USA Wrestling U15 Nationals Previe...

U15 Nationals Preview: Talented young stars to battle for U.S. U15 Pan Am Championships Team berths

By Mike Willis, USA Wrestling | April 22, 2021, 5:45 p.m. (ET)

Some of the nation’s top youth wrestlers will lay it on the line this weekend in Wisconsin Dells at the UWW U15 Nationals. The tournament features both a men’s freestyle and Greco-Roman division. The wrestlers with the highest placements across both styles will have the opportunity to represent Team USA at the U15 Pan-American Championships in Mexico City, Mexico this October.

The lightest weight class contested this weekend is 38 kg. Domenic Munaretto of Illinois is one of the top contenders in the bracket. He is a Super 32 middle school champion and a 2021 Folkstyle Nationals 14U champion. Others to watch include Wisconsin’s Caleb Noble, a 14U Folkstyle Nationals champion, Super 32 middle school division runner-up Slater Hicks of California and 2021 Folkstyle Nationals 14U runner-up Jeremiah Waldschmidt of Colorado. Another wrestler of note is Pennsylvania’s Nico DeSalvo, a Brian Keck Preseason Nationals champion in the fifth and sixth grade division.

2021 16U Folkstyle Nationals champion Griffin Rial of Colorado is one of the front runners at 41 kg. Haakon Peterson of Wisconsin is another wrestler to watch. Peterson is a 2019 Kids Greco-Roman Nationals champion and freestyle runner-up in the 14U division. He placed fifth at this tournament in 2019. Twins Bruno and Rocco Cassioppi are also present in the field. Hailing from Illinois, the Cassioppi brothers have brought home numerous titles including 2021 Folkstyle Nationals championships in the 14U division and Brian Keck Preseason Nationals title in the fifth and sixth grade division.

44 kg features Super 32 middle school champion Seth Mendoza of Illinois and Super 32 middle school runner-up Isaiah Cortez of California. Additional hammers in the bracket include Jaxton Packer of Idaho, a 16U Folkstyle Nationals runner-up, Cooper Hilton of Tennessee, a Super 32 middle school third-place finisher and 2019 Kids Nationals Greco-Roman champion (14U) and Gianni Bottone of Colorado, a 2021 Folkstyle Nationals 14U runner-up.

Matthew Martino of Idaho, a 2021 Folkstyle Nationals 16U champion is one of the primarily contenders at 48 kg. Ty Edwards of Illinois, a 2021 High School Recruiting Showcase champion, is another wrestler looking to make an impact. Super 32 runner-up Elijah Cortez of California and Arizona’s Christian Castillo, a Brian Keck Preseason Nationals runner-up in the middle school division are other wrestlers with the potential to place high in the bracket. Ohio’s Marcus Blaze, a Super 32 and 2019 Kids Nationals (14U) place winner in freestyle and Greco should not be overlooked either.

Illinois’s Aaron Stewart, a 2021 Folkstyle Nationals champion (14U) and 2019 Kids Nationals champion in freestyle and Greco-Roman (12U) is one of the title contenders at 52 kg. He’ll face steep competition from California’s Brock Mantanona, a Brian Keck Preseason Nationals champion in the 9th-10th grade division. New Jersey’s Anthony Knox will also be looking to claim a spot at the top of the podium. Knox placed fourth in the high school division at Super 32 and is a 2019 14U Kids Freestyle Nationals champion. California’s Billy Townson, a Brian Keck Preseason Nationals and 2020 Tour of America Salt Lake Slam middle school champion, is another tough competitor in the bracket, as is Iowa’s Jake Knight, who also won a Brian Keck Preseason Nationals middle school title.

57 kg features numerous talented competitors including Super 32 middle school runner-up Ryan Rios of California and Iowa’s Kane Naaktgeboren, who finished second at the 16U Folkstyle Nationals. Others to watch include Landon Robideau of Minnesota, a 2019 Kids Nationals freestyle and Greco-Roman place winner (14U) and Arizona’s Giosue Hickman, who finished fifth at the High School Showcase Classic.

California’s Coby Merrill, a Brian Keck Preseason Nationals middle school champion and 2019 Western regional champion in folkstyle, freestyle and Greco, is one of the wrestlers to pay attention to at 62 kg. Oklahoma’s Kody Routledge is another Brian Keck Preseason Nationals middle school champion in the field. Brodie Dominique of Ohio, a 16U Folkstyle Nationals fifth-place finisher also has the potential to contend.

Florida high school state champion Bas Diaz is one of the high-profile wrestlers registered for 68 kg. He’ll see tough competition from the field including Idaho’s Hudson Rogers, a Folkstyle Nationals fourth-place finisher in the 16U division and Bryce Burkett of Minnesota, a Brian Keck Preseason Nationals middle school champion.

Aeodin Sinclair of Wisconsin is one of the most credentialed wrestler in the field at 75 kg. Sinclair is a 16U Folkstyle Nationals champ and also took third in the High School Recruiting Showcase. He is a 2020 Preseason Nationals runner-up in the 9th and 10th grade division. Dreshaun Ross of Iowa, a 2019 Folkstyle Nationals 12U champion will also look to contend as well as Wisconsin’s Tyson Martin who finished sixth in 14U division of the 2021 Folkstyle Nationals.

The tournament’s heaviest weight class is 85 kg. 2021 14U Folkstyle Nationals champion Garret Kawczynski of Wisconsin looks primed to contend for a title. Kawczynski is a 2019 Kids Nationals Greco-Roman champion (14U) and also finished runner-up at the Kids Nationals in freestyle and folkstyle. Joshua Francis, another wrestler hailing from Wisconsin, will also look to leave his mark on the tournament. Francis is a 2019 USAW Kids Nationals place winner in freestyle and Greco (14U). De`Alcapon Veazy of Indiana is another wrestler to watch in the bracket.

The tournament takes place from Friday, April 22-Sunday April, 25 and will stream live on FloWrestling.