Triple Crown winners (from left): Colorado's Mark Hall, Oklahoma's Daton Fix, Texas' Nick Reenan and Iowa's Jacob Marnin. John Sachs photo.
Four wrestlers capture Triple Crowns Illinois rolls to team title in Cadet Nationals freestyle competition
FARGO, N.D. - USA Wrestling's Triple Crown club welcomed four new members into its exclusive group during the Cadet Nationals freestyle finals.
Oklahoma's Daton Fix (113 pounds), Texas' Nick Reenan (152), Colorado's Mark Hall (160) and Iowa's Jacob Marnin (285) joined the prestigious group of Triple Crown winners by winning Cadet freestyle championships on Friday afternoon at the Fargo Dome.
Those four wrestlers completed Triple Crowns after previously earning Cadet Folkstyle Nationals titles in April in Cedar Falls, Iowa and Cadet Nationals Greco-Roman crowns earlier this week in Fargo.
Fix charged out aggressively to a big lead before eventually falling behind against fellow Cadet Nationals Greco champion Mitchell McKee of Minnesota. Fix then rallied to earn a 12-9 victory in the Cadet freestyle finals. Fix bumped up to 113 for freestyle after winning a Cadet Greco title at 106 earlier in the week.
Down 9-8, Fix powered in for a double-leg takedown to regain the lead with 46 seconds left. He then countered a late shot by McKee and gained two exposure points to clinch the dramatic win.
"This is amazing to be able to win a Triple Crown" Fix said. "This is great, to be able to accomplish something like this. It means a lot. (McKee) is a real good wrestler and I knew it would be a tough match."
Reenan completed his Triple Crown quest by blanking Trace Carello of Illinois 4-0 in the finals. Reenan capped a superb week with his second Fargo title.
"This is really important" Reenan said. "I'm excited to win the Triple Crown and finish the season strong. I've trained really hard for this and it paid off for me."
Hall completed an amazing run through the field by shutting out Kamal Bey of Illinois 10-0 in the finals. He did not allow a point in the tournament.
"I've been training out at the Olympic Training Center since April and I've been getting my butt kicked a lot" Hall said. "I've improved a lot during the time I've been in Colorado Springs, and that has helped me a lot up here. I just came out and was looking to dominate in my matches."
Marnin built a quick early lead before pinning Washington's Tate Orndorff in the finals.
"It's pretty spectacular to do this" Marnin said. "I don't think anyone can come out and expect to win a Triple Crown. It feels really good to be able to do this."
2012 Cadet Triple Crown winner Lance Benick of Minnesota completed a feat that may have been even more impressive after beating Maryland's Michael Smith 12-0 in the 220 freestyle finals.
Benick won titles at all three USA Wrestling Triple Crown events this year after capturing a Junior Folkstyle Nationals title in April before earning a Cadet Nationals Greco title this week. It was the first time a wrestler has accomplished that feat, with two Cadet Nationals crowns and a Junior title in the same season.
"I felt my technique was good and it was good to get a lot of matches in here" Benick said. "I am working on getting myself prepared for the Cadet World Championships. I want to win a gold medal there."
The talented and deep Illinois squad continued its phenomenal week in Fargo by rolling to the team title with Pennsylvania finishing second and Ohio third.
Illinois captured a pair of individual national titles in Cadet freestyle on Friday.
Powerful Illinois wrestler Tyler Johnson wasted no time in scoring a first-period fall over Oregon's Samuel Colbray in the 195 finals. Colbray is a two-time Cadet Nationals Greco champion. Johnson was fifth in the 2012 Cadet Nationals in freestyle.
Illinois' Isaiah White topped Idaho's Chase Lemons 8-5 in the 138 finals. White won in Fargo after placing second at the 2013 Cadet Folkstyle Nationals.
Utah's Taylor LaMont capped a strong season by defeating Cadet Nationals Greco champion Gabriel Townsell 11-7 in the Cadet 120 freestyle finals. Lamont won a Cadet Folkstyle Nationals championship in April.
Zahid Valencia will head back to California with a pair of stop-sign shaped Fargo plaques after earning a 12-1 win over Pennsylvania's Hayden Hidlay in the 126 freestyle finals. Valencia repeated a win over Hidlay from the Cadet Greco finals.
Valencia captured his second straight Cadet Nationals freestyle crown.
"This feels great to win this" Valencia said. "I feel like my conditioning is the best out there. I just kept pushing the pace and wrestling aggressively."
New Jersey's Mason Manville became a double champion in Fargo this year after blanking Maryland's Austin Kraisser 10-0 in the 145 freestyle finals. Manville was named Outstanding Wrestler of the Cadet Greco tournament earlier in the week.
Manville won a Cadet freestyle title after placing second in that style here in 2012.
"I've been waiting all year to win on the big stage this year in freestyle" Manville said. "It's a great feeling to be able to get it done this year. I've had a lot of great coaching that has helped me get to this point."
Wisconsin's Beau Breske became a double Fargo champion by defeating Arizona's Bridger Barker 10-0 in the 170 finals. Breske won a Cadet Nationals Greco title earlier this week.
Breske was named Outstanding Wrestler.
Georgia's Roberto Rivera overcame a 9-0 deficit to take the lead and then score a huge fall over Ohio's Jackson Harris in the 182 finals. Rivera, second in the Cadet Greco tournament, nearly lost by a 10-point technical fall before staging his improbable comeback.
"I knew I was about to get teched" Rivera said. "I had to get something going quickly and do a better job of defending what he was doing."
Oklahoma's Kaden Gfeller put on an impressive display with a takedown and a series of leg laces in blanking Cadet Nationals Greco champion Austin Gomez of Illinois 10-0 in the 94 finals.
Gfeller, second in the 2013 FILA Cadet Nationals, avenged an earlier loss to Gomez.
Talented Iowa star Carter Happel took charge right away on his feet in shutting out Pennsylvania's Jonathan Ross 10-0 in the 132 finals. Happel was third in the 2012 Cadet Folkstyle Nationals.
Happel pulled out a wild 25-17 win over Ohio's Justin Demicco en route to the finals. He trailed 13-4 in the match and was just one point away from falling by technical fall before earning his dramatic comeback victory.
"I like the new rules" Happel said. "I was down by nine points in a match, but I was able to come back. I kept wrestling hard and used my conditioning to push through it."
Arizona's Danny Vega erased a 4-2 deficit by turning Missouri's Matthew Schmitt to his back to record a first-period fall in the 100 finals. Vega climbs to the top of the podium after finishing second in the Cadet Nationals in Greco.
Young Texas standout Jack Mueller stormed out to a quick early advantage en route to downing Oklahoma's Andrew Nieman in the 106 finals. Mueller won by a 10-0 technical fall.
Mueller, coached by Olympic gold medalist Kendall Cross, did not allow a point in the tournament. He had placed second in the 2013 FILA Cadet Nationals in freestyle.
Pennsylvania's Gavin Teasdale kicked off the finals in impressive fashion, topping Connecticut's Zac Murillo 14-4 at 88 pounds.ASICS/VAUGHN JUNIOR AND CADET NATIONALS
Cadet Nationals, freestyle finals
Friday, July 19, Fargo Dome, Fargo, N.D.88 Pounds
Gavin Teasdale (Pennsylvania) dec. Zac Murillo (Connecticut), 14-494 Pounds
Kaden Gfeller (Oklahoma) dec. Austin Gomez (Illinois), 10-0100 Pounds
Danny Vega (Arizona) pinned Matthew Schmitt (Missouri), 1:48106 Pounds
Jack Mueller (Texas) dec. Andrew Nieman (Oklahoma), 10-0113 Pounds
Daton Fix (Oklahoma) dec. Mitchell McKee (Minnesota), 12-9120 Pounds
Taylor Lamont (Utah) dec. Gabriel Townsell (Illinois), 11-7126 Pounds
Zahid Valencia (California) dec. Hayden Hidlay (Pennsylvania), 12-1132 Pounds
Carter Happel (Iowa) dec. Jonathan Ross (Pennsylvania), 10-0138 Pounds
Isaiah White (Illinois) dec. Chase Lemons (Idaho), 8-5145 Pounds
Mason Manville (New Jersey) dec. Austin Kraisser (Maryland), 10-0152 Pounds
Nick Reenan (Texas) dec. Trace Carello (Illinois), 4-0160 Pounds
Mark Hall (Colorado) dec. Kamal Bey (Illinois), 10-0170 Pounds
Beau Breske (Wisconsin) dec. Bridger Barker (Arizona), 10-0182 Pounds
Roberto Rivera (Georgia) pinned Jackson Harris (Ohio), 2:38195 Pounds
Tyler Johnson (Illinois) pinned Samuel Colbray (Oregon), 1:08220 Pounds
Lance Benick (Minnesota) dec. Michael Smith (Maryland), 12-0285 Pounds
Jacob Marnin (Iowa) pinned Tate Orndorff (Washington), 3:23