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2013 Junior & Cadet Nationals Preview
Will Retherford vs. Tuma be the biggest battle in Fargo?
By Rob Sherrill
If I had to pick a weight class to watch this year, it would be 138 pounds in the Junior division.
The wrestlers who occupy the penthouse at 138 are not only as good as they come, but they come from very diverse backgrounds. The two who occupied the top two spots in WIN’s individual rankings all season — senior Zain Retherford of Benton (Pa.) and junior Hayden Tuma of Boise (Idaho) Centennial — come from opposite ends of the country, so the chance of them meeting to settle the Battle for No. 1 at that weight class was never in the cards.
Since his victories in the Cadet World Championships and the Junior National freestyle a year ago, Retherford’s reign at No. 1 has been a fait accompli. The Penn State University freshman-to-be strengthened his grip on the top spot with victories in the Super 32, the Walsh Ironman, the AA state tournament, capping a 47-0 season, and the Dapper Dan Classic in Pittsburgh, where he was voted the Outstanding Wrestler for the Pennsylvania team.
Or did he? That’s debatable.
Three-time state champion Tuma can make a case of his own. Tuma capped a 41-0 season by pinning his way through the state tournament for the second straight year in the state’s big-class 5A, and he was one of just two Idaho wrestlers to go unbeaten last season.
Additionally, Tuma is one of just two active high-school wrestlers nationally who have won titles in all four of USA Wrestling’s elite age-group events: the Cadet Nationals, the Junior Nationals, the FILA Cadet Nationals and the FILA Junior Nationals. The other: four-time Michigan heavyweight champion Adam Coon of Fowlerville, ranked No. 1 at that weight class.
The tale of the tape:
Cadet Nationals: Tuma, two titles (one in each style) and three finals appearances; Retherford, one fifth-place finish.
Junior Nationals: Tuma, one Greco-Roman title and one freestyle third-place finish; Retherford, one freestyle title. Tuma’s placings came at a higher weight class — 138, as opposed to Retherford’s title at 132.
FILA Cadet Nationals: Tuma, two Greco-Roman titles and one freestyle third-place finish; Retherford, one freestyle title.
FILA Junior Nationals: Tuma, one Greco-Roman title and one freestyle fifth-place finish. Both came this spring.
Do the math and Tuma holds a convincing 6-2 edge in the big stop sign count. Among the wrestlers both have beaten: four-time New Jersey champion Anthony Ashnault of South Plainfield and two-time Junior National champion Zane Richards, who just completed his freshman season at the University of Illinois.
But, should they both be in the field, Retherford and Tuma would be just two-thirds of a Big Three who likely would also include Aaron Pico of Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco, who just finished his freshman season ranked No. 1 by WIN at 132. He’s moving up. And with a pair of Cadet National double titles in the bag, Pico knows a little something about winning in the Dome.
So…there you have it: the past, the present and the future … maybe all at one weight class.
The view from 30,000 feet
It’s time for our annual fearless forecast. You know…the one where we hang ourselves out to dry. Who will make the Cadet and Junior National finals at Fargo?
But, before we do that, it’s time to give some credit to some wrestlers who went above and beyond the call of duty this spring and summer. Not many wrestlers venture beyond the borders of their particular home region, but it’s time to recognize the eight wrestlers…count ‘em, eight…who won three or more events this off-season.
Others may join them, since the Northern Plains and West Region events at the Cadet level had not yet taken place at press time.
At the top of the list are the two wrestlers who won four events:
• Aaron Pico, Calif., 138 pounds (Junior Folkstyle Nationals, FILA Cadet National Freestyle, FILA Junior Greco-Roman and Freestyle);
• Jacob Morrissey, Wisc., 170-182 pounds (Junior Folkstyle Nationals-170), Northern Plains Region Greco-Roman and Freestyle-170), Central Region Freestyle-182).
Six more wrestlers won three events. Winning on the Cadet level were:
• Daton Fix, Okla., 106 pounds (Cadet Folkstyle Nationals, Southern Plains Region Greco-Roman and Freestyle)
• Keegan Moore, Minn., 170-182 pounds (Cadet Folkstyle Nationals-170), Southern Plains Region Greco-Roman and Freestyle-182).
Competing successfully on both the Cadet and Junior levels were:
• Mason Manville, N.J., 152 pounds (Phil Portuese Northeast Region Cadet Greco-Roman and Freestyle, Junior Greco-Roman)
And finding plenty of success on the Junior level were:
• Nolan Hellickson, Iowa, 113 pounds (West Region Freestyle, Northern Plains Region Greco-Roman and Freestyle)
• Roy Nash, Utah, 220 pounds (West Region Greco-Roman and Freestyle, FILA Cadet National Greco-Roman)
• Hayden Tuma, Idaho, 132-145 pounds (Northwest Region Greco-Roman and Freestyle – 145), FILA Junior National Greco-Roman-132).
Tuma made this list for the second year in a row. Congratulations to all.
As is our usual rule, everybody who makes our predictions already has participated in at least one USA Wrestling event this year. In some years, that has limited the available talent pool significantly (though we’re not using that as an excuse).
No Fargo walk-ins on this list, regardless of ability. Still, plenty of the nation’s elite wrestlers have come out for one or more events this year.
The Cadet and Junior National Duals were not available at press time, so they’re not reflected in these predictions. Dual-meet wrestling, though, regardless of the venue, is a sport of momentum. A lot of upsets take place after your teammates have won four or five matches in a row (an upset win) or after a similar losing streak (an upset loss).
That’s where the mental toughness aspect of the sport comes in. As we’ve seen, however, a lot of those results get turned around a few weeks later under the Dome.
So, with apologies to blind squirrels everywhere, here’s a guess at what the Cadet and Junior National finals could look like:
ASICS/Vaughan Cadet Nationals Finalists Predictions
GR – Payton Stewart (FL) vs. Alexander Crowe (MN); FS – Austin Gomez (IL) vs. Wes Ahrberg (OK)
GR – Cade Olivas (CA) vs. Brent Jones (MN);
FS – Olivas vs. Louie Hayes (IL)
GR – Bryce Fogelman (ID) vs. Joey Prata (VA);
FS – Prata vs. Colton Williams (TX)
GR – Frankie Bruno (FL) vs. Hunter Marko (WI);
FS – Daton Fix (OK) vs. Paul Fitterer (MN)
GR – Kyle Bierdumpfel (NJ) vs. Nolan Hellickson (IA);
FS – Dalton Duffield (OK) vs. Chad Red (IN)
GR – Chris DeBien (TN) vs. Collin Kraus (WI);
FS – Scout Skidgel (OK) vs. Zander Wick (CA)
GR – Ty Lucas (FL) vs. Josh Bird (WI);
FS – Hayden Hidlay (PA) vs. Alex Mackall (OH)
GR – Josh Anderson (UT) vs. Matthew Park (ID);
FS – Sam Martino (VA) vs. Isaiah White (IL)
GR – Jake Adcock (GA) vs. Trey Meyer (WA);
FS – Larry Early (IL) vs. David McFadden (NJ)
GR – Austin Kraisser (MD) vs. Austin Keller (MO);
FS – Joey Gunther (IL) vs. Layne Van Anrooy (OR)
GR – Mason Manville (NJ) vs. Rico Ybarra (WA);
FS – Trace Carello (IL) vs. Manville
GR – Beau Breske (WI) vs. Jacob Cooper (MI);
FS – Mark Hall (MN) vs. Cameron Loving (OK)
GR – Elijah Kerr-Brown (GA) vs. Keegan Moore (MN);
FS – Zane Black (PA) vs. Moore
GR – Mason Litz (MI) vs. Michael Rogers (PA);
FS – Jackson Harris (OH) vs. Cash Wilcke (IA)
GR – Emilio Fowler (KS) vs. Samuel Shields-Colbray (OR); FS – Sage Eckman (KS) vs. Shields-Colbray
220: GR – Dallas Goodpaster (WA) vs. Mike Smith (MD); FS – Kyler Childers (OK) vs. Gannon Gremmel (IA)
GR – Dustin Brown (IA) vs. Michael Kelly (ND);
FS – Brown vs. Jake Marnin (IA)
ASICS/Vaughan Junior Nationals Finalists Predictions
GR – Jabari Moody (IL) vs. Matthew Schmitt (MO);
FS – Moody vs. Schmitt
GR – Paul Bianchi (WI) vs. Collin Purinton (OR);
FS – Devin Brown (PA) vs. Miguel Silva (IL)
GR – Taylor LaMont (UT) vs. Blane Tschida (MN);
FS – Kaid Brock (OK) vs. Stevan Micic (IN)
GR – Jarred Oftedahl (MN) vs. Skylar Petry (MN);
FS – Sean Russell (GA) vs. Zahid Valencia (CA)
GR – Ty Lucas (FL) vs. James Flint (FL);
FS – Tommy Thorn (MN) vs. Nathan Tomasello (OH)
GR – Michael Cook (ID) vs. Dylan Lucas (FL);
FS – Jered Cortez (IL) vs. Jacob Schmitt (MI)
GR – Aaron Pico (CA) vs. Hayden Tuma (ID);
FS – Pico vs. Zain Retherford (PA)
GR – Matthew Moody (GA) vs. Brooks Robinson (UT);
FS – Bryce Brill (IL) vs. Tommy Forte (IN)
GR – Jon Jay Chavez (ID) vs. Grant LaMont (UT);
FS – Dylan Milonas (NJ) vs. Oliver Pierce (TX)
GR – Kimball Bastian (UT) vs. Burke Paddock (NY);
FS – Bo Nickal (TX) vs. Bobby Reece (WA)
GR – Dontae McGee (FL) vs. Chandler Rogers (WA);
FS – Andrew Garcia (MI) vs. Myles Martin (NJ)
GR – Angus Arthur (MI) vs. Jacob Stilling (WI);
FS – Nick Corba (OH) vs. Jake Turk (IL)
GR – Lance Benick (MN) vs. Brandon Larson (ND);
FS – Benick vs. Mitch Sliga (IN)
GR – J’Den Cox (MO) vs. Kyle Snyder (MD);
FS – Cox vs. Snyder
GR – Tanner Farmer (IL) vs. Newton Smerchek (WI);
FS – Brooks Black (PA) vs. Michael Johnson (PA)