220 lb Junior Freestyle National Champion Christian Carroll of Indiana (Photo courtesy of Tony Rotundo; WrestlersAreWarriors.com)
Junior Freestyle at this year's Fargo tournament wrapped up on Tuesday. As always, the event featured some of the top high school wrestlers across the country and some very large brackets. The following looks at some of the statistical trends and top performers from the tournament.
This year, in particular, there were an astonishing number of matches finished before the full six minutes. Only 24% of matches ended via VPO or VPO1 during the event. The most common match result was a shutout by superiority with 36% of the matches ended via that method.
The high number of finishes contributed to a very low average match time. The average match across the tournament lasted only 3:17. The weight division with the quickest average match time was actually 220 pounds where the matches lasted only 2:40. The division with the longest average match time of 4:40 was 106 pounds.
Many coaches are probably pleased to see the brightest stars of the next generation of wrestlers lighting up the scoreboard. After all, coaches often praise an offensive mindset. It will be interesting to see if this style is here to stay or if the aggregate scoring will come down after these wrestlers are introduced to the grind of the collegiate wrestling scene that can emphasize situational scoring and close matches.
Drake Ayala dominated his way through the 126-pound bracket. Along the way, he defeated seven opponents, surrendered only two points and finished all of his bouts in the first period. Following the event, he was named "Outstanding Wrestler."
Ayala also had the highest point differential in the entire tournament. He scored 7.05 points per minute, allowed 0.39 points per minute for a +6.66 differential. The future Hawkeye really stood out in the event as his differential was nearly a point higher than the rest of the field.
Zane Donley who won the tournament at 100 pounds finished second in terms of point differential with +5.87, while the 220-pound champion had the fifth highest with +4.30.
Top Five Point Differentials (Minimum Four Matches)
126: Drake Ayala 6.66
100: Zane Donley 5.87
285: Xavier Doolin 5.58
132: Maxximus Martinez 4.41
220: Christian Carroll 4.30
Points per Minute
While Ayala had the highest differential, he was slightly edged in terms of pure scoring by heavyweight Xavier Doolin. He averaged 7.21 points per minute while he was on the mat. Doolin did suffer a fall against Ryan Boersma and defaulted out of a match against Gage Cook. However, in his other five matches, he scored 46 points in under four minutes.
Doolin is part of Northern Colorado's 2021 recruiting class, which was ranked 19th by InterMat. It should be interesting to see if his high scoring will carry over to the Big 12.
Top Five Points per Minute Rates (Minimum Four Matches)
285: Xavier Doolin 7.21
126: Drake Ayala 7.05
100: Zane Donley 6.33
170: Jackson Rosado 6.22
170: Simon Swan 5.71
Points Against per Minute
While top recruit Cooper Flynn was one of the favorites going into this tournament at 120-pounds, he suffered an upset against eventual champion Kannon Webster in the quarterfinals. He did recover and wrestle back for third place. Even though Flynn did not take the tournament title, the soon-to-be Virginia Tech wrestler did earn the distinction of allowing the fewest points per minute (0.20) among all wrestlers with at least four matches.
During the tournament, Flynn wrestled a total of nine matches and allowed only seven points. Four of those points came in his 4-2 loss against Webster.
138-pound champion Tagen Jamison leaned heavily on his defense as he allowed only 0.25 points per minute on his way to the title. Also, Manuel Rojas allowed only 0.28 points per minute as he won the title at 170 pounds.
Top Points Against per Minute Rates (Minimum Four Matches)
120: Cooper Flynn 0.20
138: Tagen Jamison 0.25
170: Manuel Rojas 0.28
145: Caleb Rathjen 0.32
160: Joshua Barr 0.33
195: Rylan Rogers 0.33
132: Maxximus Martinez 0.33
Highest Scoring Matches
As previously stated, this was a very high scoring tournament. While most of these matches were one-sided blowouts, there were also several bouts where both wrestlers were regular contributors to the scoreboard.
The highest scoring match of the event came in the 132-pound bracket. Aliazer Alicea and Kyler Neuberger met in the round of 128, which was the first bout for each wrestler. The match got off to a wild start as Alicea scored a takedown and an exposure in the first 40 seconds before Neuberger came back with a five-point throw.
Alicea held a 14-13 lead at the break before breaking things open in the second period. Neuberger did not stop scoring either, but Alicea put up a five-point throw of his own and took the bout via a 30-23 score. Their combined 53 points was the highest combined total of the tournament.
The only wrestler to both place and finish in the top five for highest scoring matches was Hank Kriegler. The 100-pound wrestler had a 49-point match against Drew Dolphin and eventually finished sixth at the weight.
Top Five Highest Scoring Matches
132: Aliazer Alicea over Kyler Neuberger 30-23
100: Hank Kriegler over Drew Dolphin 26-23
170: Tate Entriken over Samajay Alboyd 24-18
195: Diego Chavez over Ryan Cody 23-18
195: Connor Barket over Blake Schaffer 21-19