Cadet world medalists Alex Facundo and Richard Figueroa are the top two juniors (Photos/Sam Janicki)
Link: Top-50 Junior Rankings
For the last year, two wrestlers have separated from the rest of the 2021 class and are standing at its top: Alex Facundo (Davison, Mich.) and Richard Figueroa (Selma, Calif.). Both wrestlers were Cadet world medalists in freestyle last year, and each will be seeking to repeat that medal status, and ascend to the top step on that podium in just over four weeks time.
Facundo advanced to a second straight world team in the 71-kilo weight class, rallying back from a first match loss to Travis Mastrogiovanni (Blair Academy, N.J.) to win the next two bouts. Last year a bronze medalist, Facundo had to clear the No. 5 overall wrestler in the Class of 2021 to make the team.
Figueroa moved up a weight class from last year, where he was a silver medalist at 45 kilos; this year, he made the world team at 51 kilos upending Jordan Williams (Collinsville, Okla.) in the second and third matches of their best-of-three finals series.
Joining Mastrogiovanni in the top five for the Class of 2021 are Padriac Gallagher (St. Edward, Ohio) and Shayne Van Ness (Blair Academy, N.J.). Gallagher knocked off Connor Brady to win a state title during the past high school season; while Van Ness had an extraordinary two month period in the fall when he won titles at the Super 32, Walsh Ironman, and Beast of the East.
Positions six through ten feature Kyle Haas (Maize, Kansas), a Cadet World team member in both freestyle and Greco-Roman at 92 kilos; Victor Voinovich (Brecksville, Ohio), who was among the select few of still-to-be high school wrestlers to place at the UWW Junior Nationals; Carson Manville (Shakopee, Minn.); two-time state champion Maximo Renteria (Buchanan, Calif.); and Ryan Sokol (Simley, Minn.), a Cadet freestyle world team member at 65 kilos.
Joining Van Ness and Mastrogiovanni as Blair Academy wrestlers within the top fifty of the Class of 2021 is Peyton Craft, who is ranked No. 15 overall. Four other schools feature a pair of ranked wrestlers: Clovis North (Calif.), St. Paris Graham (Ohio), Simley (Minn.), and Christian Brothers College (Mo.).
The state of California features the most top 50 ranked wrestlers in the Class of 2021 with eight, all are among the top 33. Seven come from New Jersey, while it's six each from Ohio and Pennsylvania. Minnesota has the fifth most with four, while there are a trio from New York and Missouri.