Haakon Peterson of Wisconsin (in red) repeated as USMC 16U Greco-Roman Nationals champion. Photo by Austin Bernard
FARGO, N.D. — In a final session filled with numerous technical falls and a pin, 17 champions were decided during the USMC 16U Greco-Roman Nationals finals at the Fargodome on Thursday afternoon.
Two talented wrestlers — Haakon Peterson of Wisconsin at 94, Kentucky’s Jayden Raney at 113 — doubled up after they won a freestyle championship earlier in the week. Peterson also won the 16U Greco-Roman title last year at 88 pounds, making him the only repeat champion.
In the team standings, California grabbed the national championship after crushing the competition with three champions and 183 points. Wisconsin finished second with 137 points.
Wisconsin’s Caleb Noble became the day’s first champion with an 8-7 win over Tanner Tran of Tennessee at 84. Noble carried a 6-0 lead via takedown and two gut wrenches for the majority of the first period. A few seconds before the break, Tran tossed Noble for a five-point throw to trail by one at the break. Noble continued to be the aggressor and scored a late takedown to secure his first Fargo championship. In the fall, Noble will be a freshman at Spire Academy in Ohio and will be coached by Olympic gold medalist Kenny Monday.
At 94, Peterson continued the Wisconsin party with a 4-0 win over Nebraska’s Cole Welte. Despite early pressure, Peterson remained patient and carried a 1-0 lead after the first period. He charged toward Welte out of the break and worked for a takedown. Later in the period, he forced a step out for the bout’s final point. With the win, Peterson secured his third Fargo championship and second of the week. In every Fargo appearance so far, Peterson has made the finals.
Lincoln Sledzianowski of Florida pummeled Nebraska’s Hudson Loges for a speedy 8-0 tech fall at 100. A four-point throw of Sledzianowski accounted for half the points. He closed it out with a two and two combo with nearly 50 seconds remaining. Sledzianowski was named Outstanding Wrestler.
A bout later at 106, Oregon’s Jeremiah Wachsmuth shut down Iowa’s Ryker Graff, 6-0. Both wrestled a fast-paced, push-heavy match but Wachsmuth’s positioning and immovable defense caused problems for Graff. In the second period, with a 2-0 lead, Wachsmuth worked from top on par terre and threw Graff out of bounds for four points. Despite late forward action from Graff, Wachsmuth stopped any production from Graff.
At 113, Kentucky’s Jayden Raney found his offense at the most critical time. In a tied match, with limited time, he rolled through a headlock to defeat Declan Koch of Wisconsin, 3-1. With the win, Raney doubled up with stop signs in Fargo, one in each style.
Raney’s twin brother, Jordyn, followed with a national championship of his own at 120. Jordyn created a second-period surge of offense to beat Wisconsin’s Amryn Nutter, 6-3. The brothers became Kentucky’s first 16U Greco-Roman Nationals champions.
At 126, Colorado’s Thomas Verrette used patient defense and positioning to defeat California’s Elias Navida, 2-0. The bout’s only points originated about 30 seconds into the match with a whiparound takedown from Verrette, who won in his first Fargo appearance.
Verrette spends a lot of time training at the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He’ll be a freshman at Ponderosa High School in the Denver metro area.
Billy Greenwood followed Verrette with another title for Colorado. He attacked and pushed around Nathaniel Askew of Georgia, for a 10-2 victory at 132. Greenwood snapped Askew down for a four-point throw to win as time expired. Greenwood’s win follows his family’s strong Fargo Greco-Roman history. His brother, Job, a senior at University of Wyoming, earned two Junior Greco All-American honors. He is also a current member of the U23 Greco-Roman World Team.
Gabriel Bouyssou of Rhode Island continued his successful week with a 12-5 win over Minnesota’s Alex Braun at 138. He is the first Rhode Island wrestler to win a 16U Greco-Roman national championship. Bouyssou took a 2-0 lead with a quick takedown and rolled through for two more. He led 6-0 at one point but allowed Braun to find offense and make it a battle. But near the end, Bouyssou separated the score for a national championship. Earlier in the week, Bouyssou placed third in 16U freestyle. Braun finished seventh. Now, Bouyssou is a four-time Fargo All-American.
California’s Aliaksandr Kikinou topped Tennessee’s Hunter Sturgill, 4-2, for a stop sign trophy at 145. After a 2-1 lead at the break, Kikinou scored a takedown with seconds remaining to win it. His next goal is to be an Olympic champion — inspired by his dad who won a 2009 World bronze medal for Belarus.
Ohio’s Tristin Greene contained Kaleb Shine of Montana, 7-0, at 152. Greene carried a 1-0 lead into the break but settled into his offense. He pummeled Shine, who sported a bulky protective facemask. Nearly thirty seconds into the second period, Greene chopped Shine down for a takedown and later finished the win with a four-point throw near the edge.
Tristian Steldt of Wisconsin’s needed 28 seconds to win a national championship at 160. He punished California’s Angelo Posada in a tight headlock and pinned him early in the match. Steldt became Wisconsin’s third champion of the day. Steldt anticipated his throw from Posada’s underhook and successfully countered.
At 170, Minnesota’s Bryce Burkett stopped Jarrel Miller Jr., a 2022 16U Freestyle champion, for a 3-0 win. Burkett scored the only takedown of the match. This was a rematch of the 16U freestyle finals, won by Miller, 7-4.
Coby Merrill of California concluded his strong week with a national championship at 182. He defeated Adam Waters of Pennsylvania, 3-1, and stymied any offense from Waters. Merrill finished as runner-up in the 16U freestyle tournament. His brother, Cody, won the Junior freestyle tournament at 195.
Missouri’s Brennan Carey made quick work of Florida’s Michael Mocco at 195. Carey finished Mocco in 33 seconds with an 8-0 tech fall. Carey attacked from the whistle and grabbed four points from an arm spin. From there, with Mocco on the ground, he rolled through for two gut wrenches. Mocco’s corner challenged the sequence, but the call remained.
California’s Nicholas Sahakian returned to All-American status after he placed seventh last year. He defeated Rylan Kuhn of Missouri, 3-1 for the title. After an early 1-0 lead, Sahakian worked on top in par terre and twisted Kuhn for two.
In the session’s final championship bout, Missouri’s Sampson Stillwell crushed Wyatt Schmitt, 8-1. After a 2-1 lead late in the first period, Stillwell sent Schmitt to the mat and rolled through for a two-and-two combo before the break. Stillwell contained Schmitt for the rest of the bout.
There was no 16U Triple Crown winner this year.
USMC 16U Greco-Roman Nationals
At Fargo, N.D., July 21, 2022.
Most pins in the least amount of time
Jay Henderson of Utah at 220: Four pins in 4:09
Most outstanding wrestler:
Lincoln Sledzianowski of Florida at 10