Cassioppi becomes second wrestler in history to win two Junior Triple Crowns

By Taylor Miller, USA Wrestling | July 20, 2018, 6:36 p.m. (ET)

Photo: Cassioppi guts his way to a Junior Triple Crown. Photo by Jim Thrall,

FARGO, N.D. – Anthony Cassioppi matched history on Friday afternoon, becoming only the second wrestler to win two USA Wrestling Triple Crowns in the Junior division, when he rolled to an 11-0 technical fall in the 285-pound Junior Greco-Roman finals of the 2018 U.S. Marine Corps Cadet and Junior National Championships.

“It took a whole lot of hard work, a whole lot of practicing,” Cassioppi said. “It is just working harder than everybody else. This year, I think the competition was easier than last year. But this year, I was sick the whole tournament, so I had a lot of things going on that I had to deal with that was not on the mat. That made it a lot harder.”

The Illinois native joins Adam Coon as double Junior Triple Crown winners. Coon accomplished the feat in 2012 and 2013.

“Obviously, he is a great wrestler. It feels great to be up there with him. I just hope I can have a career as successful as his,” Cassioppi said.

To seal the prestigious achievement, Cassioppi, who claimed a folkstyle national title in April and the freestyle national title earlier this week, took on Austin Emerson of Michigan in the Greco finals.

Emerson was hit with passivity and put down in par terre. Cassioppi capitalized with five gut wrenches for the shut out.

In addition to Cassioppi, one other wrestler doubled up on Fargo titles this week as Lucas Davision of Indiana cruised through the 195-pound bracket.

In the finals, Davison defeated Guillermo Escobedo of California, getting off to a quick start with a takedown, gut wrench and four-point throw to lead 8-0. He closed out the match shortly after for a 12-0 tech.

“I wrestled pretty well,” Davison said. “Greco is not something that I practice. Coming into it, the last time I wrestled Greco was Junior Duals. Honestly, I was like, let’s give this a shot. I haven’t really pushed myself in a month, so it felt real good to get to my stuff. It felt good and it felt solid.”

Recognized as the tournament’s Outstanding Wrestler in Greco was Michigan’s Chayse LaJoie at 120 pounds, who defeated 2017 Junior Fargo champion Brandon Kaylor, 2017 Junior Fargo runner-up Anthony Molton and a 2017 Junior World silver medalist Cevion Severado en route to the crown.

In the finals, LaJoie challenged Severado in a match that went back and forth with four lead changes. With LaJoie leading 7-6, it seemed that Severado secured a takedown on the edge at the buzzer to win the match. LaJoie’s corner challenged and won, giving the Michigan wrestler the win and the 120-pound national title.

“I went through my match with my coach. I didn’t scout him because that gets into my head.  The thing I wanted to do was keep the pace going. I knew if I just kept the pace, he would break and I would get the win. Even if I did lose, I would still shake his hand. It was a good match, regardless,” LaJoie said.

Falling short of the Triple Crown was Jack Jessen at 182 pounds, who was defeated by Illinois teammate Zach Braunagel, 5-4.

It was the second time they met this year in Greco as Braunagel took the win at the Illinois State Greco-Roman Championships, 3-1. He adds to his family’s stop sign collection as his brother, Danny, won a Junior Freestyle title earlier in the event.

Another sets of Illinois brothers walked left Fargo with national titles as Alex Cramer won the Greco title at 170 pounds, overpowering Christopher Foca of New Jersey with a 9-4 decision.

His brother, Adrian, won the Cadet Greco title at 160 pounds yesterday. 

Two wrestlers came back from significant deficits, collecting second-period pins to become Fargo champions.

At 126 pounds, Austin Almauger of Washington trailed King Sandoval of Michigan, 10-2, in the final minute of the bout, but a big four-pointer from Almauger put him in position to get the fall at the 5:12 mark.

Cael Carlson of Minnesota was down 11-5 against We Rachal of Illinois, when he secured the win by pin in 3:33.

There were three past Fargo Greco runners-up won titles on Friday.

2016 Cadet and Junior Greco-Roman runner-up Brenden Chaowanapibool of Washington finally found his way on top of the podium, winning the 106-pound title with a 6-2 win over 2017 Junior Greco runner-up Anthony King of Illinois.

In back-to-back matches, Peyton Omania and Tyler Dow outlasted their competition in action-packed championship bouts.

Omania of California came back from a six-point deficit against Tyler Eischens of Minnesota to secure an 8-7 win 152 pounds.

In Dow’s bout against Donnell Washington of Illinois, points were flying. Dow, a Wisconsin native, held on for a 16-11 victory.

There was a rematch of the 2018 Junior Freestyle finals at 220 pounds with Illinois teammates Jace Punke and Luke Luffman going head to head.

Their meeting earlier this week resulted in a tech fall win for Luffman, but Punke flipped the result for the Greco title, defeating the 2018 Cadet World Team member with a 5-3 decision.

Other wrestlers winning titles in the Fargo finale included Eli Griffin of Oklahoma at 100 pounds, Paxton Creese of Minnesota at 113 pounds and Ridge Lovett of Idaho at 132 pounds.

In the team standings, Illinois won its third team title of the week, setting a record for most team points scored with 110 points, which was 65 points more than second-place Washington.

California rounded out the top-three teams with 42 points.

at Fargo, N.D.

Team standings
1. Illinois – 110
2. Washington – 45
3. California – 42
4. Iowa – 36
5. Minnesota – 31
6. Wisconsin – 26
7. Michigan – 25
8. Oklahoma – 21
9. South Dakota – 17
10. Florida – 16

Finals results

1st  - Eli Griffin (Oklahoma) dec. Christian Tanefeu (North Dakota), 3-1

3rd  - Ricky Bell (Oregon) pin Ronan Schuelke (Illinois), 0:28

5th - Guillermo Juarez (Illinois) tech. fall Kael Brisker (Iowa), 12-0 1:19

7th - Sage Mortimer (Utah) dec. Rhett Koppes (Kansas), 14-10



1st - Brenden Chaowanapibool (Washington) dec. Anthony King (Illinois), 6-2

3rd - Elijah Cyr (Connecticut) tech. fall Bryce Cockrell (Oklahoma), 11-0 2:26

5th - Devin Garcia (California) dec.  Austin Kegley (Iowa), 17-10

7th - Jrake Burford (Pennsylvania) tech. fall Wyatt Maturin (Texas), 16-5 3:35



1st - Paxton Creese (Minnesota) dec. Ryan Rowland (Florida), 13-4

3rd - Brendon Garcia (Colorado) dec. Billy Sullivan (South Dakota), 13-8

5th - Andrew Chambal (Michigan) dec. Nick Onea (Pennsylvania), 8-4

7th - Steele Dias (Nevada) tech. fall Jason Henschel (Kansas), 10-0 0:33



1st -  Chayse La joie (Michigan) dec. Cevion Severado (Missouri), 7-6

3rd - Eric Barnett (Wisconsin) tech. fall  Anthony Molton (Illinois), 18-5 3:28

5th -Dylan Ragusin (Illinois) dec. Brandon Kaylor (Washington), 12-11

7th - Noah Surtin (Illinois) tech. fall Gregory Coapstick (Texas), 10-0 1:51



1st -  Austin Almaguer (Washington) pin King Sandoval (Virginia),  5:12

3rd - Jordan Hamdan (Michigan) dec. Hunter Sparks (Oregon), 9-3

5th - Austin Macias (Illinois) dec. Caden Mccrary (Georgia), 6-1

7th - Chase Tebbets (Washington) tech. fall Jack Huffman (Nebraska), 10-0 1:03



1st - Ridge Lovett (Idaho) dec. Delon Kanari (Illinois), 10-2

3rd - Luis Hernandez (Florida) tech. fall Michael Gunther (Illinois), 15-2 4:59

5th - Riley Gurr (Montana) inj. dft Reece Witcraft (Oklahoma)

7th - Jason Shaner (Oregon) dec. Jalen Spuhler (Wisconsin), 10-6



1st - Kyle Parco (California) dec. Dawson Sihavong (California), 11-6

3rd - Ryan Wheeler (Washington) tech. fall Joey Bianchi (Wisconsin), 14-4 4:08

5th - Job Greenwood (Colorado) dec. Frankie Tal-shahar (Florida), 10-7

7th - Spencer Schickram (Oklahoma) pin Marcus Peterson (Washington),1:33



1st – Cael Carlson (Minnesota) pin We Rachal (Illinois), 3:33

3rd - Caden Moore (South Dakota) dec. Chandler Mooney (Minnesota), 7-1

5th - Michael Weber (Montana) dec. Jake Drexler (Wisconsin), 10-3

7th - Cade Devos (Iowa) dec. Ezekial Williamson (Idaho), 6-0



1st - Peyton Omania (California) dec.Tyler Eischens (Minnesota), 8-7

3rd - James Burks (Nebraska) pin Aaron Gandara (Arizona), 0:16

5th - Nathan Moore (Washington) inj dft. Alexander Lloyd (Minnesota)

7th - Jace Luchau (California) pin Gabe Kjeldgaard (Iowa), 0:28



1st - Tyler Dow (Wisconsin) dec. Donnell Washington (Illinois), 16-11

3rd - Ankhaa Enkhmandakh (California) dec. Terrance Parks (New York), 3-3

5th -  Danny Braunagel (Illinois) tech. fall Adrian St.germain (Washington), 19-8 5:27

7th - Jack Ervien (Washington) inj. dft Zachary Tolver (Alaska)



1st - Alex Cramer (Illinois) dec. Christopher Foca (New Jersey), 9-4

3rd - Vincent Baker (Georgia) dec. John Knight (Washington), 6-4

5th - Tate Battani (Iowa) dec. Jacob Stefanowicz (Pennsylvania), 13-12

7th - Damen Pape (Nebraska) tech. fall Allen Swanson (Illinois), 12-1 2:48



1st –Zachary Braunagel (Illinois) dec. Jack Jessen (Illinois), 5-4

3rd - Tommy Brackett (Tennessee) dec. Lennox Wolak (Ohio), 4-0

5th - Tate Samuelson (Colorado) dec. Evan Bockman (Alaska), 9-2

7th - Julien Broderson (Iowa) pin Dane Harter (Louisiana), 1:31



1st - Lucas Davison (Indiana) tech. fall Guillermo Escobedo (California), 12-0 2:25

3rd - Tyrell Gordon (Iowa) dec. Matthew Kaylor (North Dakota), 7-3

5th - Wyatt Hendrickson (Kansas) pin Jackson Mckinney (Washington), 5:48

7th - Peter Christensen (Illinois) tech. fall Dillyn Miller (Nebraska), 11-0 2:00



1st - Jace Punke (Illinois) dec. Luke Luffman (Illinois), 5-3

3rd - Boone Mcdermott (Iowa) tech. fall Jayson Gomez (New York), 18-7 2:32

5th - Leo Rabinovich (New York) pin Aidan Conner (Texas),  2:49

7th - Joshua Heindselman (Oklahoma) inj. dft. Garrett Kappes (Maryland)



1st - Anthony Cassioppi (Illinois) tech. fall Austin Emerson (Michigan), 11-0 1:46

3rd - Nash Hutmacher (South Dakota) tech. fall Spencer Trenary (Iowa), 13-3 3:48

5th - Kaleb Reeves (Iowa) tech. fall Daniel Ausloos (Wisconsin), 10-0 0:25

7th - Joey Slackman (New York) pin Montana Phillips (Oklahoma), 2:26