraisser (Campbell) dec. Mike Dangelo (Princeton WC), 12-9
5th – Philip Conigliaro (Unattached) forfeit David Carr (Titan Mercury WC)
7th – Ryder Punke (IRTC) dec. Luke Weber (Nebraska WTC), 6-6

74 kg/163 lbs.
1st – Mark Hall (Nittany Lion WC) tech. fall Alex Marinelli (Iowa), 10-0
3rd – Evan Wick (Wisconsin) dec. Hayden Hidlay (Wolfpack WC), 6-5
5th – David McFadden (SERTC-VT) tech. fall Jake Allar (Minnesota Storm), 12-2
7th – Taleb Rahmani (Pittsburgh WC) dec. Carver James (IRTC), 5-3

79 kg/174 lbs.
1st – Jacob Covaciu (Wisconsin) dec. Kaleb Young (Iowa), 6-5
3rd – AJ Pedro (Pedro’s WC) dec. Joseph Grello (Scarlet Knights WC), 6-0
5th – Joshua Ugalde (Terrapin WC) forfeit Ahmed Alford (Navy-Marine Corps RTC)
7th – Riley Demoss (Princeton WC) forfeit Spencer Carey (Navy-Marine Corps RTC)

84 kg/185 lbs.
1st – Zahid Valencia (Arizona State) tech. fall Nick Reenan (Wolfpack WC), 10-0
3rd – Max Dean (New York AC) dec. Jaron Smith (Terrapin WC), 14-10
5th – Taylor Venz (Nebraska WTC) dec. Keegan Moore (Titan Mercury WC), 8-1
7th – Jelani Embree (Beat the Streets Detroit) dec. Andrew Price (Lehigh), 8-5

96 kg/211 lbs.
1st – Andrew Marsden (Titan Mercury WC) dec. Nathan Traxler (Stanford-California RTC), 11-10
3rd – Samuel Colbray (C-RTC) dec. Kevin Snyder (Titan Mercury WC), 10-1
5th – Chase Singletary (Blairstown WC) forfeit Joshua Roetman (Navy-Marine Corps RTC)
7th – Ben Darmstadt (New York AC) dec. Brady Wetter (Wisconsin), 5-4

120 kg/264.5 lbs.
1st – Gable Steveson (Minnesota Storm) dec. Jordan Wood (Lehigh), 9-2
3rd – Shawn Streck (Boilermaker RTC) tech. fall Brandon Metz (Unattached), 11-1
5th – Rylee Streifel (Minnesota Storm) forfeit Anthony Cassioppi (Hononegah WC)
7th – Brian Barnes (McMinnville) forfeit Christian Rebottaro (Michigan State)

Semifinal Results
50 kg/110 lbs.

Malik Heinselman (Olympian WC) tech. fall Brendon Garcia (Steel City Elite), 12-2
Dack Punke (Unattached) dec. Jason Holmes (Thorobred), 8-4

55 kg/121 lbs.
Daton Fix (Titan Mercury WC) tech. fall Alex Thomsen (SWIFT), 10-0
Paul Bianchi (Bison WC) dec. Brandon Courtney (Sunkist Kids), 17-10

60 kg/132 lbs.
Mitchell Mckee (Minnesota Storm) tech. fall Jacob Silzer (IRTC), 10-0
Vitali Arujau (Finger Lakes) tech. fall Tariq Wilson (Wolfpack WC), 10-0

63 kg/138 lbs.
Sam Turner (Wyoming RTC) dec. Nick Lee (Nittany Lion WC), 8-6
Luke Pletcher (Titan Mercury WC) dec. Kaden Gfeller (Team BIG), 9-7

66 kg/145.5 lbs.
Ryan Deakin (Northwestern) dec. Yianni Diakomihalis (Finger Lakes), 6-4
Kanen Storr (C-RTC) dec. Patricio Lugo (Edinboro RTC), 8-7

70 kg/154 lbs.
Griffin Parriott (Boilermaker RTC) dec. Philip Conigliaro (Unattached), 11-3
Joe Lee (Maurer Coughlin WC) dec. David Carr (Titan Mercury WC), 14-5

74 kg/163 lbs.
Mark Hall (Nittany Lion WC) tech. fall Evan Wick (Wisconsin), 10-0
Alex Marinelli (Iowa) dec. David McFadden (SERTC-VT), 7-5

79 kg/174 lbs.
Kaleb Young (Iowa) tech. fall Ahmed Alford (Navy-Marine Corps RTC), 15-4
Jacob Covaciu (Wisconsin) dec. Joseph Grello (Scarlet Knights WC), 7-0

84 kg/185 lbs.
Zahid Valencia (Arizona State) tech. fall Jaron Smith (Terrapin WC), 10-0
Nick Reenan (Wolfpack WC) tech. fall Max Dean (New York AC), 10-0

96 kg/211 lbs.
Andrew Marsden (Titan Mercury WC) dec. Joshua Roetman (Navy-Marine Corps RTC), 6-4
Nathan Traxler (Stanford-California RTC) dec. Chase Singletary (Blairstown WC), 8-0

120 kg/264.5 lbs.

Gable Steveson (Minnesota Storm) tech. fall Anthony Cassioppi (Hononegah WC), 10-0
Jordan Wood (Lehigh) dec. Rylee Streifel (Minnesota Storm), 10-1