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Hage vs. Hendricks, Mocco vs. Smith are the semifinals pairings for 50th Junior Nationals fantasy bracket

by Gary Abbott, USA Wrestling

The fan vote is in, and the semifinals have been set for the USA Wrestling’s interactive 32-athlete bracket featuring the best Men’s Junior Freestyle competitors of the last 50 years of the Junior Nationals.


This voting is based upon their Junior National freestyle careers only, and should not reflect their successes in Greco-Roman, nor how well they did in college and the international levels.

Quarterfinal results

Sean Hage (GA) dec. Brent Metcalf (MI), 58%-42%

Johny Hendricks (OK) dec. Nick Simmons (MI), 54%-46%

Steve Mocco (NJ) dec. Teyon Ware (OK), 74%-26%

Pat Smith (OK, 2x) dec. Coleman Scott (PA), 65%-35%


This sets up a competitive quarterfinals, with voting starting today (May 19) and running for the four days.

Semifinal pairings, with number of Junior National freestyle titles

Sean Hage (GA, 3x) vs. Johny Hendricks (OK, 2x)

Steve Mocco (NJ, 3x) vs. Pat Smith (OK, 2x)


USA Wrestling fans will be able cast their vote for each round by going to:
50th Junior Freestyle Nationals - Fantasy Bracket

Notes after the semifinals.

* Hage continues to be a bracket-buster, defeating three-time Junior Nationals freestyle champion Brent Metcalf of Michigan in the quarterfinals. Hage and Metcalf were the only six time Junior National champions (three titles each in both freestyle and Greco-Roman). Hage won his titles in the mid-1990s, while Metcalf won his in the early 2000s. Along the way. Hage has beaten the only four-time Junior Nationals freestyle champion Alan Fried of Ohio in the second round, and two-time Junior Nationals freestyle champion Sheldon Thomas of Delaware in round one.

* Mocco continues to win handily in all of his pairings. In the quarterfinals, he beat Oklahoma star Teyon Ware, 74%-26%. His previous margins of victory were 66%-34% over Mark Schwab of Iowa and 69%-31% over Nathan Tomasello of Ohio.

* Oklahoma is the only state with two semifinalists, two-time Junior National freestyle champions Johny Hendricks and Pat Smith. They will have to beat three-time champions in the semifinals to earn a spot against each other in the finals, with Hendricks against Hage and Smith against Mocco.

* Oklahoma State is the only college with three semifinalists, Hendricks, Mocco and Smith. Because Mocco faces Smith, the Cowboys are guaranteed a finalist. Other schools represented in the semifinals are Iowa (Mocco) and West Virginia (Hage).


There will be some more in-depth reviews of each semifinal in the days ahead.


Here are the quarterfinal wrestlers in alphabetical order, with their state affiliation and the years they won Junior men’s freestyle national titles.

Sean Hage, Georgia (1993, 1994, 1995)

Johny Hendricks, Oklahoma (2001, 2002)

Steve Mocco, New Jersey (1999, 2000, 2001)

Pat Smith, Oklahoma (1988, 1989)


The rest of the voting schedule follows:

• Voting on the Semifinals will begin on Wednesday, May 19

• Voting on the Finals will begin on Sunday, May 23


The first USA Wrestling Junior Nationals was held in the Fieldhouse at the University of Iowa in 1971, and contested only in men’s freestyle. With the 2020 event cancelled due to the pandemic, this year’s version will be the 50th time our nation’s best high school wrestlers have come together to battle for national titles and All-American honors. Numerous World and Olympic champions and medalists have competed in this prestigious event.


The 2021 USA Wrestling USMC Junior and 16U National Championships will be held at the FargoDome in Fargo, N.D., July 16-23, with competition in men’s freestyle, Greco-Roman and women’s freestyle.

HOW TO VOTE

50th Junior Freestyle Nationals - Fantasy Bracket


When you click, you will see the bracket. To vote, click the “Cast Vote Now” button on the top of the bracket. You will be taken to a screen where you see each pairing and you can click a box to vote on the winner. You must enter your email to vote. If you need some additional information on any athlete, click the link for each athlete’s name and a graphic with a photo of the athlete and additional data on their Junior National freestyle career will appear.