The 2022 college wrestling national championships are over … but the great...
Host Oklahoma the story in Junior Duals
By Rob Sherrill
If you’re an Oklahoma wrestling fan, what was the bigger Junior Duals story: the freestyle team’s resounding victory in the freestyle competition … or the dramatic comeback in the Greco-Roman Gold-Silver bracket pool that propelled the hosts to the first win by any state over Illinois in two years?
One of the stranger moments of a strange week at Oklahoma City University came in the match following that stunning 34-32 victory over Illinois. Oklahoma’s march to an apparent championship instead resulted in a 36-29 loss to a Michigan Blue team that Illinois had pounded, 57-9 in its pool final.
Sparked by technical falls to Kegan Calkins (132) and Larry Early (152) over Keegan Moore and Joe Smith, who have combined for three state titles, Illinois held a 31-22 lead with three matches remaining. But the hosts had four-time champion Chandler Rogers and two of the three Dixon triplets, Lance and Joel, on deck. Rogers scored a shutout technical fall and Lance Dixon a pin to tie the match at 31. A battle of state champions saw Joel Dixon beat Andrew Marsden, 10-4 to give the hosts the win.
Michigan Blue already led, 16-7, before Cole Weaver’s 1-0 victory over Gary Wayne Harding at 132 sparked a three-match run that pushed the lead to 26-7. Ty Wildmo’s 7-4 victory over Lance Dixon at 182 clinched Michigan’s win. Illinois finished third.
After winning its first six freestyle duals by an average of 32 points, Oklahoma again rode its upper-weight horses to come-from-behind victories in the freestyle meet. Victories in the final four matches, two by Joel and Andrew Dixon at 195 and 220, helped Oklahoma erase a 23-21 deficit and rally past New Jersey, 33-30 in its final pool match.
In the final, Oklahoma trailed Minnesota Blue, 21-20 with six matches remaining, but Rogers moved up to 182 and pinned Keegan Moore to spark a five-match win streak. Joel Dixon followed with a 6-2 victory over Bobby Steveson and Andrew Dixon (220), Korey Walker (285) and Mason Neifeh (100) also won to complete a 38-29 victory.
Despite beating Minnesota Blue, 34-31 in the final pool round, Illinois wound up in the fifth-place match. The two teams and Michigan Blue all split in the Gold/Silver pool. Michigan Blue and Illinois finished third and fifth, respectively.
Nineteen wrestlers go unbeaten in both styles
A total of 19 wrestlers who competed in both styles finished unbeaten. The biggest winner was Tate Orndorff (285) of Washington, who went 8-0 in each style. The 220-pound class featured three such unbeatens: Andrew Dixon, Junior National double champion Roy Nash of Utah and Jeremy Sweany of California.
Here’s a rundown of the Perfect 19:
100 – Dominic LaJoie, Michigan (13-0); Zack Murillo, Connecticut (15-0)
LaJoie was responsible for the only losses of two other unbeaten wrestlers. He scored a 12-2 technical fall over Randon Miranda of California, who won his other 15 matches. His 16-15 victory over Louie Hayes of Illinois spoiled a potential such run for Hayes, who had won his first 14 matches.
106 – Kirk Johansen, Illinois (8-0)
113 – Ben Freeman, Michigan (7-0); Bryce West, Iowa (9-0)
Freeman kept Joey Cisneros of California from going unbeaten with a 10-0 technical fall in Greco-Roman. Cisneros won his other 15 matches.
120 – Skyler Petry, Minnesota (10-0)
Petry made a run for Outstanding Wrestler honors with his 10-0 technical fall over Cadet National champion Brandon Staley of Florida in Greco-Roman and freestyle wins over 14-6 over Cadet ace Daton Fix of Oklahoma and 13-6 over Junior National champion Elijah Oliver, formerly of Tennessee.
126 – Devon Turner, California (6-0)
138 – Dante Rodriguez, Nebraska (10-0), Ty Johnson, Minnesota (7-0)
145 – Isaiah White, Illinois (10-0)
Another OW candidate, White followed a 14-1 technical fall over Jonce Blaylock of Oklahoma in Greco-Roman with technical falls of 14-4 over Brady Berge of Minnesota and 12-2 over Zac Hall of Michigan Blue, along with a pair of wins, 6-4 and 12-2, over Logan Ryan of Iowa.
170 – Brett Bye, South Dakota (13-0); Chandler Rogers, Oklahoma (12-0)
Bye’s wins included a freestyle pin over Kimball Bastian of Utah. Rogers scored a 10-0 technical fall over Peter Nagy of Florida in addition to his freestyle pin of Moore at 182.
182 – Dylan Wisman, Virginia (15-0)
195 – Joel Dixon, Oklahoma (7-0)
220 – Andrew Dixon, Oklahoma (13-0); Roy Nash, Utah (14-0); Jeremy Sweany, California (8-0)
285 – Adarios Jones, Illinois (6-0); Tate Orndorff, Washington (6-0)
Jones’ 5-0 Greco-Roman win over Jake Marnin of Iowa prevented another unbeaten run. Marnin won his other 13 matches.