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Fargo Day 5 preview (7/21): Women’s Junior freestyle wraps up; 16U Greco-Roman gets things flying

by Gary Abbott, USA Wrestling

Junior women's semifinalist Sophia Macaluso of New York in competition in Fargo. Photo by Tony Rotundo, Wrestlers Are Warriors.


On day five of the 2020 USMC Junior/16U Nationals, the last of the freestyle matches will be concluded with the finish of the Junior Women’s competition. But it will also be the first day of the Greco-Roman action, as the 16U division starts its tournament.

WHAT’S NEW: Big 16U Greco-Roman field should uncover many new young stars


Like all of the other tournaments this year, the Greco-Roman tournament is as big as in recent years, with 980 wrestlers hitting the mats. The interest in Greco-Roman at the youth and high school levels has seemed to expand in recent years.


As with the other 16U event, nobody in this field has ever competed in Fargo, because the 2020 event was cancelled. Back in 2019, all of these athletes were in the 14U age group.


The 16U team champion in Greco-Roman at the last Junior Nationals held in 2019 was Illinois with California in second, followed by Georgia, Minnesota and Pennsylvania.


The 2021 16U National Duals champion was Minnesota, which beat Oklahoma in the finals, 48-26. Rounding out the top five in Greco-Roman were California, Illinois and Pennyslvania.


What we might see is a Triple Crown winner. Mack Mauger of Idaho (94) and Koy Hopke of Wisconsin (220) emerged from the freestyle event with a chance to get the Triple Crown. We can expect that a number of the other 2021 U16 freestyle champions will be in the hunt for a double title.


Of special note to the Greco-Roman athletes, families and fans, the first session of the tournament has been moved up to start one hour earlier at 8:00 a.m. Make sure to set your alarm accordingly. If you come a bit late


WHAT FINISHES: Junior Women to have power-packed semifinals and finals in a loaded field


The end of the women’s freestyle competition for Fargo 2020 will be the finals of the Junior Women’s division. It marks both the finish of freestyle this year, as well as the last of the women’s tournaments. At this point, we don’t yet know who will be in the finals, because day one ran only through the quarterfinals.


But what a semifinal round we will have!!!!


There are 53 nationally ranked girls in the semifinals, including seven No. 1 ranked athletes. The two 2019 Junior National champions in the field (there was no event in 2020 due to COVID) are in the semifinals, Sage Mortimer of Utah (112) and Montana Delawder of Pennsylvania (122).


At 112 pounds, there are two No. 1 ranked athletes in opposite semifinals. The No. 1 at 112, Samara Chavez of Texas, and the No. 1 at 117, Sage Mortimer, would meet in the finals if they win their semifinals.


Of special note is 100 pounds, where the two Gonzalez twins from California are in opposite semifinals. Brianna, ranked No. 3 nationally, battles No. 4 Alex Szkotnicki of Maryland. Emilie, ranked No. 11, squares off against No. 19 Madison Avila of California. If they both win, we could see co-champions for the first time in ages.


Five of the 2021 16U National champions who moved up are semifinalists seeking a double title. Every weight has at least three ranked girls in the semifinals and most of them have all four from the national rankings.


Don’t miss the semifinals, set for the 9:00 a.m. session, or the finals, expected to go off at 1:30 p.m.


WEDNESDAY SCHEDULE

8:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. - 16U Greco-Roman: Session I - Preliminaries and Consolations

9:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon - Junior Women Freestyle: Session III Semifinals, Consolation, and Consolation Semifinals

1:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. - Junior Women Freestyle: Session IV Finals, Medal Matches & Awards

5:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. - 16U Greco-Roman: Session II - 1/8 Championship, Quarter-Final and Consolations