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|Nation’s best expected at ASICS/Vaughan Junior and Cadet Nationals in Fargo, N.D., July 14-21
Gary Abbott USA Wrestling
FARGO, N.D. - Every year, the nation's best young wrestlers come together for the world's largest wrestling competition, the ASICS/Vaughan Junior and Cadet Nationals at the FargoDome in Fargo, N.D.
This competition produces great stories of champions, many who go on to glory in college wrestling, and ultimately at the World and Olympic levels. This marks the 42nd anniversary of the Junior Nationals event, which was first held in 1971 in Iowa City, Iowa.
The tournament is scheduled for July 14-21 and is expected to feature outstanding wrestlers in every weight class.
USA Wrestling has official state association team standings in all the divisions held in Fargo, adding to the tradition of state wrestling pride exhibited at this event.
The ASICS/Vaughan Junior Nationals features high school wrestlers in grades 9-12. Every year, the Junior division features talented athletes who are proven winners, as well as many top young stars who are making names for themselves.
Since the program was created in 2007, there have only been three athletes to win the coveted USA Wrestling Triple Crown on the Junior level, by claiming folkstyle, freestyle and Greco-Roman Junior National titles in the same year.
In 2011, Nkosi Moody of Illinois won the Triple Crown at 98 pounds, and he is eligible to go for another Junior Triple Crown this year, after winning the 2012 USA Wrestling Folkstyle Nationals at 106 pounds.
Ben Whitford of Michigan was a 2011 Junior Nationals double champion, winning both freestyle and Greco-Roman in Fargo at 135 pounds. Whitford is also eligible to return.
2011 Junior National freestyle champions who are eligible to return are Moody and Whitford, plus Matt Garelli of Illinois (105), Nathan Tomasello of Ohio (112), Thomas Gilman of Nebraska (119), Joey Dance of Virginia (125), Zane Richards of Illinois (130), Jason Tsirtsis of Indiana (140), Brian Realbuto of New York (145) and Zach Brunson of Oregon (152).
2011 Junior freestyle runners-up who can return include Tommy Pawelski of Illinois (98), Johnson Mai of California (105), Jarred Brooks of Indiana (112), Joey Palmer of Washington (125), Brandon Jeske of Virginia (130), Jake Short of Minnesota (140), Brian Murphy of Illinois (145) and Jordan Rogers of Washington (171)
2011 Junior National Greco-Roman champions who are eligible to compete in Fargo are Moody and Whitford, plus Johnson Mai of California (105), Colton Howell of Missouri (112), Isaiah Varona of Florida (119), Rossi Bruno of Florida (125), Kevin Norstrem of Florida (130), Geordan Speiller of Florida (160) and Adam Coon of Michigan (215).
Runners-up in the 2011 Junior Greco-Roman Nationals who can return are Dante Rodriguez of Nebraska (98), Bobby Nachreiner of Wisconsin (105), Phillip Laux of Iowa (112), Zane Richards of Illinois (125), Jacob Velarde of Washington (130), Chase Ferman of Oklahoma (135), Oliver Pierce of Texas (145), Clark Glass of Florida (152), Alex Meyer of Iowa (160) and Kevin Beazley of Michigan (171).
Many of last year's Cadet National champions are expected to move up into the Junior ranks this year and challenge for titles and All-American honors
Last year, Illinois was the team champion in freestyle and Greco-Roman. Following Illinois in the freestyle standings were Iowa, Wisconsin, Ohio and California in the top five. Behind Illinois in Greco-Roman last year were Florida, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan.
Another indication of the strength of the state teams are the results from the 2012 Junior National Duals, held this June in Oklahoma City, Okla. Illinois was the team champion in both styles at the Junior Duals this year. Illinois defeated Iowa Blue in the freestyle finals, followed by Michigan Blue, Minnesota Black and Oklahoma Red. In Greco-Roman, Illinois defeated Michigan Blue in the finals, followed by Minnesota Black, Wisconsin and Iowa.
The women's Junior freestyle division, now in its 11th year, has grown in size and quality every season, and promises to be very competitive again this year.
Haley Augello of Illinois, who has won Junior Nationals titles for two straight years, is eligible to return. Augello won her title in 2011 at 105 pounds.
Other 2011 Junior National women's champions eligible to return are Bree Rapoza of Hawaii (117) and Rosemary Flores of New York (125).
2011 Junior National women’s runners-up eligle to return are Cody Pfau of Colorado (97), Hope Steffensen of Alaska (105), Kayla Miracle of Indiana (112), Lilly DeAragon of Idaho (117), Alyssa Wong of California (139), Mary Westman of New York (148), Michelle Organ of Wisconsin (159), Juliana Triplett of California (172) and Kierra Boyce of Texas (198)
The Junior National team champions in women's freestyle last year was California, followed by Texas, Hawaii, Washington and Michigan.
The Women's National Junior Duals will once again be held in Fargo. Only two teams have won this event in its history, California four times and Texas twice. Last year, California beat Texas in the championship dual.
The Cadet Nationals are for wrestlers who are 15 and 16 years old, some of the best young talents in the country.
There have only been nine wrestlers to win a Cadet Triple Crown since the program began in 2003. Taylor Massa of Michigan is the only wrestler to win two Cadet Triple Crowns. No Cadet Triple Crown winner is eligible to return this year.
One of last year’s Cadet National double champions, winner of both freestyle and Greco-Roman, is eligible to return, Aaron Pico of California who won at 119 pounds. Pico is eligible to go for a Cadet Triple Crown this year, after winning the USA Wrestling Cadet Folkstyle Nationals in Cedar Falls, Iowa in April.
Other 2011 Cadet National freestyle champions who are eligible to return are Stevan Micic of Indiana (98) and Seth Gross of Minnesota (112). 2011 Cadet National freestyle runners-up back this year include Luke Karam of Pennsylvania (84), Miguel Silva of Illinois (91), Austin Assad of Ohio (98), JaVaughn Perkins of Nebraska (145) and Parker Vonegidy of North Carolina (171).
Joining Pico as 2011 Cadet National Greco-Roman champions who are eligible to return are Cody Jackson of Oregon (84), Jon Jay Chavez of California (125), Rich Martinez of California (135) and Chandler Rogers of Washington (145). 2011 Cadet National runners-up who can return are Isaac Jimenez of Texas (91), Kimball Bastian of Utah (145) and Javon Reyes of Pennsylvania (189).
The team champions in Cadet freestyle last year was Illinois, followed by Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Oklahoma and Missouri. Pennsylvania was the team champion in Cadet Greco-Roman in 2011, followed by California, Illinois, Oregon and New Jersey.
The 2012 Cadet National Duals were held in Daytona Beach, Fla. this June and showcased many of the stars expected in Fargo. Illinois won the Greco-Roman title, stopping Minnesota in the finals, followed by New Jersey, Florida Red and Michigan Blue. Pennsylvania claimed the Cadet National Duals freestyle crown, beating Illinois in the finals, followed by Michigan Blue, Oklahoma Red and New Jersey.
Last year was the first year that there was be a Cadet National tournament for girls in Fargo, an new opportunity 15 and 16 year old girls to show their abilities on the national level.
2011 Cadet National women’s freestyle champions who are eligible to return are Marina Doi of California (88), Regina Doi of California (95), Kayla Miracle of Indiana (108), Jasmine Mendoza of California (132), Virginia Burkett of Wyoming (143) and Autumn Rux of Michigan (154)
2011 Cadet National women’s freestyle runners-up who are eligible to return include Kaitlin Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania (95), Kelly Rivera of Hawaii (108), Areana Villeascusa of Arizona (124) and Jamie Reif of Wisconsin (132).
Winning the first team title in the Cadet women’s division was Hawaii, followed by California, Texas, Pennsylvania and New York.
The ASICS/Vaughan Junior Nationals and the Cadet Nationals brings together hundreds of wrestling volunteers, including referees, pairing officials, coaches, state leaders and tournament operation workers, all who provide the opportunity for more than 4,000 athletes to pursue their dreams.
The ASICS High School All-American Teams for both boys and girls will be honored during the week in Fargo, and the ASICS Boys Wrestler of the Year and the ASICS Girls Wrestler of the Year will be announced.
For updated articles, features and results from Fargo, visit TheMat.com (www.themat.com).
There will be live webcasts each day from Fargo on as many as 17 mats, which can be found on TheMat.tv, USA Wrestling’s new video portal, as well as on the homepage of TheMat.com.
SCHEDULE FOR CHAMPIONSHIP FINALS IN FARGO
Saturday, July 14 – Cadet Women finals at 7:00 p.m. Central
Monday, July 16 – Cadet Greco-Roman finals at 2:00 p.m. Central
Tuesday, July 17 – Junior Greco-Roman finals at 2:15 p.m. Central
Tuesday, July 17 – Junior Women finals at 5:45 p.m. Central
Wednesday, July 18 – Junior Women Duals final session at 3:30 p.m. Central
Friday, July 20 – Cadet freestyle finals at 2:00 p.m. Central
Saturday, July 21 –Junior freestyle finals at 10:00 a.m. Central