Photo: Ridge Lovett celebrates a win over his Iranian opponent at the 2017 Cadet World Championships in Athens, Greece. Photo by Richard Immel.
The 2018 USA Wrestling Folkstyle Nationals are set to take place March 29-31 at the UNI Dome on the campus of the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls, Iowa. It is the first part of the USA Wrestling Triple Crown challenge (folkstyle, freestyle and Greco-Roman).
There are three returning Cadet champs expected to compete at the event at the Junior level, including Michael Weber of Montana, Dawson Sihavong of California and Andy Garcia of Colorado.
No 2017 Junior Folkstyle champions have registered as of Wednesday.
Weber, ranked No. 9 in the country at 145 pounds by Trackwrestling, returns to USAW competition after a successful 2017 season that saw him win national titles in folkstyle and Greco and finish just one win shy of the prestigious Triple Crown award, taking second in the national freestyle tournament. Weber will compete in the Junior division at 145 pounds.
Sihavong won the Cadet 132-pound division last March before taking third at the Cadet Greco-Roman Nationals in Fargo, N.D., over the summer. Next weekend, as a Junior, he is expected to compete at 138 pounds.
Colorado native Garcia won the heavyweight folkstyle bracket as a Cadet last year and looks to repeat this season, this time as a Junior-aged athlete.
Other notable wrestlers who have registered for the tournament include Cadet Freestyle Fargo champion at 170 pounds AJ Ferrari, a sophomore from Texas, Junior Freestyle champion at 220 pounds Zach Elam, a senior from New Mexico and 2017 Cadet World Team member Ridge Lovett, a junior from Idaho. All three will compete in the Junior division.
After winning at 170 last year, Ferrari is expected to compete at 195 pounds, where he is ranked No. 3 nationally. Elam, who has committed to wrestle collegiately at Missouri, is No. 6 at 220 pounds, while Lovett holds a No. 13 ranking at 126 pounds.
Additional ranked wrestlers registered include:
- Eric Barnett (Wisconsin) – No. 3 at 113
- Nic Bouzakis (Florida) – No. 20 at 113
- Andrew Chambal (Michigan) – No. 15 at 113
- Max Darrah (Missouri) – No. 16 at 285
- Brock Hardy (Utah) – No. 2 at 145
- Billy Higgins (Nebraska) – No. 17 at 170
- Nash Hutmacher (South Dakota) – No. 7 at 285
- Jeremiah Reno (Missouri) – No. 3 at 103
Registration is still open, and many other wrestlers are still expected to sign up. The deadline to register is Tuesday, March 30, at midnight CT. This event has sold out before so if the capped amount of wrestlers is hit, registration will close early. Those who wish to register can do so at Trackwrestling.com.