Team PA Shut Out in Fargo Finals; Earns Eight All-Americans at Freestyle Junior Nationals

Monday night ended with Team Pennsylvania going two for eight in the blood round but advanced three wrestlers to the Junior Freestyle National finals in Fargo, ND. Tuesday came and Team Pennsylvania was shut-out in the Championship finals. In total Pennsylvania saw eight wrestlers earn All-American honors and finished in fifth place as a team with 39 points.

At 100 pounds Robert Gardner, a rising sophomore at South Williamsport High School, finished strong in 7th place defeating North Dakota’s Noah Savageau by tech-fall 13-2 in the medal round match. Gardner, who was undersized his rookie year, finished the season 29-3 and was a District 4 qualifier at 106 pounds.

Two Team Pennsylvania wrestlers did battle in the 138 pound third place match as Lachlan McNeil, a Cadet Freestyle World Team member for his home country of Canada, defeated 2-time Pennsylvania State Champion Sam Hillegas (North Hills) with a 10-3 decision. Hillegas was ahead 3-1 in the second period when McNeil earned a two point exposure as Hillegas was defending a takedown and added a takedown of his own shortly after to go up 5-3. A push-out for McNeil, followed by a takedown and turn, sealed the victory for the Wyoming Seminary wrestler 10-3.

Gabe Miller (Pequea Valley) will head to UPenn having earned All-American honors twice in Fargo. The 2019 PIAA State finalist was a sixth place medalist in Cadet Freestyle in 2017 while last year he moved up to Juniors and went 5-2, missing a spot on the podium. Miller wouldn’t be denied in 2019 as he fought his way to an eighth place finish at 145 pounds.

The first of three Junior finalists came at 170 pounds where 2019 PIAA State Champion Gerrit Nijenhuis (Canon-McMillan) took on Minnesota’s Patrick Kennedy. In the finals it didn’t take Kennedy, a rising senior ranked #1 in the Nation by Flo at 170 pounds, long to rack up a ten point advantage and win by tech-fall. Gerrit was in deep to open the match but Kennedy countered scoring on a go-behind. Kennedy, an Iowa recruit, didn’t stop there as he wrapped Nijenhuis up in a lethal gut-wrench taking him over for two more points. After rolling through, Nijenhuis was able to escape near the edge, but Kennedy earned an easy push-out to quickly go up 5-0. From neutral Kennedy connected on a beautiful ankle-pick for a two point take down and quickly collected both ankles for a leg lace. As Kennedy was attempting a second roll through with the leg lace, Nijenhuis broke free but crawled out-of-bounds giving Kennedy a point, and closing out the match 10-0 in just 2:20.

In the undisputed toughest bracket of Juniors Pennsylvania’s Luke Stout (Mount Lebanon) bounced back to take fifth place at 182 pounds. After falling to eventual Champion and Cadet World Bronze Medalist Abe Assad (Illinois) in the semifinals, Stout met Missouri’s #2 Rocky Elam in the consolation semifinals. Stout, ranked #3 in the Nation by Flo, was unable to mount a comeback in the second period as he fell 10-7 to Elam and dropped into the fifth place match. There he rebounded with a 13-9 win over Minnesota’s Zach Glazier.

The next two Pennsylvania Junior National medalists both fell in the finals at 195 pounds and 220 pounds respectively. 3-time PIAA State Medalist and UPenn recruit Cole Urbas (State College) made a strong push into the 195 pound finals but was defeated by surprise Champion Jonovan Smith of California. It was the second Keystone State wrestler that Smith defeated in Fargo as the uncommitted high school graduate also defeated 2018 PIAA State runner-up Julian Gorring (Fort LeBouef) in the Round of 16. After taking a 5-3 lead on Urbas following the first period, Smith went on a roll scoring six points to win it 11-6. 

At 220 pounds Dorian Crosby fell victim to arguably the most highly sought after recruit in the Nation – Braxton Amos. The Parkersburg, WV wrestler came into Fargo as a 4-time Cadet National Champion, winning two titles in both Freestyle and Greco-Roman, and he kept the trend going in the Junior Division. Amos dominated the entire tournament, including his finals match with Crosby, outscoring his six opponents 64-0 and never even getting to the second period.  


2019 Fargo Junior Freestyle Medalists


100 Pounds

1st Daniel Sheen (Illinois) VPO1 Brandon O’Brien (Iowa), 2-1
3rd Cael Keck (Missouri) VPO1 Samuel Hayes (Illinois), 6-2
5th Andrew Dalrymple (Alaska) VFA Cameron Hines (Connecticut), 9-3 3:38
7th Robert Gardner (S. Williamsport) VSU1 Noah Savageau (North Dakota), 13-2 3:00


106 Pounds

1st Andre Gonzales (California) VSU1 Blake West (Minnesota), 19-7 5:55
3rd Eli Griffin (Oklahoma) VSU Kelly Dunnigan (New Jersey), 10-0 0:43
5th Kenny Sailas (Colorado) VFA Caleb Coyle (Nebraska), 11-2 3:57
7th Elijah Rivera (New York) VPO1 Quade Smith (Utah), 8-4


113 Pounds

1st Drake Ayala (Iowa) VSU1 Nico Provo (Connecticut), 19-8 4:44
3rd Jeremiah Reno (Missouri) VFA Yusief Lillie (Washington), 7-0 3:00
5th Joziah Fry (Rhode Island) VSU Aedyn Concepcion (Alaska), 12-0 1:59
7th Cruz Aguilar (Oklahoma) VSU Angelo Lozado (Colorado), 10-0 1:43


120 Pounds

1st Anthony Molton (Illinois) VPO1 Jakason Burks (Nebraska), 17-16
3rd Chayse La joie (Michigan) VSU1 Destin Summers (Idaho), 11-1 5:23
5th Jackson Cockrell (Oklahoma) VPO1 Joseph Thompson (Minnesota), 10-8
7th Cooper Flynn (Tennessee) VPO1 Richard Sandoval (California), 6-5


126 Pounds

1st Angelo Rini (Ohio) VSU1 Ethen Miller (Missouri), 14-4 4:05
3rd Wyatt Henson (Missouri) VSU1 Kyle Burwick (North Dakota), 17-6 5:50
5th Cameron Johnson (Illinois) VSU1 Jayden Gomez (California), 14-3 3:56
7th Carter Young (Oklahoma) VSU Camden Russell (Nebraska), 10-0 0:59


132 Pounds

1st Dominick Serrano (Colorado) VSU Michael Burnett (Ohio), 10-0 2:58
3rd Cael Happel (Iowa) VSU1 Nathaniel Pulliam (Missouri), 11-1 2:01
5th Mosha Schwartz (Colorado) VPO1 Domenic Zaccone (Illinois), 11-5
7th Trey Crawford (Missouri) VSU1 Drew Roberts (Washington), 12-1 3:20


138 Pounds

1st Joshua Saunders (Missouri) VPO1 Ridge Lovett (Idaho), 5-3
3rd Lachlan McNeil (Wyoming Seminary) VPO1 Samuel Hillegas (North Hills), 10-3
5th Caleb Henson (Georgia) NC Caden McCrary (Georgia)
7th Marcos Polanco (California) VFA Luke Sloan (Texas), 6-0 1:37


145 Pounds

1st Anthony Echemendia (Arizona) VPO1 Victor Voinovich (Ohio), 10-4
3rd Manzona Bryant (Ohio) VFA Chance McLane (Montana), 12-3 5:10
5th Joseph Zargo (New Jersey) VSU1 Maxx Mayfield (Nebraska), 12-1 1:33
7th Joshua Ogunsanya (Illinois) VSU1 Gabe Miller (Pequea Valley), 19-9 5:40


152 Pounds

1st Jace Luchau (California) VPO1 John Martin Best (West Virginia), 8-2
3rd Keegan O’Toole (Wisconsin) VSU1 Chase Saldate (California), 14-3 5:51
5th Daniel Manibog (Texas) VSU Legend Lamer (Oregon), 11-0 1:57
7th Derek Gilcher (Michigan) VSU1 Cael Carlson (Minnesota), 17-6 6:00


160 Pounds

1st Padraic Gallagher (Ohio) VSU1 Cade Devos (Iowa), 12-2 2:55
3rd Baylor Fernandes (Illinois) VSU1 Colby Njos (Minnesota), 14-2 5:22
5th Dajun Johnson (Wisconsin) VSU David Rubio (Oregon), 11-0 2:36
7th Luke Surber (Oklahoma) VSU Bilal Bailey (Illinois), 10-0 1:47


170 Pounds

1st Patrick Kennedy (Minnesota) VSU Gerrit Nijenhuis (Canon-McMillan), 10-0 2:20
3rd Nevan Snodgrass (Ohio) VSU Gavin Kane (Georgia), 10-0 4:44
5th Alex Cramer (Illinois) VPO1 Lance Runyon (Iowa), 11-4
7th Connor ONeill (New Jersey) VFO Trent Munoz (California), 0-0


182 Pounds

1st Abe Assad (Illinois) VPO1 Dustin Plott (Oklahoma), 8-2
3rd Parker Keckeisen (Wisconsin) VPO1 Rocky Elam (Missouri), 6-2
5th Luke Stout (Mount Lebanon) VPO1 Zach Glazier (Minnesota), 13-9
7th Christopher Foca (New Jersey) VSU1 John Poznanski (New Jersey), 12-2 1:55


195 Pounds

1st Jonovan Smith (California) VPO1 Cole Urbas (State College), 11-6
3rd Ethan Hatcher (Ohio) VSU Isaac Trumble (Nebraska), 10-0 0:38
5th Vincent Baker (Georgia) VSU Matthew Cover (Ohio), 11-0 3:55
7th Samuel Mitchell (Wisconsin) VFA Michael Baker (Ohio), 8-0 1:04


220 Pounds

1st Braxton Amos (West Virginia) VSU Dorian Crosby (Cathedral Prep), 10-0 2:23
3rd Cade Lautt (Kansas) VSU Konner Doucet (Oklahoma), 10-0 1:12
5th Gabe Christenson (Iowa) VFA Daniel Striggow (Minnesota), 9-5 5:59
7th Cody Fisher (Iowa) VPO1 Cabe Dickerson (Oklahoma), 5-4


285 Pounds

1st Luke Luffman (Illinois) VPO1 Aydin Guttridge (Illinois), 4-1
3rd Nash Hutmacher (South Dakota) VPO1 Spencer Trenary (Iowa), 13-4
5th Joshua Heindselman (Oklahoma) VIN Roberto Pena (Illinois)
7th Braxton Mikesell (Washington) VSU John Wiese (Oklahoma), 10-0 1:08


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