Loaded Freestyle and Greco-Roman Fields in Tulsa

Kannon Webster shows off Illinois on his jersey after winning the 2021 Junior National Championships freestyle title. Photo by Austin Bernard.

There remains a major USA Wrestling age group National Duals tournament.

Dozens of teams will compete in Junior National Duals starting Wednesday in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The Greco-Roman competition begins on Wednesday with the finals on Thursday afternoon. Freestyle takes to the mat on Friday morning with the finals on Saturday.

At last year’s event, Illinois won the Greco-Roman championship with a 4-1 performance in the Gold/Silver round robin. Iowa outscored the Oklahoma Outlaws Red, 40-23, to claim the freestyle championship.

Each fight will be broadcast on FloWrestling.

We’ll preview some of the strong teams competing on the men’s side below.

Note: A preview of the Junior Women’s Duel will be released separately.

2021 Junior Double National Results

Greco-Roman results
1st place – Illinois
2nd Place – Oklahoma Outlaw Blue
3rd Place — Minnesota Blue
4th place – Team Georgia
5th place — California
6th Place – Team Wisconsin

Freestyle results
1st place – Iowa
2nd Place – Oklahoma Outlaws Red
3rd Place — Minnesota Blue
4th place – Illinois
5th Place – Team Wisconsin
6th place – Ohio Red
7th place – California
8th Place – Team New Jersey

JUNIOR NATIONAL DUELS 2022
in Tulsa, Okla., June 14-18

Scheduled event

Wednesday June 15
9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. — Session 1 — Greco (Preliminary rounds 1 and 2)
1:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. — Session 2 — Greco (Preliminary rounds 3, 4 and 5)

Thursday June 16
9 a.m. to 12 p.m. — Session 3 — Greco Gold/Silver, Bronze/Copper, Red/Blue,
Green/Yellow (Round 1 and 2 preliminary duels)
1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. — Session 4 — Greco rounds 3 and 4 preliminary duels and duel finals classification match

friday june 17
8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. — Session 1 — Freestyle (Rounds 1, 2 and 3)
1:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Session 2 — Freestyle (Rounds 4, 5 and 6 and round 1 of the preliminary pools of color duels)

Saturday June 18
9 a.m. to 3 p.m. ¬— Session 3 — Freestyle (Rounds 2, 3 and 4 and finals)

Key Teams/Wrestlers:
Note: Several rosters are unknown at this time as they have not been finalized.

California

A balanced middleweight lineup loaded with Fargo All-Americans gives California an edge. He placed in both styles last year and returns with a plethora of newbies.

Ray Ray Harris (120 pounds) has two Greco-Roman Fargo titles. He fought his way to a Fargo Greco championship last year and competed in the 16U group in 2019. He returns to Tulsa after losing twice a year ago. Brock Bobzien (132 pounds) is another multiple-time Fargo champion and All-American. Bobzien, a member of the 2021 World Cadet Team, will wrestle for Wisconsin in the fall. Bobzien also won two gold medals at the U17 Pan Am Championships last year. It doesn’t stop there. Another 132-pounder, Paul Kelly, ups the weight depth as a Fargo Junior Greco All-American. Also watch Beau Mantanona at 152 pounds. He joined Bobzien on the 2021 World Cadet Team and will wrestle in Michigan.

Florida

Several guys will lead Florida this week in Tulsa. Sawyer Bartelt (195 lbs.). He is a two-time Fargo All-American and won the 16U Greco Championship last year. He also earned two age group US Open All-American honors in late April. Bartelt also recorded a 16-0 performance at last year’s national junior championships.

Illinois

The reigning Greco-Roman champions have returned seven times and boast one of the most accomplished rosters in the tournament. There are few weaknesses anywhere with three Fargo champions. The firepower shows immediately with the 120-pounder Anthony Ruzic. He won a Fargo 16U Greco championship a year ago. In fact, there are three Fargo champions between the 120-pound and 138-pound spots. Kannon Webster (132 lbs.) won in the freestyle at Fargo and placed third at Greco. Coming from Illinois, Webster went undefeated in last year’s junior national duels. At 138 pounds, circle the name Nasir Bailey. He also won in Fargo. Coincidentally, Bailey beat Webster less than two weeks ago in the fight for third place at the World Under-20 Team Trials. Braden Stauffenberg (152 pounds) will represent the United States this summer at the U20 Greco-Roman World Championships.

Iowa

Take a look at any wrestling rookie roster and you’ll see several names on that team. The defending freestyle national champions head to Tulsa with a handful of high-end Division 1 commitments. Iowa’s depth and experience with nine comebacks has minimal weaknesses. Get to know Nate Jesuroga (120 lbs). A top-notch commitment to Iowa, he picked up gold at the 2021 Cadet World Championships. He’s returning to the Junior National duels after an undefeated performance in 2021. Hunter Garvin (152 pounds) will compete at the 2022 U20 World Championships in both styles. Despite all the success, this will be her first National Duals event since 2016. Tate Naaktgeboren weighs in at 182 pounds. It will be a state cyclone for Iowa in the fall. In the upper weights, Ben Kueter (225 pounds) exemplifies the definition of an athlete. He will play football and wrestle for the Hawkeyes in the fall. Kueter returns after a 100% bonus rate in last year’s junior national doubles. In addition to several Fargo honours, he will join Garvin at the U20 World Championships.

New Jersey

New Jersey recorded a seventh-place finish in the freestyle last year but only brought home two with Michael Dellagatta (195 pounds) and heavyweight Max Acciardi. Dellagatta has gained 25 pounds this season. But New Jersey’s star power rests with Leo DeLuca (120 pounds). He clinched a Fargo freestyle championship last summer. DeLuca didn’t compete in a National Duals event last year, but went 17-2 combined in both styles at the 2019 14U National Duals.

Ohio

Ohio brings a load of All-Americans to the Junior National Duals. Start at 100 pounds with Javan Yarbrough, a two-time Fargo All-American. He finished second in the 16U Greco but won the 16U freestyle. Watch for returner Omar Ayoub at 132 pounds. All-American at the US Open, he recorded only one loss in the 16U national duels last year. The top weights remain a strength for Ohio. At 195 pounds, Seth Shumate, finished second at Fargo but won a Greco Championship in 2019. He is committed to Ohio State. Carter Neves (220 pounds) and Logan Shephard (285 pounds) are also Fargo All-Americans.

Pennsylvania:

Pennsylvania did not reach the podium in either event last year. In fact, it wasn’t even close. The absence of Luke Lilledahl (113 pounds) in 2021 contributed to this performance. Instead, Lilledahl spent time training for several world-level tournaments. He won two gold medals at the U17 Pan American Championships and won silver at the Cadet World Championships in Hungary. He carries the momentum of a US Open U17 freestyle championship in Tulsa. At 145 pounds, Pierson Manville anchors Pennsylvania middleweight. He secured a place in the Greco-Roman U20 World Team after winning the U20 World Team Trials in early June. At last year’s Fargo Tournament, he won a Greco 16U Championship and finished second in the 16U Freestyle.

Washington

These boys don’t have the depth of some other teams, but there’s world-class and All-American power here. One thing is constant throughout the list – strength in Greco-Roman. Mitchell Neiner (126 pounds) will make his junior national doubles debut after earning Greco All-American honors at Fargo last year. The Michaelson brothers, Thor and Lars, anchor Washington’s middle and top heavyweights. Thor is one of the few U17 Pan Am gold medalists at this tournament. In fact, he won gold in both styles at last year’s Pan American U17 Championships and won Outstanding Freestyle Wrestler. His brother, Lars, earned two Fargo All-American honors last year. Keep an eye on this team.

Wisconsin

Unlike many teams, Wisconsin plans to bring two different rosters for each style. Only heavyweight Jaren Rohde does double duty. Wisconsin ranked in both styles last year, but has an accomplished Greco team. At 132 pounds, Rhett Koenig invades Tulsa as the third runner-up in the 2022 U17 US Open to Greco. He also earned a seventh-place finish in 16U Greco at Fargo. Wisconsin’s middleweight unit remains loaded. Wisconsin has eight All-American honors between 138 pounds and 152. Brett Back (152 pounds) didn’t lose in last year’s 16U national matchups. Less than a month later, he finished second in 16U Greco and fourth in freestyle in Fargo. Ashton Miess (160 pounds) has gained three weight classes this year. The main thing paid off with a second place finish at the Greco U20 World Team Trials. David Malin (182 pounds) is another strong double contender. He won all of his matches in the 16U National duels last year.

Robert J. King