TLDR: Caleb Noble (88), Haakon Peterson (94) and Tristan Steldt (160) are 16U Greco national champions. Evan Gratz placed 3rd at 285, Liam Neitzel 7th at 113 and Jacob Herm 8th at 160. The 16U Greco team finished 2nd place overall. Four advanced to the semifinals in junior Greco: No. 2 seed Gunnar Hamre at 138 pounds, Brayton Casey (106), Ian Smith (195) and Max Ramberg (220). Charles Meudt (106), Corbin Ramos (145), Rhett Koenig (132) and Tyler Haydon (170) secured All-American status and will wrestle to determine placement tomorrow morning. Junior Greco begins the final day of wrestling at 9AM and the championship finals are at 12:30.
Today featured only Greco-Roman wrestling and was highlighted by a 2nd place overall finish for the 16U team. Their performance was propelled by three champions, two runners-up and two more All-Americans.
“Our team performance was inspirational,” said Scott Kluever. “They really came to wrestle, they competed extremely hard. The finals were very much one of those things where you felt so good after the first two you felt horrible after the next two and then Steldt comes out there and hits that headlock and you feel great again. You know it’s just been a roller coaster week of just going through all the emotions with the kids.”
Wisconsin wrestlers earned back-to-back titles right away. Caleb Noble at 88 pounds, and Haakon Peterson at 94. Noble made his first trip to the finals earlier this week with a 2nd place finish in freestyle. Peterson doubled up his stop signs this year in freestyle and Greco and was the only returning champion to earn another title in Greco.
Our two national runners-up, Declan Koch at 113 pounds and Amryn Nutter at 120 pounds, had hard-fought battles in their finals matchups and earned five and six victories apiece over the course of the tournament.
Tristan Steldt hit a bomb of a headlock in the finals that elevated the entire energy in the FargoDome. Steldt, who made his first appearance this year, said he was excited before his finals match and that his biggest takeaway was about confidence. “. . . I kinda felt like I wasn’t as confident maybe as I should have been and I can compete with some of these good guys and some of the best guys in the country.” I asked him about being part of the team: “We’re a tight group of guys, we get along so easily that you know we’re with each other for a week and we feel like we’re best friends and brothers so I mean Wisconsin’s coming on strong and we’re an upcoming state everyone better watch out that’s for sure.” Steldt said it’s time to put his nose back to the grindstone and hunt down both titles next year.
Evan Gratz, now an All-American in 16U freestyle and Greco, placed 3rd overall. His only loss was by criteria in the semifinals. Liam Neitzel wrestled to a 7th place All-American finish, and Jacob Herm 8th.
With one more day of competition, Kluever said, “I’m looking forward to getting more people on the podium and just having kids getting along. You can see it as our guys are wrestling in the finals or placement matches—the kids are behind ‘em just cheering ‘em on and that’s the kind of bond that we need to build to finally get over the hump.”
In the morning session for junior Greco 14 advanced on the championship side and 11 were in consolations. While that number was cut down in the round of 16 and consolations, it’s been another day of strong wrestling for the team.
Four advanced to the semifinals: No. 2 seed Gunnar Hamre at 138 pounds, Brayton Casey (106), Ian Smith (195) and Max Ramberg (220). Winning in the blood round and advancing as All-Americans are Charles Meudt (106), Corbin Ramos (145), Rhett Koenig (132) and Tyler Haydon (170). They will wrestle tomorrow morning to determine placement.
In 2021, Hamre was 4th in junior Greco, Smith was 5th in 16U Greco and Rhett Koenig was 7th in 16U Greco.
The morning session starts at 9AM with the semifinals and consolations to determine the All-American placement matches. The Championship finals will begin at 12:30.
*featured photo of Caleb Noble courtesy of Bret Peterson