Two-time Iowa state champion Ben Kueter (Photo/Cam Kramer; CamKramerPhoto.smugmug.com)
State College, Pennsylvania, was the place to be this weekend on the high school circuit as some of the best clubs in the nation converged to compete in the Ultimate Club Duals. Teams came from all over the country, including California and Iowa, to test their skills against many of the best from Pennsylvania. This was truly a club event as the first weight contested was 34 kg (74lbs), so you could conceivably have elementary school kids competing on the same team as high schoolers. It's a cool concept that could be even better going forward. As with any high school event of this magnitude, some unexpected upsets took place. Here are ten notable ones and how they occurred.
All rankings courtesy of MatScouts
54 kg - Jacob Silka (JK Squad) over #7 Kael Lauridsen (Team Shutt) 17-13
Two-time Georgia state champion Jacob Silka registered the biggest win of his career when he downed seventh-ranked Kael Lauridsen in an absolute shootout, 17-13. The entire match was one of runs and Lauridsen got it started with four pairs of scores which gave him an 8-0 advantage. Despite trailing 9-2 at the halfway point, Silka came out aggressive with a takedown and two sets of scores from leg laces. A four-point counter from Lauridsen broke up the Silka scoring party, but that didn't crush his spirits. Silka responded with a four of his own, then held off a charge from Lauridsen to win, 17-13.
60 kg - Brock Herman (Team Shutt) over #20 Hunter Mason (JK Squad) 10-0 and #14 Tyler Kasak (MS Magicians) 4-1
What a tournament for Ohio state runner-up Brock Herman. The Brecksville sophomore was a finalist in Ohio's DI class and knocked off undefeated Ismael Ayoub to make the championship match. There he fell by a 3-1 margin to Purdue signee Dustin Norris. Over the weekend, Herman dominated Super 32 sixth-place finisher Hunter Mason, 10-0, before grinding out a 4-1 win over Pennsylvania state champion Tyler Kasak in the finals of the gold pool. By the next time the Matscouts rankings are released, expect to see Herman among them.
60 kg Gregor McNeil (Wyoming Valley RTC) over #14 Tyler Kasak (M2 Magicians) 7-4
Like many of his teammates, Gregor McNeil hasn't shown much lately because Wyoming Seminary hasn't officially competed in their high school season. They have a National Prep tournament in less than two weeks, so McNeil may be able to garner some more big wins there. McNeil did most of his damage off of counters and got two sets of points to go ahead late in the second period after exposing Kasak twice in a scramble.
63 kg - #8 Ben Alanis (Team Shutt) over #1 Shayne Van Ness (Blairstown Wrestling Club) 16-5
This was the big one, seeing the top-ranked 138 lber in the nation going down and in dominant fashion. Ben Alanis was busy off the opening whistle and hustled into a double leg at the edge of the mat with less than 30 seconds elapsed in the match. From there, he only gained more confidence and continued to attack. The icing on the cake came in the second period when he was clamping down with a whizzer and tossed Van Ness to his back for four points, right in front of the Team Shutt bench. The Northern Colorado signee may have flown under the radar for some as he hails from Arizona, but suffice it to say that won't be an issue going forward.
63 kg - #5 Chance Lamer (Poway Elite) over #1 Shayne Van Ness (Blairstown Wrestling Club) 12-6
Top-ranked Van Ness suffered a pair of losses on Sunday as he fell to Chance Lamer in the fifth-place match in the Gold pool. The turning point of the match was a questionable sequence late in the first period. With Van Ness leading 3-2, Lamer was finishing a low attack out the back door and was taken backward by Van Ness. The flurry could have been ruled two in Van Ness' favor; however, four was given to Lamer. In this particular match, and for most of the tournament, there was only one official per mat. That momentum carried over to the second period as Lamer stymied a Van Ness attack and grabbed a takedown to lead, 8-3. While it appeared that Van Ness might mount a comeback late in the match, Lamer used a pair of laces to extend his lead to 12-6.
73 kg - #15 RJ Weston (Team Shutt) over #10 (152) Erik Gibson (M2 Magicians) 6-3
Another upset in the championship bout saw RJ Weston knock off Erik Gibson. Gibson could not compete at the PIAA state tournament due to transfer rules, but was able to compete this weekend and took the early lead with a takedown less than 20 seconds into the match. From there, the man with the mullet (Weston) took control after gaining four points from a gut wrench while in a quadpod. The two were in the position again, after a restart, but Gibson wisely went down rather than give up four more points.
77 kg - #21 (170) Logan Messer (Team Shutt) over #9 (152) Tyler Lillard (JK Squad) 8-1
This upset isn't quite as significant as others since Tyler Lillard is ranked at 152 lbs and Logan Messer is at 170 and the match took place at 169 lbs. Right from the get-go, Messer asserted himself physically and took the early lead after trying to go upper body. As one may expect from the larger wrestler, Messer was able to control ties, the center of the mat, and dictate the pace for the majority of the bout. Messer is an Ohio DI state champion that will attend George Mason in the fall.
83 kg - Griffin Gammell (Sebolt Wrestling Academy) over #6 (170) Trey Kibe (M2 Magicians) 7-6
Iowa state runner-up Griffin Gammell overcame a six-point deficit to knock off top-ten ranked Trey Kibe in another pivotal bout from this gold pool semifinal. Doing all of his work in the second period, Gammell slowly chipped away at the Kibe lead until he was down by a point with approximately 25 seconds remaining. Kibe held onto Gammell's leg, hoping to burn some precious clock. Gammell kept moving and spun to finish a takedown with :15 seconds remaining in the contest. Kibe appeared to be spent and was unable to challenge Gammell on the ensuing restart.
83 kg - #11 TJ Stewart (Blairstown Wrestling Club) over #6 Hayden Walters (Poway Elite) 5-3
This bout between a pair of elite upperweights was more tactical than some of the other matches we've detailed. TJ Stewart got on the board twice in the early going as he collected single legs on Hayden Walters and walked him out of bounds. Walters took the lead late in the first with a takedown. But it wasn't for long as Stewart started the second period with a big double leg for two points. Some fancy footwork at the edge of the mat gave Stewart another point and helped ice the match. It wouldn't be enough, from a team standpoint, as Poway Elite edged Blairstown, 43-41 for fifth place.
89 kg - #15 Ben Kueter (Sebolt Wrestling Academy) over #2 Christian Carroll (M2 Magicians) Fall 1:46
Not only did we have a number one go down, but also a number two in 195 lber Christian Carroll of Indiana. Carroll met up with 15th ranked Ben Kueter in a clash that featured two of the top sophomore big men in the nation. Kueter held an early lead due to a shot clock violation on Carroll, which made the Super 32 champion aggressive. Carroll's leg attack was stuffed by Kueter, who then proceeded to lock up a cradle secure a fall. Despite the fall from the two-time Iowa state champion, Kueter's Sebolt Wrestling Academy teammates fell to M2 on criteria.