Fargo Day 5 preview (7/17): Women’s Junior freestyle wraps up; 16U Greco-Roman gets things flying

By Gary Abbott, USA Wrestling | July 16, 2019, 11:03 p.m. (ET)
Tristan Kelly of Colorado, a 2018 Junior Nationals champion, has reached the semifinals of the 2019 Junior Nationals. Photo by John Sachs, Tech-Fall.com

On Day five of the 2019 USMC Junior/16U Nationals, the last of the freestyle matches will be concluded with the finish of the Junior Women’s competition. But it will also be the first day of the Greco-Roman action, as the 16U division starts its tournament in the Classic Style. Expect to see athletes flying all over the place…

The first day of 16U Greco-Roman comes with 979 entries, which will be big and very competitive. The interest in Greco-Roman at the youth and high school levels has seemed to expand in recent years.

2018 16U National Greco-Roman champions who are eligible to return are Kendyl Mobley of Washington (133), Robert Perez III of California (145) and Kolby Franklin of Pennsylvania (220). Perez is back at the same weight class, while Mobley jumps all the way up from 100 and Franklin is up from 195 last year.

Four of the 2018 16U National Greco-Roman runners-up are back: Kai Owen of Florida (100), Joey Cape of Illinois (120), John Wiley of Oklahoma (138) and Gage Cook of Washington (220). Only Cook returns at the same weight. Owen is up from 94, Cape is up from 113 and Wiley is up from 120.

There are 11 of the 2019 16U freestyle national champions who are entering Greco;Roman. This includes Wiley and Franklin, plus Cael Hughes of Oklahoma (94), Jore Volk of Minnesota (100), Wilfried Tanefeu of North Dakota (113), Daniel Cardenas of Colorado (132), Dean Hamiti, Jr of Illinois (145), Thomas Stewart of Maryland (160),
Leonard Pinto of Pennsylvania (170), Seth Shumate of Ohio (195) and Hayden Copass of Illinois (285).
Last year, the Greco-Roman, 16U team champion was Illinois, with Washington, Pennsylvania, Minnesota and California as the next teams in the standings. At the 2018 16U National Duals Minnesota defeated Illinois in the championship bout with Georgia in third, Iowa in fourth and Washington in fifth.

WHAT FINISHES: The end of the women’s freestyle competition for Fargo 2019 will be the finals of the Junior Women’s division. At this point, we don’t yet know who will be in the finals, because day one ran only through the quarterfinals. However, the numbers look good for a spectacular finals. There are seven No. 1 ranked wrestlers in the semifinals, four returning Junior Nationals champions, five returning Junior Nationals runners-up and five of the 2019 16U National champions who moved up seeking a double title.

Past Cadet World medalists in the semifinals are Emily Shilson of Minnesota at 106, Tiare Ikei of Hawaii at 117 and Alara Boyd of Indiana at 138. Returning champions in the mix still are Shilson, plus Xochitl Mota-Pettis of Texas at 127, Tristan Kelly of Colorado at 164 and Gabrielle Holloway of Texas at 225.

There are 45 nationally ranked girls in the semifinals, and every weight has at least two nationally ranked wrestlers in them. The best weight in terms of rankings could be at 122 pounds, where all four wrestlers are ranked in the top five. (Please note they may be ranked in different weight classes).

This is what the 122 semifinals looks like:
No. 2 Gabrielle Skidmore (Wisconsin) vs No. 4 Payton Stroud (Washington)
No. 5 Nanea Estrella (Hawaii) vs No. 3 Leilah Castro (Ohio)

The largest Junior Women’s Nationals could also be the most competitive. Semifinals start promptly at 9:00 a.m., with the finals at 2:30 p.m., all live on FloWrestling

9:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon - Junior Women Freestyle: Session III Semifinals, Consolation, and Consolation Semifinals
9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. - 16U Greco-Roman: Session I - Preliminaries and Consolations
2:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. - Junior Women Freestyle: Session IV Finals, Medal Matches & Awards
5:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. - 16U Greco-Roman: Session II - 1/8 Championship, Quarter-Final and Consolations