Lizak Wins Junior Freestyle World Team Trials; Retherford Second

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Zain Retherford (Left) and Ethan Lizak (Right)

Zain Retherford (Left) and Ethan Lizak (Right)

Two time PIAA Class AAA State Champion Ethan Lizak (Parkland) headed to Stillwater, Oklahoma this past weekend to compete in the FILA World Team Trials. Competing at 50 kg./110.2 lbs in the Freestyle division Lizak won the Challenge Tournament with two technical-falls and advanced to the Championship series against Adrian Cordova of Colorado. Cordova is the nephew of Olympic Gold Medalist Henry Cejudo and was a 2x Colorado state champion who will attend Iowa State next season. In the Championship best-of-three series Lizak continued his dominance by winning two straight periods by technical-fall en route to to the FILA Junior World Team Trials title. Overall Lizak ammassed a (35-1) points for-against margin during four matches that all resulted in technical-fall victories for the Parkland Trojan. Watch both matches below.




Ethan Lizak – 50 kg

Semifinal: Ethan Lizak (LVAC) over Tirso Lara (Ultimate Warrior) (TF 9-1)
1st Place Match: Ethan Lizak (LVAC) over Nolan Hellickson (Ubasa Wrestling Academy) (TF 8-0)

Champ. Finals Round 1: Ethan Lizak (LVAC) over Adrian Cordova (Unattached) (TF 10-0)
Champ. Finals Round 2: Ethan Lizak (LVAC) over Adrian Cordova (Unattached) (TF 8-0)


Last summer Zain Retherford earned National and International recognition when he captured a FILA Cadet World Championship in Freestyle. Retherford won the U.S. Cadet World Team Trials and earned a spot on the National team that headed to Budapest, Hungary for the World Championships. Retherford captured the Cadet World Championship by defeating Russian Supian Nurmagomedov in the finals at 63 kg. Returning to Benton Area High School for his senior season Retherford competed for the tigers a year after he was ruled ineligible by DIstrict 4 and the PIAA for an athletic transfer violation. Retherford wasn’t deterred as he turned in an undefeated season capturing Championship titles at the Walsh Ironman, POWERade, and PIAA Class AA State Championships. Retherford earned his second career PIAA State Championship and was selected to compete for Team PA at the Dapper Dan Classic, in addition to Team USA at the Wrestling USA’s Dream Team All-Star match. Retherford won both his all-star bouts over Nationally ranked competitors.

This summer the Penn State recruit moved from the Cadet Division up to the Junior Division where he would face competition his age and older; that included college wrestlers. Zain was seeded in the fourth spot at 66 kg in the Junior World Team Trials Challenge Tournament. In the first-round he faced Maryland state champion and University of Wyoming recruit Eric Hoffman. Retherford cruised to a (10-2) technical-fall advancing to the quarterfinals. There he faced Oregon State wrestler Jared Reis who recently finished up his redshirt season with the Beavers. Again Retherford was dominate winning by technical-fall (8-0) and advanced to the semifinals. In the semis Retherford faced one of the Nation’s top young prospects in Ben Whitford. The recent graduate of St. Johns High School in Michigan was a 2013 FILA Junior National Champion at 60 kg in April 2013, defeating former PIAA 4x State Champion Jimmy Gulibon (Derry Area). Whitford moved up from 60 kg to 66 kg for the World Team Trials and was seeded #1 at the Challenge Tournament. Whitford participated in the 2013 Dapper Dan Classic at 145 lbs. and defeated 3x PIAA Class AA State Champion Mikey Racciato (Pen Argyl Area) by a score of (7-3).

In the semifinals Retherford gave up two takedowns but earned a push-out point and his own takedown to trail Whitford (4-3) after one period. In the second period Retherford appeared to have secured a takedown but the referee indicated he had stepped out of bounds thus giving Whitford a one point push-out to go up (5-3). Retherford responded with a takedown to tie the match (5-5) with under 40 seconds left in the period. With 15 seconds left in the match Whitford scored on a slick slide-by to go up (7-5) late in the period. Right off the whistle Retherford took a shot and was able to turn the corner and connect on a takedown to tie the match (7-7) with just three seconds left on the clock. Having scored the last points of the period Retherford was awarded the victory (7-7) over Whitford to advance into the Challenge Tournament finals. Watch the match semifinal match below.



In the Challenge Tournament finals Retherford faced Ohio’s Solon High School graduate and Oklahoma State recruit Anthony Collica. In the first period Retherford scored on a takedown and earned two more points with an exposure on Collica to go up (4-0) in the match. Collica cut the deficit in half after scoring on an odd flurry. Collica brought the match within one-point with a push-out to make it (4-3). Retherford was able to hang on to the lead and win the bout (4-3) effectively capturing the Challenge Tournament victory and advancing to the Championship series to determine the World Team spot. Watch the match below.



Advancing to the Championship series Retherford faced Northwestern University’s Jason Tsirtsis in a best-of-three series match finals. Tsirtsis was the 2013 FILA Junior National Champion at 66 kg and earned a spot in the Championship finals of the Junior World Team Trials. Despite being undersized at 66 kg, Zain Retherford was proving in Stillwater, Oklahoma that he could hang with the Nation’s top wrestlers. Tsirtsis, however, recently finished up a redshirt season at Northwestern, amassing an (18-3) record for the Wildcats while wrestling unattached. The experienced Tsirtsis earned the World Team Trials Championship by winning two straight matches over Retherford. In match #1 Tsirtsis won (8-3) and secured the World Team spot with an (8-0) technical-fall victory in match #2. Overall, Retherford was more than impressive against the field of talented competitors. The future Penn State  grappler may not have qualified for the Junior World Team Championships a year after winning the Cadet World Championship title, however Retherford will have another year of eligibility to compete.



Zain Retherford – 66 kg 

Champ. Round 1: Zain Retherford (BTWC) over Eric Hoffman (Cowboy Wrestling Club- WWRTC) (TF 10-2)
Quarterfinal: Zain Retherford (BTWC) over Jared Reis (NWRTC) (TF 8-0)
Semifinal: Zain Retherford (BTWC) over Ben Whitford (Cliff Keen Wrestling Club) (Dec 7-7)
1st Place Match: Zain Retherford (BTWC) over Anthony Collica (Cowboy Wrestling Club/Gator) (Dec 4-3)


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