Illinois reels off eight straight wins to beat Minnesota Blue, 41-21, in Junior National Greco-Roman Duals final

By Gary Abbott, USA Wrestling | June 22, 2017, 6:45 p.m. (ET)
TULSA, Okla. – The championship dual meet between fierce rivals Illinois and Minnesota Blue in the Junior National Duals was expected to be a close, hard-fought battle on Thursday afternoon.

After five matches, the score was tied at 11-11, just as predicted. But then, Illinois got hot, won eight straight bouts, and the match ended up a 41-21 blowout victory.

Illinois scored some big-time revenge, because at last year’s Junior National Duals, Minnesota was dominant beating Illinois 42-21 for the title.

The dual started very even. Illinois opened with a dominant win, as Junior double All-American Jack Jessen scored an 11-0 technical fall over Caden Steffens at 182. Jessen led 7-0 at the break, and was able to score a takedown and gut wrench turn early in the second period to secure the technical fall.

Minnesota came back strong at 195, as Cadet World Team member Daniel Kerkvliet scored an impressive 18-4 technical fall over Cameron Caffey in the second period. Kerkvliet powered to an 8-0 lead, but was penalized with leg foul to make it 8-2. Caffey turned him with a gut to make it 8-4. However, Kerkvliet responded with two five-point throws, one after the other, to score 10 quick points and close out the match.

Minnesota took its first lead in the dual after a win a 220, as Noah Ryan stopped Jace Punke, 6-1. The first period ended 1-1, both passivity points, but Ryan opened it up with a takedown and a gutwrench, followed by a step-out point.

Illinois quickly reclaimed control at heavyweight, as Anthony Cassioppi rolled to a quick 10-0 technical fall over Trenton Rogich, scoring an early takedown and four straight gut wrench turns. Cassioppi recently won the Junior Pan American Championships in both styles.

Minnesota won the 100 pound bout, as Paxton Creese scored a 13-2 technical fall over Anthony King. Leading 5-2 at the break, Creese nailed a headlock and followed with a pair of gut wrenches to secure the technical fall to move the team score to 11-11 after five bouts.

Then Illinois brought down the hammer, winning eight straight matches and taking a 39-15 lead after 13 matches. The run included some dominant victories, but also featured a few very close victories.

Dylan Ragusin edged Joseph Thompson, 6-5 at 106 pounds. Ragusin jumped to a 5-1 lead at the break, but Thompson nailed a four-point throw to tie it at 5-5 in the second period. Almost immediately after, Ragusin forced Thompson to step out for the winning point, holding good position the rest of the bout.

Illinois star Anthony Molton put on an offensive show at 113, getting a takedown, two gut wrenches then a four-point reverse lift in rapid order for a 10-0 technical fall over Max Crowe.

In a battle of nationally ranked stars at 120 pounds, 2016 Junior Nationals Greco-Roman champion Dack Punke of Illinois defeated Patrick McKee of Minnesota, 12-4. Last year, McKee was third at Junior Nationals in the same weight class as Punke. Punke opened up a 5-0 lead at the break, and extended to a 10-2 lead. A Punke gut wrench that would have ended the bout was reversed on challenge. A final attempt by McKee at the end the match made the final margin, 12-4.

The next win was no contest, as Austin Macias put on a clinic, with a takedown, a gut wrench, and a pair of four-point throws for a 12-0 decision over Jake Gliva at 126.

Minnesota was close to stopping the streak at 132, but Savion Haywood of Illinois edged Brent Jones of Minnesota, 8-7, with Haywood nailing a five-point throw that changed the direction of the bout. Jones scored a late takedown to trail by a point, but was unable to turn Haywood.

Showing a consistent attack and strong defense, Joey Bianchini scored on three takedowns and a passivity point to defeat Jake Bergeland, 7-1 at 138 pounds. Also showing patience, Duncan Nelson opened it up with a four-point hip toss and kept on the pressure in a 7-1 win over Jake Bergeland at 145.

The Illinois run ended with a bang, as Matthew Ortiz hit a big headlock and secured a pin over Calvin Germinaro in 52 seconds at 152 pounds.

A few or Minnesota’s top wrestlers scored decisions in the final two matches, but it was way too little, too late. In a wild match, Peyton Robb edged Alex Cramer, 10-8 at 160 pounds. Robb scored two four-point throws in the match, the deciding factor in a bout which Cramer once led 8-4. In the final bout, former Cadet National champion Jake Allar jumped to an 8-0 lead over Zachary Braunagel of Illinois, before finishing with an 8-3 win.

This Illinois vs. Minnesota rivalry extends beyond the Junior level. These two states also met in the finals of both styles at the 2017 Schoolboy National Duals, with Illinois winning freestyle, 46-29, while Minnesota won in Greco-Roman, 40-38.

Minnesota Blue barely made it to the finals bout, having to pull out a nail-biting 36-33 win over host Oklahoma Outlaws in Pool B of the Gold/Silver Pool. Minnesota trailed 32-24 with just three matches left, but scored a decision by Alex Lloyd (145), a pin by Calvin Germinaro (152) and a technical fall by Peyton Robb (160) to close out an exciting dual meet. Minnesota Blue also beat Tennessee, 66-4 and Kansas Blue, 45-16 in Pool B of the Gold/Silver Pool to secure its finals spot. On Wednesday, Minnesota Blue won Pool B to advance to the Gold/Silver Pool.

Illinois was dominant in Pool A of the Gold/Silver Pool, stomping Ohio 48-19, Nebraska Blue, 47-22 and Michigan Blue, 36-13. Illinois had won Pool A on Wednesday to advance to the Gold/Silver Pool.

Michigan Blue won third place, defeating Kansas Blue 40-23 in the medal rounds. Fifth place went to Ohio, a 33-30 winner over the host Oklahoma Outlaws. Finishing in seventh was Nebraska Blue, who defeated Tennessee, 36-26.

The Junior National Freestyle Duals begin on Friday, and will conclude on Saturday. All of the action is broadcast live by TrackCast.

JUNIOR NATIONAL DUALS
At Tulsa, Okla., June 22

GOLD/SILVER Results (Places 1-8)

1st Place - Illinois
2nd Place - Minnesota Blue
3rd Place - Michigan Blue
4th Place - Kansas Blue
5th Place - Ohio
6th Place - Oklahoma Outlaws
7th Place - Nebraska Blue
8th Place - Tennessee

1st Place Match - Illinois defeated Minnesota Blue 41-21
182 - Jack Jessen (Illinois) over Caden Steffens (Minnesota Blue) TF 11-0
195 - Daniel Kerkvliet (Minnesota Blue) over Cameron Caffey (Illinois) TF 18-4
220 - Noah Ryan (Minnesota Blue) over Jace Punke (Illinois) Dec 6-1
285 - Anthony Cassioppi (Illinois) over Trenten Rogich (Minnesota Blue) TF 10-0
100 - Paxton Creese (Minnesota Blue) over Anthony King (Illinois) TF 13-2
106 - Dylan Ragusin (Illinois) over Joseph Thompson (Minnesota Blue) Dec 6-5
113 - Anthony Molton (Illinois) over Max Crowe (Minnesota Blue) TF 10-0
120 - Dack Punke (Illinois) over Patrick Mckee (Minnesota Blue) Dec 12-4
126 - Austin Macias (Illinois) over Jake Gliva (Minnesota Blue) TF 12-0
132 - Savion Haywood (Illinois) over Brent Jones (Minnesota Blue) Dec 8-7
138 - Joey Bianchini (Illinois) over Jake Bergeland (Minnesota Blue) Dec 7-1
145 - Duncan Nelson (Illinois) over Alex Lloyd (Minnesota Blue) Dec 8-4
152 - Matthew Ortiz (Illinois) over Calvin Germinaro (Minnesota Blue) Fall 0:52
160 - Peyton Robb (Minnesota Blue) over Alex Cramer (Illinois) Dec 10-8
170 - Jake Allar (Minnesota Blue) over Zachary Braunagel (Illinois) Dec 8-3
Minnesota lost 1 point for unsportsmanlike behavior

3rd Place Match - Michigan Blue defeated Kansas Blue 40-23
182 - Clay Lautt (Kansas Blue) over Dominic Vasquez (Michigan Blue) TF 10-0
195 - Brandon Whitman (Michigan Blue) over Anthony Gaona (Kansas Blue) TF 10-0
220 - Caleb Willis (Kansas Blue) over Tyler Moore (Michigan Blue) TF 10-0
285 - Austin Emerson (Michigan Blue) over Chris Cox (Kansas Blue) TF 12-0
100 - Zach Keal (Kansas Blue) over Riley Bettich (Michigan Blue) Fall 3:52
106 - Reece Fry (Michigan Blue) over Austin Keal (Kansas Blue) TF 10-0
113 - Ben Kamali (Michigan Blue) over Michael Spangler (Kansas Blue) TF 17-4
120 - Rayvon Foley (Michigan Blue) over Jace Koelzer (Kansas Blue) Dec 13-9
126 - Dominic LaJoie (Michigan Blue) over Tanner Hitchcock (Kansas Blue) TF 10-0
132 - Jevon Parrish (Kansas Blue) over Drew Marten (Michigan Blue) Dec 12-3
138 - Ben Freeman (Michigan Blue) over Conner Ward (Kansas Blue) TF 10-0
145 - Ethan Woods (Michigan Blue) over Riley McCall (Kansas Blue) TF 11-0
152 - Cam Amine (Michigan Blue) over Kameron Frame (Kansas Blue) Dec 4-1
160 - Joey Muzzin (Michigan Blue) over Sammy Cokeley (Kansas Blue) Fall 2:22
170 - Daniel Butler (Kansas Blue) over Lane Allen (Michigan Blue) TF 10-0

5th Place Match - Ohio defeated Oklahoma Outlaws 33-30.
182 - Christian Bahl (Oklahoma Outlaws) over JT Brown (Ohio) Dec 3-0
195 - Anthony Perrine (Ohio) over Dan Baker (Oklahoma Outlaws) Dec 8-6
220 - Bear Hughes (Oklahoma Outlaws) over Brad Smith (Ohio) TF 10-0
285 - Kevin Vough (Ohio) over Montana Phillips (Oklahoma Outlaws) TF 12-2
100 - Cruz Aguilar (Oklahoma Outlaws) over Kyle Rowan (Ohio) TF 10-0
106 - Studd Morris (Oklahoma Outlaws) over Cael Woods (Ohio) Dec 16-12
113 - Lucas Byrd (Ohio) over TJ Long (Oklahoma Outlaws) TF 13-2
120 - Dylan D`Emilio (Ohio) over Cameron Picklo (Oklahoma Outlaws) Fall 5:13
126 - Drew Mattin (Ohio) over Jet Taylor (Oklahoma Outlaws) Dec 6-2
132 - Jack Karstetter (Oklahoma Outlaws) over Hunter Kosco (Ohio) TF 10-0
138 - Mitch Moore (Ohio) over Dylan Schickram (Oklahoma Outlaws) Fall 0:41
145 - Brik Filippo (Oklahoma Outlaws) over Sam Dover (Ohio) TF 11-0
152 - Connor Brady (Ohio) over Austin Loza (Oklahoma Outlaws) TF 11-0
160 - Caleb Wise (Oklahoma Outlaws) over Jaden Mattox (Ohio) TF 10-0
170 - Colt Yinger (Ohio) over Hunter Jump (Oklahoma Outlaws) TF 10-0

7th Place Match - Nebraska Blue defeated Tennessee 36-26
100 - Double Forfeit
106 - Jakason Burks (Nebraska Blue) by forfeit
113 - Gabe O`Callaghan (Tennessee) over Shawn Buchanan (Nebraska Blue) Dec 11-7
120 - Van Schmidt (Nebraska Blue) over Jeff Gross (Tennessee) Fall 0:59
126 - Jack Huffman (Nebraska Blue) over David Medina (Tennessee) Fall 0:51
132 - Garrett Bowers (Tennessee) over Tyler Cunningham (Nebraska Blue) Fall 1:45
138 - Double Forfeit
145 - Melvin Hernandez (Nebraska Blue) over Nathan Porter (Tennessee) Fall 0:54
152 - Josh Teaster (Tennessee) over Zack Kuta (Nebraska Blue) TF 10-0
160 - Lance Jarrett (Nebraska Blue) over Mason Reiniche (Tennessee) Fall 0:59
170 - Billy Higgins (Nebraska Blue) over Ndayambaje John (Tennessee) TF 12-0
182 - Sawyer Knott (Tennessee) over Dylan Miller (Nebraska Blue) TF 18-8
195 - Dawson Johnson (Tennessee) by forfeit
220 - Javier Salvador (Tennessee) over Jack Sutton (Nebraska Blue) Fall 0:27
285 - Lee Herrington (Nebraska Blue) over Alex Green (Tennessee) Fall 0:33

BRONZE/COPPER Results (Places 9-16)
1st Place - Washington
2nd Place - Iowa Blue
3rd Place - Missouri
4th Place - North Dakota-Blue
5th Place - Minnesota Red
6th Place - Utah Blue
7th Place - Florida
8th Place - Indiana Gold
1st Place Match - Washington defeated Iowa Blue 36-30.
3rd Place Match - Missouri defeated North Dakota-Blue 38-30.
5th Place Match - Minnesota Red defeated Utah Blue 39-27.
7th Place Match - Florida defeated Indiana Gold 48-22.

RED/BLUE Results
1st Place - Texas Blue
2nd Place - Georgia Blue
3rd Place - Pennsylvania
4th Place - South Dakota
5th Place - Colorado
6th Place - North Carolina
7th Place - Kansas Red
8th Place - Nebraska Red
1st Place Match - Texas Blue defeated Georgia Blue 32-32.
3rd Place Match - Pennsylvania defeated South Dakota 31-29.
5th Place Match - Colorado defeated North Carolina 41-31.
7th Place Match - Kansas Red defeated Nebraska Red 42-28.

GREEN/YELLOW Results
1st Place - Oregon
2nd Place - South Carolina
3rd Place - Texas Red
4th Place - Michigan Red
5th Place - Georgia
6th Place - North Dakota Red
1st Place Match - Oregon defeated South Carolina 47-13.
3rd Place Match - Texas Red defeated Michigan Red 42-25.
5th Place Match - Georgia defeated North Dakota Red 24-22.

A POOL Results
1st Place - Illinois
2nd Place - Tennessee
3rd Place - Missouri
4th Place - Florida
5th Place - Colorado
6th Place - Nebraska Red
7th Place - Oregon
8th Place - Georgia
1st Place Match - Illinois defeated Tennessee 59-6.
3rd Place Match - Missouri defeated Florida 33-32.
5th Place Match - Colorado defeated Nebraska Red 48-17.
7th Place Match - Oregon defeated Georgia 57-8.

B POOL Results
1st Place - Minnesota Blue
2nd Place - Ohio
3rd Place - North Dakota-Blue
4th Place - Indiana Gold
5th Place - North Carolina
6th Place - Kansas Red
7th Place - Texas Red
8th Place - Michigan Red
1st Place Match - Minnesota Blue defeated Ohio 45-22.
3rd Place Match - North Dakota-Blue defeated Indiana Gold 40-26.
5th Place Match - North Carolina defeated Kansas Red 40-28.
7th Place Match - Texas Red defeated Michigan Red 35-30.

C POOL Results
1st Place - Oklahoma Outlaws
2nd Place - Nebraska Blue
3rd Place - Iowa Blue
4th Place - Utah Blue
5th Place - Georgia Blue
6th Place - Texas Blue
7th Place - South Carolina
1st Place Match - Oklahoma Outlaws defeated Nebraska Blue 55-11.
3rd Place Match - Iowa Blue defeated Utah Blue 42-28.
5th Place Match - Georgia Blue defeated Texas Blue 36-28.
7th Place Match - South Carolina, no match

D POOL Results
1st Place - Michigan Blue
2nd Place - Kansas Blue
3rd Place - Washington
4th Place - Minnesota Red
5th Place - Pennsylvania
6th Place - South Dakota
7th Place - North Dakota Red
1st Place Match - Michigan Blue defeated Kansas Blue 36-27.
3rd Place Match - Washington defeated Minnesota Red 38-28.
5th Place Match - Pennsylvania defeated South Dakota 41-16.
7th Place Match - North Dakota Red no match