USA Wrestling High school stars re...

High school stars ready to compete at Flowrestling's Who's #1 in Carver-Hawkeye Arena

By Mike Willis, USA Wrestling | Oct. 03, 2019, 2:13 p.m. (ET)

Two-time Cadet World bronze medalist Alex Facundo will look to earn his second-straight victory at Who's #1.

Starting in 2013, Flowrestling has annually held “Who’s #1”, an exhibition between some of the nation’s top-ranked high school wrestlers, in Grace Hall at Lehigh University. On Saturday, for the first time, Who’s #1 will take place at Carver-Hawkeye Arena at the University of Iowa. Like always, the card will feature elite high school wrestlers duking it out for the top spot in the country.

Traditionally Who’s #1 features a four-man mini tournament at one weight class. This year, the weight class is 132 pounds, and it will feature No. 1 Jesse Mendez of Indiana vs. No. 4 Ryan Jack of Connecticut and No. 2 Dominick Serrano of Colorado vs. No. 3 Shayne Van Ness of New Jersey. The winners of the preliminary matches will square off in the finals.

Mendez, a sophomore, has had a tremendous 2019, winning the 2019 FloNationals Cadet freestyle tournament, 16U Folkstyle Nationals, and Cadet World Team Trials in men’s freestyle. Internationally, he was a Pan Am champion in men’s freestyle and Greco-Roman and placed 9th at the Cadet World Championships. Mendez is the only underclassman competing at the event.

Jack, his opponent, is a senior committed to North Carolina State. He is a 2019 NHSCA champion and a 2018 Super 32 runner-up. Jack is the younger brother of two-time Wolfpack All-American Kevin Jack. At Super 32, Jack defeated both Serrano and Mendez.

Serrano is also a senior and committed to the University of Nebraska. He is a two-time Fargo champion and a three-time Colorado state champion. He finished third at Cadet World Team trials this year, only losing to Mendez.

Van Ness is an uncommitted junior. Last season, he won Ironman, Beast of the East and Super 32 while finishing runner-up at the National Prep Championships. He has defeated all three of the other wrestlers in this mini bracket.

After the opening bouts at 132, the action will shift to 120, where No. 1 Jesse Ybarra of Arizona will face No. 2 Jakason Burks of Nebraska. Ybarra is a senior committed to the University of Iowa. This year he finished second at Cadet World Team Trials and third at FloNationals in Cadet freestyle. Ybarra defeated Burks, 4-1, in the Cadet World Team Trials semifinals.

Burks is a senior and committed to Oklahoma State University. In 2019, he finished third at Cadet World Team Trials, second at Fargo in Junior men’s freestyle and third in Fargo in Junior Greco-Roman. Burks was a 2018 Cadet Greco-Roman World Team member and a Fargo 16U Greco-Roman champion.

After the 120 pound match, No. 1 Richard Figueroa of California will wrestle No. 2 Stevo Poulin of New York at 113 pounds. Figueroa is a junior committed to Arizona State. He is a two-time Cadet World Team member, taking silver in 2018 and finishing 16th in 2019. Figueroa competed in Who’s #1 last year, where he defeated Jacob Decatur, 1-0, at 106 pounds. He also won a 2018 Super 32 title and finished runner-up at the 2019 FloNationals in Cadet freestyle.

Poulin, an uncommitted junior, is also a 2019 Cadet World Team member and a 2018 Super 32 Champion down a weight class from Figueroa. At Cadet Worlds, he took 5th at 48 kg. He is a 2018 Fargo 16U men’s freestyle third-place finisher and a two-time New York State Champion. 

At 145 pounds, two uncommitted wrestlers will meet when No. 1 Victor Voinovich of Ohio faces off with No. 2 Jesse Vasquez of California. Voinovich, a junior, is a 2019 Fargo Junior men’s freestyle runner-up and a 2018 Ohio State champion. Vasquez, a senior, is a three-time California state champion and two-time Super 32 finalist.

There will be an intriguing matchup at an international weight class, 65 kg, between No. 2 at 138 pounds Josh Saunders of Missouri and Iowa State freshman Anthony Echemendia. Saunders, a senior committed to Cornell, is one of the most decorated wrestlers in the event. He competed in the 2018 Cadet and Junior World Championships, finishing tenth and eighth. He is a 2019 Fargo Junior men’s freestyle champion and a 2017 Fargo 16U men’s freestyle champion.

Echemendia won Fargo this summer in both men’s freestyle and Greco-Roman. He was an Arizona state champion last season after fleeing Cuba and seeking asylum in the United States. Last year was the first season he competed in folkstyle, and he had never wrestled Greco-Roman before Fargo.

152 pounds will feature an East Coast vs. West Coast battle where No. 1 Sonny Santiago of California will be challenged by No. 2 Travis Mastrogiovanni of New Jersey. Santiago is a senior and is committed to Arizona State. After missing most of last season because of a concussion, he was able to able to come back for the postseason and win a state title.

Mastrogiovanni is an uncommitted junior. He is a 2019 Prep Nationals champion and 2018 Fargo 16U men’s freestyle champion. Mastrogiovanni is also a 2019 Cadet World Team Trials runner-up, a 2018 Beast of the East runner-up and a 2018 Ironman third-place finisher.

At 160 pounds, fans will see No. 1 Paddy Gallagher of Ohio vs. No. 2 Keegan O’Toole of Wisconsin. Gallagher is an uncommitted junior. He is a 2019 Fargo Junior champion in men’s freestyle and a 2019 Ohio state champion.

O’Toole is a senior committed to Missouri. He competed in the mini bracket at Who’s #1 last year, defeating Jaden Abas, 8-0, before falling to JoJo Aragona, 5-2. O’Toole is a 2018 Fargo Junior men’s freestyle champion, a 2019 Junior World Team trials runner-up and a 2019 Fargo Junior men’s freestyle third-place finisher.

Following the 160 pound match, an all-Jersey matchup will take place when No. 1 Robert Howard takes on No. 2 Trevor Mastrogiovanni. Howard, a three-time Cadet World Team member and a 2018 Youth Olympic Games champion, is a senior committed to Penn State. He is a 2018 New Jersey state champion and two-time state runner-up. Howard competed at the 2017 Who’s #1, falling to Patrick McKee.

Mastrogiovanni is a senior committed to Oklahoma State and the brother of Travis who is competing at 152 pounds. He is a three-time National Prep champion. Howard defeated Mastrogiovanni at the 2018 Cadet World Team Trials, 5-1.

Wrestling at 138 pounds will be Beau Bartlett of Pennsylvania and Ryan Sokol of Minnesota. Bartlett, a senior committed to Penn State, is a three-time National Prep champion. In April, he finished eighth at the U.S. Open competing against senior level wrestlers at 61 kg. He is also a 2018 Pan American Cadet men’s freestyle champion.

Sokol is an uncommitted junior. He initially verballed to the University of Iowa but has since reopened his recruitment. Sokol is a 2019 Cadet World Team member and finished 10th at the Cadet World Championships. He is also a 2017 Fargo 16U men’s freestyle champion.

The penultimate high school match of the night will occur at 170 pounds where No. 1 Alex Facundo of Michigan will face No. 2 Patrick Kennedy of Minnesota. Facundo, an uncommitted junior, is a 2018 and 2019 Cadet World bronze medalist. He is also a 2018 and 2019 Junior folkstyle national champion and a 2017 Fargo 16U men’s freestyle national champion. Last year, Facundo defeated Brevin Balmaceda at Who’s #1, 7-3.

Kennedy is a senior committed to the University of Iowa. He is a three-time Minnesota state champion and a 2019 Fargo Junior men’s freestyle champion.

Concluding the night is a “super match” between 2019 Senior Men’s Freestyle World Team member Pat Downey and 2019 ADCC grappling silver medalist Nicky Rodriguez. Downey competes at 86 kg, while Rodriguez competes at 99 kg. However, there is no weigh in for this match, meaning Rodriguez will have a size advantage. The rules will be modified freestyle with no par terre offense. 

The event starts Saturday at 6 p.m. Eastern Standard Time and can be streamed live on Flowrestling.

2019 Flowrestling's Who’s #1
at Carver Hawkeye Arena, Iowa City, IA.

132: #1 Jesse Mendez, IN vs #4 Ryan Jack, CT
132: #2 Dom Serrano, CO vs #3 Shayne Van Ness, NJ
120: #1 Jesse Ybarra, AZ vs #2 Jakason Burks, NE
113: #1 Richard Figueroa, CA vs #2 Stevo Poulin, NY
145: #1 Victor Voinovich, OH vs #2 Jesse Vasquez, CA
65 kg: Josh Saunders, MO vs Anthony Echemendia, AZ
152: #1 Sonny Santiago, CA vs #2 Travis Mastrogiovanni, NJ
160: #1 Paddy Gallagher, OH vs #2 Keegan O'Toole, WI
126: #1 Robbie Howard, NJ vs #2 Trevor Mastrogiovanni, NJ
138: #1 Beau Bartlett, PA vs #2 Ryan Sokol, MN
170: #1 Alex Facundo, MI vs #2 Patrick Kennedy, MN
132: Mendez/Jack vs Serrano/Van Ness
Supermatch: Pat Downey vs Nicky Rodriguez