Last weekend, Who’s #1 took place and showcased some of the finest high school wrestlers in the nation. The 2023 edition of the event marked the 11th installment of this showcase event. 11 years is long enough and provides us with enough points of information to look back at the history of the event and compare it to the 2023 results.
After pouring through the results, here are some findings about Who’s #1.
This year also marked the third year with a full girls dual, as well. Before that, there were a few girl's matches scattered throughout the cards. Once we have another year or two’s worth of data (and these girls tally some collegiate achievements) we’ll be able to do a full article dedicated to the girl’s dual.
Let’s get to it:
Anthony Knox became the first wrestler to win in three different editions of Who’s #1. Previously, Daton Fix appeared in the 2014-16 duals; however, he fell to Nick Suriano in the legendary, no-time-limit match in 2014. Gavin Teasdale appeared in 2014-16 but went 1-2. Jesse Mendez was in three different years, but suffered losses to Casey Swiderski (2021) and Shayne Van Ness (2019).
In his three wins, Knox has outscored his competition 35-7. Those wins have come against Leo DeLuca and a pair of U17 world medalists (Christian Castillo and Luke Lilledahl).
Prior to 2023, there were only two bouts between wrestlers from the same state in the event’s history. 2019 (Robbie Howard/Trevor Mastrogiovanni - NJ) and 2017 (Gavin Hoffman/Michael Beard - PA). This year’s iteration had three. Knox/DeLuca - NJ, Pierson Manville/Kollin Rath - PA, and Aeoden Sinclair/Connor Mirasola - WI.
When Daniel Zepeda pinned Bo Bassett at 138 lbs, it was only the fifth fall in the history of the event. Interestingly enough, there were no falls in the first four years of Who’s #1.
Of the five falls, four have included Pennsylvania wrestlers. Trent Hidlay and Sammy Sasso recorded the first two pins, while Tyler Kasak and Bassett were victims of the fall.
The 126 lb match between Jax Forrest and Jordyn Raney became the highest-scoring Who’s #1 bout of all-time (18-15 in sudden victory). It does have an asterisk next to it because of using the new collegiate scoring rules (3-point takedowns). Were the bout contested under the previous rules, it would have been 14-12, which would have been the second-highest-scoring match. The highest in the two-point takedown era was a 19-8 win by Bo Bassett over Seth Mendoza in 2021.
The 2023 Who’s #1 dual marked the first time since 2017 that the event didn’t feature a four-man mini-tournament.
The 2021 Who’s #1 dual featured a pair of wrestlers that went on to earn All-American honors during the next collegiate season with Jesse Mendez (Ohio State - 6th) and Caleb Henson (Virginia Tech - 5th).
Jordyn Raney became only the second wrestler from Kentucky to compete in Who’s #1. The only other was Nathan Boston in 2013. Boston defeated future All-American Sean Russell at 120 lbs.
Along the same lines, Will Henckel became only the second wrestler from Connecticut to get selected. Ryan Jack (2019) was the other.
With Henckel and Leo DeLuca’s inclusion, it marks the 15th time a wrestler from Blair Academy has appeared in the dual. Previously Marc-Anthony McGowan, DeLuca, TJ Stewart, Travis Mastrogiovanni (x2), Rylan Rogers, Trevor Mastrogiovanni, Shayne Van Ness, Julian Ramirez (x2), Mason Manville (x2), and Matt Kolodzik were selected.
On four occasions future NCAA finalists squared off at Who’s #1; Jason Nolf/Joey McKenna (2013), Zahid Valencia/Myles Martin (2014), Suriano/Fix (2014), Nick Lee/Sammy Sasso (2016). Only time will tell if 2023 participants will be added to the list.
The only wrestler in the history of the event to lose multiple overtime bouts at Who’s #1 is Roman Bravo-Young. He was beaten by Gavin Teasdale in 2015 and Joey Silva in 2017. RBY was 0-2 at the event but still went on to have an incredible collegiate career.
15 future NCAA champions have appeared at Who’s #1. They are Jason Nolf, Seth Gross, Valencia, Martin, Mark Hall, Vincenzo Joseph, Suriano, Gable Steveson, Yianni Diakomihalis, Shane Griffith, David Carr, Lee, Pat Glory, Andrew Alirez, and Keegan O’Toole. This list is sure to grow, perhaps as soon as the 2024 NCAA Tournament.
Now that Josh Barr is at Penn State, it will make three times when future teammates squared off with one another at Who’s #1. Barr and Levi Haines met in 2021. Previously, the only time it had happened was with Kaid Brock/Nick Piccininni (2014) and RBY/Teasdale (2015). With a large portion of the 2023 group uncommitted, it could have occurred again.