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WIN Preseason Prep Preview: Nickal among stars at 160
WIN’S Preseason Prep Preview: 160 pounds
In looking ahead to this winter’s upcoming high school season, WIN Magazine is looking back at the top wrestlers from last season, who are expected to return this season. The examination of these weight classes comes from individual wrestlers’ performances this past summer at the Cadet/Junior Nationals and Disney Duals.
Rankings will be subject to change as weight classes are updated as the season grows nearer.
By Rob Sherrill
Here’s how they finished in the WIN rankings last year, minus those who graduated:
3. Chance Marsteller Sr Fawn Grove, PA Kennard Dale
4. Garrett Peppelman Sr Harrisburg, PA Central Dauphin
5. Bo Nickal Sr Allen, TX
6. JaVaughn Perkins Sr Omaha, NE North
7. Myles Martin Jr Owings Mills, MD McDonogh School
8. Josh Llopez Sr Leonardtown, MD St. Mary’s Ryken
9. Dillon Artigliere Sr Succasunna, NJ Roxbury
10. Jonathan Schleifer Sr East Brunswick, NJ
11. Devonte Mahomes Sr Oak Park, IL O.P.-River Forest
12. Ryan Blees Sr Bismarck, ND
14. Burke Paddock Sr Warsaw, NY
18. Zack Zavatsky Sr Greater Latrobe, PA
19. Tony Dailey Sr Massillon, OH Perry
20. Nick Fiegener Sr Folsom, CA
Though quite a few of these guys are moving up to 170 pounds, this weight class features the most returnees of any in the upper weights. Pennsylvania and New Jersey are particularly strong at this weight, with three wrestlers each on this list (if you include Martin, a resident of Penns Grove, in New Jersey’s total).
We’ll need an 18-wheeler to carry all the hardware we’re handing out here.
Nickal — One of three Junior National champions at this weight class, all at different weight classes, the two-time state champion was the freestyle champion at 170 pounds. He went 9-0 at the FargoDome with three pins and five technical falls, and the only points he allowed were in a 7-5 round-robin victory over four-time Oklahoma champion Zach Beard. Nickal also went 8-0 in the Junior Duals with eight shutout technical falls. He was one of eight wrestlers to record double-digit quality wins this off-season, picking up 10.
Mahomes — He hasn’t yet won an Illinois state title, but Mahomes was one point away from becoming a double champion at 160 pounds at Fargo, losing 7-6 in the freestyle final. He won his first 17 matches of the week, including a victory over Xavier Montalvo in an all-Illinois Greco-Roman final, and 12 of those wins were technical falls. He did Nickal one better in the quality win count, posting 11.
Blees — Quietly, the rivalry between West Fargo and Bismarck has become one of the most interesting in the nation. The Packers had two Junior champions, including 126-pound honoree Jordan Shearer, and the Demons answered with Blees, who went 9-0 to win the freestyle title at 152. That included a 9-6 victory over four-time Iowa champion Brandon Sorensen in the round-robin.
Kimball Bastian, senior, Spanish Fork (Utah) Maple Mountain — Bastia matched Mahomes with 11 quality wins, and he beat both Nickal and the Junior National Greco-Roman champion, Chandler Rogers of Washington, in the FILA Cadet Nationals in Greco-Roman. He also recorded a pair of victories each over Paddock and Montalvo.
Paddock — Surprisingly, he didn’t place at Fargo, but he recorded five quality wins, including a pair of victories over Blees at the Junior National Duals.
Montalvo — In addition to his appearance in the Junior Greco-Roman final, the state champion recorded eight quality wins, including a win over Paddock.
Zavatsky — became one of eight members of Young Guns Black to earn a gold medal at the Disney Duals. Wrestling up two weight classes, at 182, he still went 9-0, with a pin, a pair of technical falls and a major decision among his wins.
Next week: 170 pounds