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Hall named Wrestler of the Year, All-Americans released

State tournaments across the country came to an end just over one month ago, and in some cases close to two months ago. Even so the last few weeks were pretty stock full of high-level competition with all-star matches and the various postseason national tournaments. With all of that in the books, the 2014-15 season/cycle has come to an end, and it's time to wrap things up with a pretty little bow.

InterMat does so by naming its All-American Team, a listing of the top-ranked wrestler at each weight class, along with the selection of the Wrestler of the Year. It marks the fifth such year of this end of season presentation format for InterMat.

Wrestler of the Year

Mark Hall (Apple Valley, Minn.), 170, Junior

Mark Hall defeated Luke Norland to win the Minnesota Christmas Tournament (Photo/Mark Beshey, The Guillotine)
This marks the second time in five years that the InterMat Wrestler of the Year distinction has gone to a non-senior, as Kyle Snyder won the award two years ago. Mark Hall's name has been on the national wrestling radar for a long time, going back to 2009-10 when he finished as a state runner-up at 119 pounds while competing for Ryle, Kentucky, in the seventh grade.

The next year, he would transfer to Apple Valley, winning the first of his to-date five state titles at 130 pounds. That included a state semifinal victory over Ben Morgan in the ultimate tiebreaker, a defending state champion who he had also beaten earlier that season. The following 8-1 decision victory over Brady Johnshoy in the 2011 state final would be the last time Hall did not win by bonus points in a Minnesota state tournament bout (nine of his subsequent 16 state tournament victories have come by pin).

His last four seasons of wrestling are the stuff of legend. It includes the present 123-match winning streak, which was immediately preceded by another lengthy winning streak. The lone loss in that stretch came in the Cheesehead Invitational semifinal of his ninth grade year, an ultimate tiebreaker defeat against Brian Murphy (Glenbard North, Ill./University of Michigan). Hall's five-year high school record is a staggering 230-4, and a state title next season would make him the first-ever six-time state champion in the Gopher State.

InterMat Wrestler of the Year Winners

2015: Mark Hall (Minnesota)
2014: Chance Marsteller (Pennsylvania)
2013: Kyle Snyder (Maryland)
2012: Jason Tsirtsis (Indiana)
2011: Morgan McIntosh (California)
During this current wrestling cycle, Hall was one of three Americans to win a FILA Cadet World freestyle championship, doing so at 76 kilos (167.5 pounds). His domestic title came in impressive fashion, two pins and three technical falls to reach the final, including a shutout technical fall over fellow top ten junior Nick Reenan; the championship victory came against another top ten junior in Beau Breske.

The preseason period was also impressive for Hall, as he had arguably the signature high school wrestling moment of the whole cycle at the Who's Number One event. Hall earned a 10-2 major decision victory over Anthony Valencia, who is the No. 1 overall wrestler in this year's senior class. It additionally yielded an InterMat JJ Classic title, where he beat nationally ranked Jacob Holschlag (Union, Iowa) in the championship match.

Hall went an undefeated 45-0 during this regular season, with all wins coming by bonus points, including three against nationally ranked opponents: an 11-2 major decision over Luke Norland (Jackson County, Minn.) in the finals of the Minnesota Christmas Tournament, a 20-5 technical fall over Josh Ugalde (Bound Brook, N.J.) on day one of the Clash, and then a 16-8 major decision over Kamal Bey (Oak Park River Forest, Ill.) on day two of The Clash.

Rounding out the All-American Team

106: Cade Olivas, St. John Bosco (Calif.), Freshman

Olivas is the nation's top-ranked overall freshman. He represented the United States at 46 kilos (101.25 pounds) at the FILA Cadet World Championships in freestyle, after being the representative at 42 kilos (92.5 pounds) the previous year in Greco-Roman. Olivas was also champion of the preseason Super 32 Challenge. During the scholastic season, he was undefeated state champion, and also won the Walsh Jesuit Ironman.

113: Austin Gomez, Glenbard North (Ill.), Sophomore

The last two major competitions of the year for Gomez earned him the No. 1 ranking in this weight class. At the state tournament, he beat Jason Renteria (Oak Park River Forest, Ill.) 4-3 on a last-second takedown to avenge an 8-6 tiebreaker loss from the previous weekend. Then in the Agon: Iowa vs. the World event, Gomez beat two-time California state champion Justin Mejia (Clovis). Those wrestlers are ranked second and third nationally. During the past summer, Gomez was a Cadet National champion in both Greco-Roman and freestyle.

120: Spencer Lee, Franklin Regional (Pa.), Sophomore

Two-time state champion, 97-0 career record, two-time Ironman champion, two-time Super 32 Challenge champion. I could bore you with more credentials for Spencer Lee, but to boil it down, the young man is very good. Lee is also the nation's No. 1 overall wrestler in the Class of 2016. He joined Mark Hall as being among the three Americans to win a FILA Cadet World freestyle championship, his coming at 50 kilos (110 pounds) in a second appearance at the competition.

That resume, and a whole bunch more, makes Lee the runner-up for the InterMat Wrestler of the Year, the second straight year he has been in that position (last year it was joint with Bo Nickal, Chance Marsteller winning the award). During his sophomore year, just five of 48 matches did not end in a pin or technical fall; and five regular season victories over nationally ranked opponents.

126: Chad Red, New Palestine (Ind.), Junior

The junior from Indiana won his third state title, and extended his career undefeated high school record to 139-0. Twelve state tournament matches for Red have included seven wins by fall. During this season, he won both the major preseason tournament(Super 32 Challenge) and postseason tournament (FloNationals). In addition, Red was a Cadet National freestyle champion this past summer at 126 pounds.

132: Kaid Brock Stillwater (Okla.), Senior

Brock, an Oklahoma State signee, went an undefeated 46-0 during his senior season to earn a third straight state title. Notable tournament titles this season included those at the Kansas City Stampede and the Geary Invitational. Last summer, he earned a fourth straight freestyle All-American finish in Fargo; the last two coming at the Junior level, after he was twice a Cadet All-American.

138: Matthew Kolodzik, Blair Academy (N.J.), Senior

Despite losing in overtime in the Walsh Jesuit Ironman final, Kolodzik had a superlative senior season in winning a fourth straight state-level title (the last three coming at the National Prep Championships, after winning an Ohio state title his freshman year at the Miami Valley School in Dayton). After the Ironman loss, Kolodzik went on to win titles at the Beast of the East and the Geary Invitational, where he avenged the Ironman loss to Davion Jeffries (Broken Arrow, Okla.) in the semifinal round. Prior to the season, the Princeton signee beat Ke-Shawn Hayes (Park Hill, Mo.) in the Who's Number One event.

145: Michael Kemerer, Franklin Regional (Pa.), Senior

Despite losing a 6-4 decision to national No. 2 Max Thomsen (Union, Iowa) on a late takedown Saturday night, Kemerer ends the season in the top spot on the strength of a more robust resume this season; one that includes two previous wins over Thomsen, those coming in the Super 32 Challenge final in early November and last month's Dapper Dan Wresting Classic. Kemerer's last calendar year includes a second Junior National freestyle All-American finish, a second Super 32 Challenge title (in a fourth finals appearance), a Walsh Jesuit Ironman title, a third Powerade championship (fourth finals appearance), and an undefeated state championship season (fourth finals appearance). The Iowa signee's regular season proper included eight wins over nationally ranked opponents.

152: Isaiah White, Oak Park River Forest (Ill.), Junior

White is the fifth of eight underclass wrestlers that are ranked first nationally in their respective weight classes. He was undefeated (36-0) during the past season, including a 3-1 overtime decision victory in the Walsh Jesuit Ironman over national No. 2 Vincenzo Joseph (Pittsburgh Central Catholic, Pa.). The state title this year his second in a row, while compliments the back-to-back Fargo freestyle titles that White has earned (2014 as a Junior, 2013 as a Cadet).

160: Alex Marinelli, St. Paris Graham (Ohio), Junior

It was during a third straight Ironman finals match against a Blair Academy wrestler when Marinelli made the jump from elite to super elite, the 3-1 overtime decision victory against FILA Cadet World freestyle champion Mason Manville. It was the anchor match of a third straight state championship season, this one an undefeated one, for the Iowa commit.

182: Zahid Valencia, St. John Bosco (Calif.), Senior

The Walsh Jesuit Ironman also served as the defining moment of this young man's season. He became just the second wrestler in the approximately 20-year history of the event to win four titles at the tournament, joining David Taylor (St. Paris Graham, Ohio/Penn State) in that distinguished club. Valencia scored a 2-2 ultimate tiebreaker rideout victory over national No. 2 Myles Martin (McDonogh, Md.) in that bout. The Arizona State signee also won a Super 32 Challenge title in the preseason, and went undefeated the rest of the regular season on the way to a third California state title.

195: Lance Benick, Totino-Grace (Minn.), Senior

This is the second straight year for Benick to occupy the No. 1 ranking in this weight class. The Arizona State signee went undefeated for a second straight season on the way to his fourth state title. His anchor moment of the high school season came in the finals of the Minnesota Christmas Tournament when he beat national No. 2 Bobby Steveson (Apple Valley, Minn.) by a 3-2 decision, which served to avenge his loss in last summer's Junior National freestyle final.

220: Jordan Wood, Boyertown (Pa.), Junior

The Lehigh verbal commit was a fourth American to make the FILA Cadet World freestyle finals last summer, earning runner-up honors at 100 kilos (220.25 pounds). After finishing second at state in both his freshman and sophomore campaigns, Wood went undefeated in a truncated (due to injury) junior season to earn an elusive state gold medal. His career record is 107-4.

285: Michael Johnson, Jr., Montini Catholic (Ill.), Senior

After three straight runner-up finishes at state-level tournaments (National Preps as a freshman and sophomore at Wyoming Seminary, and last year in Illinois Class 2A), Johnson earned an elusive state title in a truncated season after recovery from a state championship football run. He went 17-0 during his senior season, and will matriculate at Yale University to play along the interior line in football.

Comments

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Boost230 (1) about 6 years ago
How do you win 6 state tiles with a runner-up finish as a 7th grader?
jennsc01 (1) about 6 years ago
I am guessing he likely repeated a year of school and his season in Kentucky did not go against his eligibility. Several kids are doing this now in the 8th grade in order to be more competitive in sports and have a year to improve their academics.
Bucksman (1) about 6 years ago
Correct. Hall re-classed as a seventh grader when he transferred/enrolled at AV.
CoachC (2) about 6 years ago
Mark Hall will be the best 24 year old red shirt freshman ever. Considering OSU has two 22 year old, or darn close to it, red shirt freshmen this year, they may be jealous. Anyone defending 19, almost 20 year olds competing in high school should stick it. Please do not give me acacemic reasons. It is pathetic. Oh, and yes, my math may be little off with Hall, but the sarcasim is not.
donski2323 (1) about 6 years ago
Agree CoachC. It is getting waaaaay out of control. Are youth wrestlers are getting less and less of a fair chance wrestling kids 2-3 years older then them yet in same grade. Just watch how youth wrestling participation begins to decrease in next few years. How do you convince a true 8th grade kid to go out and "do your best against" a 15-16 year old. Or a 17 year old senior compete against 19-20 year old men. Sad.
dbestsport (1) about 6 years ago
Is it a foregone conclusion that Hall will be a Gopher in college, or are there other schools he may consider?
yjvang (1) about 6 years ago
According to this article: www.twincities.com/prep/ci_27585239/pioneer-press-wrestler-year-mark-hall-apple-valley , he's planning to visit Minnesota, OK State, Ohio State and Wisconsin. I'm guessing that indicates he's still keeping other options open, although I'm sure the Minnesota wrestling community would love to keep him home. Out of the 4 listed schools, I'd be shocked if chose Wisconsin.
mjhone1 (1) about 6 years ago
Congratulations Mark for all the hard work and sacrifices you've made to accomplish your goals!
JJNelson (1) about 6 years ago
Isn't he 18 right now? An old article on here said he turned 14 in January 2011.
mray (1) about 6 years ago
Piccinnini should be at 126. You really missed that one.
Widowmaker (1) about 6 years ago
Well what a bunch of complainers! 18 or 19 when he graduates who cares? Hall was destroying 17 & 18 year olds when he was 13. If he was college elgible this year he would have been the Gophers 165 pounder with-out a doubt. He would have made the NCAA's and more than likley been an All-American that is how good he is! If he would have wrestled for Iowa this year there Mike Evans would not have made the Team unless his already skinny azz would atempt to cut to 165. Back to Hall, he has had No competition at the H.S. level on the national level this year and I am sure not next year either. I will leave you with this for thought......he destroyed Valencia who a couple years ago man-handled I-Mar. Ok, Coach C you must be an Iweigens isn't it time to start planting corn.