High School Wrestling Weekend Recap

The first weekend of January was a busy one across the country with many events and outcomes involving nationally ranked teams and athletes. Here is a recap with some of the highlights.

No. 5 Buchanan cuts through a loaded Doc Buchanan Invitational field

Tuesday evening, Buchanan (Calif.) had most things go wrong in a 26-25 dual meet loss to Montini Catholic (Ill.) at the Garlic City Rumble in Gilroy; the Bears went 0-4 in one-point matches and lost an additional two-point match in that upset dual meet defeat. However, over the course of Friday and Saturday, the current national No. 5 (former national No. 3) Buchanan bounced back in spectacular fashion. Competing in the absolutely loaded Doc Buchanan Invitational at Clovis High School, the Bears placed a tournament high nine wrestlers on the way to 185.5 points and a repeat tournament title. Read story.

No. 3 Detroit Catholic Central wins its home Invitational

The toughest in-season tournament in the state of Michigan took place in Novi on Saturday with four nationally ranked teams and seven other teams that were ranked in the top ten of their respective division by Michigan Grappler among the 22 schools present. When all was said and done, it was the host Shamrocks that came through with the decisive victory. Thirteen of the 14 starters placed within the top six, which was a tournament high, along with eight finalists; winning weight class titles were No. 5 (at 138) Josh Edmond at 140 pounds, Manuel Rojas at 171, Brendin Yatooma at 215, and No. 12 Steven Kolcheff at 285.

Finishing second in the standings was No. 16 Davison with 225 points led by a tournament high five champions, as the Cardinals went 5-1 in championship matches while placing a total of 10 wrestlers in the top six. Highlighting the weight class champions was No. 1 (at 170) Alex Facundo winning the 160 final by a 9-3 decision over No. 7 Derek Gilcher. Also winning titles were Aden Williams (103), Andrew Chambal (130), along with freshmen Josh Barr (152) and Max Callahan (189); Barr beat two-time state placer Logan Sanom (Detroit Catholic Central, Mich.) 15-8 while Callahan rallied for an 11-9 vitcory over state medalist Kayleb Venema (Whitehall).

No. 17 Brighton finished third with 195 points depiste a 1-5 performance in championship bouts, as the Bulldogs put nine wrestlers into the top six placement positions. Their lone champion was Mason Shrader (125), who rallied for a 6-5 win over state medalist Cole Skinner (Cincinnati LaSalle, Ohio). Fourth place was earned by Lowell, the perennial favorites in Division 2. They were led by the title earned by No. 4 Austin Boone (145) who pinned two-time state medalist Mark Shaeffer (Detroit Catholic Central, Mich.) in the final; eight other Red Arrows wrestlers placed, including James Fotis (152) and Jacob Hough (215) taking third.

No. 30 Cincinnati (Ohio) LaSalle placed fifth in the tournament with 112 points led by weight class champion Jake Niffenegger (135), who knocked off state champion Eddie Homrock (Brighton, Mich.) in the championship match. The Lancers entered just nine wrestlers in the tournament, and are missing No. 13 Dustin Norris (12) along with multiple other starters. Rounding out the weight class champions were Jacob Brya (St. John's) at 112 and Joe Haynes (Warren Woods Tower) at 119; Brya knocked off No. 12 (at 106) Caden Horwath (Davison) 15-8 in his finals bout.

Shakopee won the title at The Clash

No. 23 Shakopee is winner-take-all at The Clash

Entering the last match of The Clash 2020, the Sabres had completely dominated their first five opponents of the event. On Friday, to clear their bracket in the afternoon/evening, they went a combined 35-7 in the course of a 55-6 opening match victory over Gale-Ettrick-Trempelau (Wis.), a 56-11 semifinal victory over Long Prairie-Grey Eagle (Minn.), and a 49-9 finals victory over Glenbard North (Ill.). The first two matches of Saturday evening were tighter, but still clear victories; both came by the score of 41-21 in which Shakopee took nine of the 14 weight classes against Waverly-Shell Rock (Iowa) and Minisink Valley (N.Y.).

This set up a championship match with in-state rival St. Michael-Albertville who had been tested a bit more in their first five matches. To win their Friday evening bracket, the Knights outlasted Don Bosco (Iowa) 35-21; Don Bosco would go on to win the second place pool on Saturday evening to finish fifth overall in the event. Then, they opened the championship pool with a 40-24 victory over Minisink Valley winning eight bouts, before being extended in a 31-25 victory over Waverly-Shell Rock where the bouts were split.

Two-time state placer Wyatt Lidberg opened the final dual with a 7-0 victory over two-time state qualifier Jack Casey in the 182 pound weight class. However, Shakopee responded with three straight wins to open a 10-3 lead headed to the turn for the lower weights; those wins were 16-9 by state placer Joey Johnson, 9-1 major decision from state placer Tommy Johnson, and a 4-0 decision from Ben Relland. A key event that gave St. Michael-Albertville hope was that the Sabres had to forfeit at 120, with state champion Paxton Creese having suffered an injury in the previous dual meet. Another turn in favor of the Knights came at 152 when Jonah Hayes pinned Sam Treiml in overtime to cut the deficit to 27-23 after a team point deduction. In the penultimate match, Hayden Lemonds beat returning state medalist Connor Raines 6-1 to set up the final bout for all the marbles. In that match, Sabres star Carson Manville came through with a 6-4 win over state placer Carl Leuer; with a point deduction for STMA calculated, the final score was 30-25 Shakopee.

Four wrestlers went 6-0 for the champion Sabres: Blake West (113), Pierson Manville (126), Ben Lunn (132), and Joey Johnson (195). Manville had the most notable win of the group, an 8-4 win over fellow top three overall Junior High wrestler Zach Ryder (Minisink Valley) on Saturday evening.

No. 21 Simley gets the Cheesehead

Both tournament champion Simley (Minn.) and runner-up No. 24 Chicago (Ill.) Mt. Carmel had nine wrestlers place in the championship bracket with a tenth wrestler earn ninth, which meant that said wrestler won the consolation bracket. However, the Spartans had all nine of their championship bracket participants place within the top four on the way to 614.5 points. Leading the way were weight class champions Chase DeBlaere (126) and Bennett Tabor (220). Placing second were No. 9 Ryan Sokol (138), Nolan Wanzek (170), and Quayin Short (195); Sokol led 8-3 in the evening final program's feature bout before giving up a second half splurge to No. 3 (at 132) Joel Vandervere (Warren Township, Ill.). Vandervere won the bout 12-9 and earned Outstanding Wrestler honors in the tournament. Third place finishers for Simley were Reid (113) and Gavin (182) Nelson, while Cash Raymond (106) and Cael Berg (145) each placed fourth.

The Caravan placed second with 554.5 points, led by their sole weight class champion Sergio Lemley (113). Placing second were Colton Drousias (120) and Noah Mis (132), Connor Gaynor (145) placed third, Michael Kelly (152) was fourth, Elliott Lewis (285) was sixth, Zach Rotkvich (138) and Ashton Breen (160) were seventh, while Nik Mishka (220) placed eighth.

No. 20 Southeast Polk (Iowa) was third in the standings with 506.5 points led by a pair of weight class champions in No. 14 Nathan Jesuroga (106) and No. 5 Gabe Christenson (195); placing third were Joel Jesuroga (132) and Connor Brown (285), Carson Martinson (145) and Kaleb Runyon (220) placed sixth, and Cooper Hanson (113) earned eighth to round out the championship bracket contingent. Three additional Rams were in consolation bracket finals (one finished ninth, and the other two in tenth).

Joining Simley and Southeast Polk with multiple weight class champions on Saturday evening were Kasson-Mantorville (Minn.); winning gold for the Komets were No. 12 Bennett Berge (170) and No. 1 Patrick Kennedy (182). The other ranked vs. ranked showdown for a championship came at 160 pounds, where No. 1 Keegan O'Toole (Arrowhead, Wis.) upended No. 8 Luke Odom (Edwardsville, Ill.) 10-5. Rounding out the weight class champions were Brady Hankin (Woodland Park, Ill.) at 120 pounds, Cameron Johnson (Aurora Christian, Ill.) at 132, Alek Martin (St. Paris Graham, Ohio) at 145, No. 12 D.J. Hamiti (Joliet Catholic, Ill.) at 152, and James Howard (McCallie, Tenn.) at 285.

Friday night upset in the Lehigh Valley

Based on the current Fab50 national high school team rankings, it was an upset when No. 47 Bethlehem Catholic (Pa.) won eight weight classes on the way to a 34-27 victory at home against No. 25 Notre Dame-Green Pond (Pa.). However, most local observers viewed the host Hawks as pre-match favorites, as they had been banged up through the month of December and had the deeper lineup; though the major bracket tournaments clearly showed the Crusaders to have more "top end talent". Of note was the return to competition for Bethlehem Catholic of two-time state placer Matt Mayer (120) and Matthew Lackman (145), and the season debut for upper-weight Tavion Banks.

Quick hitters

Canon-McMillan (Pa.) knocked off No. 38 Waynesburg (Pa.) to win the TriCada title this weekend by a score of 283.5 to 257.5. Waynesburg had out-pointed Canon-McMillan narrowly last weekend at the Powerade Wrestling Tournament, finishing third as opposed to fourth in that event. It should be noted that Waynesburg was without Luca Augustine (160), who placed at both the Ironman and Powerade.

No. 40 Baylor School (Tenn.) won the Prep Slam this weekend at Holy Innocents, which is just outside of Atlanta, by a narrow margin over Tampa Jesuit (Fla.). Both teams placed seven wrestlers, all inside the top three (four in first, two in second, and one in third). However, Baylor School earned the title by a 252-231 count. Most notable among the championship matches were a pair involving Tampa Jesuit wrestlers: Nick Corday (Baylor School) upset No. 7 Kai Owen 2-1 in the 106 pound final, while Braden Basile knocked off Super 32 runner-up Nico Provo (Green Farms Academy, Ct.) 12-10 in the 120 final.

No. 41 Indianapolis Cathedral won the IHSWCA Team State in Class 3A with a 32-26 victory in the championship match over Evansville Mater Dei, as the teams split matches seven-apiece. That came after Mater Dei upended No. 48 Brownsburg 32-23 in the semifinal round, as Mater Dei won eight of fourteen bouts.

There were two nationally ranked matchups in the championship finals at the Sam Cali Memorial on Saturday afternoon. At 113 pounds, No. 17 Kelly Dunnigan (Don Bosco Prep, N.J.) beat No. 15 Tyler Klinsky (Middletown North, N.J.) 10-5; while at 160, it was No. 6 Clayton Ulrey (Lower Dauphin, Pa.) outlasting No. 18 Brian Soldano (High Point, N.J.) 11-8.


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