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Sherrill’s High School Notebook: USA Folkstyle Nationals champions a Murderers Row
By Rob Sherrill, WIN High School Columnist
We’ve now had a chance to dissect the results of the three tournaments that, ridiculously, all took place on the same weekend: the NHSCA High School Nationals, the USA Wrestling Folkstyle Nationals and the Flonationals.
It doesn’t get the hype the other two events do, but the Junior Division champions in the Folkstyle Nationals, which took place at Cedar Falls, Iowa, were extremely talented. From 113 through heavyweight, every champion was — or has been — part of the WIN individual rankings at some point this season.
113 – Brian Rossi of Lockport (Ill.) wasn’t the best at his weight in his own state — he’s finished third twice — but the two-time Cadet National placewinner took this class with two technical falls and two major decisions in five matches, along with a 3-1 overtime decision over two-time Nebraska Doyle Trout of Utica Centennial in the semifinals.
120 – One of three No. 1s to win titles, Zahid Valencia of Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco beat three-time Oregon champion Ronnie Bresser of Klamath Falls Henley, 3-2 to win his first title up a weight from his state tournament weight.
126 – Freshman Julian Flores of San Marino (Calif.), fifth in the state tournament, edged three-time Illinois champion Josh Alber of Dakota, 2-1, in the semifinals. Alber was up a weight class. Two-time Kentucky champion Trae Blackwell of Morganfield Union County beat Flores, 6-1 in the final.
132 – Down a weight class after winning his fourth Arizona title, Dalton Brady of Chandler got all he could handle from Ali Naser of Woodland Hills (Calif.) El Camino Real, winning 3-2 in the final after five convincing wins.
138 – The second No. 1, Aaron Pico of St. John Bosco, showed why. He scored 113 points in the five matches he wrestled which went the distance — three technical falls and two major decisions. His sixth win came by pin.
145 – The present and the future met in the finals. Three-time Utah champion Grant LaMont of Spanish Fork Maple Mountain, down a weight class, pinned Indiana champion Tommy Forte of Mishawaka, up a weight class after edging into the final rankings at 138.
152 – Often lost in the shuffle behind fellow Missourians Darick LaPaglia of Blue Springs and Grant Leeth of Kearney, Clayton Ream of Wentzville Holt, up a weight from first state title run, edged four-time Iowa champion Brandon Sorensen of Denver-Tripoli in the final rankings at 138.
160 – He didn’t win the state — only in Illinois — but Devonte Mahomes of Oak Park-River Forest justified his national ranking, nipping three-time North Dakota champion Ryan Blees of Bismarck, 3-2.
170 – Two-time state champions from Wisconsin’s top two divisions met in the finals, with Division 2 champion Jacob Morrissey of Oconto Falls pounding Jake Stilling of Elkhorn, the Division 1 champion, in a 16-6 major decision.
182 – Indiana sophomores, Part 2: Like Forte, Bobby Steveson of Merrillville finished the season unbeaten. Unlike Forte, the Cadet National placewinner went all the way at Cedar Falls with a 6-0 record.
195 – Is he the best in a loaded weight in Minnesota? After adding yet another title to his collection, sophomore Lance Benick of Fridley Totino Grace just might be.
220 – With a first-round pin and four technical falls, two-time Arizona champion Ben Andrew of Mesa showed why he inched back into the final rankings.
Hwt – The tournament’s final No. 1 had no trouble … after the first round. Four-time Michigan champion Adam Coon of Fowlerville met Michael Johnson of Kingston (Pa.) Wyoming Seminary in what was likely the most dramatic first-round match of the tournament. Coon prevailed, 3-0, and had only one other match go the distance.