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  • Photo: Tony Rotundo

    Photo: Tony Rotundo

    Which Schools Have Signed the Most Fargo JR Freestyle Champions?

    Drake Ayala at the Junior finals in 2021 (photo courtesy of Tony Rotundo; WrestlersAreWarriors.com)

    In order for a team to make a significant impact at the NCAA Championships, they have to "have the horses." Recruiting is as important in wrestling as any other collegiate sport. The underdog, walk-on stories are nice, but more often than not, the guys who compete for national titles are ones that we noticed as stars in high school.

    This trend is evident when analyzing Fargo winners. The pinnacle of high school wrestling, especially in the international styles, are championships in Fargo's Junior division. Since wins on the Greco-Roman front don't always translate to folkstyle success, we're going to focus on Junior Men's Freestyle. Which schools end up signing the most Junior Freestyle national champions? We have the results below and they generally are in lockstep with programs that have won the most at NCAA's. Are they winning because they are signing superstars or are they signing superstars because they are winning? It's kind of a "chicken or the egg" argument, but one for a different day.

    Below are schools that have signed Junior Freestyle national champions since 2010, listed alphabetically. The number in parentheses is the number of individual champions they have signed. Some of these athletes may have ended up transferring later in their collegiate careers.

    Wrestlers with a * next to their name are from the Class of 2023 and haven't officially "signed" with that college yet, but have merely given verbal commitments.

    As with all Fargo-related content, Jason Bryant's Fargo Almanac is an incredible resource for any historical study.

    Arizona State (3): Brandon Courtney (2015 - 113 lbs), Tyler Liberatore (2010 - 130 lbs), Tanner Hall (2010 - 215 lbs)

    Boise State (1): Carson Kuhn (2010 - 119 lbs)

    Clarion (1): Joey Fischer (2018 - 100 lbs)

    Columbia (2): Angelo Rini (2019 - 126 lbs), Markus Schiedel (2013 - 160 lbs)

    Cornell (3): Joshua Saunders (2019 - 138 lbs), Ben Darmstadt (2016 - 195 lbs), Brian Realbuto (2011 - 145 lbs)

    Drexel (1): Ty Smith (2017 - 113 lbs)

    Fresno State (1): Jace Luchau (2019 - 152 lbs)

    Illinois (6): Kannon Webster (2021 - 120 lbs)*, Luke Luffman (2019 and 2020 - 285 lbs), Danny Braunagel (2018 - 160 lbs), Isaiah Martinez (2012 - 160 lbs), Zane Richards (2011 - 130 lbs), Zac Brunson (2011 - 152 lbs)

    Indiana (1): Elijah Oliver (2013 - 113 lbs)

    Iowa (12): Drake Ayala (2019 and 2021 - 113/126 lbs), Patrick Kennedy (2019 - 170 lbs), Abe Assad (2019 - 182 lbs), Cullan Schriever (2018 - 113 lbs), Tony Cassioppi (2017 and 2018 - 285 lbs), Jacob Warner (2017 - 195 lbs), Seth Gross (2013 - 132 lbs), Cory Clark (2012 - 126 lbs), Sam Brooks (2012 - 195 lbs), Thomas Gilman (2011 - 119 lbs), Jake Ballweg (2010 - 140 lbs), Nick Moore (2010 - 160 lbs)

    Iowa State (8): Manny Rojas (2021 - 170 lbs), David Carr (2017 - 160 lbs), Austin Gomez (2016 - 126 lbs); Ian Parker (2016 - 132 lbs), Sammy Colbray (2016 - 220 lbs), Gannon Gremmel (2016 - 285 lbs), Danny Vega (2014 - 106 lbs), Marcus Harrington (2014 - 220 lbs)

    Lehigh (1): Jordan Wood (2015 - 220 lbs)

    Michigan (5): Drew Mattin (2017 - 126 lbs), Ben Freeman (2017 - 138 lbs), Will Lewan (2017 - 152 lbs), Austin Assad (2015 and 2014 - 126/120 lbs), Adam Coon (2012 and 2013 - 285 lbs)

    Minnesota (11): Tagen Jamison (2021 - 138 lbs), Brayton Lee (2018 - 152 lbs), Patrick McKee (2017 - 120 lbs), Jake Allar (2016 - 160 lbs), Fredy Stroker (2015 - 145 lbs), Larry Early (2015 - 152 lbs), Mitch McKee (2014 - 126 lbs), Tommy Thorn (2012 and 2014 - 113/132 lbs), Bobby Steveson (2014 - 195 lbs), Hunter Marko (2013 - 106 lbs), Logan Storley (2010 - 171 lbs)

    Missouri (4): Keegan O'Toole (2018 - 138 lbs), Zach Elam (2017 - 220 lbs), Canten Marriott (2016 - 170), J'den Cox (2012 - 220 lbs)

    Navy (1): Atilano Escobar (2017 - 132 lbs)

    NC State (2): Dylan Fishback (2021 - 195 lbs), Nick Reenan (2015 - 182)

    Nebraska (3): Dominick Serrano (2019 - 132 lbs), Beau Breske (2015 - 170), Destin McCauley (2010 - 152)

    North Carolina (2): Nasir Bailey (2021 - 132 lbs), Wil Guida (2017 and 2018 - 100/106 lbs)

    Northern Colorado (1): Jacob Seely (2015 - 195 lbs)

    Northwestern (5): Jack Jessen (2018 - 182 lbs), Lucas Davison (2018 - 195 lbs), Mitch Sliga (2013 - 195 lbs), Bryce Brill (2012 - 138 lbs), Jason Tsirtsis (2011 - 140 lbs)

    Old Dominion (1): Anthony Molton (2019 - 120 lbs)

    Ohio State (8): Andre Gonzales (2019 - 106 lbs), Anthony Echemendia (2019 - 145 lbs), Paddy Gallagher (2019 - 160 lbs), Jordan Decatur (2018 - 132 lbs), Carson Kharchla (2018 - 170 lbs), Malik Heinselman (2016 - 100 lbs), Myles Martin (2014 - 182 lbs), Nathan Tomasello (2021, 2012 and 2013 - 112/120 lbs)

    Oklahoma State (10): Jordan Williams (2021 - 145 lbs), Daton Fix (2015 - 120 lbs), Joseph Smith (2015 - 160 lbs), Ryan Blees (2013 and 2014 - 152/160 lbs), Chandler Rogers (2014 - 170 lbs), Anthony Collica (2012/2013 - 145 lbs), Kyle Crutchmer (2012 - 170 lbs), Jordan Rogers (2012 - 182 lbs), Alex Dieringer (2010 and 2011 - 145/160 lbs), Eddie Klimara (2010 - 125 lbs)

    Penn (3): Christian Carroll (2021 - 220 lbs), Michael Colaiocco (2018 - 126 lbs), Anthony Artalona (2016 and 2017; 145 lbs)

    Penn State (10): Braeden Davis (2021 - 113 lbs)*, Josh Barr (2021 - 160 lbs)*, Aaron Brooks (2017 - 170 lbs), Gavin Teasdale (2016 - 120 lbs); Nick Lee (2016 - 138 lbs), Mason Manville (2014 - 152 lbs), Jared Cortez (2013 - 126 lbs), Bo Nickal (2013 - 170 lbs), Zain Retherford (2012 - 132 lbs), Morgan McIntosh (2010 and 2011 - 189/215 lbs)

    Presbyterian (1): Jonovan Smith (2019 - 195 lbs)

    Princeton (1): Matt Kolodzik (2015 - 138 lbs)

    Purdue (2): Max Lyon (2017 - 182 lbs), Griffin Parriott (2016 - 152 lbs)

    Rutgers (1): Nic Aguilar (2016 - 113 lbs)

    South Dakota State (1): Paul Mascarenas (2012 - 106 lbs)

    Stanford (1): Matt Garelli (2010 and 2011 - 98/105 lbs)

    Utah Valley (3): Taylor LaMont (2015 - 132 lbs), Matt Findlay (2014 - 138 lbs), Roy Nash (2013 - 220 lbs)

    Virginia (2): Louie Hayes (2015 - 106 lbs), Jack Mueller (2014 - 113 lbs)

    Virginia Tech (5): Caleb Henson (2021 - 152 lbs), TJ Stewart (2021 - 182 lbs), Bryce Andonian (2018 - 145 lbs), Sam Latona (2017 - 106 lbs), Joey Dance (2011 - 125 lbs)

    Wisconsin (3): Braxton Amos (2019 - 220 lbs), Eric Barnett (2018 - 120 lbs), Connor Medbery (2011 - 285 lbs)



    Augsburg (1): Owen Webster (2016 - 182 lbs)

    Iowa Lakes CC (1): Freddie Rodriguez (2010 - 112 lbs)

    Iowa Western (1): Devin Peterson (2011 - 195 lbs)

    Lindsey Wilson (1): Michael Pixley (2013 - 182 lbs)

    Notre Dame (1): Isaiah White (2014 - 145 lbs)

    UW LaCrosse (1): Ben Kawczynski (2021 - 285 lbs)

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