Sophomore rankings released, Mendez climbs to No. 3

Jesse Mendez gets his hand raised after beating Anthony Ferrari to make the Cadet World Team (Photos/Sam Janicki)

Link: Top-50 Sophomore Rankings

Talented lighter-weight wrestlers Ryan Crookham (Notre Dame-Green Pond, Pa.) and Nic Bouzakis (Lake Highland Prep, Fla.) continue to anchor the Class of 2022, as summer is officially here for this group of rising sophomores. While neither "struck gold" in major fashion at an event since the last rankings update, their ability level is clear.

Moving up four spots to No. 3 overall is Jesse Mendez (Crown Point, Ind.), who used the 2018-19 regular season and subsequent offseason to shed the "bridesmaid" label one might say he had for the six months prior. Mendez finished one match from a top eight placement finish in the 2018 offseason at the UWW Cadet National freestyle tournament, the Cadet National freestyle tournament, and the Super 32 Challenge. Five of those six losses were by incredibly narrow margins (10-9 and 10-10 in Akron, 2-2 in the round of 12 in Fargo, and then 6-4 and 3-2 at the Super 32). He was an undefeated state champion in high school before winning a Cadet National folkstyle title, a U17 Flo Nationals freestyle title, and earning Outstanding Wrestler honors at the UWW Cadet Nationals last month.

Rounding out the top five are a pair of runners-up from the UWW Cadet Nationals in freestyle last month, Seth Shumate (Dublin Coffman, Ohio) and Anthony Ferrari (Allen, Texas). Shumate was second at 92 kilos, while Ferrari was runner-up at 60 kilos to Mendez. Other members of the top ten include UWW Cadet runner-up Jordan Williams (Collinsville, Okla.), who did upset Richard Figueroa in the first match of their best-of-three series at 51 kilos; UWW Cadet freestyle All-American Daniel Cardenas (Pomona, Colo.); Caleb Henson (Woodland, Ga.); Troy Spratley (Wyoming Seminary, Pa.); and Joey Cruz (Clovis North, Calif.), who upset Figueroa to win a U17 Flo Nationals title before taking third at the UWW Cadet freestyle Nationals.

From a "power program" perspective, three wrestlers each that will be attending Blair Academy (N.J.) and Wyoming Seminary (Pa.) in 2019-20 are ranked in the top 50 of the rising sophomore group, with two wrestlers on each of those teams rosters not having attended that school in 2018-19. Blair Academy features No. 12 Noah Pettigrew and No. 43 Thomas Stewart as transfers in, while Wyoming Seminary has newcomers in No. 16 Andrew Donahue and No. 21 Kolby Franklin; also ranked are No. 15 Rylan Rogers for Blair Academy and No. 9 Troy Spratley.

Seven wrestlers competing for high schools in Pennsylvania is the most among any state, while Ohio with six and New Jersey with five are the next most. It's four each for Georgia and California, with Woodward Academy (Ga.) and Buchanan (Calif.) the only schools other than Blair and Wyoming Seminary to feature multiple ranked Class of 2022 wrestlers; those two schools feature a pair each. Three wrestlers are ranked from Oklahoma and Iowa respectively as well.


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