By Mike Finn
Juniors Bryant Clagon and Domenic Abounader led a group of 12 wrestlers who repeated as champions at the National High School Coaches Association Nationals, March 28-April 1 at the Virginia Beach Convention Center.
For both Clagon, who won a state championship for Toms River South High School in New Jersey, and Abounader, a three-time Ohio state champion from St. Eds, this year’s titles marked the third straight championships for both wrestlers.
Clagon was named the Outstanding Wrestler in the junior tournament when he defeated fellow two-time NHSCA champion Austin Matthews of Pennsylvania, 7-2, in the 145-pound weight class. Clagon also won a sophomore title at 135 pounds in 2011 and 130 pounds as a freshman in 2010.
Abounader, meanwhile, defeated Garet Krohn of Colorado, 7-6, to win the 182-pound weight class. The Ohio prep also won at 171 pounds in 2011 as a sophomore and 152 pounds as a freshman in 2010.
Among the other repeat winners in the 23rd annual High School Nationals, which held competitions in the four high school grades, were:
• seniors Alexander Richardson of New Jersey (145), Floridian Clark Glass (160) and T.J. Dudley (195) of South Carolina;
• juniors Tyson Dippery (132) of Pennsylvania and South Dakota’s Nathan Rotert (195);
• sophomores Ryan Millhoff (113) of Georgia, P.J. Klee (132) of New Jersey, Alfred Bannister (138) of Maryland, Nathan Rose (195) of Minnesota and heavyweight Jesse Webb of Vermont.
In the team competition, California won the senior tournament with 240.5 points, followed by New York (191) and New Jersey (159.5). In the junior tournament, Pennsylvania won with 189 points and edged Virginia (186) and New York (183.5).
Pennsylvania also won the sophomore and freshmen team titles, scoring 213 points in the sophomore tourney and 199 in the freshmen event. Ohio and Virginia, respectively, finished second in the two youngest high school grade tourneys.
The following are highlights of each of the championship matches held in all four tournaments:
2012 NHSCA Senior Championship Matches
106 — Phazon Roddy (North Carolina) dec. Alvaro Gallego (Arizona), 10-3 — Leading 5-3 in the third period, Roddy scored his second takedown in the final 28 seconds, which also put Gallego on his back for a three-point nearfall. Roddy’s first takedown came with 40 seconds left in the first period. The two wrestlers exchanged reversals in the second frame.
113 — Vito Pasone (Pennsylvania) dec. Braun Marquez (Texas), 9-3 — The state runner-up from Pennsylvania jumped off to a big lead when he took the two-time Texas state champ to his back for a 5-1 lead. Pasone closed out the scoring with a second-period reversal and a double-leg takedown with 42 seconds left in the bout.
120 — Josh Rodriguez (California) dec. Sean McCabe (New York), 7-4 — The two-time California placer scored a takedown in each period, the third coming near the edge of the mat with 34 seconds left.
126 — Nathan Kraisser (Maryland) major dec. Hunter Weber (Wisconsin), 9-0 — The four-time state champ from Maryland and future North Carolina Tar Heel dominated the bout by scoring a first-period takedown and second-period reversal off a granby roll which put the future North Dakota State wrestler on his back for a 7-0 lead.
132 — Mark Grey (New Jersey) dec. Cole Mendenhall (Montana), 7-2 — The four-time Beast of the East champ from Blair Academy scored two doubles in the first period of a physical match which had both wrestlers face-slapping each other. Grey, who will join his brother (and assistant coach) Mike Grey at Cornell next winter, closed out the scoring with a second-period takedown, then rode out the four-time Montana state champ for most of the third frame.
138 — Natrelle Demison (California) major dec. Cole Moseley (Tennessee), 11-1 — The Air Force Academy signee scored three takedowns, the first coming in the first period when Demison tilted Moseley for a three-point nearfall as the period ended. Demison’s second takedown was a throw-by in the second period before closing out the match on a takedown with 30 seconds left.
145 — Alexander Richardson (New Jersey) dec. Dylan Cottrell (West Va.), 2-2 tb — Richardson captured his second straight NHSCA title when he chose top and rode out Cottrell for 30 seconds in the third tiebreaker. Richardson, who won a New Jersey state championship, scored the first points on a second-period reversal before the four-time West Virginia state champ tied the bout off a wild scramble with 28 seconds left in the match.
152 — Dylan Palacio (New York) dec. Austin Trott (Georgia), 6-2 — The four-time New York state placer and 2012 champ sandwiched a pair of takedowns with a second-period reversal over the three-time Georgian state champ, who managed a pair of escapes.
160 — Clark Glass (Florida) dec. Taylor Lewandowski (Minnesota), 9-4 — Glass, who become Brandon High School’s first five-time state champ this winter, scored eight of his points in the second period when a reversal led to a three-point nearfall with 1:12 left in the frame before adding a double-leg takedown with 19 seconds left. Lewandowski scored his points with a second-period reversal and third-period takedown.
170 — Matt Reed (Kansas) dec. Jordan Thomas (Michigan), 3-1 — The two-time Kansas champion scored the bout’s only takedown as time expired in the second period. Thomas, a three-time state champion from Michigan, nearly scored a takedown with 48 ticks left in the third period and earned his only point when Reed was called for stalling.
182 — Anthony Lock (New York) dec. Nolan Boyd (Oklahoma), 5-4 tb — The future University of Buffalo wrestler scored two points in the overtime periods, first on a locked-hands penalty against Boyd before exchanging escape points with the three-time Oklahoma state champ. The two wrestlers also swapped reversals and escapes in regulation.
195 — T.J. Dudley (South Carolina) pinned J.T. Goodwin (California), 3:30 — The four-time NHSCA All-American added a second national championship when the future North Carolina Tar Heel turned a takedown off an ankle pick into a cradle which eventually ended the bout with a fall. Dudley led 8-1 in the first period when he caught the California state champ in a pair of two-point nearfall tilts.
220 — Richard Black (California) major dec. David Luke Wilson (Alabama), 10-2 — Leading 4-1 after scoring one takedown in each of the first two periods, Black put an exclamation mark on his final high school match when his third of four takedowns put Wilson on his back for a two-point nearfall and an 8-1 lead.
Hwt — Doug Vollaro (Florida) dec. Austin Goergen (Minnesota), 10-6 — Vollaro, who was ineligible to compete at Oviedo High School this winter, finally got a chance to smile with a national championship when he scored two of his takedowns in the final 1:35 off a pair of counters for takedowns. Vollaro’s first two takedowns gave him a 4-2 lead before the two-time Minnesota state champ tied the bout with a second-period reversal.
2012 NHSCA Junior Championship Matches
106 — Dakota Leach (Kansas) major dec. Tommy Aloi (Virginia), 12-0 — Leach scored the first of three takedowns with 15 seconds left in the first period. The second-period takedown — after Aloi chose neutral — led to a two-point nearfall and 6-0 lead. The third-period takedown came shortly after Leach was warned for stalling.
113 — Joshua Patrick (Pennsylvania) dec. J.J. Johnson (South Carolina), 6-3 — Just when it appeared that Johnson would take a 3-2 lead into the third period off a double with 32 seconds left, Patrick responded with a reversal with four ticks left in the second and added a third-period escape.
120 — Chris Araoz (New York) dec. Philip Anderson (Georgia), 6-3 — Araoz scored five of his points in the final ten seconds of the first period when he scored a takedown and put Anderson on his back for a three-point nearfall. Two of Anderson’s points came from stalling calls against Araoz in the third period.
126 — Zain Retherford (Pennsylvania) dec. Dennis Gustafson III (Virginia), 7-0 — One takedown in each period and Retherford’s strong ride that did not allow Gustafson to escape led to the shutout for the Pennsylvania junior.
132 — Tyson Dippery (Pennsylvania) dec. Colt Cotten (Pennsylvania), 6-4 — Cotten nearly stunned Dippery — who led 6-1 after a takedown and two-point nearfall in the first period and a second takedown with three seconds left in the second — when he used a cement mixer to score a three-point nearfall in the final minute of the match.
138 — Justin Arthur (West Virginia) dec. Grant Lamont (Utah), 5-3 tb — Meeting for the fourth-straight year in an NHSCA medal match and second straight final, the two juniors went to overtime where a reversal in the tiebreakers by Arthur avenged a loss to Lamont in the 2011 NHSCA sophomore final. Lamont was leading 3-1 when Arthur scored a takedown with three seconds left in regulation to force overtime.
145 — Bryant Clagon (New Jersey) dec. Austin Matthews (Pennsylvania), 7-2 — In a meeting between two state champs, Clagon iced the bout when he caught Matthews, also a 2011 NHSCA sophomore champ, in a two-point cradle to also earn O.W. honors in the junior tournament. Matthews’ only takedown with 1:20 left in the second helped him tie the match 2-2 before Clagon scored his second takedown with three seconds left in the second period.
152 — Kyle Perreault (California) dec. Travis Berridge (Florida), 6-3 — Perreault countered a bear hug by Berridge in the closing seconds to clinch the victory. Berridge led 2-0 after a first-period takedown before Perreault pulled within 3-2 on a foot-sweep takedown with seven seconds left in the second. He gave himself some breathing room with an escape and stalling point against the Floridian in the third.
160 — Tyler Askey (Georgia) dec. Nick Kee (North Carolina), 5-4 tb — Askey, who won a NHSCA freshman title in 2010, used a granby roll to score the final escape point in the tiebreakers. Kee, who also won the NHSCA sophomore title in 2011, led 2-1 after a first-period escape before Askey tied the bout on a takedown with two seconds left in the second period. A penalty point against Askey for stalling with one second left forced overtime.
170 — Ethan Ramos (New Jersey) pinned Troy Seymour (New York), 5:19 — Ramos ended a scoreless match in the third period when he scored a reversal with 48 seconds left which also put Seymour on his back for a fall six seconds later.
182 — Domenic Abounader (Ohio) dec. Garet Krohn (Colorado), 7-6 — The two-time Ohio state champ from St. Eds added a second NHSCA title to his prep resume when he scored a reversal with 47 seconds left before Krohn added some excitement with an escape and takedown with one second left. Abounader led 4-1 with a pair of first-period takedowns.
195 — Nathan Rotert (South Dakota) dec. Zach Roseberry (Virginia), 6-1 — Rotert, a 2011 NHSCA sophomore champion, used his strength to take a 4-0 lead after two period and added a high crotch with 27 seconds left to ice the victory.
220 — J’den Cox (Missouri) dec. Spencer Empey (Nevada), 8-2 — The future Missouri Tiger scored three of four takedowns in the second period to defeat Empey, who won an NHSCA freshman title in 2010.
Hwt — Travis Gusan (Ohio) dec. Brandon Johnson (Washington), 4-3 — Gusen clinched the championship when he scored a reversal with 22 seconds left; shortly after Johnson scored a two-point nearfall with 1:10 left to take a 3-2 lead. Gusen’s only takedown gave him a 2-0 lead in the second period.
2012 NHSCA Sophomore Championship Matches
106 — Brent Fleetwood (Delaware) major dec. Justin Patrick (Pennsylvania), 11-0 — Fleetwood needed just two takedowns to beat the Pennsylvania wrestler as he dominated the bout from the top position; scoring seven nearfall points from three different moves, including a three-point nearfall in the second period to lead 9-0.
113 — Ryan Millhof (Georgia) dec. Bryce Meredith (Wyoming), 6-4 – Meredith actually took a 2-0 lead in the first period. Millhof tied the match with a reversal in the first, a takedown with five seconds left in the second, and finally another reversal in the third when Meredith got out of position from a ride. This was Millhof’s second NHSCA title after winning the 103-pound NHSCA freshman title in 2011.
120 — P.T. Garcia (Colorado) dec. Sean Fausz (Kentucky), 7-3 — Trailing 2-1 in the second period, Garcia used a strong bar arm to turn Fausz for a three-point nearfall and 4-2 lead. The Colorado wrestler, wearing a white and green “Irish” singlet, then added an escape and takedown in the final period.
126 — Clay Walker (South Carolina) pinned Tyler Marinelli (Georgia), 0:48 — Walker, who won an NHSCA title at 125 pounds as a freshman, used a lateral drop to flatten Marinelli in a stunning fall.
132 — P.J. Klee (New Jersey) won by forfeit over Josh Reyes (Oregon) — The Blair Academy sophomore was awarded the victory when Reyes failed to show for the finals. This marked Klee’s second NHSCA title; the first coming at 119 pounds in the 2011 Freshman tournament. Reyes’ coaches had misread the schedule and thought the afternoon sophomore finals were 6 p.m.
138 — Alfred Bannister (Maryland) dec. Grant Leeth (Missouri), 6-3 — Bannister added a second NHSCA national title to his resume when the Maryland sophomore countered a late takedown attempt by Leeth with two seconds left. A Leeth takedown in the second helped him pull within 3-2 and he also trailed 4-3 in third after an escape.
145 — Larry Bomstad (Minnesota) dec. Corey Rasheed (New York), 7-3 — Bomstad scored five of his points in the first period when he scored a takedown, then added a three-point nearfall in the closing seconds. Leading just 5-3, the Minnesota sophomore iced the bout on a takedown with 16 seconds left.
152 — Bryan Salinas (California) dec. Seth Williams (Ohio), 3-1 – Salinas scored the only takedown with two seconds left in the first period before the wrestlers swapped escapes in the final two periods.
160 — Jonathan Schleifer (New Jersey) dec. Burke Paddock (New York), 5-3 — Two first-period takedowns by Schleifer was all he needed while giving up three escapes to Paddock, who finished second at the NHSCA nationals for a second straight year.
170 — Travis Linton (Ohio) dec. Joe Balboni (New Jersey), 9-7 sv — The Ohioan scored the deciding takedown with 17 seconds left in the first overtime on a snapdown. Balboni held a 2-1 in the second period before Linton tallied a reverse. The final period was wild as Linton scored a pair of reversals to offset a reversal, two-point nearfall and escape by Balboni.
182 — Matt Lybarger (Ohio) dec. Jose Ortiz (Pennsylvania), 2-1 — A stalling call against 2011 national freshman runner-up Ortiz with 16 seconds left provided the winning margin for Lybarger.
195 — Nathan Rose (Minnesota) dec. Cory Damiana (New Jersey), 9-4 — Rose earned his second NHSCA title thanks in large part to a pair of first-period takedowns and a two-point nearfall that gave him a 6-1 lead after one frame. Damiana pulled within 6-3 on a third-period reversal before Rose added a final takedown.
220 — Nigal Cabell (West Virginia) pinned Trent Allen (North Carolina), 3:05 — The match was tied 2-2 — after a Cabell takedown and Allen reversal in the first — when Cabell used his second-period ride to turn and pin Allen, who won the 215-pound NHSCA freshman title in 2011.
Hwt — Jesse Webb (Vermont) dec. Patrik Garren (Ohio), 4-3 tb — Webb added a second NHSCA title when he clinched the victory shortly after Garren escaped to take a 3-2 lead in the second set of tiebreakers. Both men each scored escapes in regulation and again in the first tiebreaker phase.
2012 NHSCA Freshmen Championship Matches
106 — L.J. Bentley (Ohio) dec. Connor Prince (Florida), 5-3 — The St. Ed’s lightweight scored his second takedown along the mat’s edge on a double with 1:40 left in the bout. Bentley’s first takedown came with 43 seconds left in the first period. Prince’s points came off three escapes.
113 — Boo Lewallen (Oklahoma) dec. Weston Basler (Missouri), 6-3 — The Oklahoma state runner-up clinched the bout when he scored a second takedown off an inside single in the third period. Lewallen also tallied a takedown in the first period, then swapped a pair of reversals with the Missouri freshman.
120 — Austin Riggs (Virginia) dec. Cole Walter (Pennsylvania), 6-5 — The match was tied 3-3 on a Walter reversal with 1:28 left in the match before Riggs benefited from a penalty point when Walter for called for an illegal full-nelson shortly before the Virginian scored a reversal with 35 seconds left to lead 6-3. Walter’s final points came from a reversal with two seconds left.
126 — Neal Richards (Virginia) dec. Tristan Rifanburg (New York), 8-3 — The Virginian iced the bout when he scored two of four takedowns in the final 50 seconds of the bout. Richards tallied his first two takedowns in the first period, the second coming with 19 ticks left in the first frame.
132 — Kade Kowalski (Ohio) dec. Mason Koshiyama (California), 8-6 — Trailing 2-0 heading into the third period, the Ohioan first scored off a double nine seconds into the final frame before adding a three-point nearfall 25 seconds later. Koshiyama, who was penalized for an illegal headlock, scored all his points off three reversals, including two in the third period.
138 — Colston Diblasi (Missouri) major dec. Jacob Armstrong (Utah), 12-4 — The Missourian twice put Armstrong on his back; the first coming off a power half with 14 seconds left in the second period and another two-point tilt with 22 seconds left in the final period for the major decision.
145 — Ben Schram (Ohio) pinned Dakota Greene (Florida), 1:36 — Schram did not score a takedown until there was 43 seconds left in the first period and used that move to turn Greene and score the eventual fall.
152 — David-Brian Whisler (Ohio) dec. Dylan Wisman (Virginia), 5-1 — Just when it looked like Wisman’s late pressure would earn his a takedown, Whisler responded with a second takedown with six seconds left to clinch the bout. Whisler’s first takedown came off a fireman’s carry with 33 seconds remaining in the first period.
160 — Jake Young (Pennsylvania) dec. Chad Solomon (Tennessee), 9-7 — Young’s final points off a takedown, which broke a 7-7 deadlock, came with 45 seconds left and only after officials had to confer about the points. A pair of takedowns gave Young a 4-2 lead after one period. The Tennessean tied the bout with a second-period takedown, two escapes and a penalty point against Young for fleeing the mat.
170 — Conor Ross (Florida) dec. Erich Schneider (Delaware), 5-0 — Ross scored his points off a second-period three-point nearfall from a leg-turk and a third-period reversal.
182 — Tevis Bartlett (Wyoming) pinned Matt Wagner (Pennsylvania), 5:26 — Bartlett was leading 10-0 when he used a half nelson to turn and eventually pin Wagner with 34 seconds left. Bartlett also earned a three-point nearfall in the first period shortly after scoring a takedown.
195 — Ken Brinson (Georgia) major dec. Parker Knapp (Ohio), 14-1 — Brinson dominated the match with four takedowns — two coming in the first period — and the final coming with 1:30 left when he countered a Knapp move and put the Ohioan on his back for a pair of nearfall calls.
220 — Austin Myers (Kentucky) won by TF over John Kramer (Tennessee), 20-4 — The Kentuckian also earned the Outstanding Wrestler award when five first-period takedowns gave him momentum, leading 13-4 before adding one more in the second period and two in the third; the final coming at the buzzer for the technical fall.
Hwt — Gage Cervenka (South Carolina) pinned Jeremy Candelario (Pennsylvania), 5:00 — Cervenka was leading 3-1 when he used a hammerlock to score his third fall of the tournament.