Down and Dirty Junior Freestyle Nationals weight-by-weight preview

By Gary Abbott, USA Wrestling | July 15, 2017, 10:10 p.m. (ET)
Jake Allar of Minnesota, a 2016 Junior Nationals freestyle champion, leads a field of big-time talents competing in Junior freestyle this year. Photo by John Sachs,

The one cool thing about the Junior Nationals is that you don’t always know who is going to be in Fargo, but you know the competition will be great. There is always a great mix of upperclassmen with previous Junior Nationals achievements along with some mega-talented young stars coming up from the Cadet ranks. The weight classes are loaded, with a lot at stake, as an army of college coaches are in the arena recruiting for the next level.

We could spend hours and hours doing a Junior preview, but since this is down and dirty, we will give you a short review of who to watch, based upon those who are successful enough to be separated within their weight class brackets.

100 – One of the smaller weight classes, this weight class does not have any high-placing Junior All-Americans or UWW Junior medalists in the draw. The best separation tier here is a pair of No. 5 wrestlers, Brenden Choawanapibool of Washington and Anthony King of Illinois. Both were Junior freestyle All-Americans last year, with Choawanapibool in seventh and King in eighth. Chaowanipibool was a double Junior All-American last year, also placing second in Greco-Roman. He had a tough day in Cadet freestyle today, being eliminated on day one. The Folkstyle Junior Nationals is an event used for separation, and both finalists this year from Cedar Falls are in the draw, champion Daniel Kimball of Iowa and Devin Harmison of Iowa.
Others separated – Jackson Cockrell (OK), Wil Guida (NJ), Timothy Levine (CA), Zachary Ramos (CA), Daniel Rehfeldt (MI), Jacob Rundell (IL)

106 –. Brendon Garcia of Colorado was the 100-pound Junior freestyle runner-up last year, and is also the returning Junior Nationals Greco-Roman champion. The next separated wrestlers are at tier No. 6, Steel Dias of Nevada was fourth last year at the Cadet Nationals in Greco-Roman and Samual Latona of Alabama, who was a Cadet Nationals freestyle runner-up a year ago.
Others separated – Justin Cardani (IL), Jacob Cochran (FL), Manny Drexler (WI)), Christian Goin (IL), Maichael Leveille (IL), David Stepanian (MI)

113 – There is some solid experience at this weight class, including three athletes who have been as high as third at the Junior Freetyle Nationals. Cody Phippen of Missouri was third at the 2015 Junior Nationals, and was seventh in 2016. Phippen also won the Junior Folkstyle Nationals this year. Cevion Sevarado of Missouri was third in freestyle at 100 pounds, and was also a Junior Nationals Greco-Roman All-American. Brandon Kaylor of Washington was third at 100 last year in Junior Freestyle. You can’t overlook Riley Weir of Oklahoma, fourth last year at 100 pounds. Among those moving up from Cadets is 2016 Cadet Nationals 106-pound champion Corey Gamet of Michigan. Clayton Singh of Missouri was seventh in the Junior Nationals in freestyle last year. Ty Smith of Nevada, a Junior Nationals All-American in both styles in 2016 added a fourth-place finish at the UWW Junior Nationals this year.
Others separated – Patrick Allis (CO), Eric Barnett (WI), Kyle Biscoglia (IA), Matthew Cardello (OH), Gregory Coapstick (TX), Max Crowe (MN), Manny Garcia (AZ), Benyamin Kamali (MI), Jace Koelzer (KS), Jarod Kosman (CT), Blake Mateu (LA), Parker McBride (WA), Anthony Molton (IL), Nick Onea (PA), Aden Reeves (IA), Angelo Rini (OH), Ryan Rowland (FL), Camden Russell (NE), Dylan Ryder (NY), Destin Summers (ID),

120 –This weight class has numerous athletes capable of making a strong run, led by a pair of Junior National freestyle runners-up from 2016. Dylan D’Emilio of Ohio was the Junior Nationals freestyle runner-up at 113 pounds, while Rayvon Foley of Michigan was the runner-up at 106. Another talent is Patrick McKee of Minnesota, third at 113 pounds in Junior Freestyle and also a Junior Nationals Greco-Roman champion. There are two wrestlers who place as high as fifth, as Brady Koontz of Wisconsin was fifth in the 2015 Junior Nationals and Mike Madara of Pennsylvania was fifth in the 2016 Junior Nationals. Also watch for Michael Colaiocco of New Jersey, who was sixth in Junior Freestyle. Add in a pair of eighth-place finishers at the Junior Nationals in freestyle, Nathan Rankin of Texas who was at 106 and Tommy Hoskins of Ohio, who was at 120. You can add in Rhett Golowenski of Oklahoma, who was third at UWW Junior Nationals. Coming up in age is Ridge Lovett of Idaho, a Cadet Nationals runner-up in freestyle last year.
Others separated – Kyle Burwick (ND), Ezra Elliot (IL), Kyle Gollhofer (GA), Joseph Heilman (NJ), Tyler Hunt (GA), Dylan Koontz (WI), Vicente Loiaza (AZ), Joey Melendez of Illinois, Oscar Nellis (CA), Val Park (OK), Robert Precin (IL), Derek Ramos (ID), King Sandoval (MD), Gabriel Tagg (OH)

126 – This weight is led by Paul Konrath of Indiana, the Junior Nationals freestyle runner-up last year at 126. Konrath won the Junior Folkstyle Nationals this year, so is gunning for the Junior Triple Crown. Among the top challengers are Drew Mattin of Ohio, third in UWW Juniors this year and fourth at last year’s Junior Nationals and Alex Thomsen of Iowa, fourth at the UWW Juniors and fifth at the 2016 Junior Nationals. All-Americans from last year in the mix are Jet Taylor of Oklahoma, sixth at the Junior Nationals at 120, and Bryce West of Iowa, who was seventh at Junior Nationals at 120. Another to watch is McGwire Midkiff of Iowa, who was eighth at UWW Junior Nationals to earn a strong separation rank. Another top athlete is Folkstyle Nationals champion Jake Gliva of Minnesota.
Others separated – Jakob Camacho (CT), Austin Macias (IL), Corbin Nirschl (KS), Mel Ortiz (CT), Jevon Parrish (KS), Jack Skudlarczyk (TX), Trae Vasquez (MT)

132 – This is a weight class which is wide open, without many past All-American to keep the young challengers out of the medals. Brent Jones of Minnesota was fifth at the Junior Nationals last year in both styles, the highest Fargo returnee. Colton Williams of Texas was eighth at the 2015 Junior Nationals.Andrew Alirez of Colorado was third at the 2016 Cadet Nationals in freestyle and seventh at 2017 UWW Juniors. Looking for a strong freestyle finish is UWW Junior Nationals Greco-Roman champion Dalton Young of Washington, who was a Junior Nationals Greco-Roman runner-up last year. Another talent is Jackson Henson if West Virginia, eighth at UWW Juniors.
Others separated – Alexander Cruz (WA), Atilano Escobar (AZ), Job Greenwood (CO), Riley Gurr (MT), Savion Haywood (IL), Legend Lamer (OR), Trevor Mansfield (SC), Ryan Moore (KY), Zach Price (IA), Billy Simpson (OK), Drew West (IA), Chase Zollman (CA)

138 – There weren’t many high placers returning from last year’s Junior Freestyle Nationals, but tough Kaden Gfeller of Oklahoma was third at the 2015 Junior Nationals and third this year at the UWW Juniors in freestyle. Returning Junior Freestyle All-Americans include Jeremy Schoenherr of Wisconsin, fifth at the Junior Nationals and Parker Filius of Montana, sixth at Junior Nationals. Filius is also a Triple Crown threat, after winning Folkstyle Nationals this year. Ben Freeman of Michigan, third in Junior Greco-Roman Nationals last year, was also fourth at the UWW Juniors in freestyle. A pair of tough Californians will challenge, Jaden Abas, who was a Cadet Nationals runner-up last year and Jaden Enriquez, who was second in the 2014 Cadet Nationals in freestyle.
Others separated – Jakob Bergeland (MN), Jack Davis (PA), Nick Freeman (MI), Andrew Garr (OH), Jacob Greenwood (CO), Holden Heller (IL), Nate Keim (OK), Jason Kraisser (MD), Curtis LeMair (MN), Jake Polka (IL), Ralphie Rodriguez (ID), Joshua Steele (MO)

145 – Leading this pack is 2016 Junior Nationals freestyle champion Anthony Artalona of Florida, who won at this weight class, and also added a third place in Greco-Roman in Fargo a year ago. Another big name is Sam Sasso of Pennsylvania, a 2015 Cadet Nationals champion, who was second last year in the Cadet Nationals to Brock Hardy of Utah, who is also at this weight class. Both Sasso and Hardy were Cadet All-Americans in both styles. Junior freestyle All-Americans in the field are Alexander Lloyd of Minnesota, who placed seventh and Zach Barnes of Iowa, who placed eighth. Another talent is Cadet Nationals runner-up Mason Phillips of Washington.
Others separated – Baylor Fernandez (IL), Logan Jensen (UT), Brayton Lee (IN), Justin McCoy (PA), Kasper McIntosh (IN), Logan Meek (OR), Rodrick Mosley (OK), Lawrence Saenz (CA), Kiernan Shanahan (NY), Anthony Ulaszek (CO), Tristan Zamilpa (CA).

152 – This weight is not stacked with past Junior freestyle All-Americans, but has some interesting talents. Start with local star Jared Franek of North Dakota, a 2016 Cadet Nationals champion. Add in Will Lewan of Illinois, a 2017 UWW Cadet Nationals champion and a 2016 Cadet Nationals Greco-Roman champion. Watch for Marcus Hartman of Illinois, a 2016 Cadet Nationals runner-up. Then there is Peyton Robb, who was second at the 2017 UWW Cadet Nationals, and won both styles at the recent Pan American Cadet Championships.
Others separated – Cameron Amine (MI), Dawon Andrews (AZ), Alexander Crowe (MN), Tyler Eischens (MN), Braydon Huber (ID), Mason Kauffman (WI), Ryan Leisure (IA), Brian Meyer (NJ), Perez Perez (CA), Justin Ruffin (GA), Jacob Warren (MO), Isaac Wilcox (UT).

160 – Another 2016 Junior Nationals champion is in the field, Jake Allar of Minnesota, who has a long career of success in both styles in USA Wrestling’s age-group programs. People are buzzing about the talent of David Carr of Ohio, who won the UWW Cadet Nationals in 2016 and was fourth at the UWW Junior World Team Trials in Akron this year. Joe Lee of Indiana lost to Carr in the 2016 UWW Cadet Nationals finals, and this year placed second at the UWW Junior Nationals, where he was beaten by Griffin Parriott from Purdue University. A top young talent is Tyler Dow of Wisconsin, who won the UWW Juniors in Greco-Roman this year, and was a second in Greco and third in freestyle at the Cadet Nationals last year.
Others separated – Danny Braunagel (IL), Jaron Chavez (ID), Alex Cramer (IL), Jaryn Curry (OK), Noah Jackson (WI), Hunter Jump (OK), Carson Kharchilava (OH), Adam Kilgore (TX), John Knight (WA), John Knight (WA), Andrew Merola (NJ), James Noel (AR), Jake Rando (LA), Braeden Redlin (TX), Edmond Ruth (PA), Austin Yant (IA)

170 – 2016 Junior Nationals runner-up Max Wohlabaugh of Florida, who was also second in Greco-Roman last year, is the top returnee at this weight. Jackson Hemauer of Wisconsin was third at the Junior Nationals last year. Trent Hidlay of Pennsylvania, seventh in the Junior Freestyle last year, is in the field. Cadet Nationals champion Aaron Brooks of Maryland will be a top threat.
Others separated – Jose Acosta (WI), Andrew Berreyesa (NV), Zachary Braunagel (IL), Daniel Butler (KS), Billy Higgins III (NE), Jeremiah Kent (MO), Hunter Mullin (KS), Josh Ramirez (LA), Benjamin Root (PA), Tate Samuelson (CO), Ben Sarasin (IA), Joshua Stillings (PA),

182 – This weight includes Jack Jessen of Illinois, who was fourth at last year’s Junior Nationals in freestyle and Greco-Roman. Matthew Waddell of Georgia, fifth at the Junior Nationals, is another top contender. Cadet Nationals runner-up Tyler Barnes of New York is talented, and Indiana’s Lucas Davison is another young talent making noise on the age-group level.
Others separated – Tyler Buesgens (MN), Hunter DeJong (IA), Austin Harris (OR), Christian Knop (AL), Jake Lanning (IL), Max Lyon (IA), Victor Marcelli (OH), Anthony Montalvo (CA), David Schultz (MD), Anthony Sherry (IA), Caden Steffen (MN),

195 – Three Junior Nationals freestyle All-Americans are back, Brandon Whitman of Michigan, fifth at Junior Nationals, Miles Lee of Pennsylvania, sixth at Junior Nationals and Jakob Woodley of Pennsylvania, eighth at Junior Nationals. The 2017 UWW Cadet Nationals freestyle champion Jacob Warner of Illinois is another strong challenger.
Others separated – Austin Cooley (MA), Kaleb Gaede (CO), Dakota Howard (OH), Jackson McKinney (WA), Joseph Miller (NV), Chad Porter (AZ), Kaleb Reeves (IA), Logan Schumacher (IA), Joel Shapiro (IA), Serbio Villalabos (IL), Colton Wolfe (NE), Ryan Yarnell (MO)

220 – This weight includes Francis Duggan of Iowa, who was third in last year’s Junior Nationals, and Haydn Maley of Oregon, who won a gold at the Junior Nationals in Greco-Roman last year.
Others separated – Tyler Curd (MO), Andrew Demos (IL), Zach Elam (MO), Cole Fibranz (MN), Keaton Fogler (IL), Enutifa Gamia (IA), Jace Punke (IL), Payton Smith (SD), Guy Snow (IA), Chase Trussell (UT), Wade Wheeler (VA).

286 – Anthony Cassioppi of Illinois, the Junior Nationals runner-up, comes off a double title at the Pan American Junior Championships. Others with championships in their trophy case are Jordan Earnest of Ohio, a 2017 UWW Cadet Nationals champion, Montana Phillips of Oklahoma, a 2016 Cadet Nationals champion and Brandon Metz of North Dakota, a 2016 Cadet Nationals Greco-Roman champion. Zach Mueller of Illinois was fifth at the Junior Nationals last year. Brian Barnes of Oregon was seventh at the Junior Nationals in freestyle.
Others separated – Aaron Costello (IA), Jayvon Davidson (NJ), Sammy DeSeriere (CO), Jack Delgarbino (OH), Austin Emerson (MI), Jayson Gomez (NY), Lee Herrington (NE), Keaton Kleuver (IA), Ezra Lincecum (AK).

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