TLDR (Too Long Didn’t Read)
Junior MFS: Team Wisconsin placed 4th overall with ten All-Americans: 1st - Ben Kawczynski (285); 3rd - Matt Bianchi (145); 4th - Braeden Scoles (160); 4th - Jared Stricker (170); 5th - Clayton Whiting (182); 6th - Wyatt Skebba (106); 6th - Blaine Brenner (132); 6th - John Gunderson; 6th - Luke Mechler (132); 8th - Greyson Clark (132).
Junior WFS: Six women earned All-American status and will wrestle on the second day of JR WFS competition. Kylie Welker (164) and Hanna Errthum (132) are in the semifinals. Kylie Rule (127), Larissa Kaz (127), Faith Bartoszek (144) and Alex Hofrichter (152) advanced to the consi. of 4.
Good evening from Fargo, day 4! Three tournament finals have been wrestled, and we have three more to go.
Junior National Champion Ben Kawczynski absolutely dominated the 285-pound bracket. He picked up five technical superiorities en route to the finals, and devastated Georgia’s No. 1 ranked Chase Horne while the crowd’s support boomed through the arena. Kawczynski came in unranked, and when asked if he had a chip on his shoulder, said, “One hundred percent. I came in unranked, there’s a lot of good kids in this bracket and I wanted to prove something.” Kawczynski says he’s training 6-7 days a week in efforts to outwork opponents. He humbly gave credit for his wins to coaches, while taking ownership of past losses. The UW-La Crosse commit says he can’t wait to be part of the team, attributing his decision to the coaches and family atmosphere. Kawczynski graduated from Oak Creek as a 2021 D1 state champion this past spring.
Matt Bianchi put together a 7-1 performance in the 145-pound bracket. And, while Fargo might be the end of the freestyle road for some heading to college, Bianchi says his career is just getting started. He has U23, Senior and Olympic level aspirations. “I love freestyle, I love it more than folkstyle, so I really want to continue this and see how far it can take me.” Bianchi’s come a long way since going 1-2 in his debut 16U tournament. Reflecting on three years at Fargo, he says the tournament is, and always has been, a grind. “I realized I had to prepare myself a lot better,” he said. “I couldn’t just start in the summer . . . it took a whole year to realize I need to start preparing now, years ahead, to get where I am today.” The 3rd place All-American is committed to The University of Arkansas at Little Rock.
On that note, a number of Wisconsin’s Junior All-Americans are headed to college. Jared Stricker (4th) to UW-Eau Claire, Blaine Brenner (6th) to the University of Minnesota, Clayton Whiting (5th) to the University of Missouri and Luke Mechler (6th) to Oklahoma State.
Rounding out Wisconsin's Junior freestyle All-Americans are John Gunderson (6th), Braeden Scoles (6th), Wyatt Skebba (6th) and Greyson Clark (8th).
Fargo has grown into the largest national tournament in the World. Prior to the start of the mens finals, USA Wrestling presented a number of awards in celebration of the 50th anniversary of Junior Nationals. Dave Black, past chairperson of the Wisconsin Wrestling Federation, was awarded the Chuck Elvin Junior Person of the Year. Since 1971, Wisconsin has produced 141 All-Americans and 21 champions.
After the electric ending to the men’s Junior freestyle finals, Junior women’s freestyle hit the mats for the round of 16, quarters and consolations.
Six women advanced to the second day and earned All-American status. Kylie Welker and Hanna Errthum remain title contenders and will wrestle in the semifinals.
Kylie Rule and Larissa Kaz advanced to the consi of 4 at 127 pounds. 16U All-American Faith Bartoszek (144), and Alex Hofrichter (152) are in the consi of 4 as well. All of these ladies are Junior All-Americans.
Marisa Roth (138) wrestled an impressive six matches, going 4-2 for the day. Caitlyn Kelley (112) put together a 3-2 tournament performance. After an opening loss to nationally ranked Nya Valencia (CA), she had three straight wins before closing out the day. Rose Ann Marshall, also at 112, went 2-2. Also wrestling in the Junior women's division were AJ Pennington (106), Brooke Crawley (117), Emma Gruenhagen (127), Aevri Ciha (138) and Katelyn Lewis (164).
Wrestling resumes Wednesday morning at 8am with the start of 16U Greco, and Junior WFS resumes at 9am.
The Junior Greco squad is the final team to depart River Falls, and will travel in the morning.
Wednesday’s Schedule (Day 5)
8am—1pm: 16U Greco Prelims & Consolations
9am—12pm: Junior WSF Semis & Consolations
8am—1pm: 16U Greco Prelims & Consolations
1:30pm—4pm: Junior WFS Finals, Medal Matches & Awards
5pm—9pm: 16U Greco 1/8 Championships, Quarters & Consolations