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Four Triple Crown hopefuls finish unbeaten on Day 1 of Cadet Nationals freestyle tournament



Wisconsin’s Hunter Marko remains alive in his quest to win a Cadet Triple Crown. John Sachs photo.

FARGO, N.D. – Four wrestlers with USA Wrestling Triple Crown aspirations finished unbeaten on the first day of the Cadet Nationals freestyle competition on Wednesday.

Wisconsin’s Hunter Marko (94 pounds), California’s Aaron Pico (132), Texas’ Bo Nickal (160) and Minnesota’s Lance Benick (195) kept their Triple Crown hopes alive by going undefeated on the first of three days of Cadet Nationals freestyle competition at the Fargo Dome.

Those wrestlers already own Cadet Nationals titles in Folkstyle and Greco-Roman wrestling this year.

Minnesota’s Mitchell McKee, also bidding for a Triple Crown, went 4-1 at 106 pounds on Wednesday. He bumped up a weight class after winning a Cadet Greco title at 100. McKee lost to Sean Deshazer of Kansas in fourth round.

Oklahoma’s Joe Smith, son of Oklahoma State coach John Smith, went 5-0 at 120 pounds on Wednesday. Smith pinned Cadet Nationals Greco-Roman champion Vincent Turk of Illinois just 29 seconds into their fifth-round match.

Cadets are wrestlers who are ages 15 and 16.

Cadets resume wrestling on 3:30 p.m. Thursday. The Cadet finals are set for 2 p.m. Friday in Fargo.
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