Luke Pletcher Takes Advantage of Trip to Vegas by Winning Junior Nationals

LAS VEGAS – By his own standards Luke Pletcher isn’t a Freestyle master, just yet. The true freshman at Ohio State has always been known for his Folkstyle dominance that saw him win three Pennsylvania State High School Championships while competing at Greater Latrobe. Now with a season of NCAA Division I experience under his belt Luke is transitioning into unchartered waters with Freestyle.

In May 2015 Pletcher competed in his first UWW Freestyle event at the Junior Nationals where he took fifth. Fast forward two years and Pletcher is a much different wrestler. Since arriving in Columbus last summer Pletcher has been surrounded by some of the biggest names in Wrestling. Training at the Ohio Regional Training Center means access to 4-time NCAA National Champion Logan Stieber – who in 2016 was a UWW Freestyle World Champion. Throw in a partner like NCAA National Champion Nathan Tomasello and the situation is what Luke calls “awesome.”

“Being able to train with people like Logan and Nate all the time has been awesome.”

There are a few other notable names floating around the Ohio RTC.

“Having people like (Olympic Gold Medalist) Kyle Snyder and (2-time Olympian) Tervel Dlagnev helping with technique makes it a pretty special place.”

Luke has quite a few accolades but the Junior Nationals ‘stop sign’ is a new one. Competing at 63 kg/138 lbs. Pletcher was the #2 seed in a weight that featured two of the Nation’s top seniors in Penn State recruit Nick Lee (Indiana) and Oklahoma State recruit Kaden Gfeller (Oklahoma). In the semifinals against Gfeller, Pletcher was down a point in the final period, but scored a takedown with a high crotch to go up (8-7). He added a push-out point to make it (9-7) and earn a spot in the 63 kg finals.

The match-up with top seed Nick Lee never happened when fourth seed Sam Turner, a freshman at Wyoming, upended Lee (8-6). In the Championship finals Turner jumped out to a (4-0) advantage connecting on two takedowns. Luke responded hitting a fireman’s carry for two points before connecting on an ankle pick to come even with Turner (4-4). In the second period Turner again jumped ahead scoring a takedown to go up (6-4) but Pletcher responded scoring on a go-behind making it (6-6). With (0:27) seconds left in the match Luke finished a head inside single that would be the clincher winning (8-6).

“I haven’t wrestled much Freestyle so winning this weekend has probably been my biggest accomplishment.”

Unfortunately the 63 kg weight-class is not a UWW Junior World Championship weight. That means, despite winning the Junior Nationals, Pletcher will have to either drop down to 60 kg/132 lbs. or bump up to 66 kg./145.5 lbs. at the Junior World Team Trials. If he elects to compete in the Junior WTTs Pletcher will compete in the Challenge Tournament in hopes of earning a spot in the best-of-three finals with the Junior National Champion at that weight.

Regardless of the choice – one thing is clear. Luke Pletcher can compete against the best in Freestyle. When asked about his plans for the remainder of the summer Luke stated nothing was 100% certain yet. 

“I will talk with my coaches when we get back from Vegas and figure out what the plan will be.”

Luke Pletcher was not the only Keystone State wrestler who found success at the UWW Junior Nationals. Cadet World Silver Medalist and 2016 Junior World Team member Jordan Wood (Boyertown Area) competed at 120 kg. The PIAA State Champion and true freshman at Lehigh finished as the Junior Nationals runner-up falling to his rival Gable Stevenson (Minnesota) in the finals (9-2). Stevenson is a 2-time Cadet World Champion who recently committed to Minnesota.

2016 Pennsylvania State Champion Kaleb Young (Punxsutawney) competed at 79 kg and was the top seed but fell in the Championship finals to Wisconsin freshman Jacob Covaciu (6-5). The Iowa true freshman never trailed in the match until time expired when Covaciu hit a roll through from a near side cradle falling (6-5). 79 kg is also not a UWW Junior World Championship weight. 

Other medalists included Hayden Hidlay (Mifflin County/N.C. State) who took fourth at 74 kg and Nick Onea (Pottsville Area) who finished in eighth at 50 kg.

Full results can be found at the FloArena and all of the Pennsylvania results of wrestlers who competed can be found below.


50 kg/110 lbs.

1st – Malik Heinselman (Olympian WC) dec. Dack Punke (Unattached), 4-0
3rd – Jason Holmes (Thorobred) tech. fall Brendon Garcia (Steel City Elite)
5th – Brandon Kaylor (Team Aggression) forfeit Riley Weir (Team BIG)
7th – Hunter Lucas (Terrapin WC) forfeit Nick Onea (Crimson Wave WC)


55 kg/121 lbs.

1st – Daton Fix (Titan Mercury WC) tech. fall Paul Bianchi (Bison WC), 10-0
3rd – Drew Mattin (Burnett Training) tech. fall Alex Thomsen (SWIFT), 12-2
5th – Dylan D’Emilio (Burnett Training) forfeit Brandon Courtney (Sunkist Kids)
7th – Andrew Alirez (TNWC) tech. fall McGwire Midkiff (SWIFT), 10-0


60 kg/132 lbs.

1st – Mitchell Mckee (Minnesota Storm) dec. Vitali Arujau (Finger Lakes), 13-10
3rd – Montorie Bridges (Wyoming RTC) dec. Tariq Wilson (Wolfpack WC), 13-6
5th – Nick Farro (Lehigh) dec. Jacob Silzer (IRTC) 10-10
7th – Paul Glynn (Iowa) dec. Jackson Henson (Sunkist Kids), 8-5


63 kg/138 lbs.

1st – Luke Pletcher (Titan Mercury WC) dec. Sam Turner (Wyoming RTC), 8-6
3rd – Kaden Gfeller (Team BIG) dec. Ben Freeman (Michigan RTC), 9-4
5th – Nick Lee (Nittany Lion WC) dec. Dylan Thurston (IRTC), 12-9
7th – Alex Hrisopoulos (Michigan State) tech. fall Brandon Kier (Stanford-California RTC), 12-0


66 kg/145.5 lbs.

1st – Ryan Deakin (Northwestern) dec. Kanen Storr (C-RTC), 8-6
3rd – Yianni Diakomihalis (Finger Lakes) dec. Dominick Demas (Columbus WC), 10-0
5th – Patricio Lugo (Edinboro RTC) tech. fall Ben Hornickle (Wyoming RTC), 12-2
7th – Cole Martin (Wisconsin) tech. fall Keegan Shaw (Iowa), 10-0


70 kg/154 lbs.

1st – Griffin Parriott (Boilermaker RTC) dec. Joe Lee (Maurer Coughlin WC), 9-0
3rd – Austin Kraisser (Campbell) dec. Mike Dangelo (Princeton WC), 12-9
5th – Philip Conigliaro (Unattached) forfeit David Carr (Titan Mercury WC)
7th – Ryder Punke (IRTC) dec. Luke Weber (Nebraska WTC), 6-6


74 kg/163 lbs.

1st – Mark Hall (Nittany Lion WC) tech. fall Alex Marinelli (Iowa), 10-0
3rd – Evan Wick (Wisconsin) dec. Hayden Hidlay (Wolfpack WC), 6-5
5th – David McFadden (SERTC-VT) tech. fall Jake Allar (Minnesota Storm), 12-2
7th – Taleb Rahmani (Pittsburgh WC) dec. Carver James (IRTC), 5-3


79 kg/174 lbs.

1st – Jacob Covaciu (Wisconsin) dec. Kaleb Young (Iowa), 6-5
3rd – AJ Pedro (Pedro’s WC) dec. Joseph Grello (Scarlet Knights WC), 6-0
5th – Joshua Ugalde (Terrapin WC) forfeit Ahmed Alford (Navy-Marine Corps RTC)
7th – Riley Demoss (Princeton WC) forfeit Spencer Carey (Navy-Marine Corps RTC)


84 kg/185 lbs.

1st – Zahid Valencia (Arizona State) tech. fall Nick Reenan (Wolfpack WC), 10-0
3rd – Max Dean (New York AC) dec. Jaron Smith (Terrapin WC), 14-10
5th – Taylor Venz (Nebraska WTC) dec. Keegan Moore (Titan Mercury WC), 8-1
7th – Jelani Embree (Beat the Streets Detroit) dec. Andrew Price (Lehigh), 8-5


96 kg/211 lbs.

1st – Andrew Marsden (Titan Mercury WC) dec. Nathan Traxler (Stanford-California RTC), 11-10
3rd – Samuel Colbray (C-RTC) dec. Kevin Snyder (Titan Mercury WC), 10-1
5th – Chase Singletary (Blairstown WC) forfeit Joshua Roetman (Navy-Marine Corps RTC)
7th – Ben Darmstadt (New York AC) dec. Brady Wetter (Wisconsin), 5-4


120 kg/264.5 lbs.

1st – Gable Steveson (Minnesota Storm) dec. Jordan Wood (Lehigh), 9-2
3rd – Shawn Streck (Boilermaker RTC) tech. fall Brandon Metz (Unattached), 11-1
5th – Rylee Streifel (Minnesota Storm) forfeit Anthony Cassioppi (Hononegah WC)
7th – Brian Barnes (McMinnville) forfeit Christian Rebottaro (Michigan State)


50 kg/110 lbs.


Nick Onea (Pottsville) – Eighth Place

Riley Weir (Team BIG) PP Nick Onea (Crimson Wave Wrestling Club), 18-13

Nick Onea (Crimson Wave Wrestling Club) ST Corey Muniz (River Valley Wrestling Club), 12-0 5:58

Brandon Kaylor (Team Aggression) ST Nick Onea (Crimson Wave Wrestling Club), 10-0 1:02

Hunter Lucas (Terrapin Wrestling Club) VF Nick Onea (Crimson Wave Wrestling Club)


55 kg/121 lbs.


Devin Schnupp (Warwick/Penn State)

Patrick McKee (Minnesota Storm) SP Devin Schnupp (Nittany Lion Wrestling Club), 12-2 2:38

Devin Schnupp (Nittany Lion Wrestling Club) SP Andrew Willi (Paradigm Training Center), 13-2 1:51

Devin Schnupp (Nittany Lion Wrestling Club) PP Mike Madara (Blairstown Wrestling Club), 10-9

Devin Schnupp (Nittany Lion Wrestling Club) SP Alejandro Hernandez (Cal State Bakersfield), 14-3 4:17

Dylan D`Emilio (Burnett Training Wrestling) ST Devin Schnupp (Nittany Lion Wrestling Club), 10-0 3:14


Gage Curry (North Hills/American) 

Andrew Alirez (TNWC) PP Gage Curry (American-Unattached), 12-6

Gage Curry (American-Unattached) SP Hasan Krigger (Unattached), 13-2 2:51

Gage Curry (American-Unattached) PO Michael Colaiocco (Blairstown Wrestling Club), 6-0

Danny Vega (C-RTC Unattached) SP Gage Curry (American-Unattached), 20-6 3:44


Mike Madara (Blair Academy/Nazareth, PA)

Mike Madara (Blairstown Wrestling Club) ST Hasan Krigger (Unattached), 10-0 1:57

Andrew Alirez (TNWC) PP Mike Madara (Blairstown Wrestling Club), 10-4

Devin Schnupp (Nittany Lion Wrestling Club) PP Mike Madara (Blairstown Wrestling Club), 10-9


60 kg/132 lbs.


George Phillippi (Derry Area/Virginia)

George Phillippi (Cavalier Wrestling Club) PP Wesley Dawkins (MWC Wrestling Academy), 9-6

Dakota Galt (Legends of Gold) PP George Phillippi (Cavalier Wrestling Club), 11-9

Durbin Lloren (Wolverine Wrestling Club) PP George Phillippi (Cavalier Wrestling Club), 6-3


Mason Lindenmuth (Brockway/Penn State)

Mason Lindenmuth (Nittany Lion Wrestling Club) SP Brock Bergelin (Finger Lakes), 13-2 4:07

Jacob Silzer (IRTC) ST Mason Lindenmuth (Nittany Lion Wrestling Club), 10-0 0:52

Mason Lindenmuth (Nittany Lion Wrestling Club) SP Joseph Terriquez (Delano, CA), 12-2 1:32

Mason Lindenmuth (Nittany Lion Wrestling Club) SP James Rader (Nebraska Golden Eagles Wrestling Club), 13-3 2:32

Paul Glynn (University of Iowa) SP Mason Lindenmuth (Nittany Lion Wrestling Club), 12-2 4:03


63 kg/139 lbs.


Brian Friery (Lewisburg Area/Penn State)

Brian Friery (Nittany Lion Wrestling Club) SP Julian Melecio (Sac Dawgs), 12-2 4:06

Kaden Gfeller (Team BIG) ST Brian Friery (Nittany Lion Wrestling Club), 10-0 0:43

Alex Hrisopoulos (Michigan State) ST Brian Friery (Nittany Lion Wrestling Club), 10-0 2:28


Jacob Wasser (Palisades/Nebraska-Kearney)

Luke Pletcher (Titan Mercury Wrestling Club) PP Jacob Wasser (Nebraska Golden Eagles Wrestling Club) 10-4

Jacob Wasser (Nebraska Golden Eagles Wrestling Club) ST Samuel Rodriguez (Unattached), 10-0 1:03

Denton Spencer (TEAM GEORGIA) PP Jacob Wasser (Nebraska Golden Eagles Wrestling Club), 11-6


Luke Pletcher (Greater Latrobe/Ohio State) – Champion

Luke Pletcher (Titan Mercury Wrestling Club) PP Jacob Wasser (Nebraska Golden Eagles Wrestling Club) 10-4

Luke Pletcher (Titan Mercury Wrestling Club) ST Brent Jones (Minnesota Storm), 11-0 4:46

Luke Pletcher (Titan Mercury Wrestling Club) ST Brandon Kier (Stanford – California RTC), 10-0 3:49

Luke Pletcher (Titan Mercury Wrestling Club) PP Kaden Gfeller (Team BIG), 9-7

Luke Pletcher (Titan Mercury Wrestling Club) PP Sam Turner (Wyoming Wrestling RTC), 8-6


66 kg/145.5 lbs.


Felix Belga (Cumberland Valley/Drexel)

Felix Belga (Drexel) ST Jarrett Jacques (Eierman Elite), 10-0 0:18

Zachary Evans (Orange Crush Wrestling Club) SP Felix Belga (Drexel), 16-4 5:04

Felix Belga (Drexel) ST Austin Smith (Austin Smith), 10-0 0:51

Alexander Lloyd (Minnesota Storm) SP Felix Belga (Drexel), 14-4 1:19


74 kg/163 lbs.


Hayden Hidlay (Mifflin County/N.C. State) – Fourth Place

Hayden Hidlay (Wolfpack Wrestling Club) ST Jeremiah Moody (University of Iowa), 10-0 1:06

Hayden Hidlay (Wolfpack Wrestling Club) SP Dylan Lydy (Boilermaker RTC), 12-2 5:34

Evan Wick (University of Wisconsin) PP Hayden Hidlay (Wolfpack Wrestling Club), 8-5

Hayden Hidlay (Wolfpack Wrestling Club) ST Justin Thomas (Sooner Wrestling Club), 10-0 1:09

Hayden Hidlay (Wolfpack Wrestling Club) PP Taleb Rahmani (Pittsburgh Wrestling Club), 9-2

Hayden Hidlay (Wolfpack Wrestling Club) PP David McFadden (SERTC-VT), 5-2

Evan Wick (University of Wisconsin) SP Hayden Hidlay (Wolfpack Wrestling Club), 6-5 6:00


Trent Hidlay (Mifflin County)

Trent Hidlay (Bison Legend) PP Cael McCormick (West Point Wrestling Club), 13-7

Trent Hidlay (Bison Legend) PP Andres Gandara (Arizona State University), 9-7

Trent Hidlay (Bison Legend) PP Brandon Dallavia Stanford, CA (Stanford – California RTC), 9-1

Mark Hall (Nittany Lion Wrestling Club) ST Trent Hidlay (Bison Legend), 10-0 1:40

Taleb Rahmani (Pittsburgh Wrestling Club) SP Trent Hidlay (Bison Legend), 14-3 5:15


79 kg/174 lbs.


Cole Painter (Pottsville)

Logan Nelson (Pin City) SP Cole Painter (Crimson Wave Wrestling Club), 16-5 5:11

Jeremy Thomas (Sooner Wrestling Club) ST Cole Painter (Crimson Wave Wrestling Club), 10-0 1:07


Kaleb Young (Punxsutawney/Iowa) – Runner-up

Kaleb Young (University of Iowa) ST Michael Otomo (Minnesota Storm), 10-0 5:09

Kaleb Young (University of Iowa) PP Jackson Hemauer (Badger Regional Training Center), 12-3

Kaleb Young (University of Iowa) PP Canten Marriott (Missouri Wrestling Foundation), 6-4

Kaleb Young (University of Iowa) SP Ahmed Alford (Navy-Marine Corps RTC), 15-4 3:34

Jacob Covaciu (University of Wisconsin) PP Kaleb Young (University of Iowa), 6-5


84 kg/185 lbs.


Garrett Hoffman (Montoursville/Bucknell)

Gary Jantzer (Wolverine Wrestling Club) PP Garrett Hoffman (Buffalo Valley RTC), 15-8

Garrett Hoffman (Buffalo Valley RTC) VT Chauncey Garigan (Inland Northwest Wrestling Training Center), 8-0 1:01

Garrett Hoffman (Buffalo Valley RTC) PP Anthony Sherry (Powerhouse), 19-16

Alexander Hopkins (West Point Wrestling Club) PP Garrett Hoffman (Buffalo Valley RTC), 7-3


96 kg/211.6 lbs.


David Showunmi (Blair Academy/Stanford)

Ben Darmstadt (New York RTC/NYAC) VT David Showunmi (Stanford – California RTC), 11-1 2:26

Jonathan Aiello (Cavalier Wrestling Club) PP David Showunmi (Stanford – California RTC), 13-7


Drew Phipps (Norwin/Bucknell)

Noah Adams (Morgantown RTC/Young Guns WV) PP Drew Phipps (Buffalo Valley RTC), 8-6

Evan Hansen (Viking Wrestling Club) PP Drew Phipps (Buffalo Valley RTC), 7-6


John Jakobsen (Stroudsburg/Lehigh)

Samuel Colbray (C-RTC Unattached) SP John Jakobsen (Lehigh University), 12-1 4:52

John Jakobsen (Lehigh University) FOR Thomas Lane (Cal Poly)

Haydn Maley (ROSEBURG MAT CLUB) SP John Jakobsen (Lehigh University), 15-4 4:34


120 kg/264.5 lbs.


Andrew Dunn (Bethlehem Catholic/Virginia Tech)

Christian Araneo (Princeton Wrestling Club) PO Andrew Dunn (SERTC-VT), 6-0

Benjamin Stone (University of Wisconsin) VT Andrew Dunn (SERTC-VT), 4-1 0:57


Brendan Furman (Canon-McMillan/Cornell)

Darryl Aiello (CYC) VT Brendan Furman (Pittsburgh Wrestling Club), 4-4 0:47

Brendan Furman (Pittsburgh Wrestling Club) ST Ramiro Macias (Thunderbirds), 12-0 3:49

Brendan Furman (Pittsburgh Wrestling Club) PP Thomas Helton (Southern Illinois Training Center), 14-10

Gannon Gremmel (C-RTC Unattached) SP Brendan Furman (Pittsburgh Wrestling Club), 18-7 4:26


Jordan Wood (Boyertown Area/Lehigh) – Runner-up

Jordan Wood (Lehigh University) ST Brian Barnes (McMinnville Wrestling), 12-0 0:57

Jordan Wood (Lehigh University) ST Clayton Dangler (Unattached), 12-0 1:22

Jordan Wood (Lehigh University) PO Shawn Streck (Boilermaker RTC), 5-0

Jordan Wood (Lehigh University) PP Rylee Streifel (Minnesota Storm), 10-1

Gable Steveson (Minnesota Storm) PP Jordan Wood (Lehigh University), 9-2

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