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2021 Fargo Blog - Day 6

By Gabby Lord-Klein, 07/22/21, 10:30PM CDT


TLDR (Too Long Didn’t Read)
16U Greco: Team Wisconsin placed 3rd overall with seven All-Americans:  1st - Haakon Peterson (88); 1st and Triple Crown - Koy Hopke (220); 2nd - Brett Back (145); 3rd - Zachary Eliszewski (152); 5th - Ian Smith (182); 7th - Rhett Koenig (126); 8th - David Malin (170). 
Junior Greco: Six wrestlers advanced to the semifinals and are confirmed All-Americans: Aaron Dobbs (160), Caden Young (160), Cale Anderson (152), Gunnar Hamre (145), Jared Stricker (170) and Kaleb Casey (113). Eight more are in the All-American blood round: Ashton Miess (138), Cash Stewart (145), Clayton Whiting (182), Drew Dolphin (100), John Gunderson (195), Matthew Rogge (160), Max Ramberg (195) and Nicolar Rivera (126).

Good evening from Fargo, day 6! Today was huge for Wisconsin’s Greco teams. Koy Hopke doubled up his 16U National titles and won USA Wrestling’s Triple Crown designation. Haakon Peterson won the 88-pound National title in a revenge match. Brett Back wrestled a hard-fought battle in the finals, and four others wrestled their All-American matches. 

Earning a National title is a major accomplishment, earning a Triple Crown is extraordinary. Hopke had a huge year and made it happen—from the D1 Wisconsin state championships in February, to Folkstyle Nationals in March and now titles in freestyle and Greco this week. “I’m really happy I was able to achieve it,” Hopke said. He outscored his opponents 51-6. 

Haakon Peterson revenged a freestyle loss to Ohio’s No. 1 seed Javaan Yarbrough in the Greco finals and secured his first Fargo title at 88 pounds. The 8th grader from Hollandale is a unique athlete because he splits his time equally between the Olympic disciplines. From Sunday through Thursday he has three hour training sessions divided into two 90-minute segments to focus on each style. Peterson said it feels great to be a national champ. In October, he’ll represent the United States in Mexico City at the U15 Pan Am Championships.

National finalist Brett Back shined in the Greco tournament. He had six straight wins to land a spot in the finals. Since all but one was a victory by technical superiority, he collected a lot of big points—check out this 5-point throw—and outwrestled his opponents 52-6. Back trains at World Gold Wrestling in Wisconsin Rapids and is coached by three-time Olympian and World gold medalist Dennis Hall. Back was 4th in 16U freestyle. 

Zachary Eliszewski, Rhett Koenig and Ian Smith all wrapped up their tournaments with wins in the All-American placement rounds and wrestled a ton of hard fought matched in the consolations to get there. Eliszewski (3rd) only lost on the first round, and then had nine consecutive wins. Ian Smith placed 5th with a 6-2 record and Rhett Koenig (7th) went 7-2. 8th place All-American David Malin won six in a row after a loss in the opening round. He met the same opponent from Montana again in the consolation quarters.

Wisconsin’s 16U Greco team claimed 3rd place overall. “I think we’re traditionally strong in Greco because of what we do in Wisconsin with all of the clubs and personal coaching,” said Coach Lucas Steldt. “You had Brett Back from Dennis Hall’s club do amazing. Haakon Peterson who I work with did very well, and we also had Hopke, so we had kids from all over the state do pretty well . . . even the guys that didn’t place—I know some kids who wrestled well but just dropped some close matches. It’s Fargo and Fargo is a tough tournament. You get 4-5 deep in and anything can happen. In the next couple years we’re going to have some really strong Juniors.”

Junior Greco competition started at 8:30am, and this season’s team pushed 14 wrestlers through to the final day of competition. Six confirmed All-Americans are in the semifinals: Aaron Dobbs and Caden Young are in the semis at 160. Cale Anderson at 152, Gunnar Hamre at 145, Jared Stricker at 170 and Kaleb Casey at 113. 

Eight are in the consolations and open tomorrow with the All-American blood round: Ashton Miess (138), Cash Stewart (145), Clayton Whiting (182), Drew Dolphin (100), John Gunderson (195), Matthew Rogge (160), Max Ramberg (195) and Nicolar Rivera (126). 

The Juniors are currently tied for 2nd place with California.

The 7th and final day of wrestling kicks off Friday morning at 9am. 

Friday’s Schedule (Day 7)
9am - 12:30: Junior Greco Quarters, Semis & Consolations 
2pm-4pm: Junior Greco Finals, Medal Matches & Awards

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