Assad avenges loss to Plott, Illinois wins third straight Junior freestyle team title

Abe Assad gets his hand raised after beating Dustin Plott (Oklahoma) to win the title at 182 pounds (Photo/John Sachs,

FARGO, N.D. -- On Tuesday, Abe Assad avenged a recent loss on his way to winning a Junior National freestyle title while leading Illinois to a third straight team championship in Fargo.

Assad, a 2018 Cadet world bronze medalist, handled two-time state champion Dustin Plott (Oklahoma) 8-2 in the Junior National freestyle finals on Tuesday afternoon to claim the title at 182 pounds, avenging a loss from the Junior National Duals last month. It marks the second straight year in which Plott finished as a runner-up in the Junior freestyle competition in Fargo.

Assad, who signed with Iowa, led 3-0 at the break before adding two takedowns in the finals period to win by six.

He was one of four titlists for team champion Illinois.

Also winning titles for Illinois were Daniel Sheen (100), Anthony Molton (120) and Luke Luffman (285).

Sheen came through to win the title at 100 pounds, edging Brandon O'Brien (Iowa) 2-1 in the finals. He scored his only points off a first-period takedown, but it was enough to get him the victory.

Molton, an Old Dominion signee and top-100 recruit from the Class of 2019, won a wild, high-scoring affair, 17-16, over Oklahoma State commit Jakason Burks (Nebraska), a U16 Fargo freestyle champion last summer. Burks led 15-13 with 45 seconds left before Molton picked up a takedown and used a lace to go up 17-15. Burks would score a late point, but Molton would hang on for the victory.

Luffman became the lone wrestler to repeat as a Junior National freestyle champion by winning the title at 285 pounds. He topped fellow Illinois wrestler Aydin Guttridge 4-1 in the finals.

Ohio finished runner-up to Illinois in the team standings and crowned a pair of champions, Angelo Rini (126) and Paddy Gallagher (160). Both hail from the same high school, St. Edward.

Rini, who will be attending Columbia, rolled to a 14-4 technical superiority in the finals at 126 pounds over Ethen Miller (Missouri). After Rini jumped out to a 6-0 lead, Miller battled his back into the match and made it 6-4 in the second period. But a short time later Rini would get a takedown, lock up a lace and turn Miller three times to close out the match.

Gallagher, the nation's No. 3 junior, also won by technical superiority in the finals, beating South Dakota State signee Cade Devos (Iowa) 12-2 to take the title at 160 pounds. He used four takedowns and two turns off a lace to get the victory in the first period.

California crowned three champions, which was the second most of any state behind Illinois. Winning titles for California were Andre Gonzales (106), Jace Luchau (152) and Jonovan Smith (195).

Gonzales, a state third-place finisher, used three four-point moves in the third period to earn a technical superiority over InterMat Classic champion Blake West (Minnesota).

Luchau, who will be attending Fresno State, topped John Martin Best (West Virginia) 8-2 in the finals at 152 points, scoring all eight of his points from a pair of four-point moves in the opening period. He was named Outstanding Wrestler of the event.

Smith, state runner-up, won his title by defeating Cole Urbas (Pennsylvania) 11-5 in the finals at 195 pounds. Urbas, a three-time state placewinner, trailed by one in the second period before Smith picked up three straight takedowns to blow the match wide open.

Two-time state champion Braxon Amos (West Virginia), the nation's No. 2 senior, cruised to the title at 220 pounds, beating Dorian Crosby (Pennsylvania) 10-0 in the finals. It was Amos' fifth Fargo title in as many attempts.

Drake Ayala (Iowa), ranked as the nation's No. 21 junior by InterMat, turned in an impressive finals performance at 113 pounds, picking up a 19-8 technical superiority over Nico Provo (Connecticut) in the finals. Provo led 8-7 at the break, but Ayala pulled away in the second period and closed out the victory with a lace.

State champion Anthony Echemendia (Arizona), a native of Cuba, won a stop sign at 145 pounds with a 10-4 victory over Victor Voinovich (Ohio), the nation's No. 7 junior.

Patrick Kennedy (Minnesota) won the title at 170 pounds (Photo/Jeff Beshey, The Guillotine)

Three-time state champion Patrick Kennedy, the nation's No. 8 senior, was untested in the finals at 170 pounds, winning by 10-0 technical superiority over Gerrit Nijenhuis (Pennsylvania). Kennedy has committed to Iowa.

Cornell commit Joshua Saunders (Missouri) won a hard-fought match in the 138-pound finals over Nebraska signee Ridge Lovett (Idaho). Lovett, a four-time state champion, took a 3-1 lead in the second period after scoring a takedown off a slide-by, but Saunders came back with a takedown and turn off a lace to earn the 5-3 victory.

Three-time state champion Dominick Serrano (Colorado) won his second straight Fargo freestyle stop sign by beating state champion and top-100 recruit Mick Burnett (Ohio) 10-0 in the finals at 132 pounds. The two wrestlers met in last year's U16 freestyle finals in Fargo, with Serrano winning that meeting 10-0 as well.

Placement Match Results

1st: Daniel Sheen (Illinois) dec. Brandon O'Brien (Iowa), 2-1
3rd: Cael Keck (Missouri) dec. Samuel Hayes (Illinois), 6-2
5th: Andrew Dalrymple (Alaska) pinned Cameron Hines (Connecticut), 3:38
7th: Robert Gardner (Pennsylvania) tech. Noah Savageau (North Dakota), 13-2, 3:00

1st: Andre Gonzales (California) tech. Blake West (Minnesota), 19-7, 5:55
3rd: Eli Griffin (Oklahoma) tech. Kelly Dunnigan (New Jersey), 10-0, 0:43
5th: Kenny Sailas (Colorado) pinned Caleb- Coyle (Nebraska), 3:57
7th: Elijah Rivera (New York) dec. Quade Smith (Utah), 8-4

1st: Drake Ayala (Iowa) tech. Nico Provo (Connecticut), 19-8, 4:44
3rd: Jeremiah Reno (Missouri) pinned Yusief Lillie (Washington), 3:00
5th: Joziah Fry (Rhode Island) tech. Aedyn Concepcion (Alaska), 12-0, 1:59
7th: Cruz Aguilar (Oklahoma) tech. Angelo Lozado (Colorado), 10-0, 1:43

1st: Anthony Molton (Illinois) dec. Jakason Burks (Nebraska) 17-16
3rd: Chayse La joie (Michigan) tech. Destin Summers (Idaho), 11-1, 5:23
5th: Jackson Cockrell (Oklahoma) dec. Joseph Thompson (Minnesota), 10-8
7th: Cooper Flynn (Tennessee) dec. Richard Sandoval (California), 6-5

1st: Angelo Rini (Ohio) tech. Ethen Miller (Missouri), 14-4, 4:05
3rd: Wyatt Henson (Missouri) tech. Kyle Burwick (North Dakota), 17-6 5:50
5th: Cameron Johnson (Illinois) tech. Jayden Gomez (California), 14-3 3:56
7th: Carter Young (Oklahoma) tech. Camden Russell (Nebraska), 10-0 0:59

1st: Dominick Serrano (Colorado) tech. Michael Burnett (Ohio), 10-0, 2:58
3rd: Cael Happel (Iowa) tech. Nathaniel Pulliam (Missouri), 11-1 2:01
5th: Mosha Schwartz (Colorado) dec. Domenic Zaccone (Illinois), 11-5
7th: Trey Crawford (Missouri) tech. Drew Roberts (Washington), 12-1 3:20

1st: Joshua Saunders (Missouri) dec. Ridge Lovett (Idaho), 5-3
3rd: Lachlan Mcneil (Pennsylvania) dec. Samuel Hillegas (Pennsylvania), 10-3
5th: Caleb Henson (Georgia) no contest Caden Mccrary (Georgia)
7th: Marcos Polanco (California) pinned Luke Sloan (Texas), 1:37

1st: Anthony Echemendia (Arizona) dec. Victor Voinovich (Ohio) 10-4
3rd: Manzona Bryant (Ohio) pinned Chance Mclane (Montana), 12-3 5:10
5th: Joseph Zargo (New Jersey) tech. Maxx Mayfield (Nebraska), 12-1 1:33
7th: Joshua Ogunsanya (Illinois) tech. Gabe Miller (Pennsylvania), 19-9 5:40

1st: Jace Luchau (California) dec. John Martin Best (West Virginia) 8-2
3rd: Keegan O'toole (Wisconsin) tech. Chase Saldate (California), 14-3 5:51
5th: Daniel Manibog (Texas) tech. Legend Lamer (Oregon), 11-0 1:57
7th: Derek Gilcher (Michigan) tech. Cael Carlson (Minnesota), 17-6 6:00

1st: Paddy Gallagher (Ohio) tech. Cade Devos (Iowa) 12-2, 2:20
3rd: Baylor Fernandes (Illinois) tech. Colby Njos (Minnesota), 14-2 5:22
5th: Dajun Johnson (Wisconsin) tech. David Rubio (Oregon), 11-0 2:36
7th: Luke Surber (Oklahoma) tech. Bilal Bailey (Illinois), 10-0 1:47

1st: Patrick Kennedy (Minnesota) tech. Gerrit Nijenhuis (Pennsylvania) 10-0. 2:20
3rd: Nevan Snodgrass (Ohio) tech. Gavin Kane (Georgia), 10-0 4:44
5th: Alex Cramer (Illinois) dec. Lance Runyon (Iowa), 11-4
7th: Connor Oneill (New Jersey) forfeit Trent Munoz (California)

1st: Abe Assad (Illinois) dec. Dustin Plott (Oklahoma) 8-2
3rd: Parker Keckeisen (Wisconsin) dec. Rocky Elam (Missouri), 6-2
5th: Luke Stout (Pennsylvania) dec. Zach Glazier (Minnesota), 13-9
7th: Christopher Foca (New Jersey) tech. John Poznanski (New Jersey), 12-2 1:55

1st: Jonovan Smith (California) dec. Cole Urbas (Pennsylvania) 11-5
3rd: Ethan Hatcher (Ohio) tech. Isaac Trumble (Nebraska), 10-0 0:38
5th: Vincent Baker (Georgia) tech. Matthew Cover (Ohio), 11-0 3:55
7th: Samuel Mitchell (Wisconsin) pinned Michael Baker (Ohio), 1:04

1st: Braxton Amos (West Virginia) tech. Dorian Crosby (Pennsylvania) 10-0, 2:23
3rd: Cade Lautt (Kansas) tech. Konner Doucet (Oklahoma), 10-0 1:12
5th: Gabe Christenson (Iowa) pinned Daniel Striggow (Minnesota), 5:59
7th: Cody Fisher (Iowa) dec. Cabe Dickerson (Oklahoma), 5-4

1st: Luke Luffman (Illinois) dec. Aydin Guttridge (Illinois) 4-1
3rd: Nash Hutmacher (South Dakota) dec. Spencer Trenary (Iowa), 13-4
5th: Joshua Heindselman (Oklahoma) inj. dft Roberto Pena (Illinois)
7th: Braxton Mikesell (Washington) tech. John Wiese (Oklahoma), 10-0 1:08

Outstanding Wrestler: Jace Luchau (California)
Most Falls: Alex Coleman (Ohio)

Team Standings (Top Five)

1. Illinois 51
2. Ohio 42
3. Iowa 40
4. Missouri 37
5. Pennsylvania 34


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