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Junior Nationals kicks off Sunday morning with men’s freestyle, Triple Crown watch for 10 wrestlers begins

by Joe Wedra, Special to

Sergio Lemley, Indiana (126), one of the wrestlers in contention for the Junior Triple Crown, competing at the Junior Freestyle Nationals. Photo: Austin Bernard

FARGO, N.D. --- The 50th Junior Nationals began Sunday morning with men’s freestyle competition taking over all 25 mats in an excitement-filled FargoDome.

The event features 93 ranked wrestlers in FloWrestling’s national rankings and 10 athletes who are wrestling for a USA Wrestling Triple Crown, which is earned by winning USA Wrestling Folkstyle, Greco-Roman and Freestyle national championships.

In total, there were 1,585 entries into the junior men’s freestyle division, 315 more than the 2019 entry list. There are 47 different states plus Puerto Rico represented in the tournament.

This event is highlighted by star-studded weights, already full of action and featuring much of the top young talent in the country. Two No. 1 nationally-ranked wrestlers are in the tournament — Pennsylvania’s Nic Bouzakis (138) and Georgia’s Chase Horne (285). Both picked up wins in Sunday morning’s session to advance through the tournament and will certainly be wrestlers to watch as the junior freestyle action continues.

Four wrestlers ranked second in their respective weight classes by FloWrestling are also in this tournament: Tennessee’s Cooper Flynn (120), Iowa’s Drake Ayala (126), Dean Peterson (126, ranked at 132) and Washington’s Rylan Rogers (195). Flynn, Ayala and Rogers have moved on through their brackets, but Peterson was knocked off in the top upset of the tournament thus far.

Vincent Robinson, an Illinois standout who is ranked No. 11 by FloWrestling, matched up against Peterson early and secured a convincing 13-3 tech fall win to make a statement quickly in the 126-pound bracket.

The second upset of a top-10 wrestler occurred early in our heavyweight competition when Illinois’ Ryan Boersma knocked off #8 Xavier Doolin of Missouri via fall in the first period. Boersma and Robinson's upsets were not the only significant wins of the session. At 145, Wisconsin’s Cash Stewart posted a 13-3 tech fall victory over Pennsylvania’s #20 Kelvin Griffin to begin the day. Later in the session at 120, Ohio’s Dillon Campbell knocked off Arizona’s #20 Davian Guanajuato, 12-1.

Two other upsets of note happened later in the session. At 160, Florida's Sergio Desiante wrestled a strong six minutes to knock off #13 Robert Weston (Georgia). Then, at 152, Nebraska's Nick Hamilton wrapped up a second-period technical fall victory over #15 Gabriel Schumm of California. Also of note at the 160-pound weight class -- #5 Michael Caliendo (Illinois) continues his run toward at a Fargo title following a standout victory over #8 Rocco Welsh of Pennsylvania.

Tracking the quest for the Triple Crown, all 10 wrestlers who entered the day in contention for the coveted honor are still wrestling in the championship bracket. The group is led by Indiana’s Sergio Lemley, a Folkstyle Nationals champion at 126 pounds. Lemley, ranked #12 at 126, has posted three wins already in the tournament, outscoring opponents 34-2.

Men’s junior freestyle competition begins again today at 4:30 p.m. CST. All of the action can be watched live on FloWrestling.

Junior folkstyle champions entered and eligible for Triple Crown

126 - Sergio Lemley (IN/Region Wrestling Academy)

132 - Greyson Clark (WI/Askren Wrestling Academy Lake Country)

138 - Jager Eisch (WI/Askren Wrestling Academy Lake Country)

152 - Luke Gayer (CA/Church Boyz Wrestling Club)

160 - Adam Thebeau (IL/Greenfield Wrestling Academy)

170 - Tate Naaktgeboren (IA/Big Game Wrestling Club)

182 - Jared Simma (Kansas)

195 - Ben Kueter (IA/Sebolt Wrestling Academy)

220 - Jack Darrah (MO/Xtreme Training)