The 2022 college wrestling national championships are over … but the great...
Another crazy eight on tap for Illinois?
By Rob Sherrill
Last year, Illinois completed the first sweep of USA Wrestling’s eight Cadet and Junior age-group national tournaments, winning the Cadet and Junior National Duals in both styles, then following up by winning all four team titles in the Cadet and Junior Nationals at Fargo, N.D.
On June 12-13 at Daytona Beach, Fla., Illinois took a step toward a repeat by earning a double title in the Cadet National Duals.
Illinois’ closest match during the week was its 43-31 victory over the Ohio Red team in the Greco-Roman final. They completed the double with a 49-27 victory over Pennsylvania Red in the freestyle final. In building a 14-0 overall record, Illinois won its remaining 12 duals by an average of 41 points.
Five Illinois wrestlers posted 7-0 records in the tournament: Peter Ogunsanya (94), Jason Renteria (113) and Kamal Bey (170) in Greco-Roman and Austin Gomez (113) and Bryan Ditchman (285) in freestyle.
Double Cadet National champion Daton Fix of Oklahoma went 13-0, posting six wins in Greco-Roman and seven in freestyle, as his team finished fourth in freestyle. Fix opened the freestyle tournament with a 35-second pin and won all 12 of his other matches by technical fall.
Making the most serious bid for Outstanding Wrestler honors, though, was two-time Utah champion Taylor LaMont (126) of Spanish Fork Maple Mountain. LaMont went 8-0 in each style, posting six technical falls in both, and had just two matches go the distance: a 2-0 victory over Lysander Mahilum of California in Greco-Roman and a 6-2 decision over two-time Indiana champion Chad Red of New Palestine in freestyle.
Ben Freeman (113) of Walled Lake (Mich.) Central had seven technical falls, allowing just one point, in building an 8-0 Greco-Roman record and Cameron Coy (138) of Harrison City (Pa.) Penn-Trafford was 13-0 in the two styles.
There were three newcomers who were impressive:
- Wyatt Koelling of Kaysville Davis and LaMont’s Utah teammate pinned six of his eight opponents at 182 pounds, the most by any wrestler in a single tournament, in building an 8-0 record that also included two forfeit wins. The sophomore was the 5A state champion this year.
- Johnny Blankenship of Platte City (Mo.) Platte County, the 3A state champion despite 12 losses, went 8-0 in both styles. Just one match, a 12-8 decision over Jacob Gray of Indiana in his team’s 40-34 third-place win in Greco-Roman, went the distance. The sophomore had a pin and seven technical falls in freestyle.
- Troy Allen of Mechanicsville Hanover also went 8-0 in both styles at 195 and 220. His 9-8 win over Illinois runner-up Christian Brunner of Carpentersville Dundee-Crown in the second freestyle round was his only match of the week that went the distance. The sophomore finished second to double Junior National All-American Dylan Wisman of Winchester Millbrook in the 4A state tournament, helping Hanover win the team title.