World medalists McHenry, Wittlake Jr. highlight freestyle finalists at UWW Cadet Nationals

By Richard Immel, USA Wrestling | June 03, 2017, 6:13 p.m. (ET)
Photo: Cadet World champion Kurt McHenry in action at the 2017 UWW Cadet Freestyle Nationals in Akron. Photo by Richard Immel, USA Wrestling.

AKRON, Ohio – The Cadet World medalist duo of Kurt McHenry and Travis Wittlake Jr. find themselves on the verge of a return trip to the Cadet World Championships after a spectacular set of freestyle finals were established at the UWW Cadet Nationals on Saturday afternoon.

Returning to the UWW Cadet Nationals field as the reigning Cadet World champion, McHenry did what most expected, torching all comers at 46 kg/101 lbs. The Leesburg, Va. native stepped in the circle four times on Saturday at the Louis and Freda Stile Athletic Field House in Akron, Ohio, and four times he finished with a dominant win.

McHenry won all four of his bouts by first-period technical fall, with his longest match time coming in at one minute and 43 seconds. His first three bouts came with clean 10-0 scorecards. In the semifinals, McHenry rapidly dispatched of Cadet Greco-Roman World Team member Dylan Ragusin of Illinois, 13-2.

The 46 kg finals will pit McHenry against 2016 USAW Cadet Nationals champion Jeremiah Reno of Missouri in a rematch of last year’s 42 kg/92 lbs. UWW Cadet Nationals finals. McHenry won the 2016 best-of-three championship series against Reno two matches to one (10-0, 5-13, 12-0).

Last summer was a remarkable one for Wittlake, who won a Cadet World bronze medal on top of securing the USA Wrestling Triple Crown by winning national titles in freestyle, Greco-Roman and folkstyle. Unlike his Cadet World Team counterpart McHenry, Wittlake was forced to squeak out a couple wins in Akron today.

Wittlake opened with two rapid-fire 10-0 technical falls to make the 76 kg/167 lbs. quarterfinals against Cadet Nationals runner-up Julian Ramirez of New Jersey. Wittlake escaped in the waning moments with a 12-10 victory. It didn’t get any easier for the Oregon product in his next outing as he outlasted Minnesota’s Patrick Kennedy, 4-3.

In the 76 kg championships series, it will be Wittlake taking on two-time Cadet Nationals champion Aaron Brooks of Maryland. The two competitors combine to boast a whopping five Fargo crowns.

2016 runners-up at the UWW Cadet Nationals, Jordan Decatur of Ohio and Sammy Sasso of Pennsylvania, have returned to the finals for a second-straight year.

Decatur, a two-time Cadet Freestyle Nationals champion, posted five technical falls and combined to outscore his opponents 46-4 on his way to the 58 kg/127 lbs. finals. He will be tested by up-and-comer Carson Manville of Minnesota in the championship series.

Already owning a Cadet Nationals title and four Fargo All-America honors, Sasso is primed for a second chance at the Cadet World Team. Standing opposite Sasso in the 63 kg/138 lbs. finals is Cadet Nationals champion Jacori Teemer of New York. The two competitors combined for eight technical falls and a pin on their finals collision course.

The only UWW Cadet Greco-Roman champion to find a place in tomorrow’s freestyle finals is Will Lewan of Illinois. Lewan won five matches, including a 5-0 victory over Cadet Nationals champion Jared Franek of North Dakota, to book a spot in the 69 kg/152 lbs. championship series.

Trying to prevent Lewan from doubling up in Akron will be past Fargo finalist Peyton Robb of Minnesota. Robb and Lewan met in the semifinals of the Greco-Roman portion this weekend with Lewan stealing the match late, 6-4. Lewan went on to win the Greco-Roman tournament while Robb wrestled his way back to third place.

Three-time Cadet Nationals champion Ryan Karoly of New Jersey is seeking his first Cadet World Team berth. All that remains is a showdown against Cadet Nationals runner-up Gavin Hoffman of Pennsylvania in the 85 kg/187 lbs. finals.

Ohio product Julian Tagg squeaked by with one-point decisions in the quarterfinals and semifinals to qualify for the 50 kg/110 lbs. championships series against California’s Isaac Salas. Tagg was a Cadet Nationals champion in freestyle last summer, while Salas picked up a Cadet Folkstyle Nationals title this season.

In the 42 kg/92 lbs. championship series, USAW Preseason Nationals champion and Cadet Freestyle All-American Cole Skinner of Ohio will face Cadet Folkstyle Nationals champion Chance Lamer of Oregon.

Cadet Freestyle All-Americans Chris Cannon of New Jersey, Daniel Kerkvliet of Minnesota and Jace Punke of Illinois also qualified for tomorrow’s finals. Cannon will take on New Jersey rival Robert Howard for the 54 kg/119 lbs. championships, while Kerkvliet and Punke stand to face one another for the 100 kg/220 lbs. crown.

UWW Cadet Greco-Roman champion Jack Delgarbino of Ohio will go for the heavyweight sweep in Akron against fellow Ohioan Jordan Earnest in the 125 kg/275 lbs. finals.

The finals will be contested in a best two-of-three format in every weight class except 125 kg. The winners of each best two-of-three championship series qualify to represent the U.S. at the Cadet World Championships in Athens, Greece, this September.

The UWW Cadet Nationals will conclude at 9 a.m. (ET) tomorrow morning with the championship finals and remaining consolation rounds. All the action can be viewed live on Flowrestling.com.

Brackets and match-by-match results from Akron can be found on Flowrestling’s FloArena platform.

UWW CADET FREESTYLE NATIONALS
June 3-4 at Akron, Ohio


Finals Matchups
42 kg/92 lbs. – Chance Lamer (Orange Crush WC) vs. Cole Skinner (G2 World WA)
46 kg/101 lbs. – Kurt McHenry (Ranger WC) vs. Jeremiah Reno (Victory)
50 kg/110 lbs. – Juian Tagg (Seasons) vs. Isaac Salas (Sunkist Kids/Monster Garage)
54 kg/119 lbs. – Robert Howard (Bitetto Trained) vs. Chris Cannon (Blairstown WC)
58 kg/127 lbs. – Jordan Decatur (Seasons) vs. Carson Manville (Shakopee Mat Club)
63 kg/138 lbs. – Sammy Sasso (Dark Knights) vs. Jacori Teemer (Long Beach)
69 kg/152 lbs. – Peyton Robb (Pinnacle) vs. Will Lewan (Izzy Style)
76 kg/167 lbs. – Aaron Brooks (Hagerstown) vs. Travis Wittlake Jr. (Team Bucs)
85 kg/187 lbs. – Ryan Karoly (Malvern WC) vs. Gavin Hoffman (Bison Legend)
100 kg/220 lbs. – Daniel Kerkvliet (Pinnacle) vs. Jace Punke (OS/WN)
125 kg/275 lbs. – Jordan Earnest (Wadsworth) vs. Jack Delgarbino (Green Machine WC)

Semifinal Results
42 kg/92 lbs.

Chance Lamer (Orange Crush WC) dec. Jett Strickenberger (Sons of Thunder), 8-8
Cole Skinner (G2 World WA) dec. Alex Almeyda (Edge), 4-0

46 kg/101 lbs.
Kurt McHenry (Ranger WC) tech. fall Dylan Ragusin (Izzy Style), 13-2
Jeremiah Reno (Victory) dec. Cullan Schriever (Sebolt WA), 7-4

50 kg/110 lbs.
Juian Tagg (Seasons) dec. Justin Cardani (Centennial), 8-7
Isaac Salas (Sunkist Kids/Monster Garage) fall Noah Surtin (Quest), 1:19

54 kg/119 lbs.
Robert Howard (Bitetto Trained) dec. Aaron Cashman (Pinnacle), 6-0
Chris Cannon (Blairstown WC) tech. fall Gabriel Tagg (Seasons), 10-0

58 kg/127 lbs.
Jordan Decatur (Seasons) tech. fall Atilano Escobar (Olympus/LWC), 12-0
Carson Manville (Shakopee Mat Club) dec. Nicholas Raimo (Apex), 8-5

63 kg/138 lbs.
Sammy Sasso (Dark Knights) tech. fall Jason Kraisser (Maryland), 10-0
Jacori Teemer (Long Beach) tech. fall Kasper McIntosh (Portage WC), 11-0

69 kg/152 lbs.
Peyton Robb (Pinnacle) dec. Connor Brady (Ohio RTC), 8-8
Will Lewan (Izzy Style) dec. Jared Franek (West Fargo), 5-0

76 kg/167 lbs.
Aaron Brooks (Hagerstown) dec. Michael O’Malley (Apex), 7-2
Travis Wittlake Jr. (Team Bucs) dec. Patrick Kennedy (Minnesota Storm), 4-3

85 kg/187 lbs.
Ryan Karoly (Malvern WC) dec. Joel Shapiro (Ubasa WA), 10-4
Gavin Hoffman (Bison Legend) tech. fall Devin Winston (Greater Heights), 13-2

100 kg/220 lbs.
Daniel Kerkvliet (Pinnacle) tech. fall Luke Luffman (OS/WN), 12-0
Jace Punke (OS/WN) dec. Tyler Curd (MOWest), 7-2

125 kg/275 lbs.
Jordan Earnest (Wadsworth) dec. Eli Pokorney (Chesterton WC), 4-2
Jack Delgarbino (Green Machine WC) tech. fall Enutifa Gamia (Eastern Iowa WC), 10-0