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50th Junior Nationals fantasy bracket championship finals set: Sean Hage (GA) vs. Pat Smith (OK)

by Gary Abbott, USA Wrestling

The fan vote is in, and the finals have been set for 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.

The winner of the top half-bracket is Sean Hage of Georgia, a three-time Junior Nationals freestyle champion, who will face the bottom half-bracket winner Pat Smith of Oklahoma, a two-time Junior Nationals freestyle champion.

USA Wrestling fans can cast their vote for the finals by going to:
50th Junior Freestyle Nationals - Fantasy Bracket

The voting begins today, and will continue for four days, closing the evening of Wednesday, May 26.

Here is how each advanced to the finals:

Sean Hage (Kennesaw, Ga.)

Round of 32 - Sean Hage (GA) dec. Sheldon Thomas (DE), 70%-30%

Round of 16 - Sean Hage (GA) dec. Alan Fried (OH), 61%-39%

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

Semifinals - Sean Hage (GA) dec. Johny Hendricks (OK), 73% - 27%

Hage beat the only four-time Junior Nationals freestyle champion Alan Fried in the round of 16. He knocked off a three-time Junior Nationals freestyle champion Brent Metcalf in the quarterfinals, and a pair of two-time Junior Nationals freestyle champions in Sheldon Thomas in the opening round and Johny Hendricks in the semifinals.

Pat Smith (Del City, Okla.)

Round of 32 - Pat Smith (OK) dec. Mark Angle (PA), 72%-28%

Round of 16 - Pat Smith (OK) dec. Steve Knight (IA), 84%-16%

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

Semifinals - Pat Smith (OK) dec. Steve Mocco (NJ), 59%-41%

Smith beat three-time Junior Nationals freestyle champion Mark Angle of Pennsylvania in the opening round and Steve Mocco in the semifinals. He stopped two-time Junior Nationals freestyle champion Coleman Scott in the quarterfinals, and one-time champion Steve Knight in the round of 16.

Here are the years the finalists were Junior Nationals freestyle champions

Sean Hage, Georgia (1993, 1994, 1995)

Pat Smith, Oklahoma (1988, 1989)

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.