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Dean reaches Senior Nationals finals after 3-year layoff, Ragusin makes surprising run

Gabe Dean advanced to the finals by beating Trent Hidlay (Photo/Mark Lundy, Lutte-Lens.com)

CORALVILLE, Iowa -- Gabe Dean entered this weekend's Senior Nationals after a three-year layoff from competition.

If he was rusty, it didn't show.

On Saturday, Dean, a two-time NCAA champion for Cornell, reached the finals at 86 kilograms with a 2-1 victory over Trent Hidlay. The victory came only hours after he dismantled Taylor Lujan 10-0 in the quarterfinals.

"You train in the room and stuff as hard as you can," said Dean, an assistant coach at Cornell. "But let's just put it this way, I'm going to be really sore tomorrow. There's a lot of really tough young, upcoming guys. I might not be the most offensive, or where I want to be yet, but a win's a win."

Dean will battle top-seeded Nate Jackson in Sunday's finals. Jackson, who trains at the NJRTC, looked strong in his four matches Saturday. After picking up three straight 10-0 technical superiorities, Jackson defeated 2019 NCAA champion Drew Foster 7-4 in the semifinals.

"I'm wrestling for a lot more than myself right now," said Jackson. "It's fun. It's exciting. But the job's not done."

Kyven Gadson advanced to the finals at 97 kilograms with an injury default victory over Olympic champion Kyle Snyder. Gadson fired off a shot moments into the match and scored a takedown on Snyder to go up 2-0. A minute into the match Snyder took a shot and came up limping. Gadson was given a step-out point. After a short injury timeout, action resumed, and Gadson added another takedown after countering Snyder's attack. Snyder was unable to continue and Gadson moved into the finals.

Kollin Moore defeated Hayden Zillmer in the semifinals at 97 kilograms (Photo/Mark Lundy, Lutte-Lens.com)

Gadson will face Kollin Moore in the 97-kilogram finals. Moore earned a hard-fought 8-5 victory in the semifinals over Hayden Zillmer.

The most surprising finalist came at 57 kilograms, where 2020 high school graduate Dylan Ragusin stunned a past NCAA champion in the quarterfinals before beating an NCAA All-American by technical superiority in the semifinals.

Ragusin, the nation's No. 30 senior recruit in the Class of 2020, knocked off 2017 NCAA champ Darian Cruz and NCAA All-American Sean Russell in the quarterfinals and semifinals respectively. Ragusin, now a freshman at the University of Michigan, will face top-seeded Vito Arujau in the finals.

Arujau, a junior world silver medalist and NCAA All-American, topped Jack Mueller 11-6 in the semifinals.

The 65-kilogram bracket saw the No. 3 and No. 9 seeds reach the finals.

On the top side of the 65-kilogram bracket, Northern Colorado wrestler Andrew Alirez reached the finals with a convincing 7-1 semifinal win over Yahya Thomas. His road to the finals also included victories over top-seeded Joey McKenna and junior world silver medalist Mitch McKee.

Evan Henderson, seeded third, rolled to a 13-5 victory over second-seeded Jaydin Eierman in the semifinals.

At 74 kilograms, top-seeded Logan Massa looked dominant on Saturday, picking up three technical superiorities in his first four matches before shutting out junior world champion David Carr 4-0 in the semifinals.

Anthony Valencia finishes a takedown against Evan Wick (Photo/Mark Lundy, Lutte-Lens.com)

Massa will be looking for his second straight Senior Nationals title after winning the championship in December. He will face third-seeded Anthony Valencia in the finals.

At 125 kilograms, fifth-seeded Tanner Hall edged top-seeded Dom Bradley in the semifinals, 3-2. On the bottom side of the bracket, junior world champion Mason Parris, seeded No. 2, used a cradle to earn a first-period fall over Trent Hillger.

Sunday's freestyle finals are slated for 12:30 p.m. CT.

Semifinal results

57 kilograms:
Vito Arujau dec. Jack Mueller, 11-6
Dylan Ragusin tech. Sean Russell, 16-5 3:13

65 kilograms:
Andrew Alirez dec. Yahya Thomas, 7-1
Evan Henderson dec. Jaydin Eierman, 13-5

74 kilograms:
Logan Massa dec. David Carr, 4-0
Anthony Valencia dec. Evan Wick, 10-8

86 kilograms:
Nathan Jackson dec. Drew Foster, 7-4
Gabe Dean dec. Trent Hidlay, 2-1

97 kilograms:
Kyven Gadson by injury default over Kyle Snyder
Kollin Moore dec. Hayden Zillmer, 8-5

125 kilograms:
Tanner Hall dec. Dom Bradley, 3-2
Mason Parris pinned Trent Hillger, 2:11

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