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WIN’s look back – and ahead – at 132 pounds: Will Pico dominate?
Editor’s Note: Between Aug. 8 and the start of the high school wrestling season, WIN’s high school columnist Rob Sherrill is taking a closer look at the top wrestlers in the country, weight by weight. The weight class a wrestler competes in is based on where he wrestled in last season and is subject to change once this season officially begins.
By Rob Sherrill
Here’s how they finished in the WIN rankings last year, minus those who graduated:
Rank Name Year Hometown/High School
1. Aaron Pico So. Bellflower, CA St. John Bosco
2. Micah Jordan Sr. St. Paris, OH Graham
6. Jason Nolf Sr. Kittanning, PA
7. Joey McKenna Sr. Blairstown Township, NJ Blair Academy
8. Cody LeCount Sr. Indianapolis, IN Perry Meridian
10. Colton Adams Sr. Scottsbluff, NE
12. Paul Fox Sr. Gilroy, CA
17. Renaldo Rodriguez-Spencer Sr. Cheektowaga, NY
18. Josh Terao Sr. Honolulu, HI Mid-Pacific Institute
20. Seth Gross Sr. Apple Valley, MN
(tie) Cole Weaver Jr. Hudson, MI
(tie) Larry Early Jr. Oak Park, IL O.P.-River Forest
(tie) Jaydin Clayton Jr. Columbia, MO Father Tolton
(tie) Patrick Duggan Jr. Mechanicsburg, PA Cumberland Valley
Although he only wrestled one style at Fargo this year, Aaron Pico is where this weight class starts and ends. The FILA Cadet National – and World – freestyle champion won all 10 matches by technical fall and was selected the Outstanding Wrestler in the Junior National freestyle.
McKenna, who made a nice recovery from shoulder surgery as the result of an injury in the FILA Cadet World Championships a year ago, did his part to make 138 pounds a two-man weight class at Fargo. Until he ran into Pico in the freestyle final, the three-time National Prep champion won his first 19 matches at Fargo – 15 by technical fall – and allowed only two points in a 9-0 Greco-Roman title run. He and Rodriguez-Spencer turned in sparkling records in the Junior Greco-Roman National Duals as well, going 8-0 and 9-0, respectively.
Gross did his best to make this a three-man race by winning the 132-pound freestyle title. Terao, the Junior Greco-Roman champion two weight classes down, at 120, and Early, the Cadet National Greco-Roman champion up at 138, gave this weight class an impressive five national champions at Fargo. And after winning his Greco title, Early went up a weight class to 145 and added a third-place freestyle finish, the highest weight of accomplishment for those on this list. Weaver, meanwhile, recorded a win over Gross in Junior freestyle despite failing to place.
The parity in this weight class showed as well. LeCount, Adams, Rodriguez-Spencer, Clayton and Duggan all failed to place in the Junior freestyle, though the latter three all came within one match of placing — Duggan at 145.
Nolf, one of seven members of Young Guns Black to earn a gold medal at the Disney Duals, dominated the weight class, with his most impressive win a 10-3 decision over state-mate and four-time state champion Ryan Diehl of Camp Hill Trinity, who is starting his collegiate career at the University of Maryland, in the opening round. Nolf followed with four pins, a technical fall, two major decisions and a forfeit win to finish 9-0.
And Jordan? His two wins last season over four-time state champion Dean Heil of Lakewood St. Edward — now an Oklahoma State University freshman — also place him in good position as this year begins.
Next week: 138 pounds.