As the American wrestling community converges on Las Vegas, wrestlers of all ages will arrive looking to make a name for themselves. While there are no world team spots on the line for the Cadets, those will be handed out in early June, there will be no shortage of tough grapplers taking to the mat in this age group. Here are 10 Cadets to keep an eye on as they compete this week in Vegas. Greco begins at 3 pm on Thursday, April 27th, while freestyle gets underway on Friday, April 30th. You can follow all the action on TrackWrestling (freestyle, Greco).
This event will be using Madison bracketing to group the wrestlers by weight. As such, there won’t be defined weight classes before the tournament.
Samson Enos, Nevada
Enos was a double champion at the Schoolboy Open last season at 128. The eighth grader has continued to do a lot of winning in Nevada, recently claiming a USA Nevada folkstyle state title. Stepping up to the Cadet level can be tricky, especially for those still wrestling in middle school so it will be interesting to see how Enos and some of the others adapt. Samson attends the Sports Leadership and Management, or SLAM, Academy in Henderson.
Garrett LaBelle, Missouri
LaBelle won the Schoolboy Open in freestyle at 136 and was runner-up in Greco a year ago, but has had some inconsistent results since. He was fourth in Greco at Schoolboy Nationals, but missed the podium in freestyle. Garrett did fight his way to the state tournament as a freshman, down at 126, but couldn’t find a win there. He immediately bounced up to 145 in the post season making it fair to wonder if the cut got to him. With the Madison brackets here, it will be interesting to see where he falls.
Domonic Mata, California
Mata was the Cadet Open champion at 152 in 2016, but struggled at Cadet Duals, going 0-3. However, he was strong during the folkstyle season, fighting his way through California’s long post-season to earn an impressive eighth place finish as a freshman. Domonic has been well tested already in his young career. Don’t expect him to be intimidated no matter who he draws here.
Carter Young, Oklahoma
After winning a Schoolboy national title last summer at 77 pounds, he also finished third in Greco, Young was up to 94 pounds when he won a Junior High state crown in February. He has been wrestling 106 in most tournaments this spring, no doubt preparing for his freshman year in the fall, though he notably was down at 100 for the Oklahoma national team qualifier. Young wrestles for Sand Springs where Daton Fix just wrapped up his undefeated high school career.
Amos Wilson, Colorado
Wilson was second in freestyle, at 144, and fourth in Greco at last year’s Schoolboy Open before winning a Colorado state freestyle championship. His first season at the high school level didn’t end as he had hoped, but Amos flashed enough potential that he is one to watch in his first Cadet year. If he can continue to improve, he could be another in a long line of tough Colorado kids.
Braxton Mikesell, Washington
Last summer, Mikesell was impressive at the Schoolboy level, finishing second at nationals in freestyle while also posting a third place finish in Greco. That was after winning all three styles at the west regional and earning a pair of silver medals at Southern Plains. As a freshman wrestling at 182, Mikesell came up one match short of advancing to the Washington state tournament.
Julio Duron, Nevada
Duron’s third place finish at the Cadet Open, at 220, a year ago was the best performance we’ve seen from him so far. However, he missed out on the Nevada state tournament for the second consecutive year. It is always difficult to judge wrestlers that we don’t see on the national level very often. Perhaps Duron is strongest in freestyle. Perhaps last year’s performance was an anomaly. Keep an eye on him to find out.
Zane Stoddard, California
Being part of a strong team like Poway has its advantages. However, it can also lead to some tough wrestlers spending time on the bench. Stoddard was third at the Schoolboy Open last season in both freestyle and Greco. However, he couldn’t crack the lineup in folkstyle with a state placer at 106 and 113 as well as another qualifier at 120. Rolling in that room no doubt keeps Zane sharp and he’ll be ready when he takes the mat here.
Triston Curtis, Nevada
Curtis was another grappler that did good things last freestyle season, finishing third in both styles at the Schoolboy Open, then couldn’t crack the varsity lineup. He won several JV events including the Nevada JV Championships, but he’ll be ready to step back onto the big stage this week. Triston went from 98 to wrestling 113 in folkstyle. It will be interesting to see how big he is now.
Xavier Doolin, Missouri
Doolin was a double All-American at Schoolboy Nationals last summer, at 152, and kicked off the folkstyle season right by finishing second at Preseason Nationals. He hasn’t taken many losses since and rolled to a MOUSA State Folkstyle Championships crown without so much as a full match. Xavier has faced a much stiffer challenge during freestyle season, but look for him to be among the contenders in his group.