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  • Photo: Tony Rotundo

    Photo: Tony Rotundo

    Fireworks on Day Two at 2023 US Senior Nationals

    After two days of wrestling, all Greco champs have been crowned, three women’s titles have been claimed and we have our finalists in men’s freestyle as they joined the party on day two along with the second set of women’s weights. And with a ton of great scrapping in the books we had to look at some of the biggest performances as we go into the final day of wrestling.

    High Schoolers Leave Their Mark

    A trio of high school wrestlers put a stamp on the Senior level with some huge wins in the earlier rounds in the men’s freestyle bracket. First was Aiden Valencia. We’ve seen his name in the headlines for taking out an All-American before, this time he really stepped up as he sent NCAA Champ Seth Gross to the consolation bracket in the second round at 65kg after he defeated Gross by technical fall. 

    Also in the second round, Wyoming Seminary’s Luke Lilledahl defeated NCAA finalist Brandon Courtney, 6-2. Courtney took the early lead, but after the initial points scored by Courtney, it was all Lilledahl who scored the next six points to get the win. Then in the quarterfinals, another NCAA Champ fell at the hands of a high schooler as Connor Mirasola defeated NCAA Champion Max Dean. Both battled tough but in the end, it was Mirasola that came out with the 9-6 victory to punch his ticket to the semifinals. 

    Both Lilledahl and Valencia went on to fall in the quarters the following round and Mirasola dropped his semifinal bout the next round as well. Lilledahl was teched by Nico Megaludis, Valencia took a hard-fought 3-0 loss to Alec Pantaleo and Mirasola lost to Mark Hall. But they definitely showed that they are ready for tough competition on the Senior level. 

    As expected, 65kg Didn’t Disappoint 

    This weight class was certainly the headliner coming into the tournament with the amount of talent registered to compete and so far, the weight class has completely delivered. Now, Beau Bartlett and Andrew Alirez are set to face off in the finals. But, it took a lot of grit to make it that far and the finalists weren’t the only ones putting on a show as you saw above with Valencia. A few matches to go back and watch include: 

    Jaydin Eierman vs Anthony Ashnault: Was Eierman pinned? It looked that way, but he was able to escape a tough situation and get the win over Ashnault. (Honestly, go watch all of Eierman’s matches. There were a ton of points on the board and crazy situations in just about every single one of them. 

    Andrew Alirez vs Alec Pantaleo: A pair of stingy wrestlers put up 7 total points and as you’d expect showcased great defense in the process.

    A Bartlett double feature: Beau Bartlett must like the number 5. In back-to-back bouts, he claimed 5-5 criteria wins over Matt Kolodzik and Joey McKenna in the quarters and the semis, respectively.

    WCAP Lights Up the Night

    The Greco crew out of WCAP has shown out time and time again and this year was no different. The men ended the night with champs at 60kg, 67kg, 77kg, and 87kg. At 60kg, Ildar Hafizov received a forfeit in the final, but his WCAP brothers followed with a ton of heat. Alejandro Sancho came from behind to get the hard-fought 7-6 win over Peyton Omania at 67kg before Kamal Bey sparked the crowd by countering Benji Peak’s turn attempt resulting in Bey getting the first-period fall at 77kg. Spencer Woods finished things off for the team with a chippy 11-3 win over Mahmoud Sebie at 87kg. As a team, WCAP finished second to Titan Mercury, but that was clearly due to the amount of wrestlers representing the club. 

    Some Throws, Some Grit And Overall Tough Performances in Women’s Finals

    Not to be outdone by the Greco finals happening between the women’s finals, the ladies put on a show as well. Sage Mortimer used a last-second score to get the 12-10 win over Samara Chavez at 50kg. Then Vayle Baker held off Katie Gomez’s leg lace in the waning seconds of the bout to get a 5-2 win at 53kg and Amanda Martinez got to pick up a big 4-1 win over Alex Hedrick, who she has a storied history with at 57kg. 


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