Presentation of the 2019 Greco-Roman Cadet World Team
photo courtesy of Jim Thrall; MatFocus.com
Yesterday, we introduced you to the Greco-Roman U23 World Team, so we will stay on the Greco theme and introduce you to the Cadet team. As is often the case with Cadet teams, the Greco 2019 team is made up of 100% teammates for the first time in the world. Which is not necessarily a bad thing. This year’s squad is very talented and includes four wrestlers who brought back stop signs from Fargo in 2018. In each of the past two years, the cadet squad has won just one medal. While that doesn’t seem like a huge accomplishment, the 2014-16 Greco teams came back empty-handed. The Cadet World Championships will be held July 29 to August 4 in Sofia, Bulgaria and the ten wrestlers will represent the United States.
45 kg – Mason Gehloff (Minnesota)
Gehloff just finished his sophomore year of high school and was able to win his first state title, even though he was slightly undersized for the 106 lb weight class. Mason remained undefeated for Waseca High School after failing to meet the State as a freshman. Last summer at Fargo, Gehloff dominated the field and was a two-time Cadet champion, earning him the Triple Crown. He looks set to do another run through Fargo after winning both styles as a state-level caddy in 2019.
The Cadet World Team Trials got off to an unusual start for Gehloff who won his first game against Beau Mantanona (Calif.), After Beau was excluded from the game. He would earn a place in the final after a technician from 2018 Fargo Cadet finalist Daniel Sheen (Illinois). A familiar face awaited him in the final, his compatriot from Minnesota, Jore Volk. The two met in the Fargo Cadet Greco final last summer. The two would need three matches to sort out the issue as Gehloff got a tech in just over 30 seconds in their first fight, while Volk returned the favor with a tech in the second, then Gehloff had another tech. to him, 9-0. , to get the series.
49 kg – Cory Land (Alabama)
A perfect season as a freshman has helped propel Cory Land up the national rankings to his current place at No. 12. Since Cory was able to compete at the high school level in eighth grade, this ended up being his second state title. Last year, at school level, Land was Greek national champion and finalist in freestyle.
After a first technical lap at Cadet WTT, Land was then paired with 49kg seed Sefton Douglas (Wyoming). Cory took an early 4-0 lead and would hang on to win and advance to the semi-finals, 10-9. This set up a game with 2018 Fargo Cadet Greco All-American Caleb Coyle (Nebraska) for a place in the final. Land would only need a period to wrap up a 10-0 tech drop. For the place in the world team, Land had to go through the winner of the State of Pennsylvania, Joseph Fischer. Last year at Fargo, Fischer was the Junior National Champion at 100 lbs. Cory only needed two games to win the series 6-2, 8-0.
51 kg – Jett Strickenberger (Colorado)
Just over a month ago, Jett Strickenberger won a Junior Western Regional Freestyle competing at 113 lbs. Interestingly enough, Jett will be entering his freshman year of high school in search of his first state title. He finished third in first year and did not participate in the state event this year. Two years ago, Strickenberger placed in both styles at Fargo, taking the big stop sign in freestyle and placing sixth in Cadet Greco.
Perhaps Jett’s biggest victory came in the quarterfinals when he qualified fourth-placed Sheldon Seymour (Pa.), 2019 State Champion in Pennsylvania. From there, he knocked out Colorado rival Max Black by a score of 8-4. Strickenberger’s place on the world squad came after a pair of quick technicians, which lasted almost over a minute over Sam Smith (Oklahoma).
55 kg – Conor Knopick (Nebraska)
Like Strickenberger, Conor Knopick is also a sophomore who had a state title that eluded him during two years of high school competition. Conor finished third at the Nebraska State Championships, after finishing fourth in the freshman. His Greco exploits have been pretty good, however. In 2017 he made the Cadet National Final in Fargo and last July he also finished third at the Cadet National Championships. Last year at Akron, he took third place in the same weight class.
Conor entered this tournament as a seed with 55kg and did not disappoint. He would end up technical all-round and only gave up points in one of his six games. It was against Florida super-cool Brennan Van Hoecke in the round of 16. In the final, Knopick met one of his MWC Wrestling Academy teammates in Nebraska, Dyson Kunz, a 2017 Fargo All-American in Cadet Greco. The familiarity between the two did not hurt Knopick, as he won both games by identical scores of 9-0.
60 kg – Parker Decker (Texas)
Parker Decker is entering his final year of high school but has already committed to wrestling at Duke, alongside his brother Preston. Parker was a 2019 Texas 6A State Champion for Keller High School and had placed third in his two previous tries. Last year at this tournament, Parker finished fifth while competing at 55kg. He went on to win Fargo as a caddy at 113 lbs. After skipping a few weight classes since Fargo, Decker’s results have been better than ever.
Decker reached the semi-finals after going through the medium of the second seed with three technicians and a fall. In the semifinals, Parker found himself paired with another 2018 Cadet National Champion in Haiden Drury, Washington. No worries, as Decker controlled the action early and often and got a 10-2 win. It was more or less the same in the final for Parker as he racked up 27 points in two games against Tarrell Wallace (Florida) as he claimed his place in the squad.
65 kg – Robert Perez III (California)
One of the best freshmen in the country this fall will be Californian Robert Perez. Last summer at Fargo, Perez came home with a Cadet Greco national title and took fifth place in freestyle. He also had an excellent performance at the FloNationals when he won the Greco portion of the tournament and finished third in the freestyle.
Perez’s performance at the FloNationals has helped him earn the three seeds since he came out and technically has his first three opponents, outscoring them 31-2. In the semifinals, Robert met Vince Zerban, finalist for Fargo Cadet Greco a year ago. Perez was leading 2-1 with just under 20 seconds left in the game when he managed to shoot a forward header to take the lead, then fended off a late charge from Zerban with a four-point throw to win 7-2. This set up a final match against Matthew Singleton (Georgia), an opponent Perez had defeated at the FloNationals. In both fights, that was all Perez, as he won both games by a score of 8-0.
71 kg – Daniel Segura (Ohio)
Ohio junior Daniel Segura just finished fourth for a second straight season at the DI State Tournament for Dublin Scioto High School. Prior to entering this tournament, his best ranking in a national level tournament was when he finished fifth at Cadet Greco last year in Fargo. Segura trains from Ohio with former Ohio State coach Miron Kharchla.
It was a weight class that seemed pretty open heading into the tournament and that’s how it turned out without either of the top two seeds reaching the final. After winning technicians in his first two games, Daniel survived a back-and-forth with Tyler Lillard (Ohio) to win 14-9. He then had to snatch a 1-1 victory over tournament seed Brayden Roberts (West Virginia). His final streak against Kaden Reetz (Wisconsin) will end with three matches as Segura won the first in the fall, then Reetz got a 25-second tech in the second, but Segura would bounce back to win 16-6 and land his place on the world team.
80 kg – Tate Picklo (Oklahoma)
Tate Picklo, a sophomore high school student, made the Oklahoma State Finals for a second straight season, but unlike 2018, he managed to win the gold medal. Another time Tate has climbed to the top of a podium in a major tournament was last July at Fargo, when he won a national cadet freestyle title. He also finished third in the Greco tournament.
After opening his tournament with a tech crash, Tate dropped tournament seed Adrien Cramer (Illinois) 10-2. This led to a battle with the 2018 Freestyle All-American Cadet Duwayne Villalpando (Kansas). Duwayne provided little resistance as Picklo got tech in just 68 seconds. The place for the world championships depended on a series between Picklo and Caden Rogers (Pennsylvania). The two had a fierce first fight which Tate won 4-2. He was able to open it in the second game and picked up a technician in just over a minute.
92 kg – Kyle Haas (Kansas)
The first part of a massive weekend for Kyle Haas started with his title in the Cadet Greco tournament. It was an improvement from his fifth place at 80 kg in Akron last year. This tournament put Kyle on the bump, so to speak, as he had always been a player at the national level, but had never been able to win in the big national tournaments. Kyle finished third in Cadet Freestyle and Cadet Greco finalist last July at Fargo. This season also saw Haas win his first Kansas State title after taking third place in 2018.
Haas claimed his place in the final after knocking out his first three opponents by crashes in the first period. The last was the most notable, Silas Allred (Indiana), currently ranked second in the country at 195. Kyle’s opponent was a familiar nemesis, Tayler Hannah (Wisconsin), the wrestler who beat him in the Cadet National Final. Greco in Fargo. In the middle of a 6-6 game, Haas was able to get the drop after a four-point shot that gave him Game 1. In the second, the two wrestlers were a little more closely watched; however, it was Haas who came out on top, 2-1.
110 kg – Braxton Mikesell (Washington)
Braxton Mikesell had a huge Fargo last year, taking third place in Cadet Freestyle and winning the Cadet Greco tournament, then used that momentum to clinch his first title in Washington state. He had exactly the same placements this spring in Pennsylvania at the FloNationals. Currently, Braxton is ranked sixth in the country at 285 pounds.
As you might expect, this weight class had the fewest entries and Mikesell found himself head and shoulders above the rest of the competition. His first game came in the quarterfinals where he recorded an 11-0 technological drop. It was more dominance in the semifinals, as Braxton wrapped his opponent for an 8-0 tech in just 41 seconds. In the final, Mikesell was paired with Danny Striggow, fourth-place Cadets Greco in 2018. Braxton needed a minute and eight seconds to complete his first game and put his opponent on the brink of elimination. The second fight was much more difficult, but Mikesell managed to win thanks to a four-point shot in the second period, 4-1.