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WIN’s High School Wrestlers of the Year
By Rob Sherril
The following is a state-by-state listing of the best high school wrestlers in the 49 states that offer wrestling. This is an expanded version from what appeared in the April 9, 2013 Wrestling Insider Newsmagazine.
Wrestler of the Year: Brandon Womack (160), junior, Scottsboro
The Wrestler of the Year two years ago as a freshman, Womack went up five weight classes from his state tournament performance of a year ago, when he set a state record with 85 wins in winning the 126-pound title. This year, Womack (74-1) was one of five Alabama wrestlers to pin his way to a title, putting away three opponents in a combined time of seven minutes, 32 seconds. The 5A MVP for the third straight year, Womack remains on track to become the state’s second six-time champion next season. Jordan Simpson (132) of Oxford won his fourth 6A state title, finishing 50-0, and two unbeaten wrestlers pinned their way to titles: senior Marcus Elkins (182) of Trussville Hewitt-Trussville (6A) and junior John David Henderson (126) of Arab (5A).
Wrestler of the Year: Lincoln Johnson (195), senior, Nikiski
No individual wrestler stood out here, but Johnson won his second 3-2-1A state title in a state tournament that seems like an eternity ago – last December. The 182-pound champion as a junior, Johnson opened with three pins, then finished his career with a 3-0 finals victory over his brother, Luke, a freshman. Luke also advanced to the finals with three pins – all three coming in the first period. The Johnsons were part of a talented group of small-class upper weights – junior Lake Wagner of Houston won his second straight title at 20 and sophomore Thomas Hoseth of Dillingham pinned three of his four opponents at 285. Likely to be a contender multiple times in 4A: Anchorage South freshman Greg Shack (98), who finished 40-0.
Wrestler of the Year: Dalton Brady (138), junior, Chandler
At the beginning of the season, four-time state champion Brady looked like a sure thing at 126. At season’s end, he made it look almost as easy two weight classes up, at 138. The 120-pound champion a year ago, Brady opened with three pins and outlasted the defending 113-pound champion, junior Dajour Reece of Laveen Cesar Chavez, 5-3 in the final to finish 33-0. A pair of wrestlers with four state titles on the line, sophomore Ryan Allred of Camp Verde and junior Dallyn Despain of Heber Mogollon, met in the small-school Division 4 final at 132, with Allred (49-0) winning a 4-3 decision. Allred had won at 120 pounds a year ago, Despain at 126.
Wrestler of the Year: Tyler Mann (160), junior, Little Rock Central
For the third straight year, a member of the Mann family takes this honor. Tyler Mann was the choice last year, and his older brother, Tanner, was our pick in 2011. Mann, who became Arkansas’ first Cadet National All-American last summer at Fargo, won his third 6-7A state title, finishing 36-0 and pinning his way to the title with four first-period pins for the second consecutive year. Mann, who spent just 4:36 on the mat, also won the Outstanding Wrestler award in the middle weights for the third straight year. Senior Tyler Kurz (22-1) of Cabot became the first four-time champion in the state-sanctioned era, winning in 6-7A at 182 after titles at 145 as a junior, 126 as a sophomore and 112 as a freshman.
Wrestler of the Year: Isaiah Martinez (160), senior, Lemoore
It’s never easy to pick a Wrestler of the Year in this state, but Martinez dominated the mats in California throughout his career, start to finish. Voted the Outstanding Wrestler in the state tournament after winning his third state title, he scored a pin in the finals, his second of the tournament. He also had a technical fall and two major decisions. The University of Illinois recruit became the 17th three-time state champion in California history and the 29th four-time placewinner – he finished third as a freshman. His biggest competition – in more ways than one – came from Clovis heavyweight Nick Nevills. The junior finished 50-0 with 44 pins, and became the third wrestler to record six falls in one state tournament.
Wrestler of the Year: Garet Krohn (195), senior, Arvada
Another year, another Arvada 195-pounder taking this honor. Last year, it was Dwight Howes in this spot. Krohn, who, like Howes, was voted the 4A Outstanding Wrestler, did his former teammate one better by winning his third title. The Junior National All-American (30-0) followed two pins with two technical falls in the state tournament, and was one of five three-time champions. Senior Geordan Martinez (138) of Colorado Springs Pine Creek, who had his bid for four state titles ended last year in a controversial finals finish, capped a 43-0 season in 5A with three pins and a 10-0 major decision. The wrestler who beat Martinez last year, Raymond Robledo of Arvada Pomona, fell in the quarterfinals at 132 en route to a third-place finish.
Wrestler of the Year: Kevin Jack (120), junior, Danbury
A two-time Class LL and State Open champion who dominated the New England Championships, Jack helped the Hatters return to the top of the Nutmeg State. The New England runner-up in 2012 – his only loss in two years – Jack (42-0) was sixth in a loaded weight class at the Super 32 and had five pins, three technical falls and three major decisions in 12 state meet and New England matches, allowing just one point. One of four New England champions from Connecticut, Jack had two pins and major decisions of 11-0 and 12-0. This list would be more impressive if Connecticut could keep its best wrestlers within its borders, but returning New England champion William Crisco (Kingston (Pa.) Wyoming Seminary) and three-time state champion Miguel Calixto (Bennington (Vt.) Mount Anthony) both transferred out of state.
Wrestler of the Year: Brent Fleetwood (113), junior, Smyrna
We were beaten to this one at the state tournament, where Fleetwood was voted the Outstanding Wrestler after finishing a 47-0 season with his third state title. For the second straight year, Fleetwood didn’t have a match go the distance in the state tournament. After scoring a pin and three technical falls at 106 a year ago, Fleetwood reversed that, with three pins and a technical fall this season. He allowed just five points in six matches to win the Beast of the East tournament, giving the host state a champion for the second straight year. Junior Micah Hight (120) of Camden Wyoming Caesar Rodney also won his third title. Senior Alvontae Drummond (32-0) of Milford, the 138-pound champion, was the only other champion with fewer than four losses.
Wrestler of the Year: Kevin Norstrem (138), senior, Brandon
Given Brandon’s year-in, year-out lineup power, at least one Eagle always seems to be in the mix, and Norstrem was the choice this year after winning his fifth 3A state title. Norstrem (57-1) won his title in workmanlike fashion, with two pins and decisions of 7-1 and 12-6. His only loss: 6-5 to two-time Georgia champion Tyler Marinelli of Jefferson at The Clash National Duals. His freshman brother, Kyle, now a two-time state champion himself, could get consideration down the road. Also earning consideration in big-school 3A: sophomore Fox Baldwin (152) of Kissimmee Osceola, who won his third title to cap a 55-0 season, and sophomore Jared Prince (120) of Palm Harbor University, whose 3-1 victory over three-time defending champion James Flint of Brandon reversed the result of last year’s final.
Wrestlers of the Year: Tyler Askey (170), senior, Newnan Northgate; Brooks Climmons (182), senior, Marietta Alan C. Pope (tie)
There were plenty of stars in the big-class 6A tournament, but this co-award goes to back-to-back winners in 5A: Askey, our Wrestler of the Year last year, and Climmons, who won for the second time. The two also won back-to-back at 152 and 160 as sophomores in 2011. Askey (43-0) had two pins and two major decisions, and Climmons (34-0) won all four matches by technical fall. It’s virtually a certainty, however, that 6A will provide next year’s winner, as junior Sean Russell (113) of Suwanee Collins Hill won his third title and fellow junior and teammate Ryan Millhof (120), junior Matthew Moody (152) of Valdosta Lowndes County and sophomore Justan Rivera (182) of Kennesaw Mountain all won their second titles.
Wrestler of the Year: Joshua Terao (130), junior, Honolulu Mid-Pacific
This was a tough choice. The Aloha State had six returning champions, and all six repeated, most without much of a challenge. But Terao won his third state title and was dominant despite wrestling up two weight classes from his Fargo weight class last summer, 120 pounds. Terao recorded one of just two pins in the championship round. It was his third pin of the tournament. A 9-2 semifinal decision was the only match Terao wrestled that went the distance. Seniors Chaeden Grace-Reyes (171) of Honolulu Moanalua and Dane Pestano (215) of Kapalama Kamehameha School lived up to their season-long rankings by winning their second titles. Juniors Brayden Akeo (125) of Miliani and Blake Cooper (152) of Pearl City and senior Laurent Remillard (160) of Honolulu Punahou School also repeated.
Wrestler of the Year: Hayden Tuma (138), junior, Boise Centennial
It’s time to acknowledge Tuma (41-0) as one of the major reasons the Class of 2014 could be one of the best ever. He pinned his way to a 5A state title for the second straight year, scoring four first-period pins in a combined 6:03. Senior teammates JonJay Chavez (145) and Jon Fisher (220) also pinned their way to titles as Centennial, coached by former Junior National standout Collin Robertson, scored a tournament-record 318.5 points. The state’s only other unbeaten: junior Ruger Piva (47-0) of Challis, the 2A champion at 152. In 3A, Blaine Invernon (138) of Bonners Ferry prevailed in a battle of two-time defending champions, beating Chase Call of Shelley 6-1. The two were both 132-pound champions a year ago, Invernon in 3A and Call in 4A. Jared Johnshoy (145) of Melba won his fourth 2A title.
Wrestlers of the Year: Jered Cortez (126), junior, Carol Stream Glenbard North; Josh Alber, junior Dakota (tie)
Two of the stars of one of the dominant senior classes in the nation next year, Cortez (52-0) and Alber (50-0) breezed to their third state titles on opposite ends of the class spectrum. Cortez had just two decisions all season, and his 9-1 finals victory over Jordan Northrup of Machesney Park Harlem in a battle of returning state champions was his only state tournament match that went past the first period. He majored Northrup, who earned a high national ranking himself, three times by a combined 35-5 margin. Alber’s 3-2 victory in the Al Dvorak Memorial final over Johnny Jimenez of Aurora Marmion Academy was his second victory over a three-time state champion in a two-week span. Alber finished his junior season 134-0, wiping out one of the oldest marks in the Illinois record book – Ed Giese’s 132-match winning streak, set in 1981.
Wrestler of the Year: Mitch Sliga (195), senior, Fishers
Sliga (49-0) dominated the state tournament with three pins – including the only fall of the finals, in just 31 seconds and a 13-4 major decision, that coming in the semifinals. It was Sliga’s second state title after two third-place finishes. Two other wrestlers bidding for a second title also were successful: junior Stevan Micic (113) of Cedar Lake Hanover Central and senior Neal Molloy (145) of Danville. For the second straight year, 12 of the state’s 14 champions finished the season undefeated. Both of those with losses – two each – were from team champion Indianapolis Perry Meridian. With three champions, the Falcons were the only school with more than one.
Wrestlers of the Year: Jake Marlin (138), senior, Creston/Orient-Macksburg; Brandon Sorensen (145), Denver-Tripoli (tie)
We didn’t feel like choosing between two 2A wrestlers who, within the space of 10 minutes, became the state’s 19th and 20th four-time champions. The two combined to win 110 of 111 matches this season, were unbeaten in the state and carried their dominance through the state tournament. Marlin had three pins and a 23-9 major decision – that coming in the semifinals – and Sorensen followed a pair of pins with a pair of 7-3 decisions to close a 57-0 season. Four other two-time state champions finished unbeaten seasons: sophomore Max Thomsen (126) of LaPorte City Union and seniors Colton McCrystal (132) of Sergeant Bluff-Luton and Adam Reth (220) of Manchester West Delaware in 2A and senior Brendan Schott (170) of Troy Mills North Linn in 1A.
Wrestler of the Year: Zac Gentzler (120), senior, Andover Central
With a pin, a technical fall and two major decisions, Gentzler (41-0) completed a run to four straight 5A titles. Kansas also had a pair of standout senior heavyweights: three-time champion Nathan Butler (44-0) of Leavenworth in 5A and Will Geary of Topeka, who scored four first-period pins to win his second 6A title. A pair of juniors from small-class 3-2-1A, Brogan Humphrey (138) of Fredonia and Tagen Lambotte (145) of Rossville, could become back-to-back four-time champions next year. Three other unbeatens, senior three-time champion Dustin Reed (126) of Colby, sophomore two-time champion Sean DeShazer (113) of Wichita Heights and junior Justin Scott (220) of Meriden Jefferson West, who matched Geary with four first-period pins, also were in the running.
Wrestler of the Year: Brock Ervin (126), junior, Morganfield Union County
Ervin (46-2) became the seventh four-time champion in state history, racking up four pins and a 19-7 major decision. He could become the state’s first five-time champion next year. Ervin’s only two losses came in the Walsh Ironman tournament – to Joey Dance of Christiansburg (Va.) and Ivan McClay of Massillon (Ohio) Washington – where he finished fifth. Ervin was named the recipient of the Forcht Group of Kentucky Uncommon Excellence Award. Fellow junior Nathan Boston of Versailles Woodford County, an Indiana state champion as a freshman, pinned his way to the 113-pound title with five falls in 16:20. Senior Kevin Cooper (152) of Independence Simon Kenton won his third title and sophomore Austin Myers (220) of Alexandria Campbell County finished 59-0 in winning for the second time.
Wrestler of the Year: Tyrek Malveaux (152), senior, Lafayette Comeaux
Three Louisiana wrestlers finished the season undefeated, and three won their third state title. The only wrestler to fit into both categories was Malveaux, a four-time Division 1 placewinner who won for the second straight year after a third-place finish and a title at 135. He won his title with two pins, a major decision and a 6-2 finals decision. Fellow senior Connor Campo (132) of Covington St. Paul’s School, a 74-match winner as a junior, finished 45-0, racking up three pins and a technical fall to win his second title. The third unbeaten: Division 3 heavyweight Spencer Lemoine (35-0) of River Ridge John Curtis Christian School. Also winning their third titles: senior Alex Nicosia (120) of New Orlens Holy Cross in Division 2 and junior Trevor Schermer (132) of Brusly in Division 3.
Wrestler of the Year: Connor Sheehan (113), senior, Fryeburg Academy
Maine, which had never had more than one New England champion in a single season, had two this year: unbeatens Peter DelGallo (106), a freshman, and Sheehan. Named the Outstanding Wrestler in Class B after winning his third title, Sheehan was fourth in New England last year. Tyler Davidson (120) of South Berwick Marshwood became the state’s 16th four-time champion and two wrestlers in the classification, seniors Nick Vogel (160) of Greely and three-time champion Jared Jensen (170) of Brunswick, voted the Outstanding Wrestler, competed as independents, since their schools do not have programs. Brent Waterman (132) of Belfast, a three-time state champion and the defending New England champion, broke his ankle while jogging the day before the state tournament and was unable to compete.
Wrestlers of the Year: Alfred Bannister (138), junior, Forestville Bishop McNamara; Kyle Snyder (220), junior, Olney Our Lady of Good Counsel (tie)
Perhaps no state boasted two more dominant National Prep wrestlers. Bannister (64-0) finished a spectacular season by winning his second National Prep Championships title, and his Outstanding Wrestler award in that meet was his fifth OW of the season. Snyder (63-0) cemented his position as the nation’s top 220-pounder by pinning his first nine post-season opponents – five in the independent state tournament and four more in the National Prep meet, winning by technical fall in the finals for his third title. Senior Garrett Linebarger (182) of Waldorf Thomas Stone was the dominant public-school wrestler. Unbeaten his final two seasons in big-school Class 4A-3A, Linebarger followed a first-round pin with three technical falls – by a 46-0 margin – and his 16-0 technical fall in the finals took just 95 seconds.
Wrestler of the Year: Christian Monserrat (126), junior, Methuen
Often in the shadow of his senior teammate and workout partner, fellow three-time All-State champion Paul Sughrue (132), Monserrat emerged as the Bay State’s dominant wrestler this season. The disruption of the state series due to a winter storm didn’t faze him as he won his third Division l state title with a pin and three technical falls, following that with his third All-State title and the co-Outstanding Wrestler award. Monserrat then advanced to the New England Championships finals for the third time in his career, taking his first title with two pins and two decisions. Four Massachusetts wrestlers won New England titles, including senior Leo Trindade (195) of Billerica Memorial, a two-time Division 1 and All-State champion.
Wrestlers of the Year: Ben Whitford (145), senior, St. Johns; Adam Coon (285), senior, Fowlerville (tie)
How difficult is this? For the third consecutive year, a St. Johns wrestler earned this honor, with Whitford following two-time winner Taylor Massa in a Redbirds lineup littered with Wrestler of the Year candidates. After dominating Illinois mats for two years at Aurora Marmion Academy, winning a pair of Class 2A state titles, Whitford returned to his hometown school for his final two seasons and won two additional titles in Division 2. He had just one career loss, finished 37-0 this season and followed up a first-period pin at the state tournament with a forfeit win and two technical falls. Coon (55-0) completed a dominating four-year state championship run by pinning all four state tournament opponents in the first period, needing just 4:52 to finish the job. He was 161-0 his final three seasons.
Wrestlers of the Year: Mitch Bengtson (138), senior, St. Cloud Apollo; Jake Short (152), senior, Inver Grove Heights Simley
After winning the Minnesota State Christmas Tournament at 145 in December, Short settled in at 152 the rest of the season and won his fourth Class 2A state title, becoming the 14th Minnesota wrestler to do so. Minutes before, Bengtson (138) became the 13th four-time champion, and both completed unbeaten seasons. Short had some competition on his own team, as fellow seniors Kyle Gliva (132) and Nick Wanzek (170) won their third titles. Three-time 3A state champion Mark Hall of Apple Valley, still just a freshman, was a candidate as well. So was sophomore Lance Benick (195) of Fridley Totino Grace, who avenged his only loss of the season with an ultimate tie-breaker win over two-time defending champion Broc Berge of Kasson-Mantorville in the 2A final. Berge had won in the tie-breaker in the Minnesota State Christmas Tournament final.
Wrestler of the Year: J’Den Cox (285), senior, Columbia David Hickman
For many states, this is a difficult selection. In Missouri, it is not. Our Wrestler of the Year for the second year in a row, Cox started the season at 220 and ended it at 285, and it made no difference – the results were the same. Unbeaten his final three years, Cox completed a 56-0 season by pinning his way to his fourth big-school Class 4 title. He became the state’s 21st four-time state champion. Seven Missouri wrestlers won their third titles, with Class 4 Blue Springs (Daniel Lewis (138), junior, and Darick LaPaglia (145), senior) and Class 3 Kansas City Oak Park (Noah Teaney (120), junior, and Brad Perkins (126), senior) each claiming two. It’s rare to see a wrestler win three straight years at 113, but Jaret Singh of Kearney used three first-period pins and a technical fall to close his career in style in Class 3.
Wrestler of the Year: Gresh Jones (119), sophomore, Sidney
Jones is the best of a talented group of underclassmen in middle-class A. The two-time state champion was 48-0 as a freshman at 112, then blew away the field at the Disney Duals last summer. He completed a dominating sophomore season by opening with three first-period pins, spending just 3:37 on the mat, then winning by injury default in the finals. He shared the spotlight in Class A with another talented sophomore lightweight, Shonn Roberts (112) of Columbia Falls, who pinned his way to his second title with four falls in 7:47. Junior Bryce Weatherston (135) of Belgrade won his third A title. The state’s top seniors, Grant Boggs (119) of Class AA Helena and Taylor French (140) of Class B-C Forsyth, won their third titles. Boggs (27-0) had three technical falls and French needed just 5:47 to pin his four opponents.
Wrestler of the Year: JaVaughn Perkins (160), junior, Omaha North
One of three juniors with a chance to become a four-time state champion next year, Perkins (41-0) pinned his way to the title in big-school Class A – taking an even seven minutes to rack up four pins – then added three more pins in the inaugural dual state meet the following week at 182. The other two potential four-time champions come from Class B: Colton Adams (132) of Scottsbluff and Will Schany (182) of Blair. Each finished the season with one loss. Two-time defending champions met in the 126-pound semifinals in Class A, with James Bamford of Kearney scoring a 5-1 victory over Jacob Wilcoxen of Omaha Burke. A year ago, Wilcoxen was the 120-pound champion, while Bamford lost in the 113-pound semifinals. Senior Ronald Wells (138) of Omaha Central also won his third title.
Wrestler of the Year: Joey LaVallee (145), senior, Reno
The Wrestler of the Year for the second year in a row, LaVallee easily won his fourth state title in big-school Division 1, becoming one of three Nevada wrestlers to accomplish the feat. The other two won their in Division 1-A: Tyler Tate (126) of Spring Creek and Michael Billingsley (170) of Winnemucca Lowry. LaValle finished fifth in the Walsh ironman, losing to Edgar Bright of Lakewood (Ohio) St. Edward and Dylan Milonas of Blairstown Township (N.J.) Academy, and he and Tate both finished third in the Reno Tournament of Champions. Tate’s Spring Creek teammate, Dustin Tripp, also was trying for a fourth title at 138, but came up short. Two-time defending champion Wade Fry of Elko beat Tripp, 8-4 in the semifinals and went on to win his third title.
Wrestler of the Year: Dakoda Simula (220), senior, Plymouth
From small-school Division 3, Simula, a two-time division ste champion, followed that up with his second Meet of Champions state title, one of just two wrestlers not from big-school Division 1 to win a Meet of Champions title this year. Simula pinned his way through both tournaments, and was named the Outstanding Wrestler in the Meet of Champions. New Hampshire was the lone state not to crown a champion in the New England Championships – the Granite State didn’t even have a finalist – but Simula finished third in the tournament the hard way. A first-round loser, Simula won six straight matches in the consolations to finish third, one of only two wrestlers in the tournament to do so.
Wrestler of the Year: Anthony Ashnault (138), senior, South Plainfield
Ashnault joined Andrew Campolattano of Bound Brook (2008-11) and Mike Grey of Morristown Delbarton (2003-06) as four-time state champions – and became the first unbeaten four-time champion. Voted the tournament’s Outstanding Wrestler, Ashnault finished his career 170-0, including a 40-0 record this season. Ashnault’s double-leg takedown with nine seconds remaining in the match broke a 2-2 tie in a 4-2 vicctory over Gary Dinmore of Flemington Hunterdon Central, who had not lost since Ashnault beat him in last season’s final at 126. Ashnault’s South Plainfield teammate, fellow senior Scott DelVecchio (132), won his second title, and the two were among nine unbeaten champions. Senior B.J. Clagon (145) of Toms River South was a two-time unbeaten champion.
Wrestler of the Year: Paul Mascarenas (113), senior, Rio Rancho V. Sue Cleveland
Mascarenas followed his Junior National title last summer by capping a 38-1 season with his fourth 5A state title. Mascarenas needed just 57 seconds to pin his first two opponents before finishing with a pair of major decisions. Joining Mascarenas as a four-time champion: junior Korey Windham (160) of Santa Fe St. Michael’s, who pinned all three opponents to finish 36-1 in small-school A-3A. Lawrence Otero (138) of Albuquerque Volcano Vista won his third 5A state title. In addition to Windham, two sophomores kept alive their bids to finish their careers as five-time state champions: Anthony Juckes (132) of Farmington Piedra Vista in 4A and Richard Montoya (120) of Las Vegas Robertson in A-3A.
Wrestler of the Year: Nick Piccininni (113), Setauket Ward Melville
The unbeaten Piccininni was involved in the most anticipated match of the state finals. He prevailed 14-4 over senior Kyle Kelly of Binghamton Chenango Forks in a battle of defending state champions. Piccininni won at 106 pounds a year ago, Kelly at 99. The win was Piccininni’s 89th in a row, his last loss coming to Kelly in the semifinals in 2011 at 96, when Kelly won the first of his two titles. Piccininni was voted the Outstanding Wrestler in Division 1. Senior Nick Tighe (138) of Phoenix earned the Division 2 Outstanding Wrestler after winning his third title. The state’s two 160-pound champions, senior Tyler Grimaldi of Dix Hills Half Hollow Hills West and Burke Paddock of Warsaw, met in the finals of the Eastern States Classic in January, with Division 2 champion Paddock scoring an 8-4 decision.
With upper weights this state’s strength, it’s hard to find a difference in the way these two dominated. Both ended their careers as three-time state champions, and both lost just two matches over their finals three seasons. Kee was unbeaten his final two seasons, finishing 61-0 this season and pinning his way through the state tournament. He was voted the Outstanding Wrestler in big-school 4A as a junior and senior. Cadet National finalist Von Egidy (59-0) had two first-period pins, a major decision and a technical fall to win again in 2A. He was voted the Outstanding Wrestler in his junior season. Senior Kacee Hutchinson (195) of Enka, voted the Oustanding Wrestler in 3A, won his second title and finished 58-0.
Wrestler of the Year: Preston Lehmann (182), senior, West Fargo
For the second consecutive year, Lehmann (47-0) pinned his way through the big-school Class A state tournament, needing just 7:03 to record four falls. Sophomore teammate Jordan Shearer (126), who spent much of the season at 120 before going up to 126 for the state tournament, kept alive his bid to become the state’s first six-time state champion. Shearer also pinned all four state tournament opponents. Junior Ryan Blees (160) of Bismarck was dominant as well, capping a 48-0 season with three pins and a technical fall. A pair of Class B wrestlers won their third state titles: sophomore Erik Loepp (113) of Oakes and senior Blake Bosch (126) of Wishek South Border, who followed a technical fall with three pins to cap his second straight unbeaten season at 41-0.
Wrestlers of the Year: Nathan Tomasello (120), senior, Cuyahoga Heights Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy; Bo Jordan (160), senior, St. Paris Graham (tie)
In a state where there were, as always, plenty of candidates, the co-stars of Division 2, four-time state champions Tomasello and Jordan share Wrestler of the Year honors for the second consecutive year. Bother were unbeaten their final three seasons. A technical fall, two first-period pins and a major decision helped Tomasello finish 51-0, and Division 2 Outstanding Wrestler Jordan (49-0) didn’t have a state tournament match go the distance his final three years. Nine of his 12 state tournament wins during that stretch were pins, including all three state final matches. Dean Heil (132) of Lakewood St. Edward also won his fourth title and was voted the Division 1 OW. Jordan’s junior brother, Micah (132), who beat Heil twice during the season, won his third title. Three-time champion Jacob Danishek (145) of Miamisburg Dayton Christian School, whose only loss came in the Walsh ironman final, earned the OW in Division 3.
Wrestler of the Year: Zach Beard (170), senior, Tuttle; Davey Dolan (145), senior, Tulsa Berryhill
The newest members of the state’s four-time champions club – Oklahoma now has 31 – both completed their second consecutive unbeaten seasons. Beard (41-0) sandwiched two pins around a win by injury default, and was a terror both a 170 and at 182 this season. Dolan (34-0) pinned all three opponents in the first period to win in small-school 3A. In 5A, senior Keilan Torres (160) of Altus won his third title with a pin and two technical falls, and team champion Collinsville had four multi-time champions. Juniors Will Steltzlen (132) and Gary Wayne Harding (138) and senior Dylan Helm won their third titles and sophomore Davion Jefferies (113) pinned his way to his second title.
Wrestler of the Year: Tyler Berger (138), junior, Hermiston
Berger, whose only loss this season came early in the Walsh Ironman, finished third there with six straight wins, two over ranked opponents, and went on to win his third 5A state title. He had plenty of company, with seniors Ronnie Bresser (120) of Klamath Falls Henley, Colton Schilling (126) of Sweet Home and Cody Crawford (220) of Turner Cascade in 4A and David Henry (220) of Oakand in A-2A also winning their third titles. Crawford pinned all four opponents in the first period and Henry pinned his way to a title for a second straight year. Lucas Randall (145) of Aurora North Marion and Jared Kasch (120) of Culver won their fourth state titles. Randall’s only loss of the season came at 152 to two-time 6A champion Drew Van Anrooy of Roseburg, 7-2 in late January.
Wrestler of the Year: Chance Marsteller (160), junior, Fawn Grove Kennard Dale
Marsteller prevailed in one of the most-anticipated matches of the season over the Christmas holidays, beating Cody Wiercioch of Canonsburg Canon-McMillan 3-2 in the Powerade Tournament final. Eventually, the two three-time state champions separated, with Marsteller going down to 160 to win big-school AAA at that weight class – and his second straight Outstanding Wrestler award – while Wiercioch won at 170. Ryan Diehl (126) of Camp Hill Trinity became the state’s 11th four-time champion with a 46-second finals pin in AA, but he – and unbeaten champion Zain Retherford (138) of Benton – lost out in the OW balloting to unbeaten two-time champion Mike Racciato (145) of Pen Argyl. Plenty of upper-weight power, with seniors Jacob Taylor (182) of Wingate Bald Eagle Area, Dakota DesLauriers (182) of Lower Burrell Burrell and Ryan Solomon (195) of Milton all completing unbeaten seasons.
Wrestlers of the Year: Christian (145) and Andrew LaBrie (152), juniors, Exeter/West Greenwich (tie)
The twin brothers, both two-time state champions, have had careers that are virtually identical as well. Both also won the New England Championships this year; as sophomores last year, both finished third in New England at the same weight classes. Andrew was named the meet’s Outstanding Wrestler, and Christian did not allow a single point all season. They had plenty of competition in a strong field, including junior teammate Carl Neff (195), who breezed to his first title with four sub-minute pins. Junior John Altieri (113) of Warwick Veterans won his third title and senior teammates Nate Colicci (126) and George Schmeider (160) won their second titles. Senior heavyweight Jonah Aurelio of East Providence pinned all four opponents for the second straight year to win his third title.
Wrestler of the Year: Dennis Flores (170), senior, Hanahan
Unlike last year, when the state had plenty of individual standouts, it was a rebuilding year in South Carolina. One of three three-time state champions, Flores (58-1) sandwiched technical falls around a semifinal pin to earn the Outstanding Wrestler honors in middle-class 3A after. Flores had won a pair of titles in A-2A, but the Hawks, the dual state champion in that class a year ago, moved up to 3A this season. A pair of juniors, Clay Walker (138) of Taylors Eastside and John Van Slooten (145) of Waccamaw, won their third titles in 3A and A-2A, respectively, with Van Slooten (41-0) pinning all three opponents. Junior Jackson Myers (113) of Lexington and sophomore Gage Cervenka (285) of Greenwood Emerald became two-time state champions with unbeaten seasons.
Wrestlers of the Year: Aero Amo (182), senior, Rapid City Central; Brady Reiff (220), sophomore, Parkston (tie)
South Dakota’s last two Wrestler of the Year winners combined to win 11 state championships. That’s far from the case this year, with a pair of out-of-the-box selections, neither of whom has won more than one title. Expect that to change in the case of Reiff, whose older brother, Riley, was a three-time state champion. Brady Reiff (44-0) spent all of 150 seconds on the mat, with his 59-second fall in the final his longest match. As for Amo, he was voted the Outstanding Wrestler in big-school Class A after completing a 53-0 season with a major decision, a win by default and two pins. His record included a 6-0 mark in The Clash National Duals. Seniors Nate Rotert (42-1) of Spearfish/Lead-Deadwood and Eugene Martin (46-1) of DeSmet Kingsbury County, both ranked by WIN at 195, won their second titles.
Wrestlers of the Year: Kaleb Baker (152), senior, Memphis Christian Brothers; Amos Mason (220), senior, Brentwood Academy (tie)
Division 2 was the home of the state’s individual standouts this year, most notably Baker, who won his third title and led the Purple Wave to a second straight dual state title while recording an unbeaten season, pinning four state tournament opponents in just 89 seconds. Mason, meanwhile, also won his third title, completing his second straight unbeaten season by going 53-0 with 47 pins. Defending champions met in the 132-pound final, with junior Adam Connell of Chattanooga McCallie, denying senior Brandon Brunner of Chattanooga Baylor a fourth title in a 5-2 victory. Senior Jacob Stevens (120) of Soddy Daisy won his third Division 1 title with two pins and two technical falls.
Wrestler of the Year: Oliver Pierce (152), senior, Allen
Often the forgotten wrestler in the 152-pound rankings merry-go-round, Pierce (19-0) did something he hasn’t done, amazingly, since his freshman year: win a state title. He followed an 11-2 major decision with a pair of pins to take care of business. Senior Nick Cobb (195) won his fourth title for Allen nd two other teammates, junior Bo Nickal (160) and senior Matt Meyer (182), also repeated in 5A as the state expanded to two classes. The only other wrestler to repeat was senior Dylan Akers (126) of Flower Mound Marcus, who completed a 35-0 season. Ten other wrestlers completed unbeaten seasons. Two of them, senior Dammion Heard (113) of Fort Worth Fossil Ridge (5A) and junior Jacob Rubio (132) of Amarillo Canyon Randall (4A), moved up from runner-up finishes last year.
Wrestler of the Year: Roy Nash (220), junior, Murray Taylorsville
Some might be stunned at this selection, given the number of seniors in the mix. Four Beehive State wrestlers became four-time state champions this year: Britain Carter (120) of Spanish Fork Maple Mountain in 4A, Jed Mellen (138) of Payson and Zach Prince (152) of Hurricane in 3A and Kyle Foy (170) of Altamont High in A. Then there was senior Grant LaMont (152) of Maple Mountain, a three-time champion who didn’t lose a match in Utah. So why does double Cadet National champion Nash get the nod? He was the only one of Utah’s 70 state champions this season – count ‘em, 70 – who finished the season undefeated, going 41-0. And he did it in big-class 5A. A state qualifier at 285 as a sophomore, Nash had three pins and a 9-2 semifinal decision.
Wrestler of the Year: Jesse Webb (285), junior, Bennington Mount Anthony
The nation’s longest state high school association victory streak stayed alive as Mount Anthony won its 25th consecutive team title in a manner noteworthy even by their standards. In scoring 324 points – the third most in state tournament history and one fewer than last year’s total – the Patriots had a national-best nine state champions and 13 finalists, the program’s 178 state champions also are a national record. One of the nation’s top junior heavyweights, Webb (53-0) won his third state title, then added the New England Championships title the next week, pinning three of his four opponents. Senior teammate Miguel Calixto (132), a three-time Connecticut Class M champion at Willimantic Windham, finished 59-0 with his fourth state title and a New England title. Sophomore Ben Bliss (106) of Jericho Mount Mansfield finished 43-0.
Wrestlers of the Year: J.R. Wert (132), Joey Dance (138) and Zac Epperly (182), seniors, Christiansburg (tie)
How do you choose between three teammates, all seniors, who became four-time state champions this season? We chose Epperly last season, but as record-setters – the first trio of four-time state champions from one school – we didn’t this year. Wert and Dance ended the season up two weight classes from their early-season weights, Epperly one. After two up-and-down seasons since winning a North Carolina state title as a freshman, Dennis Gustafson (132) of Woodbridge Forest Park put it all together as a senior, finishing third in the Beast of the East and the Powerade. Gustafson and sophomore Neal Richards (138) of Ettrick Matoaca won their second 3A titles back-to-back. Colby Dean (152) of Norton John I. Burton won his fourth A title.
Wrestler of the Year: Chandler Rogers (170), junior, Spokane Mead
Another year, another Rogers in this spot. The three-time 4A state champion pinned all four opponents in a combined 6:54 – the only one of Washington’s 70 state champions to do so. Fellow jujnior Ryan Christensen (182) of Woodinville, who split with Rogers in the Cadet National championship finals last summer at Fargo, also won easily in the big class. Jake Velarde (138) of Poulsbo North Kitsap needed a takedown in overtime in the final, but prevailed to become the state’s 10th four-time champion in 2A. Junior Bobby Reece (160) of Kingston could join Rogers as a four-time champion next year. A pair of senior 120-pounders, Josh Newberg of Kelso and Joshua Salcedo of Granger, won their third titles in 3A and 1A, respectively.
Wrestlers of the Year: Justin Arthur (145), senior, Huntington; Jared Haught (182), senior, Parkersburg (tie)
The state’s two three-time state champions, both in big-school 3A, did it against tough schedules. Arthur’s only losses this season came to Pennsylvania state runnerup Chris Vassar of Camp Hill Cedar Cliff en route to a fourth-place finish in the Powerade Tournament, where he recorded a win over AA state champion Colt Cotton of Benton. He pinned his way to the title, one of two West Virginia wrestlers to do so, and shared Outstanding Wrestler honors with sophomore Jake Martin (138) of Ripley, who won his second title. Haught capped a 50-0 season with two pins, a technical fall and an 11-7 finals decision. The other state champion with four pins, senior Jesse Roman (195) of East Fairmont, shared the OW with junior Cody Goff (113) of Grafton and senior Tyler Parker 9170) of Charmco Greenbrier West. All three finished unbeaten.
Wrestler of the Year: Jake Stilling (170), senior, Elkhorn
A Junior National placewinner last summer at Fargo, Stilling (46-1) parlayed that into a dominating senior season that saw him pin his way to his second Division 1 state title. The only other wrestler to accomplish the feat in Division 1, senior Andrew Crone (132) of Hartland Arrowhead, completed a Comeback Wrestler of the Year season as impressive as anyone’s, completing a 42-2 season with four impressive wins after failing to place as a junior. Few states had three heavyweights as good as the Badger State’s three state champions. Division 1 champion Jessie Nelson (54-1) of Stoughton and two-time champions Newton Smerchek (49-2) of Luxemburg-Casco and Cole Johnson (47-0) of DeSoto, won won in Division 2 and 3, respectively, all spent time in the WIN rankings at 285 this season.
Wrestler of the Year: Dani Fischer (145), junior, Gillette Campbell County
Fischer repeated as the Wrestler of the Year by becoming the first Wyoming wrestler in three years to win a fourth state title, racking up three pins and a technical fall to lead Campbell County to its 11th straight title in big-school 4A. Fischer got the nod over a pair of other 4A standouts on track for this honor the next two years: junior three-time state champion Bryce Meredith (132) of Cheyenne Central and sophomore two-time champion Tevis Bartlett (195) of Cheyenne East, who pinned all four opponents in the first period. Fischer’s senior teammate, Lukas Poloncic (170) won his third title, as did junior Justin Lewton (126) of Worland in 3A and senior Brigham Teichert (145) of Cokeville in 2A.