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50th Junior Nationals fantasy bracket semifinals summary: Sean Hage vs. Johny Hendricks

by Gary Abbott, USA Wrestling

The top bracket semifinals of the 50th Junior Nationals men’s freestyle fantasy bracket includes the first six-time Junior Nationals champion Sean Hage of Georgia (with three in each style), against a tough Oklahoma star with a knack of winning the big matches, Johny Hendricks.

Hage went an amazing eight-for-eight in his combined Junior Nationals and Cadet (16U) Nationals career, winning all six of his Junior Nationals finals and two of his Cadet (16U) Nationals finals bouts.

Hendricks won two Junior National freestyle titles in his junior and senior years, and was seventh as a sophomore in some loaded middle weight brackets.

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

As of Saturday morning, Hage leads Hendricks, 75% to 25%. Voting ends Saturday night.

Fans are asked to select the winners based upon their wrestling success as high school wrestlers competing in men’s freestyle at the Junior Nationals. We take a closer look at how these two legends competed during their Junior Nationals career.

Sean Hage (Kennesaw, Ga.)


191.5 pounds

1. Sean Hage (Georgia)

2. Mark Bodo (Pennsylvania)

3. Doug Joseph (Pennsylvania)

4. Jon White (Kansas)

5. Donny Rider (California)

6. Jay Davisson (Montana)

7. Aaron Stark (Oregon)

8. Rob Knott (Oregon)


191.5 pounds

1. Sean Hage (Georgia)

2. Lee Fullhart (Iowa)

3. Casey Strand (California)

4. Michael French (California)

5. Gage Short (Pennsylvania)

6. Kevin Stroh (Missouri).

7. Josh Hendricks (Ohio)

8. A.J. Johnson (Florida)


191.5 pounds

1. Sean Hage (Georgia)

2. Craig Fenstermaker (Pennsylvania)

3. Shane Zajac (Illinois)

4. Shaun Carter (Illinois)

5. Joe DeGain (Michigan)

6. Avery Zerkle (Ohio)

7. Chad Stears (Michigan)

8. Pete Herold. (Nevada)

Note: Hage made his damage at Junior Nationals at 191.5 pounds, winning all of his titles at that weight class. In 1994, he beat Lee Fullhart of Iowa in the finals, who later went on to a strong college and freestyle career. When Hage and Fullhart first went to college, the matching weight class was 190 pounds. However, in 1999, after three college wrestlers passed away making weight, the college weight classes were all bumped up seven pounds. By that year at the 1999 NCAAs, Hage was wrestling up at heavyweight, and lost to Brock Lesnar of Minnesota in the first round.

High School Notes: Hage won four Georgia state titles for Harrison High School from 1992-1995. In addition to his six Junior National titles, Hage also won two Cadet National titles, giving him a combined eight titles.

Johny Hendricks (Edmond, Okla.)


154 pounds

1. Nate Baker (Minnesota)

2. Troy Letters (Pennsylvania)

3. Ryan Bertin (Ohio)

4. Ken Cook (California)

5. Tim Springs (Illinois)

6. Derek Zinck (Pennsylvania)

7. Johny Hendricks (Oklahoma)

8. Brad Anderson (Michigan)


165 pounds

1. Johny Hendricks (Oklahoma)

2. Matt Herrington (New York)

3. Mark Mueller (Iowa)

4. Ben Askren (Wisconsin)

5. Troy Letters (Pennsylvania)

6. Jeremy Hart (Pennsylvania)

7. Jerry Barragan (California)

8. Justin Udell (Arizona)


165 pounds

1. Johny Hendricks (Oklahoma)

2. Mark Perry (New Jersey)

3. Don Reynolds (Illinois)

4. Zac Fryling (Pennsylvania)

5. Brent Parkey (Oklahoma)

6. Patrick Pitsch (Washington)

7. Vinny Salek (New Jersey)

8. Johnny Galloway (Iowa)

Junior Nationals finals note: When Hendricks (representing Oklahoma) beat Perry (representing New Jersey) met in the 2002 Junior finals, it was actually an all-Oklahoma finals. Perry, a member of the Oklahoma Smith family of wrestlers, wrestled for Blair Academy in New Jersey in high school, thus the New Jersey singlet. In college, Perry went to Iowa and Hendricks to Oklahoma State. They met in the NCAA finals two times at 165 pounds. In 2005, Hendricks beat Perry, 5-2. In 2007, Perry beat Hendricks 4-3. If you look at the placers in Hendrick’s weight during his three years as a Junior All-American, you find five athletes that went on to NCAA titles: Hendricks, Perry, Ryan Bertin of Ohio (who wrestled for Michigan), Troy Letters of Pennsylvania (who wrestled for Lehigh) and Ben Askren of Wisconsin (who wrestled for Missouri).

High School Notes: Hendricks was a three-time state champion for Edmond Memorial High School, also winning three regional titles, three conference titles, with a 101-5 career record.

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.


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.