13 wrestlers receive Golden Tickets to Who's Number One
by Adam Engel, USA Wrestling
Last week, FloWrestling completed its allotment of Golden Tickets to the Who’s Number One event in September. A wrestler who received a Golden Ticket earned an automatic pass to the Who’s Number One event that determines the No. 1 ranking in each high school weight class.
Who’s Number One is set for Sept. 9 in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Men’s freestyle Golden Ticket recipients
Nate Jesuroga, Pleasant Hill, Iowa
An Iowa commit, Jesuroga earned a Golden Ticket after he won a Junior men’s freestyle Fargo championship. He teched Michigan’s Caden Horwath, 12-2, in the 120 final. Last summer, he claimed a U17 World bronze medal. He is also a returning Who’s Number One champion. He is a high-scoring wrestler with a strong gas tank. In Fargo, he outscored opponents, 74-2.
He is an incoming senior at Iowa powerhouse Southeast Polk High School.
Cody Chittum, Charleston, Tenn.
Chittum, a fellow high-energy Iowa commit, rolled through his 152 Junior men’s freestyle Fargo bracket. He teched Ty Whalen of New Jersey, 13-3, to win Fargo. In June, he finished third at the U20 World Team Trials. Originally committed to Minnesota, Chittum recently flipped his commitment to Iowa. Similar to Jesuroga, Chittum is a defending Who’s Number One champion.
Joshua Barr, Davison, Mich.
A prized recruit for Penn State, Barr collided with the best in Fargo. He emerged as champion in a bracket filled with future Big Ten opponent He defeated Rocco Welsh, an Ohio State commit, 8-5, in the Junior men’s freestyle final at 170. In June, he finished runner-up at the U20 World Team Trials. He is set for a Who’s Number One rematch with future PSU teammate, Levi Haines. Haines beat Barr 4-1 in last year’s event.
Jax Forrest, Johnstown, Pa.
Last week, Forrest snagged a silver medal at the U17 World Championships. He rolled through his first several matches before an 11-10 loss to Daryn Askerbek of Kazakhstan for the gold medal. In April, Forrest defeated Jesuroga in three matches at the U17 World Team Trials.
Tyler Kasak, Doylestown, Pa.
A Penn State commit, Kasak brought home a silver medal at the U17 World Championships. A top middleweight prospect, Kasak defeated Joel Adams to make the U17 World Team.
Joe Sealey, Winston-Salem, N.C.
Sealey emerged as the world’s best when he demolished his competition at the U17 World Championships. A long-haired grinder with a high motor, Sealey punished Italy’s Raul Caso for a 12-0 tech fall. He is a member of prep power Wyoming Seminary and will be a junior.
Zack Ryder, Westtown, N.Y.
A week ago, Ryder claimed bronze at the U17 World Championships. He won Fargo a year ago and will be a sophomore at Minisink Valley High School. He will wrestle Brayden Thompson, a U20 World Team Member and Oklahoma State commit, at Who’s Number One.
Max McEnelly, Waconia, Minn.
McEnelly responded from a semifinal loss at the U17 World Championships to grab bronze. He also won Fargo in 2021. A dual sport athlete (football and wrestling), McEnelly is a rising senior at Waconia High School and a Minnesota wrestling commit.
Women’s freestyle Golden Ticket recipients
Erica Pastoriza, Phoenix, Ariz.
A returning Who’s Number One champion, Pastoriza is one of the world’s best in her age-group. Last week, Pastoriza grabbed a women’s freestyle silver medal at 48 kg at the U17 World Championships. In 2021, she won gold.
Gabriella Gomez, Carol Stream, Ill.
Last week, Gomez earned a silver medal at the U17 World Championships in women’s freestyle. She beat several European age-group medalists to reach the finals but lost 13-0 to Japan’s Koko Matsuda in the gold medal match.
An incoming sophomore at Glenbard North High School, Gomez won an Illinois state championship. She blasted her competition to win the U17 World Team Trials and the Girls High School Showcase. Her brother, Austin Gomez, earned NCAA All-American honors in March for Wisconsin.
The two become the first brother and sister pair to compete at Who’s Number One.
Alexandra Szkotnicki, Riva, Md.
FloWrestling awarded Szkotnicki a golden ticket to Who’s Number One after she won a Junior women’s Fargo championship at 112. She beat Pennsylvania’s Aubre Krazer, 6-2, in the final. She became the first Junior women’s national champion for Maryland since Helen Maroulis, an Olympic and World champion, won in 2007. Szotnicki spent this week at the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Training Center and drilled with Maroulis and other Senior World Team members.
Before Fargo, Szkotnicki finished eighth at the U20 Nationals and fifth at U23 Nationals.
Valerie Hamilton, Gridley, Ill.
Hamilton emerged from a loaded 61 kg bracket at the U17 World Championships to finish with silver. India’s Savita teched Hamilton, 12-0. Hamilton won a U15 World championship in 2019 and Fargo in 2021. She will wrestle at either 132 or 138 at Who’s Number One.
Janida Garcia, Lathrop, Calif
Garcia defeated Minnesota’s Skylar Little Solider, a fellow top prospect, to win a Junior Women’s Fargo championship at 132. Garcia received her golden ticket after a back-and-forth 6-4 win over Little Solider. Similar to Pastoriza, Garcia is a returning Who’s Number One champion. In the spring, Garcia placed third at U20 Nationals. She will transfer to Discovery Canyon High School in Colorado Springs, Colorado, for her senior year.