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|New Mexico's Mascarenas, Michigan's Coon top list of champions in Junior Nationals freestyle event|
By Craig Sesker USA Wrestling
New Mexico’s Paul Mascarenas prevented Illinois’ Nkosi Moody from becoming a two-time Triple Crown winner. John Sachs photo.
FARGO, N.D. – Not many people were giving New Mexico’s Paul Mascarenas much of a chance in the Junior Nationals freestyle finals.
After all, Mascarenas was facing a wrestler who stood one win from becoming the first two-time USA Wrestling Triple Crown winner in the Junior division.
But Mascarenas was undaunted.
Trailing 4-0 against Illinois standout Nkosi Moody of Illinois in the 106-pound finals, the New Mexico wrestler fought back to win the first period 5-4 before winning the second period 4-0 to notch the stunning victory on Saturday morning at the Fargo Dome.
Mascarenas became the first Junior Nationals freestyle champion from New Mexico.
“I was down 4-0 in the first period, and I had nothing to lose,” Mascarenas said. “He’s fast on his feet and he wrestles hard. I knew it would be a tough match. This is big for New Mexico. I don’t really consider it an upset. I was pretty confident. I feel like if I wrestle hard I can do whatever I want out there.”
Over the past two years, Moody won two Junior Nationals Folkstyle titles, two Greco-Roman titles and one freestyle title. But he was denied the final leg of his second quest for a Triple Crown on Saturday.
Michigan’s Adam Coon captured a Triple Crown after sweeping Indiana’s Donte Winfield 1-0, 1-0 in the 285 finals. Coon completed the first two legs of the Triple Crown by winning Junior Nationals Folkstyle and Greco-Roman titles this year.
Coon became the fourth Junior wrestler to capture a Triple Crown. Juniors became eligible for that honor in 2007. That’s when the Junior division was added to the USA Wrestling Folkstyle Nationals in Cedar Falls, Iowa.
“There were so many tough guys on both sides of the bracket,” said Coon, who won a FILA Cadet World freestyle title in 2011. “I just had to take it one match at a time and keep my focus. It’s a great honor to win a Triple Crown. It’s fantastic to be able to accomplish it with so many great wrestlers in my weight class.”
Illinois captured the team title with Iowa finishing second and Minnesota third.
Iowa’s Cory Clark became a double Fargo champion, capping a grueling week by rallying past U.S. Cadet World Team member Joey McKenna of New Jersey 0-6, 5-3, 2-2 in the 126 finals. Clark, a University of Iowa recruit, won Junior Nationals in Greco earlier this week. Clark was fourth in the Junior freestyle competition here last year.
Clark was named Outstanding Wrestler of the tournament.
“I just had to keep my focus and not break during these tough matches,” Clark said. “It was a long week, and I had to fight through the pain, but it was worth it.”
Sam Brooks of Illinois became a double Fargo champion in dramatic fashion after pinning Broc Berge of Minnesota in the second period of the 195 freestyle finals. Brooks, a University of Iowa recruit, bumped up a weight class after winning a Junior Greco title at 182 earlier in the week.
U.S. Cadet World Team member Zain Retherford of Pennsylvania scored last in both periods to edge 2011 Junior Nationals freestyle champion and 2012 Junior Greco champion Zane Richards of Illinois 1-1, 1-1 in the 132 finals.
Oklahoma State recruit Jordan Rogers swept Georgia’s Glenn Climmons 5-2, 2-0 in a battle of past Cadet Nationals champions in the Junior freestyle finals at 182. Rogers was second in Junior freestyle tournament here last year.
Oklahoma’s Kyle Crutchmer put on an impressive display of strength and power in defeating Minnesota’s Micah Barnes 1-0, 6-0 in the 170 finals. Crutchmer will wrestle collegiately for Oklahoma State.
Ohio’s Nathan Tomasello repeated as Junior Nationals freestyle champion after collecting a hard-fought win over Michigan’s Zac Hall 3-1, 0-3, 4-2 in the 120 finals.
U.S. Cadet World Team member Tommy Thorn of Minnesota blanked U.S. Junior World Team member Adrian Cordova of Colorado 2-0, 6-0 in the finals at 113. Thorn won a Cadet Nationals freestyle title last year in Fargo.
Iowa’s Tanner Rohweder took two straight periods from Carlos Fuentez of Illinois in the day’s first final at 100 pounds. Rohweder prevailed 1-0, 2-1.
Bryce Brill of Illinois climbed the top step of the podium after sweeping Quinton Murphy of New York in the 138 finals. Brill placed second in the 2010 Cadet Nationals in freestyle.
Ohio’s Anthony Collica came back to down Missouri’s Austin Eads 3-3, 3-0, 7-0 in the 145 finals. Collica was fourth in the 2011 Junior Nationals in freestyle.
Maryland’s Josh Llopez earned a gritty win over Florida’s
Yoanse Mejia by scores of 1-0, 2-1 in the 152 finals. Llopez is a two-time state high school champion.
California’s Isaiah Martinez held off Minnesota’s Nick Wanzek 4-3, 0-6, 3-2 in the 160 finals. Martinez won for the second time in Fargo after capturing a Cadet Greco title here last year.
Missouri’s J’Den Cox won a tough weight class in sweeping Michael Swider of Illinois 4-0, 5-0 in the 220 finals. Cox placed third in the Junior Greco tournament.
Juniors are wrestlers who are in high school.
Tanner Rohweder (Iowa) dec. Carlos Fuentez (Illinois), 1-0, 2-1
Paul Mascarenas (New Mexico) dec. Nkosi Moody (Illinois), 5-4, 4-0
Tommy Thorn (Minnesota) dec. Adrian Cordova (Colorado), 2-0, 6-0
Nathan Tomasello (Ohio) dec. Zac Hall (Michigan), 3-1, 0-3, 4-2
Cory Clark (Iowa) dec. Joey McKenna (New Jersey), 0-6, 5-3, 2-2
Zain Retherford (Pennsylvania) dec. Zane Richards (Illinois), 1-1, 1-1
Bryce Brill (Illinois) dec. Quinton Murphy (New York), 6-3, 11-4
Anthony Collica (Ohio) dec. Austin Eads (Missouri), 3-3, 3-0, 7-0
Josh Llopez (Maryland) dec. Yoanse Mejia (Florida), 1-0, 2-1
Isaiah Martinez (California) dec. Nick Wanzek (Minnesota), 4-3, 0-6, 3-2
Kyle Crutchmer (Oklahoma) dec. Micah Barnes (Minnesota), 1-0, 6-0
Jordan Rogers (Washington) dec. Glenn Climmons (Georgia), 5-2, 2-0
Sam Brooks (Illinois) pinned Broc Berge (Minnesota), 3-1, 0:32
J’Den Cox (Missouri) dec. Michael Swider (Illinois), 4-0, 5-0
Adam Coon (Michigan) dec. Donte Winfield (Indiana), 1-0, 1-0