TLDR: Haakon Peterson (94), Kellen Wolbert (113) and Aeoden Sinclair (182) are 16U National Champions. Caleb Noble finishes 2nd, Chase Matthias (195) is 3rd, Evan Gratz is 6th, and Jake Stoffel is 8th. The 16U men’s freestyle team placed 5th overall with 119 points. Connor Mirasola will wrestle in the junior men’s freestyle finals at 182 pounds, Braden Scoles will wrestle for 3rd. Caleb Meunier (145), Noah Mulvaney (170) and Cole Mirasola (195) will wrestle for 5th. Wrestling for 7th are Shane Corrigan (126), Gavin Drexler (145), Charlie Millard (152) and Max Ramberg (220).
Day three is wrapped up here in Fargo. We got to witness major talent in men’s freestyle, highlighted by three champions in the 16U division and gutsy performances from the juniors.
Watching the team battle has been inspiring. The group is really talented, but more than that our wrestlers share their grit and heart on the mat in their wins, and in the roller coaster of losses and wrestle backs that go hand-in-hand with being in Fargo for most.
Three earned 16U National titles, and the Wisconsin cheering section made themselves heard.
Dominating the field at 182 pounds was Aeoden Sinclair. He had seven wins by technical superiority, giving up just a single point over three days of competition. In the finals match, Sinclair scored early on and wrapped things up with a series of gut wrenches in the second period.
Kellen Wolbert prevailed at 113 pounds. Wolbert earned 7 victories since Saturday morning, including a 13-13 criteria win in the round of 16, an 8-6 decision in the quarters and a 7-5 decision in the semis. In the finals, Wolbert put 8 points on the board to his opponents 7 in the first period, and in the second period he picked up exposure points with a nasty head pinch from his feet to lock in the 12-9 championship win.
Sinclair and Wolbert train at Askren Wrestling Academy, and both wrestlers gave their coaches, teammates and programs high praise in the post-match interviews.
Haakon Peterson hammered out a championship win over Indiana’s Nathan Rioux to earn his first freestyle title in the division at 94 pounds. He proceeded with a backflip across the raised stage in celebration. Peterson was 2nd in 2021.
Earning 2nd place overall in the 88-pound weight class is Caleb Noble. The entire finals match was back-and-forth: Crosson scored the first passivity point and then a takedown, Noble scored at the end of the first and beginning of the second, Crosson scored, Noble scored, Crosson scored, and that was it. Noble thought he had it clinched with a last-second exposure, but the time had expired and the call on the mat was reversed. He got edged out 7-6. The finals match was heartbreaking, but Noble showed great maturity in his composure. Noble will be a freshman at SPIRE Academy.
Three more earned All-American honors. Chase Matthias, at 195 pounds, finished in 3rd place with a 7-1 performance. The only loss he took was to Iowa’s champion, Dreshaun Ross, and even then he put 8 points on the board. Evan Gratz placed 6th (5-3), and Jake Stoffel is 8th (4-3). The 16U men’s freestyle team placed 5th overall with 119 points.
This was a record-setting day. Wisconsin now has 15 total champions since the 16U division was added. The state had two in 2009, but all other years have been individual title winners. More than that, our winner from last year, Koy Hopke is still age-eligible, but he’s representing Team USA at Cadet Worlds in Rome next week.
“I think having three national champions means a lot for our guys,” said Randy Ferrell. “It shows our team that these are our training partners, and we can do the same thing. It also shows a lot for the overall plan and vision in Wisconsin.” Wisconsin took several years off from attending National Duals so that the state could implement a training system that we’re now seeing pay off. “We’re placing high at all levels, and it’s starting to come together here in Fargo. We are on the cusp of moving into that top tier of state programs. We’re getting more national champions, we have a mix of older 16U and younger juniors, and I think Wisconsin is just a couple years away from clearly making our presence seen on the junior level while continuing to strengthen the 16U division.”
Before the 16U finals, Paula Rider was awarded the 2022 Alice Riggle Award For Dedicated Service as a Pairing Official.
In junior men’s freestyle, Connor Mirasola advanced to the finals at 182 pounds where he will face AJ Heeg of Oklahoma for the title. Mirasola placed 3rd in 2021.
In addition to the semifinals, the evening session determined all placement matches for tomorrow. Dropping into the consolation semifinals were Noah Mulvaney and Braeden Scoles. Scoles battled back after a close semifinal match 10-8 and then won in the consolation semis on criteria 4-4 to advance to the 3rd place match.
Caleb Meunier (145), Noah Mulvaney (170) and Cole Mirasola (195) will wrestle for 5th. Wrestling for 7th are Shane Corrigan (126), Gavin Drexler (145), Charlie Millard (152) and Max Ramberg (220).
The junior women’s freestyle team weighed in today, and our 16U Greco team is currently in River Falls one more night before heading our direction.
Wrestling resumes at 9AM. Select here for an updated schedule by USAW.
*Featured photo of Aeoden Sinclair by Jenni Peterson*