2011 Junior & Cadet Nationals Day 4 Recap

FARGO, N.D. -- Jahwon Akui came to Fargo with something to prove after not being able to defend his state title in Illinois this past season because of a suspension.

On Tuesday afternoon, Akui won the Junior National Greco-Roman title at 171 pounds with a 1-0, 1-0 victory over Kevin Beazley (Michigan) at the FARGODOME in Fargo, N.D.

Jahwon Akui (Photo/John Sachs,
"I didn't get to wrestle in the state championship for Illinois after having a perfect season as a senior," said Akui. "I felt like I had a lot of unfinished business. I had a few more titles that I wanted to get before I enter college."

Akui will be attending Iowa Central Community College, where he plans to play football and wrestle.

Akui has now won the first two legs of USA Wrestling's Junior Triple Crown, after winning a Junior National folkstyle title in April. So will Akui be wrestling in the freestyle competition?

"Maybe," said Akui, before chuckling. "I might. Right now I don't know. I've wrestled 171 for the last few years. It's been tough making it this time and at the (Junior) Duals. I'm still thinking about it. Maybe."

Akui's title helped Illinois capture the team title in the Junior National Greco-Roman competition. The Land of Lincoln finished with 16 All-Americans, three finalists, and two champions.

The other Illinois wrestler to win a title, in addition to Akui, was Nkosi Moody, who defeated Dante Rodriguez (Nebraska) in the championship at 105 pounds.

Moody was happy to contribute to Illinois' success.

"I take a lot of pride in being from Illinois," said Moody. "It's just a great wrestling team."

Moody, like Akui, won a Junior National folkstyle title in April. If he wins the freestyle competition, which gets underway on Thursday, Moody will become just the third Junior Triple Crown winner ever.

"Winning the Triple Crown is very important to me," said Moody. "Last year I wasn't able to do it. This year I'm coming after it. I've put in so much work that it would just mean so much to me."

Florida crowned four champions: Isaiah Varona (119), Rossi Bruno (125), Kevin Norstrem (130), and Geordan Speiller (160), which was twice as many as any other state.

Varona, who attends South Dade High School, defeated defending Junior National Greco-Roman champion Tyler Fraley (New Jersey) in three periods to take the crown at 119 pounds.

It was a breakthrough performance for Varona, who has come up just short in major events. Varona was runner-up at the FILA Junior World Team Trials in Greco-Roman. He placed third at the 2010 FILA Junior Nationals in Greco-Roman. Varona has placed third and fifth at the Florida state tournament.

"I know what got me here was that self motivation, doing stuff on my own ... the running, the lifting," said Varona. "I don't even have a partner at my house to practice in my garage."

Bruno defeated Zane Richards (Illinois), a 2010 Cadet National Greco-Roman champion, in three periods, 3-0, 0-1, 1-0, to claim the title at 125 pounds. It was Bruno's second straight Junior National Greco-Roman title.

"He's tough," Bruno said of Richards. "He's strong. He stayed in good position. I have to give it up to him. He was definitely my toughest match of the tournament."

Bruno, who attends Brandon High School, will be vying for his fifth state in his senior season, which has never been accomplished in Florida. His Brandon teammate, Clark Glass, who lost in the Junior National Greco-Roman finals at 152 pounds, will also be after his fifth state title.

"I always tease him that I'm going to be the first (five-time state champion) because I'm lighter than him," said Bruno, who plans on taking recruiting visits to Rutgers, Michigan, Lehigh, North Carolina State, and one other school to be determined.

Another Brandon wrestler, Kevin Norstrem, won the title at 130 pounds with a shutout victory in the finals over Jacob Velarde (Washington), 3-0, 1-0.

"I wasn't going to settle for anything less than first," said Norstrem, who is ranked as the No. 7 junior in the country by InterMat. "I had a goal ... I didn't want anybody to score on me this tournament either, and I achieved that as well."

Norstrem said his Brandon teammates are like family.

"We're a team, but we're more of a family," said Norstrem, who went 65-0 en route to winning his third state title this past season. "We spend more time together than we do with our own relatives. It's just great having those guys working out with you every day, having those guys beat on you, you beat on them. We get a little hot sometimes, but that only helps."

Norstrem's younger brother, Kyle, finished third in the Cadet National Greco-Roman competition at 98 pounds.

"I had to one-up him," said Norstrem. "He took third and that's kind of hard to beat, but I had to one-up him. I'm proud of him. He's only a first-year Cadet. I didn't place my first year here. Him taking third is huge."

Florida's fourth champion was Geordan Speiller, who defeated Alex Meyer (Iowa), 3-0, 3-1, to take the title at 160 pounds.

There were three wrestlers who repeated as Junior National Greco-Roman champion. In addition to Bruno, Missouri's Colton Howell (112) and Wisconsin's Devin Peterson (189) repeated as champions.

Howell, a FILA Junior National Greco-Roman champion this year, registered a shutout victory over Phillip Laux (Iowa), 1-0, 3-0, to win the title at 112 pounds.

Peterson, who is ranked as the No. 22 senior recruit by InterMat, defeated longtime rival Jake Waste (Minnesota), 5-0, 1-0, to claim the title at 189 pounds.

Peterson was not the only Wisconsin wrestler to win a title in the Junior Greco-Roman competition. Wisconsin's Alex Dieringer defeated Clark Glass (Florida), 2-0, 1-0, to capture the championship at 152 pounds.

Dieringer, a three-time time state champion, will be heading to Oklahoma State, a school not known for training Greco-Roman wrestlers. So has Dieringer wrestled in his last Greco-Roman tournament?

"I don't even know," said Dieringer. "Maybe when I'm a little older, after I'm all done with college, maybe I might switch over. But I feel freestyle is my best style, so I think I'm going to stick with that."

Dieringer will move up a weight to 160 pounds for the Junior National freestyle competition.

"Every year I have been going up," said Dieringer. "It's my last year. I want to have fun, so I'm going to go up to 160 and see how that goes. If I don't win it, it's alright. I still want to win it, though ... That's for sure."

Ben Whitford (Michigan), a Cadet National double champion last summer, cruised to an easy technical fall victory in the finals over Chase Ferman (Oklahoma), 9-2, 7-0.

"Now I'm back at Michigan," said Whitford, who won two individual state titles as a freshman and sophomore at Marmion Academy (Ill.). "I've still got a lot of great guys to practice with. Everyone in the Massa room is great to practice with."

Whitford will be attending St. Johns High School for his junior season and reuniting with friends, like Taylor Massa, he grew up wrestling with.

"I'm glad to be on the team with them," said Whitford. "Hopefully win a state title or two and put our team out there and have really great success."

Another Michigan wrestler, Adam Coon, took the title at 215 pounds with a second-period pin over Lee Wildes (Florida).

Johnson Mai (California) had a come-from-behind victory over Bobby Nachreiner (Wisconsin), 2-5, 3-2, 3-0, to win a stop sign at 105 pounds.

Joe Schumacher (North Dakota) won a title in his home state with a 2-0, 1-0 victory over Casey George (Idaho) at 140 pounds.

Jacob Falk (Utah), who will be attending Utah Valley State in the fall, defeated multiple-time Fargo champion Oliver Pierce (Texas), 2-1, 1-0, in the championship match at 145 pounds.

Parker Betts, Minnesota's lone champion, won the title at heavyweight. Betts, who will continue his Greco-Roman wrestling career at Northern Michigan, defeated Wisconsin recruit Connor Medbery (Colorado), 1-0, 2-0.

Finals Results:
98: Nkosi Moody (Illinois) dec. Dante Rodriguez (Nebraska), 4-0, 6-0
105: Johnson Mai (California) dec. Bobby Nachreiner (Wisconsin), 2-5, 3-2, 3-0
112: Colton Howell (Missouri) dec. Phillip Laux (Iowa), 1-0, 3-0
119: Isaiah Varona (Florida)dec. Tyler Fraley (New Jersey), 1-0, 0-1, 1-0
125: Rossi Bruno (Florida) dec. Zane Richards (Illinois), 3-0, 0-1, 1-0
130: Kevin Norstrem (Florida) dec. Jacob Velarde (Washington), 3-0, 1-0
135: Ben Whitford (Michigan) tech. fall Chase Ferman (Oklahoma), 9-2, 7-0
140: Joe Schumacher (North Dakota) dec. Casey George (Idaho), 2-0, 1-0
145: Jacob Falk (Utah) dec. Oliver Pierce (Texas), 2-1, 1-0
152: Alex Dieringer (Wisconsin) dec. Clark Glass (Florida), 2-0, 1-0
160: Geordan Speiller (Florida) dec. Alex Meyer (Iowa), 3-0, 3-1
171: Jahwon Akui (Illinois) dec. Kevin Beazley (Michigan), 1-0, 1-0
189: Devin Peterson (Wisconsin) dec. Jake Waste (Minnesota), 5-0, 1-0
215: Adam Coon (Michigan) pinned Lee Wildes (Florida), 0-2, 1:16
285: Parker Betts (Minnesota) dec. Connor Medbery (Colorado), 1-0, 2-0


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