4x PIAA State Medalist and 2015 State Champion Michael Kemerer (Franklin Regional) made a statement at the 54th Annual Ken Kraft Midlands Championship hosted by Northwestern University. The Iowa Hawkeye entered his first Midlands as the #2 seed at 157 lbs. and a #4 National Ranking by both Intermat and Flo.
The redshirt freshman is undefeated in his first season of varsity action for the Hawkeyes and that’s the way he left Evanston, Illinois on Friday. Kemerer, a 2015 graduate of Franklin Regional High School, opened up with two major decisions at the Midlands to set up a meeting with his former high school rival Hayden Hidlay (Mifflin County) a true freshman at N.C. State who competed unattached. The pair faced off multiple times in their high school careers including the 2014 POWERade Championship Finals and the 2015 PIAA State Tournament. That season Kemerer won both meetings en route to a POWERade Championship and PA State Championship as a senior. Hidlay returned as a senior the following season and won a PIAA State Championship title of his own. This time around they battled in a wild (9-6) bout with Kemerer coming away the winner.
In the quarterfinals Michael took down fifth seed Alex Griffin of Purdue for the second time this season. On November 27 he won (10-3) but made it a major decision this time around grabbing a (11-2) victory. The win placed Kemerer in the semifinals against former NCAA National Champion and Arizona State wrestler Jason Tsirtis. Ironically it was at Northwestern where Tsirtis won his National Championship as a freshman in 2014 before transferring to Arizona State this year. In a performance that proved just how talented Kemerer truly is he dismantled the #3 seed Tsirtis by major decision (11-2).
Only one wrestler stood in his way of a Midlands Championship and that was Nebraska’s redshirt sophomore Tyler Berger the top seed at 157 lbs. Berger, who was one win shy of All-American honors last season, entered Midlands ranked #5 in the Nation behind Kemerer by both Flo and Intermat. Interestingly, in the Midlands quarterfinals, Tyler Berger faced Kemerer’s Franklin Regional teammate Josh Shields winning a narrow (3-1 SV) decision earning a takedown in overtime to advance. Both Shields and Kemerer were 4x PIAA State Medalists at Franklin Regional and each won State Championships for the Panthers their senior season.
In a gruelling affair it was the Iowa Hawkeye who would come out on top of 157 lbs. earning a tiebreaker victory over Berger (6-5 TB-2) to claim the Midlands Championship. The Championship was the most significant one of Michael’s young career in Iowa City at a weight with several Young Guns Wrestling Club connections. His former Young Guns teammate and training partner Jason Nolf (Penn State/Kittanning) is the top rated wrestler at the weight and Josh Shields (Arizona State/Franklin Regional), also a member of Young Guns, was not far behind Michael at Midlands finishing in third place.
True freshman and Junior World Team member Jordan Wood (Boyertown Area) competed for Lehigh unattached and turned heads with his performance at heavyweight. Wood was a mere 13th seed at the Midlands but opened the Tournament with two decisions advancing into the Championship Round of 16. There he met former Pennsylvania wrestler Brooks Black (Blair Academy) who is a redshirt junior from Illinois ranked #10 by Intermat and #11 by Flo in the Nation. Wood upset the 2016 NCAA Qualifier (2-1) and found himself in the Midlands quarterfinals. There he faced Nebraska senior Collin Jensen ranked #16 by Intermat and #15 by Flo in the Nation at heavyweight. Once again the PA State Champion was not intimidated winning (5-3) over Jensen.
In the semifinals a match with the top seed and the #2 ranked wrestler in the Nation by both Intermat and Flo did not occur as Connor Medbery (Wisconsin) medically forfeited to Jordan. The true freshman now found himself in the Midlands Finals facing 2016 NCAA Qualifier Tanner Hall (Arizona State). For Tanner Hall it was his second straight Midlands Finals as he was a 2015 Runner-up. The sophomore, ranked #4 by Intermat and #5 by Flo, stopped Wood’s cinderella run with a (4-1) decision. The performance by Jordan Wood should be alarming for heavyweights returning next season.
Overall Pennsylvania had a total of six medalists at the 54th Annual Midlands as Pittsburgh wrestler Nick Zanetta (Keystone Oaks) was eighth at 141 lbs. and 2016 NCAA All-American Pete Renda (Brandywine Heights Area) of N.C. State placed fifth. Yet another true freshman from the Keystone State had an impressive performance with 2016 PIAA State Champion Kaleb Young (Punxsutawney Area). In the Championship Round of 16 Young upset senior Clark Glass (Oklahoma) who was ranked #7 by Intermat and #8 by Flo. After falling to Lorenzo De La Riva (Cal State Bakersfield) by a (10-8) score in the quarterfinals Young dropped to the consolation round where he advanced into the fifth place match. There he again met De La Riva and this time around was the winner (9-4) to finish in fifth place.
Full results can be found at TrackWrestling and Pennsylvania wrestlers are highlighted below.
Midlands – 125 lbs.
1st Place – Thomas Gilman of Iowa
2nd Place – Tim Lambert of Nebraska
3rd Place – Josh Terao of American
4th Place – Sebastian Rivera of Northwestern
5th Place – Shakur Laney of Ohio
6th Place – Lucas Malmberg of Messiah
7th Place – Johnny Jimenez of Wisconsin
8th Place – Christian Moody of Oklahoma
Midlands – 133 lbs.
1st Place – Eric Montoya of Nebraska
2nd Place – Zane Richards of Illinois
3rd Place – Seth Gross of South Dakota State
4th Place – Earl Hall of Iowa State
5th Place – Jamal Morris of NC State
6th Place – Scott Delvecchio of Rutgers
7th Place – Cameron Kelly of Ohio
8th Place – Eli Stickley of Wisconsin
Midlands – 141 lbs.
1st Place – Kevin Jack of NC State
2nd Place – Matthew Kolodzik of Princeton
3rd Place – Anthony Ashnault of Rutgers
4th Place – Chad Red of Nebraska
5th Place – Kanen Storr of Iowa State
6th Place – Russell Rohlfing of CSU Bakersfield
7th Place – Christopher Carton of Iowa
8th Place – Nick Zanetta of Pittsburgh (Keystone Oaks)
Midlands – 149 lbs.
1st Place – Brandon Sorensen of Iowa
2nd Place – Justin Oliver of Central Michigan
3rd Place – Ryan Deakin of Northwestern
4th Place – Davion Jeffries of Oklahoma
5th Place – Sam Speno of NC State
6th Place – Joey Delgado of Oregon State
7th Place – Anthony Giraldo of Rutgers
8th Place – Alfred Bannister of Maryland
Midlands – 157 lbs.
1st Place – Michael Kemerer of Iowa (Franklin Regional)
2nd Place – Tyler Berger of Nebraska
3rd Place – Joshua Shields of Arizona State (Franklin Regional)
4th Place – Evan Wick of Wisconsin
5th Place – Jason Tsirtis of Arizona State
6th Place – Colin Heffernan of Central Michigan
7th Place – Alex Griffin of Purdue
8th Place – John Van Brill of Rutgers
Midlands – 165 lbs.
1st Place – Isaiah Martinez of Illinois
2nd Place – Chad Walsh of Rider
3rd Place – Anthony Valencia of Arizona State
4th Place – Alex Marinelli of Iowa
5th Place – Kaleb Young of Iowa (Punxsutawney Area)
6th Place – Lorenzo De La Riva of CSU Bakersfield
7th Place – Clark Glass of Oklahoma
8th Place – Andrew Fogarty of North Dakota State
Midlands – 174 lbs.
1st Place – Zahid Valencia of Arizona State
2nd Place – Lelund Weatherspoon of Iowa State
3rd Place – Zac Brunson of Illinois
4th Place – Alex Meyer of Iowa
5th Place – Devin Skatzka of Indiana
6th Place – Ryan Christensen of Wisconsin
7th Place – Jordan Pagano of Rutgers
8th Place – Josef Johnson of Harvard
Midlands – 184 lbs.
1st Place – Timothy Dudley of Nebraska
2nd Place – Jack Dechow of Old Dominion
3rd Place – Samuel Brooks of Iowa
4th Place – Nathan Jackson of Indiana
5th Place – Pete Renda of NC State (Brandywine Heights Area)
6th Place – Nicholas Gravina of Rutgers
7th Place – Michael Macchiavello of NC State
8th Place – Myles Martin of Ohio State
Midlands – 197 lbs.
1st Place – Aaron Studebaker of Nebraska
2nd Place – Nate Rotert of South Dakota State
3rd Place – Shawn Scott of Northern Illinois
4th Place – Ricky Robertson of Wisconsin
5th Place – Ryan Wolfe of Rider
6th Place – Kevin Beazley of Old Dominion
7th Place – Matt Williams of CSU Bakersfield
8th Place – Jacob Berkowitz of Northwestern
Midlands – 285 lbs.
1st Place – Tanner Hall of Arizona State
2nd Place – Jordan Wood of Lehigh (Boyertown Area)
3rd Place – Samuel Stoll of Iowa
4th Place – Gage Hutchison of Eastern Michigan
5th Place – Collin Jensen of Nebraska
6th Place – Connor Medbery of Wisconsin
7th Place – Cody Crawford of Oregon State
8th Place – Conan Jennings of Northwestern