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Mocco named Outstanding Wrestler; Pennsylvania wins 16U team title

by Savannah Asmann, USA Wrestling

Michael Mocco of Florida wins the Outstanding Wrestler award at the 2023 USMC 16U Nationals

Photo: Michael Mocco of Florida was named the Outstanding Wrestler following the finals of the 2023 USMC 16U National Championships. (Tony Rotundo,


FARGO, N.D.—The 2023 USMC 16U National Championships in men’s freestyle concluded with two repeat champions and Pennsylvania winning the team title.


In a matchup of two returning champions, Jaden Raney became Kentucky’s first two-time men’s freestyle champion as he was the second to ever win the tournament in state history. Raney was impressive on offense, taking a 2-0 lead but increasing the pace in the second period, bringing California’s Michael Romero to the mat and firing off a series of turns. The final score reached 10-0 as Raney ended the match at 3:41.


Iowa’s Dreshaun Ross wasted no time in his match, earning the victory at 195 pounds by 14-4 technical fall against Pennsylvania’s Jake Conroy to remain eligible for the Triple Crown award. Ross was the second returning champion in the 16U division from 2022 to win at this year’s tournament.


Kyler Knaack of Iowa joins Ross as another wrestler that is still eligible to win the Triple Crown award after defeating Ohio’s Grayson Woodcock in a 9-2 decision at 152 pounds. Knaack is set to compete in the 16U Greco-Roman tournament that begins on Friday.


Florida’s Michael Mocco, named the Outstanding Wrestler of the tournament, was quick with the 11-0 technical fall to win the championship at 220 pounds over Ohio’s Alex Taylor. Two huge throws and a takedown were enough for Mocco to nab the win.


In the finals at 88 pounds, Brandon Bickerton of Ohio secured the first points of the match, taking a 3-0 lead in the first period. He added one point in the second period, holding on and claiming the first win of the evening with a 4-1 decision over New Jersey’s Edward George.


At 94 pounds, Michigan’s Jarrett Smith set the pace of the offense in the second period, scoring a takedown and generating a 3-0 lead. The lead lasted through the match, and Smith earned the win against Minnesota’s Turner Ross.


Shamus Regan became Tennessee’s third-ever champion at 100 pounds, defeating Illinois’ Caleb Noble in the finals. Both wrestlers pushed the pace in the back-and-forth match, as the score was 5-5 after the first period. Regan added a point to take the lead, then four more in the final minute of action. A takedown with four seconds remaining sealed the victory.


Ohio secured its second champion of the night in Grey Burnett. Burnett displayed a high level of offense, coming back from a 3-2 deficit following the first period. He was able to catch Illinois’ Bruno Cassioppi off balance, taking the lead and adding points with a series of turns. Cassioppi was unable to regain the lead and fell in the 10-3 match.


Landon Sidun was Pennsylvania’s first champion of the night, shooting ahead 8-0 in the first period. Sidun put his opponent Colorado’s Isaiah Harrison on his back for four points, finishing the match with a 12-0 technical fall.


At 126 pounds, California’s Leo Maestas controlled the match from start to finish, leading Iowa’s Timothy Koester 8-0 before winning by fall at 2:25.


In the final contest at 132 pounds, New Jersey’s Jayden James finished on top in a 13-7 decision against Nevada’s Manuel Saldate. Saldate was able to put up six points in the first period, but it was James that pulled away and closed out the match for the title.


In the 138 pound final, after falling behind 2-0 through the first period to Missouri’s David Gleason, Blue Stiffler of Georgia put Gleason on his back to regain the lead. Stiffler became Georgia’s first winner of the night with a 5-2 decision.  


Wisconsin’s Daniel Heiser scored the first four points of the match, but it was Pennsylvania’s Melvin Miller that stormed back with 14 unanswered points to win the title at 145 pounds.


Illinois’ Aaron Stewart was the first champion of the night for the Prairie state, picking up a 10-0 technical fall against Tennessee’s Maximus Norman. Stewart won two titles in 2022 as he was the 14U champion in both freestyle and Greco-Roman.


It was California’s Adrien Reyes that locked down his state’s first victory of the tournament in the final match at 170 pounds. Pennsylvania’s Hunter Snyder picked up the first few points and led 3-2 after the first period. Reyes stormed back on won 12-6.


The final match at 182 pounds was a close duel between New York’s Elijah Diakomihalis and Georgia’s Ryder Wilder. It was Diakomihalis that emerged victorious with a big throw in the final seconds, locking down the 7-1 win.


Georgia’s Jacob Levy wrapped up the finals with a 15-9 victory at 285 pounds against Iowa’s Cooper Martinson. This was the second trip to the finals for Levy as he was the runner up in 2022. With the victory, Levy joins Stiffler as a champion, marking the first time that Georgia has ever had two champions in the same year.


Pennsylvania was the team champion with 183 points, two champions and two runners up. Illinois followed closely with 160 points and sent three to the finals, ending the tournament with one champion. Iowa, Ohio and California rounded out the top five in the final standings.



16U Men’s Freestyle Nationals
At Fargo, N.D


88 pounds

1st - Brandon Bickerton (Ohio) dec. Edward George (New Jersey), 4-1

3rd - Eli Herring (Pennsylvania) dec. Hudson Chittum (Tennessee), 7-1

5th - Landon Thoennes (Minnesota) dec. Niko Odiotti (Illinois), 7-5

7th - Vincent Demarco (Illinois) tech. fall Ethan Humphrey (Iowa), 11-0 0:47


94 pounds

1st - Jarrett Smith (Michigan) dec. Turner Ross (Minnesota), 3-0

3rd - Nico Desalvo (Iowa) dec. Hayden Schwab (Iowa), 6-4

5th - Emilio Albanese (Pennsylvania) dec. Cason Craft (Oklahoma), 7-0

7th - Christopher Swann (Georgia) dec. Jose Cordero (Tennessee), 4-2


100 pounds

1st - Shamus Regan (Tennessee) dec. Caleb Noble (Illinois), 10-5

3rd - Case Bell (Indiana) dec. Mac Crosson (Iowa), 3-1

5th - Cameron Sontz (New Jersey) dec. Caden Correll (Illinois), 8-2

7th - Gavin Landers (Iowa) dec. Jordan Segal (New Jersey), 8-2


106 pounds

1st - Grey Burnett (Ohio) dec. Bruno Cassioppi (Illinois), 10-3

3rd - Nicholas Garcia (Illinois) dec. Rocco Cassioppi (Illinois), 9-6

5th - Wyatt Lees (Michigan) dec. Brett Swenson (Minnesota), 9-2

7th - Michael Batista (New Jersey) tech. fall Zaiyahn Ornelas (Nebraska), 10-0 3:26


113 pounds

1st - Landon Sidun (Pennsylvania) tech. fall Isaiah Harrison (Colorado), 12-0 2:31

3rd - Joseph Uhorchuk (Tennessee) pin Abdirahman Unle (Nebraska), 0:47

5th - Will Detar (Pennsylvania) dec. Konner Larkin (Arizona), 10-2

7th - Nicholas Sorrow (Michigan) pin Sean Willcox (California), 1:39


120 pounds

1st - Jayden Raney (Kentucky) tech. fall Michael Romero (California), 10-0 3:41

3rd - Karson Brown (Ohio) tech. fall Justyce Zuniga (Washington), 13-2 3:06

5th - Slater Hicks (California) dec. Evan Sanati (Virginia), 6-1

7th - Geronimo Rivera (Utah) dec. Deven Casey (Illinois), 4-3


126 pounds

1st - Leo Maestas (California) pin Timothy Koester (Iowa), 2:25

3rd - Clinton Shepherd (Indiana) tech. fall John Stewart (Alabama), 11-0 3:46

5th - Travis Cardenas (Arizona) tech. fall Isaiah Jones (Oklahoma), 12-2 1:15

7th - Nikade Zinkin (California) dec. Austin Ellis (Utah), 5-4


132 pounds

1st - Jayden James (New Jersey) dec. Manuel Saldate (Nevada), 13-7

3rd - Yandro Soto (Florida) dec. Jesse Grajeda (California), 2-2

5th - Dean Anderson (Arizona) dec. Joshua Requena (California), 7-4

7th - Jake Miller (Oklahoma) dec. Chancellor Mathews (Colorado), 4-4


138 pounds

1st - Blue Stiffler (Georgia) dec. David Gleason (Missouri), 5-2

3rd - Thomas Verrette (Colorado) dec. Mason Wagner (Pennsylvania), 3-1

5th - Arment Waltenbaugh (Pennsylvania) dec. Evan Gosz (Illinois), 6-4

7th - Derek Barrows (Colorado) dec. Tyler Traves (Virginia), 2-1


145 pounds

1st - Melvin Miller (Pennsylvania) tech. fall Daniel Heiser (Wisconsin), 14-4 3:28

3rd - Gabriel Logan (New Jersey) dec. Luke Geleta (New Jersey), 11-10

5th - Nolan Fellers (Iowa) forfeit Jason Kwaak (New York), 0-0

7th - Zeno Moore (Florida) dec. Blake Cosby (Michigan), 4-4


152 pounds

1st - Kyler Knaack (Iowa) dec. Grayson Woodcock (Ohio), 9-2

3rd - Joseph Jeter (Oklahoma) tech. fall Nicholas Singer (Pennsylvania), 12-2 2:58

5th - Jimmy Mastny (Illinois) tech. fall Liam Fox (Wyoming), 11-0 4:00

7th - Brandon Dean (New Jersey) dec. Zack Aquila (Ohio), 4-2


160 pounds

1st - Aaron Stewart (Illinois) tech. fall Maximus Norman (Tennessee), 13-0 2:51

3rd - Emmitt Sherlock (Maryland) dec. Bradley Rodriguez-little (Minnesota), 5-4

5th - Jackson Barron (Minnesota) dec. Riley Johnson (Nebraska), 7-6

7th - Nash Banko (Wisconsin) tech. fall Lincoln Jipp (Iowa), 12-1 1:56


170 pounds

1st - Adrien Reyes (California) dec. Hunter Snyder (Pennsylvania), 12-6

3rd - Caleb Dennee (Wisconsin) dec. Carson Thomas (Ohio), 6-5

5th - Gavin Craner (Michigan) dec. Christopher Maloney (Ohio), 15-11

7th - Shawn Rounsaville, jr (Oklahoma) tech. fall Luke Hoag (Minnesota), 16-6 3:52


182 pounds

1st - Elijah Diakomihalis (New York) dec. Ryder Wilder (Georgia), 7-1

3rd - Aiden Peterson (Ohio) inj. def. John Murphy (Minnesota), 9-8 2:30

5th - Preston Marchesseault (Rhode Island) dec. Brayden Koester (Iowa), 8-1

7th - Adonis Bonar II (Nebraska) dec. Ty Carman (Utah), 10-1


195 pounds

1st - Dreshaun Ross (Iowa) tech, fall Jake Conroy (Pennsylvania), 16-4 2:07

3rd - Jaxon Penovich (Illinois) dec. David Calkins (California), 10-4

5th - Tyson Martin (Wisconsin) forfeit Denarii Mickel (Iowa)

7th - Isaac Ward (Missouri) dec. Jace Renfro (Missouri), 9-0


220 pounds

1st - Michael Mocco (Florida) tech. fall Alex Taylor (Ohio), 11-0 0:59

3rd - Garett Kawczynski (Wisconsin) dec. Dean Bechtold (Pennsylvania), 4-2

5th - Kai Calcutt (Illinois) tech. fall Joseph Favia (Illinois), 12-1 3:21

7th - James Bechter (Ohio) dec. Cael Leisgang (Wisconsin), 9-4


285 pounds

1st - Jacob Levy (Georgia) dec. Cooper Martinson (Iowa), 15-9

3rd - Mark Effendian (Pennsylvania) dec. Micah Hach (South Dakota), 8-5

5th - Brayden Hill (Kansas) pin Milan Colvin (Kansas), 1:24

7th - Trayvn Boger (Utah) tech. fall Zayne Candelaria (Arizona), 10-0 3:47


Final Team Standings


1. Pennsylvania, 183

2. Illinois, 160

3. Iowa, 156

4. Ohio, 146

5. California, 117

6. New Jersey, 93

7. Georgia, 75

8. Tennessee, 74

9. Minnesota, 71

10. Wisconsin, 66

11. Michigan, 50

12. Florida, 45

13. Colorado, 42

14. Oklahoma, 39

15. New York, 32

16. Indiana, 30

17. Arizona, 27

17. Missouri, 27

19. Nebraska, 26

20. Kentucky, 25

21. Nevada, 20

22. Kansas, 16

23. Maryland, 15

24. Utah, 14

25. Alabama, 12

25. South Dakota, 12

25. Washington, 12

28. Rhode Island, 9

28. Virginia, 9

30. Wyoming, 7

31. Alaska

31. Arkansas

31. Connecticut

31. Delaware

31. Hawaii

31. Idaho

31. Louisiana

31. Maine

31. Massachusetts

31. Montana

31. New Mexico

31. North Carolina

31. North Dakota

31. Oregon

31. South Carolina

31. Texas

31. US Territory

31. West Virginia


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