TLDR (Too Long Didn’t Read)
Junior Greco: Wisconsin placed 3rd overall with ten All-Americans: 2nd - Cale Anderson (152); 2nd - Caden Young (160); 2nd - Jared Stricker (170); 3rd - Clayton Whiting (182); 4th - Gunnar Hamre (145); 5th - Aaron Dobbs (160); 6th - Kaleb Casey (113); 7th - Ashton Miess (138); 7th - Matt Rogge (160); 7th - John Gunderson (195).
Hello from Fargo for the final time in 2021! Today was the first day since last Saturday that a new division at the Junior and 16U Nationals didn’t begin.
Wisconsin’s Junior Greco team had an incredible performance over the last two days. They pushed six wrestlers to the semifinals, three to the finals and had ten All-Americans at the end of the day to finish in 3rd place overall.
Jared Stricker doubled-up his All-American status and closed out the day as the 170-pound Greco national finalist. He defeated opponents from Oklahoma, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Idaho and Illinois. The senior from Highbridge created a lead in the finals and controlled the pace, but couldn’t ward off a late takedown by Nebraska’s Evan Canoyer. Stricker, who was also 4th in the Junior freestyle division, will attend Eau Claire in the fall.
At 152, Cale Anderson opened the tournament with five consecutive technical superiorities. The finals match was painstakingly close—just a 2-1 decision in favor of his opponent from Nebraska. Anderson graduated from Viroqua High School this year and will attend the University of Wisconsin in the fall.
Caden Young punched his ticket to the 160-pound finals with a high energy ending in his semifinal against New Jersey’s Alaa Elkerm. The junior from Shawano was down 8-2 before abruptly ending the match by a fall. He was able to land a 4-point throw in the finals, but his opponent from California caught him in a fall. Young had a 6-1 performance.
It’s a special thing to have three national finalists.
Clayton Whiting, a three-time Wisconsin state champ, wrestled the tough road back across the consolation side of the bracket to earn 3rd place All-American. The Missouri commit was also a 5th place All-American in Junior freestyle.
Gunnar Hamre (4th at 145), Aaron Dobbs (5th at 160), and Kaleb Casey (6th at 113), were the other three to break through to the championship semifinals.
Casey led Benjamin Aramda (IL) 11-4 in the semis before getting caught in a throw. Casey has been wrestling while barely recovering from torn intercostal muscles on his ribs and limited practice time. His dad, Coach Maja Casey, was in his corner and said he’s incredibly proud of his son’s effort and hard work.
Dobbs was determined to end the day big—he fired off consecutive throw attempts in the 5th place match until he got one to stick and ended it with a fall. Dobbs had a 5-2 tournament performance at 160 pounds.
Ashton Miess (138), Matt Rogge (160) and John Gunderson (195) all closed out the tournament victorious with wins in the 7th place All-American matches.
Although several on the Junior team graduated from high school this spring, it won’t be the end of their competitive Greco careers. Most will wrestle in college and aspire to compete on a World team.
Greco is such an intriguing discipline to watch. Coach Steldt mentioned yesterday that part of his favorite reason for coaching the freestyle women is that they’re training and competing for something more than themselves, and that it follows in Greco as well. “. . . my female athletes are really really focused on what they want to do. They have more to prove than to just win some matches,” he said. “I see that in the Greco boys as well . . . they’re trying to do something for Greco in the United States.”
The Junior Greco performance drove Wisconsin’s total All-American tally for the 2021 season up to 45 across divisions and styles—a feat worth being incredibly proud of.