Penn State’s Zain Retherford wins 2017 WIN Magazine/Culture House Dan Hodge Trophy, presented by ASICS
By Bryan Van Kley, WIN Magazine NEWTON, Iowa — The WIN...
The two major national All-Star dual meets, the Dapper Dan Wrestling Classic and the Wrestling USA/Cliff Keen Dream Team Classic, are now in the books. It’s time to start analyzing the results.
The only wrestler to win in each event was Matt McCutcheon (195) of Vandergrift (Pa.) Kiski Area, and the Penn State University recruit’s double victory carries an asterisk. McCutcheon competed for the Western Pennsylvania (WPIAL) team in the Dapper Dan Classic at Pittsburgh, Pa., scoring a pin and earning OW honors for the WPIAL squad, which beat Virginia, 28-19 in the evening’s Preliminary Event. In the final match of the Dream Team Classic, McCutcheon beat state runner-up Jordan Ellingwood of Plainfield Central, 6-2.
Allison Park Hampton’s Jacob Hart, the wrestler who beat McCutcheon both in the WPIAL and in the state finals, was a winner in the Dapper Dan “Main Event,” edging Broc Berge of Kasson (Minn.) K.-Mantorville, 2-1, as a member of the Pennsylvania team.
Six of the nation’s elite seniors competed in both “main” events … and, amazingly, none of the six were able to complete a sweep.
Three earned a split by posting victories in the Dream Team Classic, which took place last weekend at Elmhurst College and matched an Illinois team against the United States.
Heavyweight Brooks Black of Blairstown Township (N.J.) Blair Academy, competing in his future collegiate home state, scored the only pin of the match, which gave the U.S. team a 9-0 lead. The University of Illinois recruit needed just 80 seconds to pin Alex Fritz of Aurora Marmion Academy, who finished sixth in state. At the Dapper Dan Classic, Black lost 3-1 in overtime to a future Big Ten opponent, Aaron Bradley of Nazareth (Pa.), who recently committed to Iowa.
Also gaining a split were a pair of Canonsburg (Pa.) Canon-McMillan standouts. Stanford University recruit Connor Schram (126) prevailed 7-4 over Jordan Northrup of Machesney Park Harlem, a 2012 state champion, and University of Pittsburgh recruit Cody Wiercioch (170) beat state runner-up Dan Rowland of Villa Park Willowbrook, 7-2.
At Pittsburgh, Schram lost 2-1 in the overtime tiebreaker to Joey Dance of Christiansburg (Va.) and Wiercioch fell 7-4 to Zach Beard of Tuttle (Okla.) in the night’s winner-take-all final match.
Two of the wrestlers who went 0-2 took their second losses in back-to-back matches by the same score.
Paul Mascarenas (113) of Rio Rancho (N.M.) Cleveland lost 3-1 to 2011 champion Sebastian Pique of Orland Park Carl Sandburg … and Darian Cruz (120) of Bethlehem (Pa.) Catholic lost 3-1 to Barlow McGhee of Rock Island on an overtime takedown. McGhee won his first state crown this year.
The third, Jake Short of Inver Grove Heights (Minn.) Simley, lost 3-2 to three-time state runner-up Brian Murphy of Carol Stream Glenbard North. Both wrestlers competed at 152 during the season. With the win, Murphy avenged an ultimate tiebreaker loss to Short in the finals of the Cheesehead Invitational in January.
The wrestler who beat Murphy in the state final, two-time champion Kyle Langenderfer of Frankfort Lincoln-Way East, lost 4-3 to Oliver Pierce of Allen (Texas).
Wrestling for the first time this season at 182, Ricky Robertson of Carl Sandburg scored a 9-0 major decision over Iowa champion Matt Seabold of Burlington. A month earlier, Robertson, a state champion at 195, had lost 6-1 to Mitch Sliga of Fishers (Ind.) in the Illinois-Indiana All-Star Dual as two of the nation’s best at the weight squared off. Illinois won that dual, 37-16.
So even the nation’s elite wrestlers find the going tough once in a while.