Potential Hall-Short showdown headlines Cheesehead

Mark Hall defeated Jake Short at the 2011 Minnesota Christmas Tournament (Photo/Jeff Beshey, The Guillotine)

Some great individual showdowns loom at the 15th annual Cheesehead Invitational this coming Friday and Saturday in Kaukauna, Wis. This includes the 152 pound weight class, where two No. 1-ranked wrestlers in the nation will be in the weight class -- Mark Hall (Apple Valley, Minn.) and defending tournament champion Jake Short (Simley, Minn.) moving up one weight class from 145 pounds. In last season's Minnesota Christmas Tournament final, it was Hall upending Short by a 3-0 score.

However, it is no guarantee that these two wrestlers will even get to meet. Also present here is Brian Murphy (Glenbard North, Ill.), a three-time top three finisher at state and three-time Fargo freestyle All-American who is ranked No. 3 nationally. Others part of the puzzle in this weight class are state champion and three-time placer Nick Georgean (Davenport Assumption, Iowa), two-time state placer Mitch Berenz (Arrowhead, Wis.), state placer Spencer Derifield (Waverly-Shell Rock, Iowa), state qualifiers Notay Jackson (Mt. Carmel, Ill.) and Luke Fortuna (Montini Catholic, Ill.), along with freshman Beau Breske (Hartford, Wis.).

Three other defending tournament champions, for a total of four -- and fourteen other nationally ranked individuals, for a total of 17 -- are featured in this field. In addition, seven Fab 50 teams are a part of this event, which was ranked the fifth best regular season tournament in the country by InterMat this summer.

At 120 pounds, Maolu Woiwor (Apple Valley, Minn.) was tournament champion last year at 106 pounds. However, he is not the favorite in this year's event, as two nationally ranked wrestlers are present in a pair of two-time state champion juniors: No. 8 Johnny Jimenez (Marmion Academy, Ill.) and No. 19 Jens Lantz (Ellsworth, Wis.). Joining those three in the field are Cadet Greco-Roman champion Vince Turk (Montini Catholic, Ill.) and state placer Jon Marmolejo (Glenbard North, Ill.), a two-time Cadet Greco-Roman All-American.

Fredy Stroker (Bettendorf, Iowa), ranked No. 16 nationally at 126 pounds, won the 113 weight class last year. However, it is No. 2 Jered Cortez (Glenbard North, Ill.) who is the tournament favorite. Cortez, only a junior, is already a two-time state champion and top ten overall in the Class of 2014. Others meriting attention are two-time state placers Jordan Laster (Montini Catholic, Ill.) and Nick Nasenbenny (Plainfield Central, Ill.), state runner-up Tony Devriese (Davenport Assumption, Iowa), along with Brock Morgan (Apple Valley, Minn.) and Dan Radcliffe (Lockport, Ill.).

Last among the defending champions is No. 6 Newton Smerchek (Luxemburg-Casco, Wis.) at 285 pounds. He is a two-time state finalist, and was state champion last year. Joining Smerchek in this weight class are No. 13 Jake Scanlan (Southeast Polk, Iowa), a Junior National freestyle All-American, state placer Jesse Nelson (Stoughton, Wis.), two-time state qualifier Alex Fritz (Marmion Academy, Ill.), and state qualifier Sean Easler (Davenport Assumption, Iowa).

The other weight in this tournament with multiple nationally ranked wrestlers is 195 pounds, which features No. 8 Jordan Ellingwood (Plainfield Central, Ill.) and No. 14 Blake Blair (Edwardsville, Ill.). Ellingwood is a state placer and was champion at the Preseason Nationals, while Blair finished as state runner-up last year. At the Dvorak two weekends ago, it was Ellingwood winning by 13-5 major decision in the final. Others meriting attention are state placer Adam Walther (Waverly-Shell Rock, Iowa), state qualifier and Ironman placer Cody Snodgrass (Marmion Academy, Ill.), state qualifier Anthony Ferraro (Montini Catholic, Ill.) along with Luis Montoya (Lockport, Ill.) and David Johnson (Apple Valley, Minn.)

However, clearly the tournament's deepest weight class is at 132 pounds, which features No. 14 George Fisher (Marmion Academy, Ill.), a two-time state finalist and Preseason Nationals champion two months ago, as the lone ranked wrestler. Others to watch include state champions Kyle Gliva (Simley, Minn.), Seth Gross (Apple Valley, Minn.), and Robert Lee (Kaukauna, Wis.); 2011 state champion Andrew Crone (Arrowhead, Wis.); 2010 state champion Kyle Springer (Davenport Assumption, Iowa); two-time state placers Logan Ryan (Bettendorf, Iowa) and Johnny Gosinski (Glenbard North, Ill.); state placers Bryce Steiert (Waverly-Shell Rock, Iowa) and Austin Strzelczyk (Lockport, Wis.); state qualifier Briar Dittmer (Southeast Polk, Iowa); and freshman Jose Champagne (Montini Catholic, Ill.), a Cadet freestyle All-American.

Other nationally ranked wrestlers in the event include No. 20 Nolan Hellickson (Southeast Polk, Iowa) at 106 pounds, No. 2 Bryce Brill (Mt. Carmel, Ill.) at 145, No. 20 Daniel Woiwor (Apple Valley, Minn.), No. 4 Nick Wanzek (Simley, Minn.), and No. 6 Preston Lehman (West Fargo, N.D.)

Hellickson leads a 106 pound weight class that also features Preseason Nationals placer Jacob Schwarm (Bettendorf, Iowa), state qualifier Cortez Arredondo (Simley, Minn.), along with freshmen Dylan Duncan (Marmion Academy, Ill.) and Aidan Yde (Arrowhead, Wis.).

At 145 pounds, the primary challenge for Brill will come from three-time state placer Alex Hernandez (Bettendorf, Iowa). Others to watch include state runner-up Dayton Racer (Apple Valley, Minn.); state placers Michael Sepke (Montini Catholic, Ill.) and McKinnon Short (Simley, Minn.); along with Colin Strickland (Southeast Polk, Iowa) and Adam Warachek (Luxemburg-Casco, Wis.)

For Woiwor at 160, primary challenges will come from a pair of state qualifiers in Xavier Montalvo (Montini Catholic, Ill.) and Tim Miklus (Southeast Polk, Iowa). Montalvo was a Cadet National double All-American, while Miklus placed seventh at the Preseason Nationals.

Challengers to Wanzek at 170 include state runner-up Dylan Blackford (Southeast Polk, Iowa), state placer Mike Maduko (Montini Catholic, Ill.), and state qualifier Gabe Frandsen (Ellsworth, Wis.).

Lehmann is the anchor at one of the tournament's thinner weight classes, where the lone notable challenger would be state placer Jake Turk (Montini Catholic, Ill.)

Three weight classes in this field do not have a nationally ranked wrestler -- 113, 138, and 220. State champion Tommy Pawleski (Montini Catholic, Ill.) leads the way at 113, with primary challengers coming from state placers Brian Rossi (Lockport, Ill.) and Brendan Gould (Davenport Assumption, Iowa), as well as Gannon Volk (Apple Valley, Minn.) and Zach Smith (Port Washington, Wis.). Leading the way at 138 is two-time state placer Chris Garcia (Montini Catholic, Ill.), a returning runner-up at this event; others to watch include two-time state placer Eric Clarke (Davenport Assumption, Iowa), state placers Jacob Woodard (Bettendorf, Iowa) and Andrew Steiert (Waverly-Shell Rock, Iowa), as well as state qualifier Dylan Buchheit (Southeast Polk, Iowa). Finally, there is a lot of balance at 220 pounds, including state placers David Denne (Mt. Carmel, Ill.), Edgar Ruano (Montini Catholic, Ill.), and Bryce Fisher (Southeast Polk, Iowa); state qualifiers Kaleb Staack (Waverly-Shell Rock, Iowa) and Paul Cheney (Apple Valley, Minn.); along with freshman Lucas Warren (Marmion Academy, Ill.).

In terms of the team dynamic, the defending champion is Apple Valley, Minn. The Eagles are ranked No. 14 nationally, but coming off a disastrous performance at The Clash, though the potential to be much better is there as shown by their performance at the Minnesota Christmas Tournament. The leader in the national rankings is No. 7 Montini Catholic, Ill., who has an extremely balanced lineup, which was validated in their runner-up finishes at The Clash and Dvorak tournaments in December. Other nationally ranked teams include No. 24 Southeast Polk, Iowa, No. 25 Marmion Academy, Ill., No. 37 Simley, Minn., No. 47 Bettendorf, Iowa, and No. 48 Glenbard North, Ill. Additional teams to note are West Fargo, N.D., Davenport Assumption, Iowa, and Waverly-Shell Rock, Iowa.


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dahdah19 (1) about 10 years ago
Please... Cortez just a junior! He turned 18 in August. My wife was a freshman in college with the same b-day!
mckbln (1) about 10 years ago
I think 113lbs will be a battle between Rossi and Pawelski. Pawelski is coming off of an excellent run at The Clash. Despite his 7-4 loss to Jared Singh from Kearney, MO, he defeated Gannon Volk, Mitchell KcKee, and Kyle Norstrem. Not too shabby.