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Pennsylvania wins 16U Freestyle Nationals team title; Larkin named Outstanding Wrestler; Mauger and Hopke still alive for Triple Crown

by USA Wrestling

Kyler Larkin of Arizona raised his USA Wrestling National Champion stop-sign trophy. He was later named Outstanding Wrestler. Photo by Tony Rotundo, Wrestlers Are Warriors.


FARGO, N.D. — Team Pennsylvania won the 2021 16U Nationals men’s freestyle team title as Monday’s finals concluded at the FargoDome. Arizona’s Kyler Larkin (126 pounds) was named the tournament’s Outstanding Wrestler following a finals win over Minnesota’s Landon Robideau. Team New Jersey led the way with three individual champions, while Minnesota, Ohio and Arizona all had two winners.


The action started at 88 pounds, where Team Ohio’s Javaan Yarbrough took home the first title of the session, winning a 10-4 match over Wisconsin’s Haakon Peterson. Yarbrough carried a 6-0 lead into the break and had an 8-0 advantage going into the final seconds. Peterson scored a four-point throw to tighten the match late, but Yarbrough, a 2019 14U Nationals freestyle champion, held on to secure the win.


At 94 pounds, Mack Mauger (Idaho) finished his dominant men's freestyle Fargo performance with an 8-3 win over Virginia’s Cadell Lee. With the win, Mauger becomes just Idaho’s third champion in the 16U division. He also stays alive to be eligible to win USA Wrestling’s Triple Crown award following his Folkstyle Nationals win earlier this year. Triple Crown winners are those who win USA Wrestling Freestyle, Greco-Roman and Folkstyle national championships in the same year.


Seth Mendoza of Illinois secured a 7-0 win in the finals over Arizona’s Christian Castillo to win the title at 100 pounds. Mendoza, who will be a freshman this year at Mt. Carmel High School, secured a four-point move at the end of the first period to go to the break up 4-0. Another takedown in the second period wrapped up the match, providing the Mokena, Illinois native with the title.


New Jersey locked up its first 16U champion at 106 pounds with Anthony Knox’s 18-6 win over Sam Herring (Pennsylvania). Knox found himself down 6-0 early after Herring worked a single to a score and was able to score four more points on a pair of tilts. However, Knox quickly opened up, went into the break with an 8-6 lead and never looked back. He used a slick four-point move to wrap up the technical fall victory. Knox was a 2019 14U Nationals champion in freestyle and took second in the 2021 U15 Nationals in freestyle.


Leo DeLuca of New Jersey was dominant at 113 pounds, picking up a 10-0 technical fall win in just 1:02 over California’s Brock Mantanona. DeLuca, one of just three 14-year-olds in Monday’s finals, scored quickly on a four-point throw and then used a double-leg score to transition quickly to a gut, wrapping up the win.


Adrian Meza (Arizona) knocked off #2 Aden Valencia (California) in a 3-0 match in the finals, posting what was certainly one of the most notable victories of the entire tournament. Meza, a 2021 Western Regional 16U freestyle champion and 2019 14U Nationals champion in freestyle, went into the break with a 1-0 lead, scored a double-leg takedown early in the second and defended the rest of the way to win. Valencia was a 2019 U15 national champion and a 2021 UWW Cadet Nationals champion in Greco-Roman.


At 126, Larkin and Robideau went down to the wire in their finals bout before Larkin was able to score with under ten seconds left to win, 3-1. The match was tied at one late, but Larkin, a rising sophomore at Valiant College Prep, scored at the edge as time winded down to win the title. Larkin defeated #5 Mason Gibson of Pennsylvania in the semifinals in a standout moment from Sunday's action.


Zach Hanson of Minnesota won the 132-pound title with a 2-1 win over Missouri’s Christopher Coates. Neither wrestler scored in the match and both went on the shot clock — Hanson was able to defend late to secure the win. Hanson, a Lakeville, Minnesota native, was a 2019 14U Nationals champion in both freestyle and Greco-Roman.


Joel Adams was the winner in one of the session’s most exciting matches, knocking off Pennsylvania’s Tyler Kasak, 7-6. Adams found himself down, 4-0, at the break. However, he charged in the second period with heavy action to tighten the match up. Down one point with 10 seconds left, Adams scored via a chest wrap and held off a late scramble to win the title. Adams is Nebraska’s first 16U champion since Thomas Gilman won the event in 2010.


William Henckel became Connecticut’s fourth-ever 16U Nationals champion at 145 pounds with an attention-grabbing win over Pennsylvania’s Pierson Manville, a 4-2 decision. Henckel was down early, but controlled the hand fight and found his way to a score with 30 seconds to go in the match. He fought off late attacks from Manville to provide Team Connecticut with its first 16U title in 16 years. Manville entered the event with plenty of accolades, including a Pennsylvania state title at 106 pounds and a 2021 Folkstyle Nationals title.


At 152 pounds, New York’s Zack Ryder wrestled an action-packed match with Oklahoma’s KJ Evans, holding on late for a 10-9 victory to give Team New York an individual champion. Ryder scored on a four-point throw early to begin with momentum, but Evans fought back and provided plenty of fight to force the tight match into the final seconds. Ryder, who will be a sophomore at Minisink Valley High School this year, locked up the win.


Louie Cerchio marked New Jersey’s third champion of the finals session, an 8-4 victory over Oregon’s Daschle Lamer. Cerchio, a 2021 Northeast Regional 16U freestyle champion, held off a late push from Lamer, leaning on an early 6-0 advantage to pick up the finals victory. Cerchio will be a sophomore this year at Delbarton High School.


Fifth-ranked Gabriel Arnold (Georgia) won a 3-1 match in his finals bout against California’s Cody Merrill to take home a Fargo freestyle title. Arnold, a two-time Prep School National champion, used a step-out point late in the first as the difference-maker. Merrill almost had a step out as time expired, but after a review, it was determined it came after the clock hit zero. Arnold will be a junior this year at Wyoming Seminary.


In an all-Ohio finals bout at 182 pounds, Camden McDanel defeated Luke Vanadia, 9-6, to win the top spot at the weight. McDanel was a 2021 Central Regional 16U freestyle champion and is a rising junior at Teays Valley High School. He found himself down, 6-4, at the break, but opened up with a pair of takedowns in the second period to secure the win.


Max McEnelly of Minnesota won what was most likely the most back-and-forth bout of the finals in the 195-pound weight class. The two-time Minnesota AAA state champion went into the break with a 9-3 lead after a funky sequence at the end of the first period, however Sasso kept battling and worked the match to a 9-8 score late. McEnelly held off a late charge, giving Minnesota its second individual champion.


Koy Hopke of Wisconsin was the champion at the 220-pound weight class, posting a 10-0 first-period tech fall over Iowa’s Jacob Walker. Hopke scored on two takedowns and locked up a gut wrench to finish up the bout. Hopke is still eligible to win the USA Wrestling Triple Crown after winning the USA Wrestling Folkstyle Nationals earlier this year.


Finishing up the day was an impressive win from South Dakota’s Navarro Schunke at 285 pounds, who wrapped up the session with an 11-0 technical fall win over Minnesota’s Will Sather, a 2021 Folkstyle Nationals champion. With the win, Schunke, a two-time state champion, became South Dakota’s third-ever 16U Nationals champion.

16U FREESTYLE NATIONALS

At Fargo, N.D.


88 LBS

1st Javaan Yarbrough (Ohio) dec. Haakon Peterson (Wisconsin), 10-4

3rd Aydan Thomas (Texas) dec. Griffin Rial (Colorado), 5-4

5th Revin Dickman (Indiana) dec. Kole Davidheiser (Pennsylvania), 8-4

7th Nathan Rioux (Indiana) dec. Lawson Eller (Minnesota), 5-0


94 LBS

1st Mack Mauger (Idaho) dec. Cadell Lee (Virginia), 8-3

3rd Moses Mendoza (California) dec. Tyler Garvin (Maryland), 9-4

5th Michael Olson (Minnesota) pin Devon Harrison (Missouri), 2:50

7th Tyler Harper (Iowa) pin Liam Neitzel (Wisconsin), 3:27


100 LBS

1st Seth Mendoza (Illinois) VPO Christian Castillo (Arizona), 7-0

3rd Gage Singleton (Oregon) VSU1 Dedrick Navarro (Idaho), 12-2 3:42

5th Layne Kleimann (Utah) VSU1 Blake Beissel (Minnesota), 13-2 2:33

7th Dru Ayala (Iowa) dec. Carson Walsh (New Jersey), 6-6


106 LBS

1st Anthony Knox (New Jersey) dec. Sam Herring (Pennsylvania), 18-6 3:32

3rd Isaiah Quintero (California) dec. Marcus Blaze (Ohio), 9-0

5th Jameson Garcia (Illinois) dec. Jackson Blum (Michigan), 9-2

7th Nathan Desmond (Pennsylvania) dec. Ethan Rivera (Florida), 6-2


113 LBS

1st Leo Deluca (New Jersey) tech. fall Brock Mantanona (California), 10-0 1:02

3rd Vincent Kilkeary (Pennsylvania) dec. Jax Forrest (North Carolina), 9-6

5th Draegen Orine (Missouri) dec. Jack Consiglio (Pennsylvania), 9-6

7th Drew Gorman (Georgia) dec. Nick Treaster (Kansas), 8-0


120 LBS

1st Adrian Meza (Arizona) dec.Aden Valencia (California), 3-0

3rd Tyler Wells (Minnesota) dec. Kael Lauridsen (Nebraska), 5-1

5th Maddox Shaw (Pennsylvania) inj. dft Jacob Myers (Colorado), 0:00

7th Dalton Perry (Pennsylvania) dec. Gauge Botero (Pennsylvania), 8-3


126 LBS

1st Kyler Larkin (Arizona) dec. Landon Robideau (Minnesota), 3-1

3rd Mason Gibson (Pennsylvania) pin Kamdyn Williams (Pennsylvania), 1:03

5th Dmitri Alarcon (Colorado) pin Vince Bouzakis (Pennsylvania), 4:00

7th Clayton Giddens (Oklahoma) dec. Nathan Taylor (New Jersey), 4-1


132 LBS

1st Zach Hanson (Minnesota) dec. Christopher Coates (Missouri), 2-1

3rd Brock Herman (Ohio) tech. fall Cross Wasilewski (New Jersey), 10-0 0:17

5th Jason Mara (Idaho) dec. Travis Grace (California), 8-4

7th Gabriel Bouyssou (Rhode Island) tech. fall Smokey Mcclure (Washington), 10-0 1:10


138 LBS

1st Joel Adams (Nebraska) dec. Tyler Kasak (Pennsylvania), 7-6

3rd Ethan Mojena (Florida) dec. Jaydon Robinson (Illinois), 2-1

5th August Hibler (New Jersey) dec. Nicholas Kunstek (Pennsylvania), 4-4

7th Alessio Perentin (New Jersey) dec. James Chance (Ohio), 7-7


145 LBS

1st William Henckel (Connecticut) dec. Pierson Manville (Pennsylvania), 4-2

3rd Dylan Evans (Pennsylvania) dec.Brett Back (Wisconsin), 6-0

5th Charlie Millard (Wisconsin) dec. Duncan Christensen (Virginia), 9-2

7th Isaias Jimenez (Arizona) dec. Latrell Schafer (Georgia), 6-2


152 LBS

1st Zack Ryder (New York) dec. Kj Evans (Oklahoma), 10-9

3rd Nicholas Fox (Iowa) tech. fall Dominic Bambinelli (Georgia), 11-0 2:32

5th Lars Michaelson (Washington) tech. fall Griffin Lundeen (Minnesota), 10-0 1:34

7th Silas Dailey (Wisconsin) dec. Zachary Eliszewski (Wisconsin), 4-1


160 LBS

1st Louie Cerchio (New Jersey) dec. Daschle Lamer (Oregon), 8-4

3rd Aeoden Sinclair (Wisconsin) pin Roman Garcia (Florida), 3:34

5th Talon Mccollom (Oklahoma) tech. fall Jed Wester (Minnesota), 12-0 1:43

7th Peyton Westpfahl (Missouri) dec. Tyler Secoy (Georgia), 4-2


170 LBS

1st Gabriel Arnold (Georgia) dec. Cody Merrill (California), 3-1

3rd Jared Schoppe (New Jersey) dec. Justin Rademacher (Oregon), 8-7

5th Brian Burburija (Florida) dec. Keegan Sell (Ohio), 8-2

7th Nathan Taylor (Connecticut) dec. Travis Stipetich (Pennsylvania), 6-1


182 LBS

1st Camden Mcdanel (Ohio) dec. Luke Vanadia (Ohio), 9-6

3rd Connor Mirasola (Wisconsin) inj. dft Cole Mirasola (Wisconsin), 0:00

5th Dominic Thebeau (Illinois) dec. De'alcapon Veazy (Indiana), 6-3

7th Tucker Hogan (Pennsylvania) tech fall Soren Herzog (Minnesota), 17-6 3:08


195 LBS

1st Max Mcenelly (Minnesota) dec. Sonny Sasso (Pennsylvania), 11-8

3rd Mccrae Hagarty (Iowa) pin Carter Neves (Ohio), 2:55

5th Sawyer Bartelt (Florida) tech. fall Adam Haselius (Michigan), 10-0 2:42

7th Max Agresti (Delaware) dec. William Clark (Indiana), 16-12


220 LBS

1st Koy Hopke (Wisconsin) tech fall Jacob Walker (Iowa), 10-0 1:28

3rd Parker Ferrell (Virginia) dec. Austin Johnson (Pennsylvania), 6-0

5th Zachary Evans (Pennsylvania) tech. fall Nicholas Sahakian (California), 10-0 2:24

7th Samuel Murphy (Missouri) dec. Max Vanadia (Ohio), 7-0


285 LBS

1st Navarro Schunke (South Dakota) tech. fall Will Sather (Minnesota), 11-0 3:49

3rd Spencer Lanosga (Louisiana) tech. fall Maddux Borcherding-Johnson (Iowa), 12-0 3:04

5th Aiden Compton (Pennsylvania) tech. fall Aidan Trujillo (Colorado), 12-1 3:11

7th Sebastian Lopez (Kansas) inj dft. Aidan Fockler (Ohio)


Team Standings

1 Pennsylvania 223

2 Minnesota 139

3 Ohio 122

4 New Jersey 120

5 Wisconsin 117

6 California 104

7 Arizona 75-

8 Iowa 72

9 Illinois 55

10 (tie) Florida and Oregon 47

12 (tie) Georgia, Idaho and Missouri 46

15 Virginia 42

16 Nebraska 37

17 Colorado 35

18 Oklahoma 34

19 Connecticut 30

20 (tie) New York and South Dakota 25

22 Indiana 23

23 (tie) Louisiana andTexas 15

25 Michigan 14

26 (tie) Maryland and North Carolina 12

28 Washington 11

29 Utah 9

30 Kansas 7

31 (tie) Delaware and Rhode Island 5