Marmion’s Traxler did not win Ironman, but faced toughest road

Updated: December 18, 2014

By Rob Sherrill

When you look at the results of a major tournament like the Walsh Ironman, held Dec. 12-13 in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, the talk inevitably starts with the champions at each of the 14 weight classes.

Who was the most dominant? Who had the toughest weight class to navigate through?

Then, there’s the tournament within the tournament. Who had to endure the toughest road – the one where you had a state place-winner, followed by a state champion?

The answer to that question is rarely one of the champions — and last weekend in northeast Ohio, it wasn’t, either.

It would be hard to top the minefield that Aurora (Ill.) Marmion Academy junior Nathan Traxler (above right) had to wade through at 182 pounds.

Traxler finished fourth at the weight despite going 7-for-7; seven opponents who were seven state medalists. Three were state place-winners and the other four were state champions, including a pair of three-time titlists.

Traxler, fourth in Illinois’ Class 3A a year ago, faced the two three-time titlists back-to-back. He beat Chase Singletary of Blairstown Township (N.J.) Blair Academy, a three-time Florida champion, 7-4 in the third round, then lost 10-2 to the eventual champion, Zahid Valencia of Bellfower (Calif.) St. John Bosco, in the quarterfinals.

In the consolations, Traxler beat state champions Christian Dietrich of Kingston (Pa.) Wyoming Seminary, 3-1 in overtime and Dylan Wisman of Winchester (Va.) Millbrook, 2-1 in back-to-back matches. Dietrich was a New York champion last year.

Two other fourth-place finishers, Hunter Ladnier (132) of Lakewood (Ohio) St. Edward and Cameron Harrell (152) of Owings Mills (Md.) McDonogh School, came the closest to matching Traxler’s feat, also facing seven wrestlers with state championship experience. Here’s the breakdown:

• Ladnier – 2 champions, 2 place-winners, 3 qualifiers

• Harrell – 3 champions, 2 place-winners, 2 qualifiers. However, Harrell faced the same wrestler, 2012 National Prep champion Jordan Kutler of Blair Academy, twice in the tournament. Traxler and Ladnier each faced seven different wrestlers.

Three other wrestlers competed against six opponents with state tournament experience:

  • Jose Rodriguez, Massillon (Ohio) Perry, fifth at 126: 2 champions, 4 place-winners;
  • Dylan Duncan, Lombard (Ill.) Montini, sixth at 126: 2 champions, 4 place-winners;
  • Austin Kraisser, Ellicott City (Md.) Centennial, sixth at 152: 3 champions, 2 place-winners, 1 qualifier