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|NOTES FROM PRESS ROW IN FARGO, Wednesday, July 25|
By Various journalists
Each day, wrestling journalists on press row at the ASICS/Vaughan Junior Nationals and Accelerade Cadet Nationals will be filing interesting notes from the day's competition. Wednesday, July 25 saw the gold-medal rounds in Cadet Freestyle and the first day of Junior freestyle.
Bilodeau is spiking the competition
By Jason Bryant
Former Cadet Freestyle Runner-Up Sean Bilodeau has had success on the Junior level here in Fargo. He's looking to improve on his sixth-place finish from a year ago and he's started off with a bang.
After shedding his childhood nickname "Spike," the soon-to-be Lehigh Mountain Hawk has been spiking his competition to the mat at 152 pounds. He leads the tournament with four falls through five rounds. The only reason he doesn't have five falls is that he received a bye in the main draw.
He's got falls of 10 seconds, 12 seconds, 21 seconds and when he did reach the second period - that came in 28 seconds.
He'll open up the second day of Junior Freestyle against Greco All-American Matt Kaylor of New York.
Kansas' Stephen Andrus also has four falls, but none have come as quick as Bilodeau's.
Team Oregon wears Save Oregon t-shirt in FargoDome
By Gary Abbott, USA Wrestling
Nothing upsets the wrestling community quite as much as when a college decides it wants to drop its wrestling program. It can be a rallying point for the sport, not only in the region where it happens but all across the country.
When the Univ. of Oregon recently announced that it would be eliminating its varsity wrestling team at the end of the 2007-08 season, and adding baseball and competitive cheer, the fighting spirit of wrestlers everywhere has been fired up.
Today, Team Oregon at the ASICS/Vaughan Junior Nationals and the Advocare Cadet Nationals began wearing a "Save Oregon" t-shirt, in the same colors as the Ducks wear in its athletic program.
This is bringing together all of wrestling in the state and the Northwest. Those affiliated with Oregon, as well as its in-state rival Oregon State, are working together on the campaign.
"The Beavers and the Ducks, they are all wearning them," said Scott Kearney, one of the coaches with Team Oregon, and the brother of the wrestling coach at Oregon, Chuck Kearney.
Kevin Roberts, a graduate of Oregon and two-time All-American there, is one of the alumni leaders fighting for the program. He is currently an assistant coach at Oregon State and is in Fargo recruiting for the Beaver program. However, while he is here, he is doing everything he can to educate people about the battle to save the program.
"This is helping to keep this out there and to make people aware," said Roberts. "It is like a mini billboard. Some people hadn't even heard about it. If you were away from the internet for a week, or missed the newspaper on the day it was announced, you might not know."
Roberts is asking people to visit their SaveOregonWrestling.com website, sign the petition there, and get involved in the effort.
The athletes on Team Oregon who are competing here in Fargo have the most to lose if the Duck program goes away.
"We talked to them about it at the Junior Nationals camp, which was held at Oregon State," said Roberts. "The wrestlers, like all of us, felt it was disappointing. It takes away another place where they can wrestle and get an education. They were willing to help out. A lot of people are working together on this."
Could Triggas-Sanders rivalry become a Big Ten classic, too?
by Rob Sherrill by W.I.N. Magazine
There aren't many high school rivalries that have translated well across states, let alone time zones.
But it seems that five-time Minnesota state champion Zach Sanders of Wabasha-Kellogg High and California state champion Nikko Triggas of Moraga Campolindo High have wrestled a couple of important matches against each other every year.
Usually, at Fargo, Triggas gets the better end of the bargain.
Most recently, that was the case Monday night as Triggas rebounded from a 2-1 first-period loss to beat Sanders 5-2 and 3-0, taking his third straight national Greco-Roman title. That includes back-to-back Junior National crowns to go with the Cadet National Greco crown he won as a sophomore in 2005.
Triggas also beat Sanders in last year's Junior Nationals e route to the title. Sanders, who finished sixth, came back to take the 119-pound weight class's other crown in freestyle.
The two also wrestled a classic in April in the NHSCA Senior Nationals finals, where Sanders used a pair of third-period takedowns to overcome an early 4-1 deficit and win a 7-6 thriller.
The two likely will meet again in the freestyle meet…but not in the finals. They're part of an incredibly stacked B pool at 119 that also includes the defending Cadet National freestyle champion, two-time Pennsylvania state champion Jordan Oliver of Easton High. Triggas beat Oliver, a junior, 7-4 in the finals of the Reno (Nev.) Tournament of Champions last December.
With defending champion Minnesota and Ohio State likely to continue as future Big Ten powerhouses, look for some Sanders-Triggas matches with a lot more on the line in the future.
More Meys pins: Five Cadet Freestyle champions pinned their opponents to win their titles. It shouldn't surprise anybody that one of them was New York 152-pounder Austin Meys.
Meys, from Clifton Park Shenendehowa High in the Albany-area Section 2, had four pins as part of his 7-1 overall record in the event. Only five wrestlers in the tournament had more.
Meys' fourth and most important fall was a 58-second third-period stick of New Jersey's Preston Keiffer, capping a comeback after losing the first period.
But Meys, who will be a junior next year, isn't even the most prolific pinner in his own family. That honor belongs to his older brother, Hunter, who last March became the only wrestler to pin his way through the New York state tournament. Hunter scored four falls in 6 minutes, 55 seconds to win the 171-pound Division 1 state title. He finished the season with a perfect 46-0 record and was voted Division 1's Outstanding Wrestler. Hunter Meys has 207 career victories, an incredible 174 of them by pin.
Unfortunately, Hunter won't have the chance to join his brother at the top of the podium this year. Doctors wouldn't clear him to wrestle due to a thumb injury. Instead, Austin, who also entered the state meet unbeaten before settling for fifth place at 140 pounds, had his moment in the sun this week.
Jared Platt determined to win in Fargo in his last try
By Matt Russell, NDSU Sports Information
Calling New Jersey's Jared Platt passionate about the sport of wrestling would be considered a huge understatement.
The 215-pounder has put together an impressive year, winning the Junior Pan-American Championships in both styles and another Prep National championship for Blair Academy. He won't be satisfied until he gets one more monkey off his back, a Junior freestyle title in Fargo.
"I've had my eye on it for a couple of years now," said Platt, who lost to Virginia's Cody Gardner in last year's final. "It's my dream to win Fargo and it would definitely be the biggest title of my career."
The road may be a little easier this year. Gardner, who has beaten Platt four times over the last two years, didn't make the trip to Fargo this year and that's disappointing to Platt.
"I figured he wouldn't show up but I wish he [Gardner] was here," said Platt. "I'd give up my win at the Pan-Am Championships for another chance to beat him."
Platt's competitive drive and his passion for wrestling are hard to beat. Platt could have taken a break this summer and got ready to begin his collegiate career at Penn State but the work "break" doesn't seem to appear in Platt's vocabulary.
"After high school, a lot of kids are out partying, waiting for college," said Platt, who has two pins and two technical falls in four matches through Wednesday. "Not me. I'm always looking to wrestle and wrestle the best. There's no other way to do it."
"I'd be at a tournament every weekend if I could," Platt said with a grin. "I'm ready to go all the time."
Kyle "Big Train" Caylor Repeats
By Randy Hinderliter, USA Wrestling Kansas
Kansas crowned a Cadet double National Champion again this year. Last year, it was Romero Cotton with the double at Cadet 171. This year, it is Wichita, Kansas's own Kyle Caylor. With an 8-0 record, no one pushed Caylor into the third period.
In his finals match, Caylor was pitted against Chris Weber of Wisconsin. Caylor took the early lead off of a simple takedown. Back on their feet, Weber shot in and Caylor countered with the whizzer. Caylor powered Weber to his back and pinned him. It brought an end to a great tourney for Caylor. It made his Dad in the stands and his Mom back home very proud.
Kansas also had four other All-Americans in Freestyle: Jeff Vesta, 5th at 91-lbs., Sharky Slyter, 5th at 105-lbs., Jordan Brown, 6th at 152-lbs., and Kyle Detmer at 152-lbs.
I'd be remiss if I didn't throw a little love out to my neighbors from Kansas City, Missouri area.
At 105 pounds, the Showme's had a double champ in Alan Waters. His opponent was Jamie Clark of Ohio. Waters won 2-2, 1-1. At 125#'s it was Mac Bailey. Mac's National title took a bit of a hiccup as he had an early loss to Scott Mattingly of Ohio. Bailey, who had a loss in Greco to OW Dylan Carew of Iowa, made it through and had a dominating win over Alex Bridgeford of Nebraska.
Congratulations to Pennsylvania on their team championship. They
scored 71 team points and beat Ohio by a single point. Team Kansas
finished eighth in the team race, scoring 25 points with only 24