2019 16U national champion Daniel Cardenas (Photo courtesy of John Sachs; Tech-Fall.com)
We are less than a week away from the first whistle blowing at the FargoDome as the Junior/16U National Championships will occur for the first time since 2019. Because of the cancelation of the 2020 tournament, the wrestlers have decided to show up in full force at Fargo. Early entries indicate that it will be the deepest in 10-15 years.
Over the next couple of days, we'll go conference-by-conference to preview recruits from each school and their chances for success. We have only included recruits that have been tabbed to participate in one of the tournaments. Today we're looking at the EIWA. The conference contains the Ivy League, which is full of teams that have improved their recruiting efforts in recent years. In fact, Ivy teams have two of the largest contingents heading to Fargo. But it isn't just the Ivies getting it done on the recruiting trail. The service academies have been excellent, too. With the amount of talent heading into the conference, there's only one way to go! Here are some of the future stars of the EIWA, which will be on display in Fargo.
Max Leete (Massachusetts) - Class of 2021: 126 lbs
Antonio Segura (Colorado) - Class of 2021: 160 lbs
New American University head coach Jason Borrelli is reportedly continuing to bring in the entire recruiting Class of 2021. There is no attrition. That is good news as the Eagles had some solid signees, two of which will be in action. Max Leete was a 16U Greco-Roman All-American here in 2019, when he was eighth at the 126 lb weight class. He's sent to enter that weight class again in 2021, just at the Junior level. Replicating a podium finish may be extremely difficult as 126 is very deep, particularly on the freestyle side. Leete finished his senior year among the top-200 on MatScouts Big Board. The other future Eagle in the mix is Antonio Segura. Segura has had success in Fargo, too. He was a Junior Greco-Roman sixth-place finisher in 2019, and eighth in Cadet freestyle the previous year. Placing in freestyle at the 160 lb bracket may be a tough ask for Segura, but getting on the Greco podium may be more feasible.
Army West Point
Gage Cook (Washington) - Class of 2022: 285 lbs
Gunner Filipowicz (Georgia) - Class of 2022: 160 lbs
We've been very high on Army West Point's recruiting effort in the recent past and there are no signs of letting up as two talented rising HS seniors are set to compete this week. Most notably is Gage Cook, who is 4-for-4 in attempts at placing in Fargo. In 2018 and 2019, he was eighth in 16U freestyle. Those same years he was a finalist in Greco-Roman, winning the tournament in 2019 at 220 lbs. Expect Cook to contend for prominent spots on the podium in both styles. Though Cook has a long list of credentials, he's actually behind Gunner Filipowicz on the Big Board (121 to 129). Filipowicz's stock has risen after making the finals of NHSCA Junior Nationals. He is a part of a team in Georgia that continues to improve and impress. Currently ranked #16 in the nation, Filipowicz may have to pull an upset or two to place, but expect a deep run from him.
Carter Baer (New York) - Class of 2022: 160 lbs
Logan Gumble (New York) - Class of 2021: 160 lbs
Binghamton has a pair of entrants that may not be very well known outside the northeast, but that could change in the next week. Both Carter Baer and Logan Gumble are expected to compete at 160 lbs, so head coach Kyle Borshoff should be able to easily keep tabs on both. Baer has won a pair of titles in New York and was seventh at NHSCA Junior's this spring. Though currently at #143 on the Big Board and #19 at 160 lbs, he doesn't have any major results in freestyle. Gumble was a state placewinner as a junior and has put together some solid results in the international styles at the Regional level. Both should be able to amass some wins and could be a factor late in the tournament.
Sam McMonagle (Pennsylvania) - Class of 2021: 145 lbs
Tony Pray (Nebraska) - Class of 2021: 195 lbs
Brown Class of 2021 was an underrated group that deserves mention though they ultimately missed the cut in InterMat's rankings. Two notable members of that class, Sam McMonagle and Tony Pray, are expected to lace â€˜em up in Fargo. McMonagle is a two-time Pennsylvania state placer, taking seventh as a junior and fourth this year. The PA native won't be phased by the level of competition in Fargo; however, his weight is loaded with talent. The same can be said for Pray's 195 lb group. A Nebraska state champion as a junior, Pray was not able to wrestle in the high school postseason. If healthy, Pray could notch some quality wins, even in a deep weight class.
Michael Bartush (Connecticut) - Class of 2022: 195 lbs
Braden Bower (Pennsylvania) - Class of 2021: 138 lbs
Riley Bower (Pennsylvania) - Class of 2021: 145 lbs
Kolby DePron (Oklahoma) - Class of 2021: 160 lbs
There's a whole herd of future Bison ready to storm the mat in the FargoDome, also the home of the NDSU Bison. The Bucknell recruit that looks best equipped for a deep run is their only rising senior, Michael Bartush. Michael was third at NHSCA Juniors and a New England runner-up. The Bower twins are capable in the middleweights. Kolby DePron is a three-time Oklahoma state champion that finished his high school career at #283 on the Big Board. This spring, DePron swept Oklahoma's freestyle and Greco-Roman titles. He will have his hands full in a 160 lb weight class that features 16 ranked wrestlers and that doesn't account for graduated seniors.
Richard Fedalen (Maryland) - Class of 2022: 138 lbs
Yanni Vines (Alabama) - Class of 2022: 113 lbs
The Columbia staff is assembling a monster recruiting Class of 2022 and a pair of their young lions are expected to battle, with Richard Fedalen and Yanni Vines showing up in the entry list. Fedalen is no stranger to the Fargo podium, having made it twice already. He was fifth in 16U Greco-Roman in 2019, a year after achieving the same placement in Cadet freestyle. Fedalen's 138 lb weight class is a bunch of talent, but no clear-cut favorite. He's capable of standing out and placing highly at the weight. Alabama's Yianni Vines is also in good position to place. He is ranked 17th in the nation at 120, but expected to enter at 113. Vines was an NHSCA Junior National finalist at the weight and seventh at Preseason Nationals. As the field is currently constructed at 113, it's not hard to imagine Vines placing prominently.
Evan Canoyer (Nebraska) - Class of 2021: 170 lbs
Daniel Cardenas (Colorado) - Class of 2022: 145 lbs
Luke Duthie (Pennsylvania) - Class of 2021: 195 lbs
Ethan Fernandez (New Jersey) - Class of 2021: 132 lbs
Erik Gibson (Pennsylvania) - Class of 2022: 152 lbs
Myles Griffin (Florida) - Class of 2021: 145 lbs
Christian Hansen (New York) - Class of 2021: 170 lbs
Nico Provo (Connecticut) - Class of 2021: 126 lbs
There's plenty of young talent already in the Friedman Center at Cornell for first-year head coach Mike Grey and the good news is there's more on the way. Six wrestlers from the Class of 2021 and two from 2022 are slated to hit the mat in Fargo. The only member of the bunch with past Junior level credentials to his name is Nico Provo, a freestyle finalist in 2019 at 113 lbs. He's expected to be a top contender at the loaded 126 lb bracket. The only past champion of the bunch is Daniel Cardenas, who has made the 16U freestyle finals on two occasions (he won in 2019). Cardenas' success isn't limited to freestyle, as he was seventh in Greco in 2019. He'll be one of the â€œguys to beatâ€ in an imposing 145 lb weight class. The other member of this class with past placement in both styles is Evan Canoyer. Evan was fourth in 16U Greco and sixth in freestyle in 2019. His 170 lb weight class is extremely deep, but without a clear favorite. He could be a major factor. The other returning freestyle All-American is Erik Gibson. Gibson was seventh in 16U freestyle in 2019 and is expected to improve upon that finish in 2021. He's on the shortlist of potential champs at 152 lbs.
Luke Duthie, Ethan Fernandez, Myles Griffin, and Christian Hansen have all shown flashes during their careers that would lead you to believe they can have some success this time around. Fernandez was actually a Greco-Roman AA in 2019, taking sixth in at 126 lbs in 16U. We'll have to keep an eye out to see if Griffin/Cardenas or Hansen/Canoyer run into each other.
Caden Rogers (Pennsylvania) - Class of 2022: 195 lbs
Lehigh's most recent commit, Caden Rogers, is their only one expected to wrestle next week. Rogers is a prospect that has gained significant steam over the past year. He was a National Prep Open champion in a very solid weight class. Rogers also has a past track record in Fargo. In 2019, Rogers took fifth in 16U Greco-Roman. Though the 195 lb weight class is overflowing with talent, Rogers is capable of a high finish, further displaying his recent growth. He comes into the weekend with a #28 overall ranking on the Big Board.
Jake Niffenegger (Ohio) - Class of 2022: 132 lbs
Danny Wask (New Jersey) - Class of 2022: 152 lbs
A pair of rising seniors represent that excellent class that head coach Cary Kolat has assembled already for the Class of 2022. Both Jake Niffenegger and Danny Wask have gotten onto the podium at Fargo in the past. Niffenegger was fourth in Cadet freestyle in 2018, before he entered high school. In the 2020-21 season, Niffenegger was a state runner-up at 138 lbs. He is expected to drop down to 132 for this week. That weight is extremely deep, with at least 15 past All-Americans set to compete. Even so, expect Jake to be in the mix. Wask was placed in both styles as a Cadet in 2018 at 106 lbs. He's grown significantly since and will be at 152 lbs this time. Since moving up in weight, Wask has experienced the same type of success at national-level events.
Alex Almeyda (New Jersey) - Class of 2022: 138 lbs
Louis Colaiocco (New Jersey) - Class of 2021: 145 lbs
Martin Cosgrove (New Jersey) - Class of 2022: 220 lbs
Richard Delsanter (Ohio) - Class of 2021: 132 lbs
Kelly Dunnigan (New Jersey) - Class of 2021; 126 lbs
Hunter Gandy (New Jersey) - Class of 2021: 152 lbs
Evan Mougalian (New Jersey) - Class of 2022: 126 lbs
Jackson Polo (New York) - Class of 2022: 132 lbs
Sean Seefeldt (Ohio) - Class of 2021: 120 lbs
Lance Urbas (Pennsylvania) - Class of 2021: 170 lbs
The award for most recruits competing in Fargo goes to Roger Reina and the Penn Quakers. That extends across all conferences, not just the EIWA. An amazing ten future Quakers are expected to compete in the FargoDome! The highest-ranked of this plethora of Penn prospects is Martin Cosgrove, who is sixth at 220 lbs and 23rd overall in the Class of 2022. Cosgrove won his first New Jersey state title at a sophomore at 195 lbs and has been able to compete against, and defeat, older competition even at an upper weight. He should be in the mix for a title here. The only returning Junior placewinner out of this group is Kelly Dunnigan, who was fourth in freestyle in 2019. He was also a two-time state runner-up and a two-time placer at the Super 32. Alex Almeyda is the only one with a past finals berth on the resume. Almeyda was a Cadet freestyle runner-up in 2018. He has also taken third at the Super 32 on two occasions.
Of the rest of this crew, Sean Seefeldt is the only other to achieve All-American status in Fargo. Seefeldt was has been top-six in Cadet/16U freestyle twice. He could make an impact at 120 lbs. The highest-ranked wrestler that hasn't been mentioned yet, is Evan Mougalian, a two-time state finalist. Mougalian was a champion in 2020 as a freshman. He hasn't had any national-level credentials in the international styles yet.
Expect each of Penn's recruits to win multiple matches and maybe come away with a couple of All-Americans.
Christopher Martino (Idaho) - Class of 2022: 132 lbs
Dean Peterson (New Jersey) - Class of 2021: 126 lbs
Ty Whalen (New Jersey) - Class of 2022: 138 lbs
The trio that Princeton will send to Fargo is very intriguing, each in its own unique way. Christopher Martino has placed four times at the Cadet/16U level. Each came at under 100 lbs, so we'll have to see how he fares up 30 pounds. Martino's best results have come in Greco, as he was third in 2018. Dean Peterson was the cornerstone of the Tigers 2021 recruiting class and spent a portion of his senior year ranked number one in the nation. He finished as a three-time New Jersey champion and a four-time finalist. Based on talent, you'd assume that Peterson will be one of the favorites at 126, along with Iowa's Drake Ayala; however, he doesn't have the freestyle pedigree of some of the top contenders. Ty Whalen broke out big time in the 2020-21 season, which was led off by a sixth-place showing at the Super 32. He went on to capture a New Jersey title at 132 lbs. The 138 lb bracket has plenty of capable challengers, but no one that stands out above the rest. Whalen has the goods to emerge as the champion on his best day.