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Junior/16U Triple Crown: Can Mauger repeat at Junior level? Who will be the first girl to win Triple Crown?

by Gary Abbott, USA Wrestling

Mack Mauger (ID) celebrates a 2022 USMC Junior Nationals title with a fist pump.
Mack Mauger (ID) celebrates a 2022 USMC Junior Nationals title. Photo by Tony Rotundo, Wrestlers Are Warriors

One of the cool things about the annual USMC Junior/16U Nationals is that it has the final events in the coveted USA Wrestling Triple Crown at the 16U and Junior levels.

One of the most prestigious awards that USA Wrestling gives out, the Triple Crown, happens when an athlete wins three specific USA Wrestling national titles in the same year.

For boys at the 16U and Junior levels, a wrestler must win USA Wrestling folkstyle, freestyle and Greco-Roman titles in their age group in the same season.

There have been 23 different boys to win a 16U Triple Crown since the program began in 2003. The only two-time 16U Triple Crown winner was Taylor Massa of Michigan (2008-2009). There were no 16U Boys Triple Crown winners in 2022.

Only nine boys have won the coveted USA Wrestling Triple Crown on the Junior level since the program was created in 2007. There are only two athletes who have won two Junior Triple Crowns, Adam Coon of Michigan (2012-2013) and Tony Cassioppi of Illinois (2017-2018).

Last year’s Junior Triple Crown winners Mack Mauger of Idaho (106) and Aden Attao of Idaho (285) are entered in the Junior Nationals in Fargo again. Mauger won the 113-pound title at the 2023 Junior Folkstyle Nationals, and will be eligible to seek another Triple Crown, but Attao did not enter the Folkstyle Nationals this year.

Mauger already made history last year when he became the first athlete to win a Triple Crown in both the 16U and Junior levels. Mauger won the 16U Triple Crown in 2021, and added his Junior Triple Crown in 2022. He will be going for a third career Triple Crown, and hoping to join Coon and Cassioppi as a two-time Junior Triple Crown winner.

All of the champions in the 16U and Junior levels at the USA Wrestling Folkstyle Nationals in Cedar Falls, Iowa in April are eligible for the Triple Crown. They will have to have a great week in Fargo, winning the second leg of the Triple Crown in men’s freestyle, then finishing it off in the third leg of the Triple Crown, the Greco-Roman Nationals.

The Triple Crown was created for girls in 2022 for wrestlers at the 16U and Junior levels, with an athlete needing to win USA Wrestling national titles in the same year, according to this formula:
• USA Wrestling Girls Junior or 16U Folkstyle Nationals (in Cedar Falls)
• USA Wrestling Junior or 16U Freestyle Nationals (in Fargo)
• National High School Recruiting Showcase (in Las Vegas) OR the USA Wrestling Women’s Nationals at either U15, U17 or U20 (in Spokane)

Last year, there was not a single athlete who met these qualifying procedures at either the 16U or the Junior levels.

However, this year, two Junior women have set themselves up to perhaps become the first Triple Crown winner among girls. Tilisa Matakaiongo of Utah (200) and Erica Cobos of Texas, won titles at the USA Wrestling Junior Folkstyle Nationals in Iowa in April, and at the National High School Recruiting Showcase in Nevada in late April. To get that Triple Crown award, they must win the USMC Junior Nationals title on the raised mat in Fargo. However, Cobos is not currently listed on the Texas roster, so it could be that Matakaiongo is the only athlete in Fargo with the opportunity to get the Triple Crown

For the second year in row, there will not be a Girls 16U Triple Crown winners, as no athlete has won the first two legs of the Triple Crown heading into Fargo.

So, what wrestlers will add their name to the list of great Triple Crown winners at the 16U and Junior levels this year? Stay tuned in Fargo.

WRESTLERS ELIGIBLE FOR TRIPLE CROWNS HEADING INTO 2023 USMC JUNIOR/16U NATIONALS

2023 16U Boys Folkstyle National Champions

88 – Kellen Downing (MT)
94 – Kaison Schreier (MO)
100 – Caleb Noble (IL)
106– Alex Rozas (LA)
113 – Linden Phetxoumphone (IA)
120 – Isaiah Jones (OK)
126– Christian Jelle (MN)
132 – Dean Anderson (AZ)
138 – Tyler Traves (VA)
145 – Brody Sendele (IL)
152 – Bradley Rodriguez-Little (MN)
160 – Kyler Knaack (IA)
170 – Broedy Collins Hendricks (IA)
182 – Max Matthias (WI)
195 – Dreshaun Ross (IA)
220 – Garett Kawczynski (WI)
285 – Milan Colvin (KS)

2023 Junior Boys Folkstyle National Champions
100 – Saxton Scott (ID)
106 – Ezekiel Witt (KS)
113 – Mack Mauger (ID)
120 – Benjamin DeForest (ND)
126 – Cael Nasdeo (PA)
132 – Teegan Vasquez (MT)
138 – Dorian Olivarez (TX)
145– Jason Mara (ID)
152 – Leandro Araujo (ND)
160 – Thor Michaelson (WA)
170 – Hudson Rogers (ID)
182– Wyatt Ingham (WI)
195– Karson Tompkins (TX)
220– Cy Kruse (MN)
285– Koy Hopke (WI)

2023 Junior Girls who have won the first two legs of the Triple Crown
200 - Tilisa Matakaiongo (UT)
225 - Erica Cobos (TX)

2023 16U Girls who have won the first two legs of the Triple Crown
None

PAST USA WRESTLING TRIPLE CROWN WINNERS AT JUNIOR AND 16U LEVEL

USA Wrestling Boys 16U Triple Crown winners (created 2003)
2003 - Taylor Moore of Missouri (189)
2004 - Zachary Sanders of Minnesota (105)
2007 - Hayden Zillmer of Minnesota (84)
2008 - Dylan Ness of Minnesota (130)
2008 - Taylor Massa of Michigan (140)
2009 - Taylor Massa of Michigan (152)
2009 - Jake Waste of Minnesota (160)
2010 - Devin Peterson of Wisconsin (171)
2010 - Mitch Sliga of Indiana (189)
2011 - Gannon Volk of Minnesota (91)
2012 - Hunter Marko of Wisconsin (94)
2012 - Aaron Pico of California (132)
2012 - Bo Nickal of Texas (160)
2012 - Lance Benick of Minnesota (195)
2013 - Daton Fix of Oklahoma (113)
2013 - Nick Reenan of Texas (152)
2013 - Mark Hall of Colorado (160)
2013 - Jacob Marnin of Iowa (285)
2014 - Beau Breske of Wisconsin (170)
2014 - Keegan Moore of Minnesota (182)
2015 - Moshe Schwartz of Colorado (88)
2016 - Travis Wittlake, Jr. of Oregon (170)
2017 - Ashton Sharp of Missouri (195)
2018 - Mason Gehloff of Minnesota (88/94)
2021 - Mack Mauger of Idaho (94)
2021 - Koy Hopke of Wisconsin (220)

USA Wrestling Boys Junior Triple Crown winners (created 2007)
2009 - Jade Rauser of Montana (105)
2010 - Freddie Rodriguez of Michigan (105/112)
2011 - Nkosi Moody of Illinois (98)
2012 - Adam Coon of Michigan (285)
2013 - Adam Coon of Michigan (285)
2014 - Randon Miranda of California (100)
2017 - Anthony Cassioppi of Illinois (285)
2018 - Anthony Cassioppi of Illinois (285)
2022 - Mack Mauger of Idaho (106)
2022 - Aden Attao of Idaho (285)

USA Wrestling Girls 16U Triple Crown winners (created 2022)
None

USA Wrestling Girls Junior Triple Crown winners (created 2022)
None
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