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  • Photo: Photo/Mark Lundy

    Photo: Photo/Mark Lundy

    Top statistical performers at Senior Nationals

    Kyle Snyder averaged 4.21 points per minute at Senior Nationals (Photo/Mark Lundy, Lutte-Lens.com)

    The 2020 edition of the Senior Nationals took place this past weekend in Iowa. The tournament declared champions in all 18 weight classes across the three Olympic styles. As always there were several wrestlers who stood out from the field. The following looks at some of the top statistical performers from the event.

    Greco-Roman

    Benji Peak entered the 67-kilogram bracket as the fourth seed. He went ahead and had himself a tournament. He won all four of his matches via match termination and took the tournament title. Along the way, Peak scored 10.87 points per minute. If that scoring rate sounds absurd for Greco, it is. The second highest points per minute rate in the Greco tournament belonged to Lukas Poloncic, who averaged 5.11 points per minute in the 87-kilogram bracket.

    Not only did Peak run up the score on his opponents, but he also surrendered zero points. All other Greco competitors allowed at least one point. Peak was one of only four competitors across all three styles to shutout the field.

    Peak's prolific scoring and strong defense left him with a +10.87 point differential (points per minute minus points against per minute). Obviously this was the highest metric in the Greco field. Super prospect Braxton Amos had the second highest point differential at +3.17. The following scatter plot visualizes just how much of an outlier Peak was at U.S. Nationals.



    While Greco is considered by some to be a less dynamic style of wrestling. That certainly does not appear to be the case domestically. At Senior Nationals, 132 of the 202 (65%) Greco matches resulted in match termination. Of course it only takes an eight-point differential to stop a Greco match, this rate was much higher than freestyle. 59% of freestyle matches finished via match termination.



    Alli Ragan had the highest points per minute in women's wrestling at Senior Nationals (Photo/John Sachs, Tech-Fall.com)

    Women's wrestling

    Perhaps the biggest upset of the tournament came at 57 kilograms in women's wrestling. Unseeded upstart Xochitl Mota-Pettis caught the No. 1 seed Alli Ragan in a headlock and scored the first-period fall when they met in the quarterfinals. Despite this defeat, Ragan fought back in the consolation bracket and took third. For the tournament, she scored 5.22 points per minute, which was the highest rate in women's freestyle, and the only two points she surrendered came in the match against Mota-Pettis.

    Sarah Hildebrandt, down at 50 kilograms, had the second highest scoring rate as she scored 4.73 points per minute. She also did not surrender a single point in her four matches. Adeline Gray and Katherine Shair also prevented their opponents from notching any points as well.

    The two points allowed by Ragan equate to a 0.28 points per minute allowed. This leaves her with a +4.94 point differential, which was the best rate in the tournament slightly ahead of Hildebrandt (+4.73). There are two ways to look at a bronze medal winner having the best point differential. First, there is an issue with match scoring when a match-ending headlock results in only two points. Second, Ragan was not having an off tournament, which makes the Mota-Pettis victory all the more impressive.



    Freestyle

    Despite falling behind Kyven Gadson by five points and eventually pulling out of the match with an injury, Kyle Snyder actually had the highest points per minute rate in the tournament. He averaged 4.21 points per minute after outscoring his first three opponents by a combined 28-0 score and finishing all three matches in the first period. Snyder's 4.21 rate was slightly ahead of Vito Arujau who ran through the 57-kilogram bracket while scoring 4.19 points per minute.

    In terms of defense, Gabe Dean was the leader in men's freestyle. He allowed only 0.19 points per minute. He never allowed more than a single point in any of his matches and surrendered only four points in five matches. This defense was particularly beneficial in his finals match as he scored a 1-1 criteria victory over Nate Jackson.

    Arujau had the highest point differential as he used his dynamic scoring to finish matches before his opponents could land any real points. He averaged 4.19 points per minute, while allowing only 0.67, for a +3.52 point differential. Arujau's only match to go the full six minutes was his semifinal bout against Jack Mueller, which was an 11-6 victory.



    If you like matches with a lot of points, Hayden Hidlay was the wrestler for you. The third-place finisher at 74 kilograms really filled up the scorebook. In his eight matches, he combined with his opponents to score 110 total points, which was the highest point total across all three styles. The only other wrestlers to have over 100 points scored in their matches were Matthew Malcom (103) and Danny Braunagel (102).

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