Wisconsin has a stellar team headed to the 2021 USMC 16U and Junior Nationals this season. There are 11 returning All-Americans from 2019 and 15 nationally ranked wrestlers that have been actively competing in age-level events during a busy spring season.
Making her first competitive appearance to the FargoDome is Olympic Team Trials runner up Kylie Welker, who is registered in the Junior division. Earlier this season, Welker placed first in the U23 and Junior divisions at Women's Nationals (World Team Trials), earning the 76kg spot on USA Wrestling's World Teams. Welker went undefeated in consecutive card-style events at the WRTC Underground series. She is ranked No. 1 overall in the high school rankings at 164 pounds, and No. 2 overall in Flowrestling's pound-for-pound rankings.
Team Wisconsin’s boys roster is more than 100 wrestlers deep and saturated with talent.
A quad of nationally ranked wrestlers will highlight the Junior division—Matt Bianchi (No. 9 at 145), Mitchell Mesenbrink (No. 9 at 152), Braeden Scoles (No. 11 at 160) and Clayton Whiting (No. 5 at 182). Bianchi, a four-time Wisconsin state champion for Two Rivers, and Whiting, a three-time Wisconsin state champion from Oconto Falls, were 16U All-American’s in 2019.
Stoughton’s two-time state champion Nicolar Rivera—a 16U Greco champion in 2019 and freestyle champion in 2018—is registered for both styles in the Junior division.
The full list of returning 16U All-American’s wrestling Juniors this year includes Nicolar Rivera (1st GR, 4th FS), Gavin Drexler (2nd GR), Matthew Bianchi (3rd FS, 5th GR), Clayton Whiting (3rd FS), Greyson Clark (4th GR, 7th FS), Jaren Rhode (5th GR, 6th FS), Jared Stricker (6th GR), Brayden Sonnentag (7th GR), Mitchell Mesenbrink (5th FS), Ben Bast (8th FS) and Joey Showalter (8th GR).
Kaleb Casey returns to the Junior division after a 2019 3rd place finish in Greco.
In the 16U division, Haakon Peterson (featured photo, 88) and Aeoden Sinclair (160) will wrestle freestyle and Greco. The pair claimed back-to-back titles at U15 Nationals in April where they qualified for Team USA’s U15 Pan Am team.
Multiple team members won brackets at USA Wrestling's Regionals series this spring. In freestyle: Drew Dolphin (100), Mitchell Mesenbrink (152), Connor Thorpe (145), Jared Stricker (160) and John Gunderson (195). In Greco: Drew Dolphin (100), Gavin Drexler (145), Matthew Rogge (160), Jared Stricker (170) and John Gunderson (195). The 16U Northern Plains champions in Greco are Brett Back (145), Zachary Eliszewski (152), Ian Smith (182), Ryder Depies (195), Vanden Hoffman (220) and Evan Gratz (285) came out on top. In freestyle: Lincoln Flayter (94), Charlie Millard (152), Cole Mirasola (182), Koy Hopke (220), Jesus Gonzalez (285).
16U freestyle wrestles Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Junior freestyle wrestles Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. 16U Greco wrestles Wednesday and Thursday. Junior Greco wrestles Thursday and Friday.
Jumping back to the women, Faith Bartoszek (No. 4 at 144) and Hanna Errthum (No. 3 at 132) are registered for both divisions. Bartoszek won the U15 division at Women's Nationals earlier this season after a 5th place finish in UWW Cadet WTT. Errthum placed 4th at Cadet WTT.
Wisconsin's college-bound wrestlers to watch are Rose Ann Marshall (No. 13 at 112) and Brooke Crawley. Marshall competed in several card-style events presented by the WRTC this season, won the WWF Folkstyle State Championships and is slated to continue her academic and athletic pursuits at first-year program Friends University. Crawley is headed to one of the NCAA's top women's programs at North Central College in Naperville, Illinois. Marshall placed 7th in the 16U division at Fargo in 2017.
More top-ranked ladies for Wisconsin include Marisa Roth (No. 9 at 138), Larissa Kaz (No. 10 at 122), Aevri Ciha (No. 12 at 144), Alexandra Hochrifter (No. 13 at 152), Caitlyn Kelley (No. 22 at 117), Emma Gruenhagen (No. 22 at 127) and Kylie Rule (No. 23 at 127).
Cadet women wrestle on Saturday and Sunday. Junior women wrestle Tuesday and Wednesday.
Teams will begin travelling to Fargo on Friday morning.