Second-ranked 170 lber Gabe Arnold (Photo/SE Wrestle; SEWrestle.com)
Friday marks the start of a massive weekend at the high school and even middle school level. The Cadet World Team Trials will take place in both freestyle and Greco-Roman. Along with the Cadet Trials, the U15 and Futures division will be conducted. This is the first time the Futures tournament has been held. It will be for wrestlers who are 12 and under.
Since the Cadet World Championships were reinstated in 2011, the United States has gained invaluable international experience for wrestlers 17 and under. Having the opportunity to do so in the U15 division will only strengthen wrestlers in that age group as well.
Our partners at MatScouts have done an excellent job breaking down all of the Cadet freestyle weight classes earlier today. Please check out their preview for extensive info on their competitors. Here we have targeted five of the most loaded weight classes in the Cadet freestyle event and made our picks for those weights.
As always, all rankings courtesy of MatScouts
Drew Heethuis - Detroit Central Catholic, MI
Nathanael Jesuroga - Southeast Polk, IA
Paul Kelly - Poway, CA
Vincent Kilkeary - Greater Latrobe, PA
Alan Koehler - Prior Lake, MN
Marc-Anthony McGowan - Blair Academy, NJ
Dalton Perry - Central Mountain, PA
Nick Treaster - Newton, KS
Kolby Warren - Christian Brothers, MO
Kaedyn Williams - Manheim Township, PA
This is one of those weights where you'll have some high-quality kids miss out on the top-12, much less an actual placement. First and foremost, you have to start with 2019 Cadet World Champion Marc-Anthony McGowan. McGowan captured his gold medal at 45 kg, but he has shown nothing to indicate he couldn't win this spot at 51 kg. Currently, Marc-Anthony sits atop the national rankings at 113 lbs. After McGowan, three of the top six wrestlers at 113 lbs have entered with #4 Nathanael Jesuroga, #5 Dalton Perry, and #6 Vincent Kilkeary. Jesuroga was the Super 32 third-place finisher in 2020. There he lost in the second round and won eight straight bouts to finish third. 2020 Pennsylvania AAA champion Vincent Kilkeary won that Super 32 weight class, but never met Jesuroga. The eighth-grade sensation, Perry, has a pair of wins over Kilkeary recently. #15 Drew Heethuis, #17 Alan Koehler, and #18 Kaedyn Williams are also ranked 113 lbs that could have an impact. Heethuis was a Michigan D1 champ this year, while Koehler was a Fargo 16U finalist at 88lbs in 2019, and Williams won a PA title this year in the AAA division. Also of note, Paul Kelly is a Fargo freestyle All-American and Kolby Warren was fourth at the U15 World Team Trials in 2019.
1) Marc-Anthony McGowan
2) Nathanael Jesuroga
3) Dalton Perry
4) Vincent Kilkeary
5) Kaedyn Williams
6) Drew Heethuis
7) Kolby Warren
8) Alan Koehler
Grigor Cholakyan - St. John Bosco, CA
Joe Fernau - Montini Catholic, IL
Zan Fugitt - Nixa, MO
Mason Gibson - Bishop McCort, PA
DJ Gillett - Crescent Valley, OR
Cael Hughes - Stillwater, OK
Cory Land - Moody, AL
Spencer Moore - Walton-Verona, KY
Mitchell Neiner - South Kitsap, WA
Gable Porter - Underwood, IA
Teegan Vasquez - Glacier, MT
Kannon Webster - Washington, IL
Kamdyn Williams - Manheim Township, PA
Daniel Zepeda - Gilroy, CA
Even though there's an incredibly deep field here, most observers probably view freshman #4, Mason Gibson, as the odds-on favorite. Though just a freshman, Gibson has made the finals of the Super 32 on two occasions, winning once as an eighth-grader. Gibson advanced to the Pennsylvania AA state finals before falling victim to a slight upset. A pair of experienced competitors from the south may push Gibson the most in Cory Land and Spencer Moore. Land was a 2019 Greco-Roman World Team member and made the 48 kg finals in freestyle. Land has also placed top-three at the Super 32 twice. Moore is a North Carolina signee that reclassified to the Class of 2021 last summer. He doesn't have an extensive freestyle pedigree, has a pair of sixth-place finished at the Super 32 to his credit.
This weight includes a pair of wrestlers that finished third at the U15 WTT's in 2019, Grigor Cholakyan and Cael Hughes. Cholakyan did so at 38 kg while Hughes was at 44. Also returning from Hughes' weight class are DJ Gillett and Teegan Vasquez, both of whom finished in the top-eight. Illinois state champion Kannon Webster was third at the Cadet Trials in 2019, competing at 45 kg. There he picked up an 8-5 win over Moore. Iowa's Gable Porter was a state champion in 2020 at 106 lbs, but moved all the way up to 132 to help his team and still made the finals this season. Back at a more normal weight class should suit him well here. Joe Fernau is another Illinois state champ in this bracket. He and Mitch Neiner were top-eight finisher at the U15 WTT's in 2019 at 48 kg. Fernau was fourth and Neiner fifth. One more contender is Kamdyn Williams. Williams was an undefeated freshman at 113 lbs in PA and defeated the returning champion (Kilkeary) and eventual winner (Jacob Van Dee), before failing to make weight at the state tournament. Finally, Zan Fugitt was a Super 32 semifinalist this season.
1) Mason Gibson
2) Cory Land
3) Kannon Webster
4) Gable Porter
5) Kamdyn Williams
6) Cael Hughes
7) Grigor Cholakyan
8) Joe Fernau
Tyler Antoniak - Millard South, NE
Joey Blaze - Perrysburg, OH
Nate Burnett - Elyria, OH
Kayd Craig - Gooding, ID
Kyle Dutton - Liberty, MO
Angelo Ferrari - Stillwater, OK
William Henckel - Southbury, CT
Brendan Howes - Anoka, MN
Daschle Lamer - Crescent Valley, OR
Pierson Manville - State College, PA
Carter Martinson - Southeast Polk, IA
Meyer Shapiro - Bullis School, MD
Ethan Stiles - Wyoming Seminary, PA
Jude Swisher - Bellefonte, PA
Noah Tolentino - Poway, CA
Kael Voinovich - Brecksville, OH
Now we get to have some fun! The first two weights we mentioned, along with some we didn't, have distinct favorites. The 2019 U15 tournament is well-represented with placewinners from that event. Most notably, Ethan Stiles, who won the 52 kg weight class. Stiles went on to claim gold at the World Championship and also was sixth in 16U freestyle later that summer in Fargo. Pierson Manville and Brendan Howes also finished in the top-eight at Stiles' weight class. Idaho's Kayd Craig was fourth at 57 kg's.
Tyler Antoniak was a U15 World Champion in Greco in 2019 at 68 kg. He has since placed first and third at the Nebraska state tournament.
#9 Meyer Shapiro is the highest-ranked member of this weight class. Shapiro was a National Prep runner-up in 202 as a freshman. He went 3-2 during his last appearance at Cadet's. One of the veterans of this weight is current junior Kyle Dutton. Kyle is a two-time Missouri state champion who had a strong summer of 2020 on the dual circuit. You can't overlook the latest in the line of Ferrari brothers, freshman Angelo. Ferrari was an Oklahoma state runner-up this season at 152 lbs.
Ohio is well represented with undefeated state champion Joey Blaze, super-freshman Kael Voinovich, and two-time placewinner Nate Burnett. Blaze currently sits at #23 in the national rankings. Voinovich and Burnett were in the same DI weight class this season. The freshman downed Burnett in the consolation semis, on his way to a third-place finish.
Others to watch include Pennsylvania's Jude Swisher. The Home-Mat Advantage podcast star also has a pair of top-four finishes in PA's AAA division to his credit. William Henckel is one of the top-eighth graders in the nation and should have an impact, even at such a high weight.
1) Meyer Shapiro
2) Joey Blaze
3) Ethan Stiles
4) Jude Swisher
5) Tyler Antoniak
6) Kyle Dutton
7) Noah Tolentino
8) Angelo Ferrari
Josh Barr - Davison, MI
Levi Haines - Biglerville, PA
Jared Keslar - Connellsville, PA
Grant MacKay - Laurel, PA
Carson Martinson - Southeast Polk, IA
Thor Michaelson - Bremerton, WA
Enzo Morlacci - Kiski Area, PA
Aiden Riggins - Waverly-Shell Rock, IA
Braeden Scoles - Kewaskum, WI
Joseph Sealey - Highpoint Central, NC
Braden Stauffenberg - Montini Catholic, IL
Antrell Taylor - Millard South, NE
This weight class is set to feature three U15 World Team Trials finalists from 2019. The lone winner from that event was Antrell Taylor, who claimed the silver medal at the World Championships. The Nebraska recruit also made the Fargo 16U finals later that year. The two runner's-up from that tournament are Josh Barr (68 kg) and Aiden Riggins (57 kg). Barr has won Michigan state titles in both of his opportunities, while Riggins dropped Iowa-signee Caleb Rathjen in the 3A state finals to win his first.
The highest-ranked wrestler in this bracket is #6 Levi Haines, who is fresh off his first state title in his third trip to the AA finals. Haines was a Super 32 finalist last fall and a fourth-place finisher in the 16U division last year in Fargo. Pennsylvania has a strong contingent at this weight, with Jared Keslar, Grant MacKay, and Enzo Morlacci all projected to be in the mix. MacKay was a AA state champion at 152 lbs and Keslar was fourth at AAA. Morlacci is a former NHSCA freshman national champion that was sixth at the U15 Trials in 2019.
Could it be a case of home-field advantage for Braeden Scoles, who is less than 90 miles away from his hometown? Scoles has won Wisconsin state titles in both of his first two years of high school.
Two other past U15 WTT placewinners are Thor Michaelson and Braden Stauffenberg. Michaelson was fifth at 62 kg and Stauffenberg was fourth at 62 kg.
1) Antrell Taylor
2) Levi Haines
3) Aiden Riggins
4) Josh Barr
5) Braeden Scoles
6) Braden Stauffenberg
7) Jared Keslar
8) Thor Michaelson
Gabe Arnold - Wyoming Seminary, PA
Drake Buchanan - Center Grove, IN
Noah Mulvaney - Arrowhead, WI
Tate Naaktgeboren - Linn-Mar, IA
Justin Rademacher - West Linn, OR
James Rowley - Crescent Valley, OR
Ryder Rogotzke - Stillwater, MN
Antony Tuttle - Stillwater, MN
Hayden Walters - Crescent Valley, OR
This weight doesn't have the depth of some of the smaller ones, but it has some top-line talent. First and foremost is Gabe Arnold, the second-ranked 170 lber in the nation. Arnold is one of the top overall sophomores in the country. He is one that could have challenged for a place on the team in 2020 had the Trials taken place. A pair of teammates from Oregon, James Rowley and Hayden Walters, could present the biggest hurdles for Arnold. Rowley was a runner-up at the Super 32 in October and was a U15 World bronze medalist in 2019. Walters He is ranked fourth in the country. Walters is ranked sixth up at 182 lbs and was fifth at the Super 32. Another Oregon native, Justin Rademacher, figures to be in the mix. Rademacher was a state runner-up in 2020, as a freshman, and was victorious early this season at USAW's Preseason Nationals.
Another set of teammates will be in the hunt for the podium in Stillwater, Minnesota's Ryder Rogotzke and Antony Tuttle. Rogotzke was fifth at U15 Nationals in 2019 and later made the top-eight in Fargo's 16U Greco tournament. Tuttle was a U15 runner-up at 75 kg two years ago. Another placewinner from that tournament is Drake Buchanan, who was fourth in that weight class. Coming in on a hot streak is Iowa's Tate Naaktgeboren. Tate ran through a loaded field at Folkstyle Nationals and captured his first state title a few months ago.
1) Gabe Arnold
2) James Rowley
3) Tate Naaktgeboren
4) Ryder Rogotzke
5) Hayden Walters
6) Antony Tuttle
7) Drake Buchanan
8) Noah Mulvaney