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Coon captures 2nd Junior Triple Crown, Illinois wins team title in Junior Nationals freestyle tournament



Michigan’s Adam Coon completes his second straight Triple Crown on Saturday. John Sachs photo.

FARGO, N.D. – It only took 26 seconds for Michigan heavyweight Adam Coon to complete the final step on his quest for history.

The powerful Coon scored a quick takedown and followed with a succession of leg laces to earn a 10-0 technical fall over Nathan Butler of Kansas and win a Junior Nationals freestyle title on Saturday afternoon at the Fargo Dome

Coon became the first wrestler to win back-to-back USA Wrestling Junior Triple Crowns.

“It’s a huge honor to be able to accomplish something like this,” Coon said. “I want to thank USA Wrestling for providing wrestlers like me with the opportunity to wrestle for a Triple Crown. This is a great tournament with a lot of amazing athletes competing. It’s been a great experience for me to wrestle here.”

Coon, a University of Michigan recruit, captured his second straight Junior Nationals freestyle title after winning his third straight Junior Nationals Greco-Roman title on Tuesday. He won his second straight Junior Folkstyle Nationals title in April in Cedar Falls, Iowa.

“It gives you that extra experience when you wrestle all three styles,” said Coon, who won a combined six Junior and Cadet titles in Fargo. “You see a whole spectrum of opponents when you compete in all the styles. It provides you with great experience to better your abilities as a wrestler. Wrestling is my passion and it’s been that way since I was a little kid.”

The powerful Illinois team capped a phenomenal week by winning the Junior Nationals freestyle team title. Illinois crowned two individual champions on Saturday.

Illinois won team titles in all four boys events in Fargo – Cadet Greco-Roman and freestyle, and Junior Greco-Roman and freestyle.

Ohio’s Nathan Tomasello earned his third straight Junior Nationals title, building a quick six-point lead before defeating Oklahoma’s Kaid Brock 14-4 in the 120 finals.

“I love this tournament – it’s one of my favorite tournaments to go to,” Tomasello said. “I’ve always looked up to people that have won this like Logan Stieber and Jamie Clark. This was my last chance to compete here and show what I’m made of. It’s amazing to be able to wrestle here.”

2012 Cadet Triple Crown winner Aaron Pico of California put his dazzling skill set on display in downing Junior Nationals Greco champion Joseph McKenna of New Jersey in the 138 finals. McKenna was also second in Junior freestyle in 2012.

Pico put on a virtual takedown clinic in rolling to a 10-0 technical fall over McKenna in the finals. Pico finished the win by executing a textbook double-leg takedown. Pico won a Junior Folkstyle Nationals title this year and will wrestle in the FILA Cadet World Championships next month.

Pico now has won five times in Fargo after sweeping Cadets in Greco and freestyle in 2011 and 2012. Pico was named Outstanding Wrestler in the Junior Nationals freestyle event.

“This is a great tournament with a lot of great competition,” Pico said. “I got a lot of great matches in to help me prepare for Cadet Worlds. I have some things to work on. That’s why I’m here – to improve my game and win a Cadet World championship.”

Ohio’s Markus Scheidel scored a takedown in the closing seconds to rally past Davonte Mahomes of Illinois 7-6 in the 160 finals. Mahomes was bidding to win a Junior Triple Crown.

“I am trained to just keep wrestling hard,” Scheidel said. “I just kept pushing the pace and I ended up winning. I’ve had a little bad luck in high school and finishing second at state twice. It’s good to be able to win here.”

2010 Cadet Nationals champion Jered Cortez of Illinois struck gold again in Fargo by topping Colorado’s PT Garcia 4-0 in the 126 finals.

“I knew he was a good, tough kid,” Cortez said. “I just had to get to my attacks going and wrestle my match.

“It’s great to be a part of the Illinois team. We have a lot of tough guys who push each other, and we want to be national champions.”

Kirk Johansen kicked off the finals by winning an all-Illinois battle, downing teammate Francis Edelen 14-4 in the 100-pound finals. Johansen placed second in the Junior Greco tournament in Fargo.

“I just worked hard and changed up my style,” Johansen said. “It’s awesome to be able to wrestle here and win this.”

Ohio’s Anthony Collica repeated as Junior freestyle champion after cradling and pinning California’s Blayne Briceno late in the first period of the 145 finals.

“This is a real tough tournament,” Collica said. “There is a lot of great competition, so why not wrestle up here to help get ready for college?”

2012 Cadet Triple Crown winner Bo Nickal of Texas rolled to a 10-0 win over Georgia’s Tyler Askey in the 170 finals. Nickal piled up points with a succession of leg laces and finished the match with an ankle pick for a takedown.

Past Cadet Triple Crown winner Mitch Sliga of Indiana stormed out fast in defeating Oklahoma’s Joel Dixon 10-0 in the 195 finals.

2012 Cadet Triple Crown winner Hunter Marko of Wisconsin scored on a double-leg takedown to break a 2-2 tie and followed with a leg lace en route to defeating California’s Joe Cisneros 6-4 in the 106 finals. Cisneros had placed second in Junior Greco in Fargo.

Junior Nationals Greco champion Roy Nash of Utah capped a dominating tournament by downing Connecticut’s Angus Cowell 11-0 in the 220 finals. Nash was a double Cadet Nationals champion in 2012.

North Dakota’s Ryan Blees scored the last nine points to rally past Minnesota’s Jake Short 12-9 in the 152 finals. Blees broke a 9-9 deadlock by scoring on a pushout in the match’s final minute and then added a late takedown to clinch the comeback win.

Blees won North Dakota’s first Junior Nationals freestyle title since 1996.

Missouri’s Michael Pixley downed Indiana’s Riley Lefever by an 11-0 technical fall in the 182 finals. Pixley won a 2012 Cadet Nationals freestyle title.

Tennessee’s Elijah Oliver took control early en route to scoring a 12-2 technical fall over Brian Rossi of Illinois. Oliver placed fourth in the USA Wrestling Preseason Nationals this year. Oliver became the first Junior Nationals champion for Tennessee.

“It’s pretty exciting to win this,” Oliver said. “I made it through the first two days and then I just tried to finish up strong today.”

2011 and 2012 Cadet Nationals champion Seth Gross held off Minnesota teammate Kyle Gliva 8-5 in the Junior Nationals finals at 132.

Juniors are wrestlers 16-18 years old.

ASICS/VAUGHN JUNIOR AND CADET NATIONALS
Junior Nationals, freestyle finals
July 20, Fargo Dome, Fargo, N.D.


100 Pounds
Kirk Johansen (Illinois) dec. Francis Edelen (Illinois), 14-4

106 Pounds
Hunter Marko (Wisconsin) dec. Joe Cisneros (California), 6-4

113 Pounds
Elijah Oliver (Tennessee) dec. Brian Rossi (Illinois), 12-2

120 Pounds
Nathan Tomasello (Ohio) dec. Kaid Brock (Oklahoma), 14-4

126 Pounds
Jered Cortez (Illinois) dec. PT Garcia (Colorado), 4-0

132 Pounds
Seth Gross (Minnesota) dec. Kyle Gliva (Minnesota), 8-5

138 Pounds
Aaron Pico (California) dec. Joseph McKenna (New Jersey), 10-0

145 Pounds
Anthony Collica (Ohio) pinned Blayne Briceno (California), 2:20

152 Pounds
Ryan Blees (North Dakota) dec. Jake Short (Minnesota), 12-9

160 Pounds
Markus Scheidel (Ohio) dec. Davonte Mahomes (Illinois), 7-6

170 Pounds
Bo Nickal (Texas) dec. Tyler Askey (Georgia), 10-0

182 Pounds
Michael Pixley (Missouri) dec. Riley Lefever (Indiana), 11-0

195 Pounds
Mitch Sliga (Indiana) dec. Joel Dixon (Oklahoma), 10-0

220 Pounds
Roy Nash (Utah) dec. Angus Cowell (Connecticut), 11-0

285 Pounds
Adam Coon (Michigan) dec. Nathan Butler (Kansas), 10-0
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