Though many states have already started high school competition, the unofficial start to the high school season takes place every year in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio at the Walsh Jesuit Ironman. Like the Masters for golf and the Daytona 500 in NASCAR, the high school regular season kicks off with its most prestigious event, its Super Bowl of sorts. In early December, the top teams and individuals in the country meet on tiny mats, in a tiny gym (actually two gyms) to battle for bragging rights and the title of Ironman champ. This is a tournament so tough annually that there are only two-four time champions, David Taylor and Zahid Valencia, since its inception in 1994. With each passing year, the list of prominent Ironman alumni winning college and international events grows. So, pay attention and enjoy this year’s tournament, as it may be the first time you see the NCAA champions of 2020 and Olympians of 2024 compete.
This year's edition of the Ironman will feature three wrestlers currently ranked #1 in the nation by TOM, and seven others ranked #2. Remember, these predictions are based on pre-seeds so there is the chance that wrestlers may be pulled out for whatever reason, causing the official seeds to change.
Top Eight Seeds
1) Isaac Salas-St. John Bosco, CA
2) Jacob Decatur-Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy, OH
3) Richard Figueroa-Selma, CA
4) Ryan Miller-Blair Academy, NJ
5) Logan Agin-Lancaster, OH
6) Brendon Garcia-Pueblo Co., CO
7) Cooper Flynn-McDonogh, MD
8) Colton Drousias-Mt. Carmel, IL
The future-star weight class, 106 lbs and prior to that 103 lbs, at the Ironman is where the studs of tomorrow introduce themselves to the rest of the country today. It is also the weight class most likely to get turned on its head, due to the fact that, in the past, freshmen were not given as much priority, with respect to seeding. Only once in the past eight seasons has a number one seed taken the title at 106/103 (Cade Olivas/St. John Bosco in 2014). Coincidentally, another freshman from St. John Bosco High School in California is the top seed and will be aiming to buck that trend. That youngster is Isaac Salas, a Folkstyle national champion and runner-up at UWW Cadet Nationals in freestyle. Over the summer and already this fall, Salas competed up at 113 and 120 lbs, but he will be back at 106 for the Ironman. This weight class is deep though, TOM’s #1 and #3 ranked 106 lbers Jacob Decatur and Ryan Miller, respectively, will be contenders as well. Decatur placed third in this weight class a year ago. Miller is getting his first crack as the full-time starter for Blair Academy. On the bottom half of the bracket, with Decatur, is California’s Richard Figueroa, who is a freshman that has already knocked off a returning California state champion this fall.
Possible Spoiler: Cooper Flynn (McDonogh)
TOM Finals Prediction: Ryan Miller (Blair Academy) over Isaac Salas (St. John Bosco)
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