Aaron Pico blanked Zain Retherford in the finals, 7-0 (Photo/John Sachs, Tech-Fall.com)Returning World champions Aaron Pico and Kyle Snyder, along with past Cadet World champion Adam Coon, claimed titles in the FILA Junior National freestyle competition on Saturday afternoon in Las Vegas.
Pico, a high school sophomore and full-time freestyle wrestler, was unscored upon throughout the competition, racking up 61 points against his six opponents. He had five technical falls leading up to the finals. In the finals he won 7-0 over Zain Retherford in a battle of Cadet World champions. Pico won a Cadet World title last year, while Retherford won his World gold in 2012. Pico used three first-period takedowns to race out to 6-0 lead after the first period against Retherford, and then added a pushout in the second period.
Snyder, a 2013 Junior World champion, registered five technical falls in five matches to win the title at 96 kilos. His finals victory came over Old Dominion wrestler Kevin Beazley, 10-0. Snyder has signed with Ohio State.
Coon claimed the title at 120 kilos two days after winning the FILA Junior Greco-Roman competition. Like Snyder, Coon won each of his five matches by technical fall. In the finals he blanked OTC resident athlete Garrett Ryan, 11-0.
Anthony Valencia edged Isaiah Martinez in the finals (Photo/John Sachs, Tech-Fall.com)The wildest and most controversial finals match took at place at 74 kilos between two California wrestlers, Anthony Valencia and Isaiah Martinez. Valencia, a high school junior at St. John Bosco, found his offense early and jumped out to an 8-1 lead. Martinez, a freshman at the University of Illinois, battled back and found himself down 10-6 in the final 30 seconds of the match. Martinez then took down Valencia and transitioned to a turn for a four-point move to knot the score at 10-10 with 16 seconds remaining. Valencia had the lead based on criteria, which in this case was number of two-point moves. Neither wrestled scored in the final 16 seconds and Valencia took the 10-10 victory on criteria.
InterMat All-American Joey McKenna, a Stanford signee, won his first FILA Junior National title at 63 kilos after finishing fourth in the same weight class a year ago. He finished the competition with four technical fall victories and a 44-second pin in the semifinals. His finals victory came over University of Iowa wrestler Topher Carton, 10-0.
Ohio State wrestler Nathan Tomasello made his first Junior World team at 55 kilos after finishing runner-up at both the FILA Junior Nationals and FILA Junior World Team Trials last year. Tomasello was untested up to the finals where he met InterMat All-American Stevan Micic, a Cadet World Team member last year. Micic, a Northwestern signee, scored the first point of the match on Tomasello with a pushout to go up 1-0. But Tomasello responded with a late first-period takedown and another takedown early in the second period to go up 4-1. Micic was able to cut the deficit to 4-3 after countering a Tomasello gut wrench attempt. However, Tomasello would eventually pull away with two late takedown for a five-point victory.
Logan Massa, one of the nation's top wrestlers in the Class of 2015, crushed Junior National freestyle champion Ryan Blees, 10-0, in the finals at 70 kilos.
Illinois natives Kirk Johansen, Zane Richards, and Ricky Robertson won titles.
Johansen won by technical fall, 13-2, over Michael Beck in the finals at 50 kilos, scoring with a fireman's carry twice, and finishing the match with a bow-and-arrow turn.
Richards, an NCAA qualifier this past season at the University of Illinois, rolled to a 12-0 technical fall victory in the finals at 60 kilos over Blair Academy wrestler Matthew Kolodzik.
Robertson, who attends the University of Wisconsin, earned an 11-8 victory in the in the finals at 84 kilos over T.J. Dudley, an NCAA qualifier at the University of Nebraska.
Pete Renda, an NCAA qualifier this past season at North Carolina State, captured the title at 79 kilos with a 13-2 technical fall victory in the finals over Army wrestler Brian Harvey. Renda won each of his matches throughout the tournament by technical fall.
The champions earned the No. 1 position for the 2014 U.S. Junior World Team Trials, which take place on May 30 in Madison, Wis. That event will determine which wrestlers represent the United States at the 2014 FILA Junior World Championships in Zagreb, Croatia, Aug. 5-10
50 kilos: Kirk Johansen dec. Michael Beck, 13-2
55 kilos: Nathan Tomasello dec. Stevan Micic, 10-5
60 kilos: Zane Richards tech. fall Matthew Kolodzik, 12-0
63 kilos: Joey McKenna tech. fall Topher Carton, 10-0
66 kilos: Aaron Pico dec. Zain Retherford, 7-0
70 kilos: Logan Massa tech. fall Ryan Blees, 10-0
74 kilos: Anthony Valencia dec. Isaiah Martinez, 10-10
79 kilos: Pete Renda tech. fall Brian Harvey, 13-2
84 kilos: Ricky Robertson dec. T.J. Dudley, 11-8
96 kilos: Kyle Snyder tech. fall Kevin Beazley, 10-0
120 kilos: Adame Coon tech. fall Garrett Ryan, 11-0