: Illinois’ Caleb Noble works for near fall in his quarterfinal match at 106 pounds.
Richard Immel, USA Wrestling

: Illinois’ Caleb Noble works for near fall in his quarterfinal match at 106 pounds.

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Eight repeat bids intact, top-five showdown looming in the Junior boys division at Air Force Special Warfare Folkstyle Nationals

by Richard Immel, USA Wrestling

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa – The action is heating up at the Air Force Special Warfare 16U and Junior Folkstyle Nationals with a star-studded semifinal lineup set in the Junior boys division following an exciting opening day of action at the UNI Dome.


The unquestioned headliner is the 144-pound quartet of semifinalists— national No. 1 Pierson Manville of Pennsylvania, defending champions Alex Braun of Minnesota and Dorian Olivarez of Texas, and double Fargo All-American Jake Miller of Oklahoma are the last men standing in the weight class.


Should Manville and Braun advance to the championship match, it would feature a showdown of top-five ranked wrestlers at 144 pounds in the FloWrestling High School Rankings. The two combined for bonus point wins in eight-of-nine matches on Friday, with each man earning two pins apiece.


2022 USA Wrestling Triple Crown winner Mack Mauger of Idaho went 4-0 on the day at 120 pounds, but his road wasn’t without challenge. After a pair of quick technical falls to open the tournament, Mauger edged Matthew Krawczenko of Arizona, 2-0, followed by a sudden victory win against Tyson Roach of Louisiana in the quarterfinals. Two-time Utah state champion Karson Shelley stands opposite Mauger in the semifinals.


Returning 16U Folkstyle Nationals champion and double Fargo finalist Caleb Noble of Illinois earned a decisive 23-7 win over Michael Kowalski of Wisconsin in his only bout of the day. Noble, who is ranked No. 6 at 106 pounds by FloWrestling, was one win away from bagging a Triple Crown award last year.


The collision of past 16U Folkstyle Nationals champions at 113 pounds remains intact as Alex Rozas of Louisiana and Kaison Schreier of Missouri both cruised to the semifinal round in the Junior division.


Three more of last year’s Folkstyle Nationals champions are in the running to repeat— Benjamin DeForest of North Dakota at 126 pounds, Tyler Traves of Virginia at 138 pounds and Hudson Rogers of Idaho at 175 pounds. DeForest and Rogers won the Junior event in Cedar Falls last spring, while Traves was a 16U champion.


One weight class was decided in full on Friday. Cason Craft of Oklahoma won a three-man round robin bracket at 100 pounds with two impressive pins on his way to first place.


The Air Force Special Warfare 16U and Junior Folkstyle Nationals is the first leg of the USA Wrestling Triple Crown award. The competition resumes at 9 a.m. (CT) on Saturday with the Junior boys semifinals, Junior girls finals, and the start of the 16U boys and Masters events.


Fans can watch the event live on FloWrestling.com. Brackets and match-by-match results are available on Trackwrestling.com.


For more information about this event, please visit usawrestlingevents.com.

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