Richard FigueroaCadet world silver medalist Richard Figueroa (Selma, Calif.) cleared what had to be the toughest path of any weight class champion on the way to his title at 113 pounds. After a 15-0 technical fall and a 6-0 decision to start the tournament, Figueroa upended New England regional champion Hunter Adrian (Melrose, Mass.) by 9-2 decision in the round of 32. His four subsequent victories would be all against wrestlers that placed in the tournament.
In the round of 16, it was a 12-1 major decision over No. 13 overall freshman Troy Spratley (Wyoming Seminary, Pa.) to end Saturday's campaign. To start Sunday it was a fall over No. 35 overall sophomore Nicholas Nardone (Delbarton, N.J.) at the 2:40 mark. In the semifinal round it was a 5-1 decision against 2016 Super 32 placer Logan Agin (Lancaster, Ohio). All to lead up to a finals showdown against 2016 Super 32 runner-up at 106 pounds Greg Diakomihalis (Hilton, N.Y.).
The finals match started with a scoreless first period. Diakomihalis then jumped out to a 3-0 lead midway through the second period, before 2017 Super 32 runner-up Figueroa got an escape to make the score 3-1. A reversal to start the third period leveled the match 3-all, while Diakomihalis was cut loose with 90 seconds left in the bout to earn a 4-3 lead. Defending a deep Diakomihalis shot at the edge of the mat, Figueroa scord a counter takedown with 29 seconds left and rode the duration of the match for his 5-4 victory.
A similar high-level showdown happened in the 170-pound final where last year's 160-pound runner-up Dustin Plott (Tuttle, Okla.) faced off against returning tournament champion Patrick Kennedy (Kasson-Mantorville). Both wrestlers are nationally elite juniors, Oklahoma State commit Plott is ranked No. 6 overall, while Iowa commit Kennedy is No. 11.
A first period dominated by Plott's two takedowns only yielded a 4-3 lead as Kennedy mustered a late period escape after the second takedown. Plott got an escape and takedown to start the second to stretch the lead to 7-3. Kennedy then answered with an escape and takedown, while a Plott escape before the period's end gave him an 8-6 lead with two minutes to go.
Kennedy would take his lone lead of the match with an escape and takedown at the start of the period. Plott then equalized via an escape, before a takedown pushed the lead to 11-9. Kennedy escaped to trail 11-10, but Plott had two more takedowns before the match concluded with the final score of 16-12.
The third runner-up from last year to come through with a title this year was Jaden Abas (Rancho Bernardo, Calif.), who beat fellow California state champion and returning tournament runner-up Jesse Vasquez (Santiago Corona) 3-1 to earn the title at 138. The score was level at 1-all with 90 seconds remaining as the wrestlers traded escapes. Abas then scored a takedown with 38 seconds left in the bout and rode out Vasquez to confirm the final margin.
Abas started his tournament with two technical falls, an 11-2 major decision, and a pin to reach the round of 16 where he concluded Saturday with a 7-0 decision over returning Super 32 placer Julian Sanchez (Genoa, Ohio). Matches on Sunday up to the final saw Abas beat No. 47 overall junior Aidan Medora (Brookfield, Wis.) by 16-4 major decision in the quarterfinal and No. 35 overall senior Jordan Crace (Elyria, Ohio) 3-2 in the semifinal.
The tournament's lone repeat champion came at the 220-pound weight class, where No. 3 overall junior Braxton Amos (Parkersburg South, W.Va.) dominated his way to a second belt, including a 5-0 shutout of No. 43 overall junior Konner Doucet (Comache, Okla.) in the final. Other matches were two pins, a 26-11 technical fall, and a 7-2 semifinal decision.
On the other hand, arguably the biggest story of the whole tournament came in the quarterfinal round when No. 13 overall sophomore Shayne van Ness (Blair Academy, N.J.) upset No. 8 overall senior Adam Busiello (Eastport-South Manor, N.Y.) 9-5 at 126 pounds. It denied Busiello the chance to become the tournament's first-ever four-time champion.
To end Saturday, van Ness had beaten Pennsylvania state runner-up Colton Camacho (Franklin Regional, Pa.) 9-2. In the semifinal, van Ness beat No. 75 overall senior Kai Orine (Seckman, Mo.) 9-2. Then in the final it was a 10-6 result over Ryan Jack (Danbury, Ct.).
A trio of wrestlers from Ohio earned titles on Sunday afternoon at the Super 32 Challenge. All are nationally elite seniors.
For Dylan D'Emilio (Genoa), the 132-pound champion, became a three-time placer in the event after taking eighth in 2015 and fifth last year. In the championship match, he beat Beau Bartlett (Wyoming Seminary, Pa.) 5-2; Bartlett was a runner-up last year at 126 pounds. Takedowns in the second and third period propelled D'Emilio to victory.
Like Figueroa, D'Emilio beat four tournament placers in total, starting with a 3-1 round of 16 victory over Kenny Herrman (Bethlehem Catholic, Pa.). It continued with a 4-3 victory over No. 92 overall senior Jordan Hamdan (Hudson, Mich.), which needed a last second takedown to happen. The semifinal victory came by injury default after D'Emilio scored the match's opening takedown against Sam Hillegas (North Hills, Pa.); the No. 12 overall junior had beaten D'Emilio last year in the quarterfinal round.
2016 tournament placer Lucas Byrd (Cincinnati LaSalle) emerged with the 120-pound title. His tournament started with a pin, technical fall, and 11-3 major decision before running through four tournament placers to win gold. In the round of 16 it was a 5-0 victory over Cadet freestyle All-American Brayden Littell (Center Grove, Ind.). The big victory came in the quarterfinal where he beat 2016 Super 32 champion Antonio Lorenzo (St. John Bosco, Calif.) by 4-2 decision.
Then there was a 7-2 semifinal victory over No. 4 overall freshman Daniel Cardenas (Pomona, Colo.). In the finals, it was a 6-3 victory over returning Super 32 placer Sam Latona (Thompson, Ala.), who is ranked No. 73 overall in the senior class. Byrd used takedowns in the first and third to key the victory.
Between tough draws and an injury last year, No. 10 overall senior Connor Brady (Olentangy Liberty) has yet to make a state finals bout. However, he navigated successfully the 152-pound bracket this weekend to win this major tournament. Most notably it was a 5-2 finals victory over No. 32 overall senior Cameron Amine (Detroit Catholic Central, Mich.), a match keyed by takedowns in each of the first two periods.
Another pair of nationally elite seniors emerged with weight class titles on Sunday, No. 24 Abe Assad (Glenbard North, Ill.) at 182 pounds and No. 12 Jacob Cardenas (Bergen Catholic, N.J.) at 195.
Assad upended No. 26 overall junior Gerrit Nijenhuis (Canon-McMillan, Pa.) 5-3 in the final on takedowns in the second and third period. Cardenas was able to make an 8-0 first period, which was a takedown and three two-point near falls via tilt, last the duration of the match against No. 76 overall senior Wyatt Hendrickson (Newton, Kansas). Hendrickson did respond strong with a takedown in the second period and two in the third period, but fell short by a score of 9-7.
The remaining senior to win a weight class title was two-time state champion at 195 pounds Aidan Conner (Highland Park, Texas), who earned gold this weekend at 285. He had three pins, a 4-0 decision, and then an 11-4 finals victory over Cadet National double runner-up Colby Whitehill (Brookville, Pa.).
Rounding out the champions were sophomore Stevo Poulin (Shenendehowa, N.Y.) at 106 pounds, No. 18 overall junior Keegan O'Toole (Arrowhead, Wis.) at 145, and No. 2 overall sophomore Alex Facundo (Davison, Mich.) at 160.
Finally coming into his own as a full sized 106, Poulin is demonstrating the ability level he always showed in age-group competitions through junior high. The state champion last year at 99 pounds made it to Sunday via a 4-2 decision, pin, major decision, and technical fall. A 13-2 major decision over state champion Gary Steen (Reynolds, Pa.) advanced him to the semifinal where he won by 10-3 decision.
The championship match saw Poulin jump out to a 7-2 lead through two periods via a pair of first period takedowns and a three-point near fall during a second period rideout. Drake Ayala (Fort Dodge, Iowa) - a state champion in his own right last year - did respond with three takedowns in the third period attempting to cut an 8-2 deficit, but it was not enough as Poulin won 11-8.
O'Toole continues his emergence into stardom following up a Junior National freestyle title with a title in the nation's best folkstyle tournament. Two pins and two decisions (4-0 and 11-4 moved him into Sunday's competition). His quarterfinal match was a pin in 5:25 over No. 45 overall junior Manzona Bryant (Hudson WRA, Ohio), before beating No. 55 overall senior Devin Schwartzkopf (Greenway, Mo.) 6-2 in the semifinal.
Facing No. 36 overall senior James Whitaker (St. Johns, Mich.) in the final, O'Toole jumped to a 2-0 lead through one period. Whitaker answered with a reversal at the start of the second. However, O'Toole countered with a reversal of his own to the back and was able to secure the pin at the 2:55 mark.
Last year a fourth-place finisher in this tournament at 145 as a freshman, though it was a very narrow semifinal loss, Facundo ran through this field like a knife through hot butter. The Cadet World bronze medalist opened with two pins before a pair of decisive victories over returning Pennsylvania state placers (11-5 and 10-2) propelled him into Sunday's quarterfinal round, where it was a 9-1 major decision over another Pennsylvania state placer.
In the semifinal, Facundo dominated No. 39 overall junior Jacob Lagoa (Ashtabula Lakeside, Ohio) to the tune of a 16-3 major decision. Then in the final, it was a comfortable 7-3 decision over state champion Nicholas South (Columbus East, Ind.); Facundo used a takedown in the first period plus a pair in the second to confirm his title.
1st: Stevo Poulin (Shenendehowa, N.Y.) dec. Drake Ayala (Fort Dodge, Iowa) 11-8
3rd: Alex Almeyda (Bergen Catholic, N.J.) dec. Braxton Brown (Allen, Texas) 3-1
5th: Kelly Dunnigan (Don Bosco Prep, N.J.) dec. Diego Sotelo (Marmion Academy, Ill.) 4-3
7th: Dylan Chappell (Seneca Valley, Pa.) over Nasir Bailey (Illinois-8th grade) by forfeit
1st: Richard Figueroa (Selma, Calif.) dec. Greg Diakomihalis (Hilton, N.Y.) 5-4
3rd: Jeremiah Reno (Liberty, Mo.) dec. Tristan Lujan (Selma, Calif.) 3-1, overtime
5th: Logan Agin (Lancaster, Ohio) dec. Cullan Schriever (Mason City, Ohio) 3-1
7th: Troy Spratley (Wyoming Seminary, Pa.) dec. Nicholas Nardone (Delbarton, N.J.) 1-0
1st: Lucas Byrd (Cincinnati LaSalle, Ohio) dec. Sam Latona (Thompson, Ala.) 6-3
3rd: Nic Bouzakis (Lake Highland Prep, Fla.) dec. Dylan Cedeno (Bergen Catholic, N.J.) 7-4
5th: Daniel Cardenas (Pomona, Colo.) dec. Anthony Clark (Delbarton, N.J.) 1-0, (ultimate) tiebreaker
7th: Antonio Lorenzo (St. John Bosco, Calif.) dec. Brayden Littell (Center Grove, Ind.) 3-1, overtime
1st: Shayne Van Ness (Blair Academy, N.J.) dec. Ryan Jack (Danbury, Ct.) 10-6
3rd: Sammy Alvarez (St. Joseph Montvale, N.J.) dec. Malyke Hines (Osceola, Fla.) 4-1
5th: Kai Orine (Seckman, Mo.) dec. Caleb Henson (Woodland, Ga.) 10-3
7th: Dominick Serrano (Windsor, Colo.) dec. Jackson DiSario (Ola, Ga.) 3-1
1st: Dylan D'Emilio (Genoa, Ohio) dec. Beau Bartlett (Wyoming Seminary, Pa.) 10-6
3rd: Justin Rivera (Lake Highland Prep, Fla.) dec. Bretli Reyna (South Dade, Fla.) 4-2
5th: Jordan Hamdan (Hudson, Mich.) over Sam Hillegas (North Hills, Pa.) by forfeit
7th: Kenny Herrmann (Bethlehem Catholic, Pa.) dec. Josh Edmond (Detroit Catholic Central, Mich.) 1-0
1st: Jaden Abas (Rancho Bernardo, Calif.) dec. Jesse Vasquez (Santiago Corona, Calif.) 3-1
3rd: Jordan Crace (Elyria, Ohio) maj. dec. Gabe Tagg (Brecksville, Ohio/USOTC) 12-4
5th: Peyton Hall (Oak Glen, W.Va.) dec. Wyatt Henson (Christian Brothers College, Mo.) 6-4
7th: Luke Odom (Edwardsville, Ill.) dec. Aidan Medora (Brookfield, Wis.) 6-2
1st: Keegan O'Toole (Arrowhead, Wis.) pinned James Whitaker (St. Johns, Mich.) 2:55
3rd: Ryan Vulakh (Pope John II, Pa.) dec. Johnny Lovett (Miami Southridge, Fla.) 8-3
5th: Devin Schwartzkopf (Greenway, Mo.) pinned Manzona Bryant (Hudson WRA, Ohio) 4:03
7th: Chris Donathan (Mason, Ohio) dec. Luka Wick (San Marino, Calif.) 7-2
1st: Connor Brady (Olentangy Liberty, Ohio) dec. Cameron Amine (Detroit Catholic Central, Mich.) 5-2
3rd: Sonny Santiago (St. John Bosco, Calif.) dec. Brevin Balmeceda (South Dade, Fla.) 3-2
5th: Ryan Anderson (Bethlehem Catholic, Pa.) dec. Aaron Gandara (Poway, Calif.) 5-2
7th: Thayne Lawrence (Frazier, Pa.) pinned Kyle Mosher (South Side, N.Y.) 1:57
1st: Alex Facundo (Davison, Mich.) dec. Nicholas South (Columbus East, Ind.) 7-3
3rd: Clayton Ulrey (Lower Dauphin, Pa.) dec. Jacob Lagoa (Ashtabula Lakeside, Ohio) 5-2
5th: River Shettler (Brighton, Mich.) over Donnell Washington (Portage, Ind.) by forfeit
7th: Matthew Ortiz (Montini Catholic, Ill.) dec. Christian Minto (Mariner, Fla.)
1st: Dustin Plott (Tuttle, Okla.) dec. Patrick Kennedy (Kasson-Mantorville, Minn.) 16-12
3rd: Alex Cramer (Grayslake Central, Ill.) dec. Greyden Penner (Liberty, Mo.) 3-1, overtime
5th: Troy Fisher (Goddard, Kansas) maj. dec. Kolton Clark (Scottsboro, Ala.) 11-1
7th: Luke Nichter (Chambersburg, Pa.) dec. Kamal Adewumi (Mason, Ohio) 11-5
1st: Abe Assad (Glenbard North, Ill.) dec. Gerrit Nijenhuis (Canon-McMillan, Pa.) 5-3
3rd: Rocky Elam (Staley, Mo.) dec. Sam Fisher (Fauquier, Va.) 6-3
5th: Jackson Turley (St. Christopher's, Va.) over Chris Foca (Bergen Catholic, N.J.) by forfeit
7th: Sammy Deprez (Hilton, N.Y.) dec. John Poznanski (Colonia, N.J.) 5-2
1st: Jacob Cardenas (Bergen Catholic, N.J.) dec. Wyatt Hendrickson (Newton, Kansas) 9-7
3rd: Silas Allred (Shenandoah, Ind.) dec. Kevin Makosy (Urbana, Md.) 5-1
5th: Jacob Good (Clovis, Calif.) dec. Luke Chakonis (Delbarton, N.J.) 7-1
7th: Nathan Dugan (Lake Norman, N.C.) dec. Darius Parker (Riverdale, Fla.) 9-6
1st: Braxton Amos (Parkersburg South, W.Va.) dec. Konner Doucet (Comanche, Okla.), 5-0
3rd: Andy Smith (Christiansburg, Va.) dec. Nico Colucci (St. Peter's Prep, N.J.) 5-2
5th: Carlos-Miguel Figueroa (Homewood, Ala.) dec. Kyle Cornwell (Elwood, Ind.) 7-2
7th: Joshua Heindselman (Piedmont, Okla.) maj. dec. Chase Horne (West Laurens, Ga.) 8-0
1st: Aidan Conner (Highland Park, Texas) dec. Colby Whitehill (Brookville, Pa.), 11-4
3rd: Mateusz Kudra (North Attleboro, Mass.) dec. Jordan Pryor (Dunbar, Md.) 6-5
5th: Nathan Hoaglund (Mt. Lebanon, Pa.) dec. Christian Bryant (Eleanor Roosevelt, Md.) 3-1
7th: Andy Garcia (Pueblo East, Colo.) dec. Luke Fischer (Newton, N.J.) 4-1