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  • Photo: Tony Rotundo

    Photo: Tony Rotundo

    Fargo 2023: By the Numbers

    Another edition of the 16U and Junior National Championships, affectionately known as Fargo, is in the books. As always, the massive fields created some interesting and forgettable memories. The following is a look at the point differential leaders in each of the tournaments and the two wrestlers who put on the highest scoring match of the event. 

    16U Men’s Freestyle/Greco Roman

    Dreshaun Ross was the most statistically dominant athlete at Fargo this year, and he accomplished this in both styles. In the 16U division for men’s freestyle, he averaged 10.79 points per minute, while allowing his opponents to only average 0.76 points per minute. His resulting +10.03 point differential was the highest in the style.

    Ross then stepped up his game for the Greco Roman tournament. In that bracket, he averaged 12.50 points per minute and did not allow a single point. His +12.50 point differential was not only the highest in16U Greco Roman, but it was the highest of any competitor in any style across the entire event.

    At 195 pounds in freestyle, Ross did not allow a single point until he faced off against Jake Conroy in the finals. The Iowa representative got out to a 4-0 lead, before Conroy took a criteria lead with a four-point score. That would be the only score Ross would allow in the bracket. He scored the next 12 points and terminated the bout seven seconds into the second period.


    In the same weight in Greco, Ross’ first three opponents lasted only one minute combined as he charged to match termination victories. He eventually dispatched all six of his opponents in a total of only four minutes. His longest match in Greco was his quarterfinal bout against Standford Thompson of Tennessee, and it lasted only 75 seconds.


    While a performance like this will certainly attract the attention of college coaches, they likely will have some major competition. Ross is also apparently quite the football player. Per 247sports.com, he has already received scholarship offers from Iowa, Iowa State, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska and Purdue. With heavyweight seemingly in the future, it is possible he could pursue both wrestling and football on the collegiate level like former Iowa prep Ben Kueter. However, that seems exceedingly difficult to an outsider. 


    Junior Freestyle

    From one potential heavyweight to a current one, Koy Hopke was the standout statistical performer in the junior freestyle division. On the way to the title at heavyweight, Hopke averaged 9.85 points per minute and allowed only 0.36. His +9.49 point differential was the highest at the junior level.


    Hopke did not surrender a point until his semifinals match against Navarro Schunke of South Dakota.  He was leading 9-0 before Schunke scored a two-point takedown on the edge of the mat. Hopke responded and still managed to end the match in the first period.

    The heavyweight final was a showdown between Hopke and Idaho’s Aden Attao. The expected contest certainly lived up to expectations. Attao started things off by scoring the first seven points of the bout and went to the break with a 7-1 lead. The second period was an entirely different story as Hopke came all the way back to even things at 9-9 and ultimately finished the match via fall in the final 30 seconds.

    This past May, Hopke announced his commitment to Minnesota and looks to be yet another in the long line of standout Gopher heavyweights. His performance at Fargo would certainly give fans in Minnesota something to get excited about. 


    Junior Women’s Freestyle

    Zao Estrada came up short in her bid for a Fargo title. The South Carolina representative made the finals but ultimately came up short against Clare Booe. Estrada can take some solace in the fact that she finished with the highest point differential in any of the women’s divisions.

    Despite the finals loss, Estrada averaged 7.34 points per minute. She did not allow a single point until she faced off against Booe. Even after allowing 13 points in the finals match, she still only averaged 1.36 points against per minute. Estrada finished with a +5.98 point differential, which was well ahead of the field. The competitor in women’s freestyle with the second highest point differential was Taylor Graveman at 132 pounds (+4.70).


    Estrada, who finished fourth in the South Carolina Class 4A boys state tournament, also entered the Junior Greco tournament where she went 3-2.


    16U Women’s Freestyle

    Down an age group, Pennsylvania's Sierra Chiesa dominated her way to a title at 117 pounds. She made her way to the finals with six-straight shutout victories. In the title match, Chiesa scored a 6-2 decision over Alexis Lazar. She finished with a 5.25 points per minute rate and allowed her opponents to only score 0.17 per minute. Thanks to that strong defense, her +5.08 differential was tops in the division. 


    Chiesa made history this past season when she became the first female competitor in the 86-year history of the PIAA state tournament. This upcoming season, PIAA will sanction women’s wrestling as a sport for the first time. 

    Junior Greco Roman

    In terms of point differential, junior Greco was a strange tournament. The wrestler with the best differential, Yannis Charles (+5.33), was forced out of the 152-pound bracket with an injury after only three bouts. 

    Musa Tamaradze had the second best differential at +4.90. He averaged 6.26 points per minute, while only allowing his opponents to score 1.36. Despite having the second highest differential, Tamaradze settled for a third-place finish at 120 pounds after dropping his semifinal match against eventual champion Elyle Francisco.


    Highest Scoring Match

    Fargo is an opportunity for most wrestlers to let it fly. School is out for the summer, and the competitors are no longer restrained by folkstyle rules. InterMat celebrates those who are not afraid to put up points.

    The honor for highest scoring match belongs to Jacob Myers and Collin Mullins who combined to score 52 points when they met in the 132-pound freestyle tournament. The match happened in the consolation bracket, so it ended the tournament for Mullins. Myers won another match before ultimately being eliminated by eventual third-place finisher Cooper Hilton.

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