The 2022 college wrestling national championships are over … but the great...
Who were the top preps of the past season?
By Rob Sherrill
Note: The following alphabetical listing of every state’s high school wrestlers of the year appeared in the May issue of WIN Magazine. Click here or call 888-305-0606 to subscribe to WIN. Use Discount Code “May” to get a print copy of WIN’s annual Awards Issue.
Alabama: Cory Land (120), sophomore, Moody HS
After winning a pair of A-5A state titles at 106 as an eighth-grader and as a freshman, Land (56-0) moved up to 120 as a sophomore. He was voted the Outstanding Wrestler after scoring three pins and a technical fall and owns a 110-match winning streak, spanning parts of three seasons. Land advanced to the finals of the UWW Cadet Nationals in both styles at 48 kg in 2019, winning the Greco-Roman title and was also the NHSCA Freshman Nationals champion.
Alaska: Hayden Lieb (160), senior, Bethel HS
A repeat selection to this elite list, Lieb (27-0) made it four straight years that a Bethel wrestler has received Wrestler of the Year honors. Lieb won his fourth Division II state title, scoring two first-period pins and two technical falls, and was voted the Outstanding Wrestler. In 2019, he added a sixth-place finish in the NHSCA Junior Nationals.
Arizona: Jesse Ybarra (126), senior, Tucson Sunnyside HS
Ybarra’s bid to become a four-time state champion was derailed in the state finals as a junior. But the Iowa recruit (37-0) came back with a vengeance at the same weight this season. He allowed only three matches to go the distance as a senior, one of them a 16-3 major decision in the Division II state final. Ybarra was a UWW Cadet freestyle runner-up in 2019. In 2018, he was a Cadet National freestyle champ, adding a sixth-place Greco-Roman finish.
Arkansas: Jacob Adams (132), junior, Bentonville HS
Adams (53-2) won his third 6A state title, earning repeat Wrestler of the Year honors after scoring an 11-0 major decision in a state final match between two-time defending champions. For the second straight year, Adams won the Paul Post Invitational in Oklahoma, where he scored seven pins, six in the first period, and a technical fall. His losses: to a three-time Oklahoma champion in overtime and to an Oklahoma runner-up by a 1-0 score.
California: Richard Figueroa (113), junior, Selma HS; and Jesse Vasquez (145), senior, Corona Excelsior Charter HS (tie)
Figueroa, the Cadet World silver medalist, had four wins over sophomore standout Joey Cruz, the only wins this season by fewer than nine points for the Selma star.
Vasquez became the state’s fourth four-time champion, also completing an unbeaten season. The Arizona State recruit followed back-to-back 11-second pins with three decisions. Repeat Wrestler of the Year selection Figueroa, who had two pins and two technical falls prior to the championship match, could become California’s fifth four-time champion next year.
Colorado: Dominick Serrano (132), senior, Windsor HS
The Nebraska signee never lost a high school match, going 168-0 in his career with 105 pins. That included a 43-0 senior season in which he earned his second straight 4A state title at 132, scoring two pins and major decisions of 16-3 and 22-8. He also won at 126 as a sophomore and at 120 as a freshman. A two-time Fargo freestyle champion (Junior Nationals in 2019, Cadet Nationals in 2018), Serrano has placed in the top four five times under the Dome.
Connecticut: Ryan Jack (138), senior, Danbury HS
Jack (37-1), the repeat Wrestler of the Year, became just the second wrestler to win four big-school Class LL titles and the third to win four State Open championships in Connecticut. The North Carolina State recruit followed that by becoming only the second Connecticut wrestler to win a third New England championship. Jack is one of three wrestlers to earn Wrestler of the Year honors twice in a vote of the state’s wrestling coaches, an honor also earned by his brother, Wolfpack All-American Kevin Jack.
Delaware: Gabe Giampetro (106), sophomore, Smyrna HS
The two-time state champion (40-4) had three losses by the time he had finished competing in the Walsh Ironman and the Beast of the East. But he also had a pair of top-half medals: third in the Ironman and fourth in the Beast, with two of the losses to Blair Academy standout Marc-Anthony McGowan. His only other loss came up a weight class, at 113. Giampetro was also the NHSCA Freshman Nationals runner-up.
Florida: Chris Rivera (138) and Justin Rivera (145), seniors, Orlando Lake Highland Preparatory HS (tie)
This state was loaded with talented brother acts and Tampa Jesuit had a pair of them: the Basile brothers and the Crook brothers.
Three Rivera brothers actually won titles for the Highlanders this year, but Chris (48-6, four state titles) and Justin (45-4, three) piled up six top-five finishes in the Walsh Ironman, the Beast of the East and the Doc Buchanan Invitational, Justin coming out on top in California at 138. The Campbell recruits made it four straight years a Lake Highland Prep wrestler earned this honor.
Georgia: Gavin Kane (182), senior, Milton Cambridge HS
The Peach State may have had more talented middleweights than any other state this year. So what did we do? We picked an upper-weight wrestler instead. Kane (40-0) won a fourth 6A state title with three first-period pins and a 7-2 decision. A week after earning upper-weight OW honors in the Mount Mat Madness tournament, the North Carolina signee won the Doc Buchanan Invitational at 170, with two pins, two major decisions and a 4-1 decision over California champion Giano Petrucelli of Clovis.
Hawaii: Kysen Terukina (132), senior, Kapalama Kamehameha School
A repeat Wrestler of the Year selection, Terukina became the state’s sixth four-time champion, helping Kamehameha to its second straight state team title. As a junior, Terukina finished seventh in the Walsh Ironman, the last losses of his high school career. The Iowa State recruit also won the NHSCA Junior Nationals.
Idaho: Sawyer Hobbs (195), senior, St. Anthony South Fremont HS
The four-time 3A state champion hails from the second-smallest of Idaho’s four classes, but Hobbs (54-0) left no doubt he was the state’s best. He beat the other three state champions at his weight a combined five times — at least once each — and 4A champion Matthew Boone of Idaho Falls Bonneville was the only wrestler to take Hobbs six minutes this season in losses of 8-6 and 10-4. Hobbs needed just 3:35 to pin all four state meet opponents, and he won the final 140 matches of his career.
Illinois: Dylan Ragusin (126), senior, Lombard Montini HS
The Michigan recruit (45-3) was a four-time state finalist, winning back-to-back 3A titles at 126 after finishing second at 113 as a sophomore and at 106 as a freshman. He was one of five state champions and 11 place-winners for the Broncos this season, both records in the state’s largest classification. Ragusin, who finished fourth in the Walsh Ironman and won the Doc Buchanan Invitational, has placed six times at Fargo, winning a double Cadet National title in 2017.
Indiana: Silas Allred (195), senior, Middletown Shenandoah HS
The two-time state champion (39-0) lost just twice in his career, most recently in the state quarterfinals as a sophomore after which he rebounded to finish fifth, the highest finish an Indiana quarterfinal loser can earn. The Nebraska recruit pinned his way to his second title, scoring four falls in 9:16. Who was the only other Indiana wrestler to do so in the past five seasons? Current Michigan heavyweight Mason Parris.
Iowa: Cael Happel (138), senior, Lisbon HS
A co-Wrestler of the Year honoree a year ago, Happel finished 53-0 for the second consecutive year, racking up 37 pins. He had 120 pins and 46 technical falls in a career that ended with a 217-5 record, four 1A state titles and 129 consecutive wins. The Northern Iowa recruit’s two closest wins came back-to-back over nationally-ranked opponents: Caleb Rathjen of Ankeny, 6-5 and Ryan Sokol of Inver Grove Heights (Minn.) Simley, 5-3 in the season-opening Cliff Keen Independence Invite.
Kansas: Cade Lautt (220), senior, Lenexa St. James Academy
For the second straight year, the Kansas award comes from this weight class. It was decided in the 5A state final, Lautt (43-1) scoring a last-second takedown in a 3-1 win over defending champion Kyle Haas of Maize, who had pinned every opponent this season prior to the match. Lautt, whose only loss came to Nebraska Wrestler of the Year Isaac Trumble in the Council Bluffs Invitational final, won the Kansas City Stampede, going 8-0 with six first-period pins and two major decisions.
Kentucky: Spencer Moore (106), sophomore, Walton-Verona HS
A state qualifier at 113 as an eighth-grader in 2018, Moore has dominated the 106-pound class in Kentucky the past two seasons, going 48-0 and winning his first state title this season after earning runner-up honors as a freshman. He pinned his way to the state title with five falls in 6:00, all in the first period. Moore finished sixth in the Super 32, beating four ranked foes.
Louisiana: Trent Mahoney (170), senior, Gonzales East Ascension HS
In the past three seasons, Mahoney (81-0) has won 234 matches. He also won Division I titles at 152 in 2019 and at 132 in 2018, when he won Outstanding Wrestler honors. His 81 wins this season included 65 pins, and he pinned his way to his third title with four falls in 13:59. Mahoney’s closest match this season came in the season opener at 182, a 4-2 win over Jarin Meyer of Baton Rouge, who would win his final 36 matches and the Division I state title.
Maine: Jeffrey Worster (220), senior, South Paris Oxford Hills HS
After finishing third, second and third in state his first three seasons, Worster (51-0) blew the doors off the 220-pound class as a senior, pinning his way through the Class A state tournament and Maine’s New England qualifier. He advanced to the New England Championships final, losing 3-2 to New Hampshire Wrestler of the Year Beau Dillon. Worster was the NHSCA Freshman Nationals runner-up, and sixth in the NHSCA Sophomore Nationals.
Maryland: Cooper Flynn (120), junior, Owings Mills McDonogh School; and James Riveira (126), junior, Bel Air C. Milton Wright HS (tie)
After finishing second and third in the National Prep Championships the past two years, Flynn (47-2) broke through with a tournament that included three pins, a 7-0 decision and his second victory of the season over defending champion Ryan Miller of Blair Academy, 3-2 in the final.
Riveira (37-0) needed just 3:29 to record four first-period pins en route to his third 3A-4A state title. Only two matches, both major decisions, did not end with a pin.
Massachusetts: Hunter Adrian (120), senior, Melrose HS
The repeat Wrestler of the Year selection helped make the New England Championships a star-studded event in 2020. The Brown recruit (58-1) was voted the meet’s Outstanding Wrestler, joining Connecticut Wrestler of the Year Ryan Jack as a three-time New England champion. Adrian also won his fourth Division III and All-State titles. The co-Wrestler of the Year on the Boston Globe All-Scholastics Team for the second straight year, Adrian finished fourth in the NHSCA Junior Nationals.
Michigan: Austin Boone (145), senior, Lowell HS
The Penn State recruit was never the biggest name in Michigan. Put his four years together, however, and they stack up favorably against any of the state’s best. Boone (41-0) won his fourth Division II state title with three pins and his second win of the season over two-time state champion Chayse Lajoie of Gaylord, 4-3. Boone also handed three-time Detroit Catholic Central state champion Joshua Edmond his only state tournament loss, in the state title match when both were freshmen.
Minnesota: Patrick Kennedy (182), senior, Kasson-Mantorville HS
The Junior National freestyle champion in 2019, Kennedy (36-0) could have gone at 170, but left that weight to teammate Bennett Berge to dominate while he won his fourth AA title at 182. The Iowa recruit’s wins included a 13-2 major decision and a technical fall over his state’s 3A champion, a 14-3 major decision over Wisconsin’s Division I champion in the Cheesehead Tournament final, and of pair of decisions over Quayin Short of Simley, ranked by WIN at both 182 and 195 this season.
Missouri: Jeremiah Reno (120), senior, Liberty HS; and Rocky Elam (195), senior, Kansas City Staley HS (tie)
Reno was 44-0 this season, but that was just part of the story for the Nebraska recruit. The four-time Class 4 champion was 179-0 in his career with 134 pins — 32 as a freshman, 33 as a sophomore, 34 as a junior and 35 as a senior. He finished third in the 2019 Junior Nationals in freestyle.
Missouri-signee Elam (32-0) won his second Class 4 title — he won at 182 in 2019 — and cemented the No. 1 ranking at his weight with a pin and two major decisions over three ranked opponents.
Montana: Leif Schroeder (138), senior, Bozeman HS
Schroeder (38-0) won his fourth state title in big-school AA, scoring three first-period pins and a technical fall in the state tournament. It was the second straight unbeaten season for the Iowa recruit, who was 47-0 as a junior. Schroeder, who won his previous titles at 113, 126 and 132, became his state’s 36th four-time champion.
Nebraska: Isaac Trumble (285), senior, Omaha Millard South HS
Millard South was the 500-pound gorilla in Nebraska wrestling this season and nobody showed it more flamboyantly than Trumble (50-0), who completed a second straight unbeaten season. He pinned all four opponents in big-school Class A, needing just 2:53. A terror at 220 during the regular season — pinning, among others, Kansas Wrestler of the Year Cade Lautt — the North Carolina State recruit moved up to heavyweight for the state series. All seven victories in the state series came via first-period pins.
Nevada: Billy Sullivan (113), senior, Henderson SLAM Academy
What could become quite a rivalry in mid-class 3A between now four-time champion Spring Creek and SLAM Academy, the sports management magnet school that became state-sanctioned for the first time this season, was embodied by Junior National Greco-Roman runner-up Sullivan (37-6), one of seven SLAM Academy state champions. Sullivan, whose wins at Fargo included a technical fall over Pennsylvania ace Sheldon Seymour, finished fifth in the Reno Tournament of Champions.
New Hampshire: Beau Dillon (220), senior, Salem HS
Dillon (58-1) started the season by losing in the finals of his home Blue Devil Classic, 4-3 to Sterling McLaughlin of Derry Pinkerton Academy, who would join Dillon as a three-time Division I and Meet of Champions champion at 182. Dillon came back to finish the season on a 56-match winning streak and won his second New England Championships title, the only New Hampshire wrestler to win in 2020. Dillon edged Maine Wrestler of the Year Jeffrey Worster, 3-2.
New Jersey: John Poznanski (182), senior, Colonia HS
After finishing second in state at the same weight as a junior, Poznanski (40-0) pinned four of his five state tournament opponents — he won by technical fall in the second round — giving him 30 pins for the season. Poznanski earned Outstanding Wrestler honors in becoming Colonia’s first state champion in 43 years, and also was selected the state’s Wrestler of the Year by NJ.com. One of four New Jersey state champions committed to Rutgers, Poznanski didn’t allow an offensive point all season.
New Mexico: Tristan Mascarenas (113), senior, Rio Rancho V. Sue Cleveland HS
Since a runner-up finish at 106 as a freshman, Mascarenas (32-3) has owned the 113-pound weight class. The repeat Wrestler of the Year selection won his third straight title in big-school 5A at that weight, and posted a combined record of 106-6 over those three seasons. His log as a senior included a victory over Nevada Wrestler of the Year Billy Sullivan at the Reno Tournament of Champions, where he finished fourth.
New York: Greg Diakomihalis (120), senior, Hilton HS
For the third year in a row, this five-time state champion takes Wrestler of the Year honors in the Empire State. Following his NCAA champion brother, Yianni, to Cornell, Greg Diakomihalis (25-0) didn’t return to the Hilton line-up until Jan. 4 after recovering from a torn ACL suffered last March. Greg scored a first-period pin, two technical falls and an 8-2 decision and was voted the Outstanding Wrestler in the Division I state tournament in the Empire State.
North Carolina: Holden Cypher (182), junior, Raleigh Millbrook HS
Although two other wrestlers became three-time state champions in his classification, big-school 4A, Cypher (60-0) was dominant all season in winning his first state title after finishing third twice at the same weight. Cypher didn’t allow an offensive point all season, and his only matches that went the distance were by scores of 15-1 and 3-0. He pinned his way through five tournaments, four of them at 195. The last of the five: the state tournament, where he scored four falls in 6:20.
North Dakota: Coy Spooner (195), senior, Des Lacs/Burlington HS
For the second straight year, the Wrestler of the Year comes from small-school Class B. A five-time state place-winner, Spooner ended his career with back-to-back 44-0 seasons at 195. He won his second title with two pins and a decisions of 7-0 and an 8-0 major. Spooner did not allow a point all season and won the nine matches, which went the distance, by a combined score of 77-0. Among those nine: a 7-0 decision over the eventual Class A champion, Hayden Carmichael of Minot, in the season opener.
Ohio: Seth Shumate (195), sophomore, Dublin Coffman HS
We’ll never know how the nation’s only canceled state tournament might have changed the Buckeye State’s wrestling landscape. Perhaps very little, given that 21 of the 23 Ohio wrestlers ranked by WIN won titles at the district, the final qualifying level. One of them was Shumate, who would have gone for a second Division I state title with a 43-0 record. He beat three ranked opponents, including Virginia Wrestler of the Year Sam Fisher, to win the Walsh Ironman.
Oklahoma: Tate Picklo (182), junior, Mustang HS; and Konner Doucet (220), senior, Comanche HS (tie)
It took two wrestlers to fill the void left by two-time Wrestler of the Year Dustin Plott of Tuttle, who missed his senior season due to injury. Fortunately, the Sooner State had plenty of candidates. Oklahoma State recruit Doucet (47-0) needed just 2:19 to record three first-period pins in the state tournament, winning his fourth 3A state title.
Picklo, also 47-0, won for the second time in big-school 6A, also pinning his way to his title with three falls in 5:06. Both were unbeaten the past two seasons.
Oregon: Chance Lamer (126), junior, Corvallis Crescent Valley
It was a landmark season for Crescent Valley, which blew the rest of the state away with a national-best nine individual 5A champions. In a state final between two-time defending champions, Lamer (49-1) pinned Kaden Kuenzi of Silverton, his third pin of the tournament, along with a technical fall. Lamer won the Reno Tournament of Champions and finished third in the Doc Buchanan Invitational. His only loss of the season came in the semifinals, 15-6 to Illinois Wrestler of the Year Dylan Ragusin.
Pennsylvania: Gaige Garcia (195), Catawissa Southern Columbia HS; and Hunter Catka (285), senior, Aston Sun Valley HS (tie)
A four-time state place-winner, Garcia (49-0) completed his second consecutive unbeaten season. The Michigan recruit scored three first-period pins and a 7-0 finals decision to earn Outstanding Wrestler honors in small-school AA.
Catka (42-0) also dominated en route to the AAA state title, scoring a pin, a major decision, a technical fall and an 11-4 decision. Committed to Virginia Tech, the UWW Cadet Freestyle champion won the Beast of the East with two pins, a technical fall and three major decisions.
Rhode Island: Mason Clarke (132), senior, Coventry HS
Clarke’s run to a third state title and New England championship was virtually identical to that of New Hampshire’s Wrestler of the Year, Beau Dillon. Clarke (38-1) also lost in the finals of his season opener, the Ashland Earlybird Tournament, 7-5 to Brian Garry of Holliston (Mass.). He then won his final 36 matches, earning state Outstanding Wrestler honors. After dismantling Garry, 16-5, in a New England first-round rematch, Clarke also went on to become his state’s lone New England champ.
South Carolina: Jake Fernicola (220), senior, Piedmont Woodmont HS
Fernicola (47-0) won his second state title in big-school 5A, pinning his way to a repeat title at 220 with three falls in 5:33. The Davidson commitment, a three-time state place-winner, finished seventh in the NHSCA Freshman Nationals and was selected to the NHSCA Academic All-America team in 2018.
South Dakota: Nash Hutmacher (285), senior, Chamberlain HS
One of two wrestlers to earn Wrestler of the Year honors for a third straight season in 2020, the Nebraska football recruit ended his career as a four-time state heavyweight champion, pinning the final 73 opponents of his career. For a second straight year, Hutmacher (40-0) didn’t let a state meet match last to the second period, scoring four falls in 2:40. That was actually slower than his total mat time as a junior, when his four matches lasted just 1:59. Hutmacher was voted Class A co-Outstanding Wrestler.
Tennessee: Skylar Coffey (285), senior, Brentwood HS
A two-time Division I Class 3A state champion, Coffey (49-1) followed up a title at 220 by finishing fifth in the NHSCA Junior Nationals. He added a fourth-place finish in this year’s Super 32 at 285. This season, Coffey had 36 pins — one in six seconds, another in nine and 20 in less than a minute — and did not allow a match to go the distance, his loss coming on an illegal slam in early December. Also the reigning state champion in the discus and shot put, Coffey will attend Tennessee on a track and field scholarship.
Texas: Braxton Brown (113), junior, Allen HS
Brown (45-2) wasn’t the biggest name in an Allen line-up that breezed to its 11th straight 6A state team title, but his run to a second state title of his own included wins over five state champions from other states. Brown finished third in the Reno Tournament of Champions and second in the Zinkin Classic in California, both losses coming to California state runner-up Joey Cruz. Brown pinned his way to his state title with four falls in 5:42.
Utah: Stockton O’Brien (145), senior, Heber City Wasatch HS
A pair of pins, a technical fall and a 16-5 major decision helped the Utah Valley recruit (51-4) finish his career as a four-time 5A state champion. O’Brien, who previously won titles at 126, at 132 and at 138, finished third in the Reno Tournament of Champions and sixth in the Doc Buchanan Invitational as a senior, and was 191-18 in his career. The two-time NHSCA All-American also was a Cadet Folkstyle and Greco-Roman national placer.
Vermont: James Danis (182), senior, Essex Junction HS; and Sampson Wilkins (195), senior, Bennington Mount Anthony HS (tie)
The parallels between the two were so striking that it was impossible to choose between them. Both pinned their way to their third state titles. Danis (54-2) earned Outstanding Wrestler honors after needing just 2:39 in three first-period pins.
Wilkins (49-1) scored his three pins in 5:15. Each beat three state champions from other states en route to their New England titles. Wilkins, who helped Mount Anthony to a record 32nd straight state team title, won his second New England title. His first: in 2018.
Virginia: Sam Fisher (182), senior, Warrenton Fauquier HS
Like others on this list, Fisher’s record took a hit at the Walsh Ironman and the Beast of the East as the season began. The two events produced five of his losses, but Fisher (44-6) also took home two medals — sixth in the Ironman, up a weight at 195, and fifth in the Beast. His only other loss: in the finals of the Escape the Rock Tournament in January, to a sixth Top 25 opponent. At home, the Virginia Tech signee pinned his way to his fourth 4A state title with four falls in 8:47.
Washington: Haiden Drury (132), senior, Toppenish HS
For the second straight year, a Toppenish wrestler takes this honor. The four-time AA state finalist (33-0) won his third title. The Fresno State recruit also won the Zinkin Classic in California and dominated his state’s top regular-season tournament, the Gut Check, with a technical fall and four pins. One of the nation’s top age-group Greco-Roman wrestlers, Drury won national titles the past two seasons at Fargo — a Junior title in 2019, Cadet in 2018 — and was fifth in the UWW Cadet Nationals last year.
West Virginia: Braxton Amos (220), senior, Parkersburg South HS
Even in a star-studded season by West Virginia standards, Amos (48-0) was a consensus Wrestler of the Year for the third straight year, matching South Dakota’s Nash Hutmacher. The Wisconsin recruit earned the Outstanding Wrestler award for the second straight year in big-school 3A and his third state title. Amos, who won the Super 32 and repeated as champion of the Walsh Ironman, beat five Top 25 opponents as a senior, tops at this weight class.
Wisconsin: Keegan O’Toole (160), senior, Hartland Arrowhead HS
The Junior National freestyle champion became the first wrestler to win a fourth state title in big-school Division I since 2011. The Missouri recruit capped a 47-0 season by pinning all four state opponents in a combined 10:33. His 157-5 career record ended with a 101-match winning streak. O’Toole beat both Illinois state finalists to win the Cheesehead Tournament, pinning Bradley Gillum of DeKalb in the semifinals and handing Luke Odom of Edwardsville his only loss of the season, 10-5 in the final.
Wyoming: Jace Palmer (132), senior, Casper Kelly Walsh HS
A tough out-of-state schedule prepared Palmer (47-6) for a run that saw him emerge with his fourth state title in big-school 4A. That schedule included third-place finishes in the Rapid City Invitational, where he lost to Colorado Wrestler of the Year Dominick Serrano, and the Northern Colorado Christmas tournament, along with an eighth-place finish in the Doc Buchanan Invitational. Palmer, 180-16 in his career, became the first four-time state champion produced by a Casper school.