The 2022 college wrestling national championships are over … but the great...
Rob Sherrill’s Jan. 21 High School Notebook
Langenderfer stuns Murphy in Illinois; Southeast Polk rolls in Iowa
It was the busiest weekend of state tournament action, with 21 states holding individual or dual state finals. A couple of highlights, as they usually do, took place at the Assembly Hall in Champaign, Ill.
Six championship matches in big-class 3A, nearly half the 14 finals, matched wrestlers who both were ranked in WIN’s Top 20. The higher-ranked wrestler won every match except at 152, where Illinois recruit Kyle Langenderfer of Frankfort Lincoln-Way East used a second-period takedown and escape to nip Brian Murphy of Carol Stream Glenbard North, 6-5 to win his second title. Murphy finished second for the third straight year.
The nation’s top-ranked 195-pounder, Ricky Robertson of Orland Park Carl Sandburg, took top in the ultimate tie-breaker and cashed in, riding out Jordan Ellingwood of Plainfield Central in a battle of unbeatens after the two tied 1-1.
Robertson was one of three Sandburg champions. Juniors Johnny Jimenez (120) of Aurora Marmion Academy and Jered Cortez (126) of Glenbard North won their third state titles in back-to-back matches.
At 132, Michigan recruit George Fisher of Marmion caught previously-unbeaten Larry Early of Oak Park-River Forest in a cradle for a first-period pin at 1:45.
The biggest upset came at 106 pounds in 2A, where sophomore Danny Swan of Oak Forest scored an overtime takedown for a 4-2 victory over Nkosi Moody of Olympia Fields Rich Central. Moody had beaten Swan in both the regional and sectional finals.
Iowa: With the state’s teams mandated to use their starting line-ups in the dual state series, No. 12 Runnells Southeast Polk rolled past Bettendorf, 46-20, in the 3A dual final and went on to win the double title which had eluded them last year. The Rams took the individual team title, 180.5-134.5, also over Bettendorf, as seniors Tim Miklus (160), Dylan Blackford (170) and Bryce Fisher (220) won titles and 12 placed. Jake Marlin (138) of Creston/Orient-Macksburg and Brandon Sorensen (145) of Denver-Tripoli won their fourth state titles in back-to-back 2A finals.
Missouri: J’Den Cox of Columbia David Hickman moved up to 285 to win his fourth state title, pinning his way to the title with four falls in a combined 15:38.
Indiana: In the first year of the Hoosier State’s return to individual team scoring, No. 24 Indianapolis Perry Meridian showed itself to be a terror in either format, outscoring Yorktown 102.5-62. The Falcons advanced eight to the tournament and seven placed with junior Cody LeCount (132) and seniors Riley McClurg (160) and Donte Winfield (Hwt) winning titles.
Twelve of the 14 champions finished unbeaten, including nationally-ranked Chad Red (106) of New Palestine, Stevan Micic (113) of Cedar Lake Hanover Central, Neal Molloy (145) of Danville, Bobby Steveson (170) of Merrillville and Northwestern recruit Mitch Sliga (195) of Fishers.
Utah: Spanish Fork Maple Mountain placed 16, including at least one at every weight from 106 through 195, to win the Class 4A title, 360-301.5 over Brigham City Box Elder. Seven Maple Mountain wresters won titles, including Britain Carter (120), who won his fourth title, Grant LaMont (152), who won his third, and Kimball Bastian (160), who beat two-time champion Rasten Yeates of Box Elder 5-3 to reverse the result of last year’s final.
Double Cadet National champion Roy Nash (220) of Murray Taylorsville capped a 41-0 junior season with a 5A title. Winning fourth state titles: Jed Mellen (138) of Payson and Zach Prince (152) of Hurricane in 3A and Kyle Foy (170) of Altamont in A-2A.
Massachusetts back in New England mix
Thanks to a reversal by the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA), Massachusetts wrestlers are back in the New England Championships field.
The Bay State is holding its three-week state series over a nine-day period, concluding with the All-State Championships, Feb. 23-24, at Salem High School. That will allow Massachusetts wrestlers to compete in the New England meet Mar. 1-2 at the Providence (R.I.) Career and Technical Center.
Sectional tournaments took place last weekend, and the divisional state tournaments began yesterday and conclude today. The Division 1 state meet takes place at Newton Center Newton South, Division 2 at Marshfield and Division 3 at Wakefield Memorial. Wrestlers received an additional one-pound allowance for the divisional state meets and will receive an additional one-pound allowance for the All-State meet.
To review: Massachusetts saw the first stage of its state tournament series, sectional tournaments, wiped out by the winter storm which ravaged the Northeast the second week of February. The initial response by the MIAA was to postpone the entire series one week, concluding with the All-State Tournament Mar. 1-2. That plan, however, would have placed the All-State Tournament and the New England meet, for which the All-State meet serves as a qualifier, on the same weekend. The six All-State place-winners advance to the New England meet.