TLDR: Max Ramberg is a junior national champion at 220 pounds and Brayten Casey finishes runner-up at 106. Six more are All-Americans: Ian Smith (3rd at 195), Gunnar Hamre (4th at 138), Charles Meudt (4th at 106), Rhett Koenig (5th at 132), Corbin Ramos (5th at 145) and Tyler Haydon (8th at 170). Junior Greco-Roman finishes 2nd overall, making all of the boy's teams a top-five performance.
After an entire week of wrestling in Fargo, Wisconsin’s junior Greco squad ended the day with Max Ramberg bringing home a title, a runner-up finish by Brayten Casey at 106 pounds and six more All-Americans.
Ramberg’s gut wrenches are devastating. When New York’s Ryan Stein was put down on passivity in the first period of the finals, Ramberg locked up a sequence of four guts and closed out any opportunity for rebuttal. The 220-pound champion got a “Hi mom” in after letting out a yell of emotion.
“My mom and my dad mean everything to me,” said an emotional Ramberg post-finals. “I couldn’t have done it without them. They’ve taught me toughness and hard work and man they mean everything to me . . . I’m really fortunate for everything that happened to me and all the people that have helped me . . . I love Wisconsin, I wouldn’t want to have grown up anywhere else.” Ramberg brings home Wisconsin's first junior Greco champion since Tyler Dow in 2018.
The Greco teams are tight-knit. When Brayten Casey won his semifinal match the response from in and around the corner was electric. Casey was trailing by 4 with 16 seconds left but prevailed with an incessant pursuit. Casey wrestled Idaho’s Mack Mauger in the finals.
At 195 pounds, first-year junior Ian Smith wrestled back to a 3rd place finish over Oregon’s Robert Plympton.
Charlie Meudt (106) and Gunnar Hamre (138) were 4th. Meudt lost in the second round to Idaho’s champion, Mack Mauger, and then wrestled all the way back through the consolations with five consecutive wins.
“Fargo is a complete grind,” said Scott Kluever. It can break people mentally and that’s the thing that really helps you grow as an athlete and as a coach is learning to keep your composure throughout the tournament never getting too high or low, that’s the mental skill that our athletes bring back to their high schools to move forward to become great.”
Rhett Koenig (132) and Corbin Ramos (145) both won their All-American matches and placed 5th overall. Tyler Haydon placed 8th.
I talked with Lucas Steldt about the improvement of Greco wrestling in Wisconsin. “I think overall as a state we have more guys concentrated on real Greco-Roman wrestling skills, being disciplined and keeping things more studious not looking to be fancy,” he said. “Fancy comes after being studious and disciplined so I think we’re doing better at being educated at a higher level of Greco-Roman wrestling.”
All of our men’s teams placed in the top five with Greco’s two second-place performances leading the way. Wisconsin scored the most points in Greco-Roman for 16U and juniors combined with 241 points. Illinois came in second with 228. 16U and junior freestyle were 5th place overall.
“I think with the results that have shown you can definitely tell that our transition and training in the state of Wisconsin is paying off,” said Randy Ferrell. “We look forward to not only having all four of our boys teams in the top five, but our girls program moving in that same direction.”
A Team Wisconsin All-American summary will be posted to highlight our outstanding performance in 2022.