Photo of Roman Bravo-Young by Jeff Beshey, The Guillotine
Many fans are aware that the East Coast and the Midwest have great scholastic wrestlers that top most national rankings in their respective weight classes. However, there are also top competitors from the West Coast that can compete with the best in the country and have signed with some of the best collegiate programs in Division I. Case in point, the top four ranked wrestlers that make this list have committed to attend a Big 10 program, while the top three will be attending Penn State, which claimed its sixth NCAA team title in the last seven years, its second straight, and its seventh overall this past March.
10. Brandon Kaylor of Bonney Lake, Wash.
Considered by many in the country as one of the best lower weight wrestlers in the Pacific Northwest, Kaylor won his third state championship in Class 3A to finished the season with a 37-0 record. His journey to having another successful season started in October of last year when he placed third at the well-known Super 32 tournament. During the summer of 2016, he was triumphant in placing third at Fargo Nationals.
9. Jonathan Prata of Downey, Calif.
Jonathan Prata made history this past season for the Vikings by becoming the first ever wrestler to win an individual state championship in a loaded 106 weight class in California. One of his major wins came in the semifinals as he defeated Super 32 champion Antonio Lorenzo, 4-2. That wasn’t the end of the winning ways for Prata as he went on to earn a Folkstyle Nationals title in April after placing second in 2016. If he can keep improving, he could be one to watch by the time he gets to college.
8. Nic Aguilar of Gilroy, Calif.
Gilroy’s Nic Aguilar hasn’t had the performances at the California state tournament the past three seasons that he would have liked to. Nevertheless, Aguilar has proven himself a beast in the international styles of wrestling as he has acquired three Fargo national titles as well as placed at UWW Cadet Nationals. Aguilar is the heart and soul of the Mustangs wrestling squad and will be counted on to help them dethrone Buchanan High for the California state team championship next season. Aguilar could be a lifelong 125-pound grappler for any college in the country.
7. Josiah Rider of Grand Junction, Colo.
Josiah Rider of Grand Junction, Colorado, announced his commitment to the University of Nebraska during the month of January at the Jackpot Duals tournament. A two-time Colorado state champion, Rider put the competition on alert as he was second at the Super 32 tournament, one of the premier pre-season tournaments in the country. Rider finished the season with a 37-1 record, his lone loss on the season coming against Sammy Sasso of Pennsylvania at the nationally renowned Walsh Ironman Tournament in Akron, Ohio.
6. Anthony Montalvo of Buchanan, Calif.
Montalvo made great strides this past season in the Golden State that saw him win his first individual state championship after being a runner-up last year. During the 2016-17 campaign, Montalvo was one of two Buchanan High wrestlers to earn a state title and helped the Bears win their second consecutive state team championship, their third overall in school history. He was the 2015 NHSCA Sophomore national champion and is currently unsigned. Montalvo could make a significant impact for any college team at either 174 or 184 pounds.
5. Brock Hardy of Box Elder, Utah
Hardy is probably one of the best unsigned juniors from the 2018 class. A three-time Utah state champion, Hardy outwrestled all foes he faced in the state this past season and won his first Reno TOC tournament by dominating Cadet Greco world team member Payton Omania, 9-1, in the finals. Omania’s other accolades include being a 2016 Fargo freestyle champion and four-time finalist. Hardy will be a great asset for any collegiate program as he can adjust to any coaching style.
4. Malik Heinselman of Castle View, Colo.
College: Ohio State
Despite being undersized for the smallest weight class in college, 125, Malik Heinselman of Castle View, Colorado, has the attention of some of the best college coaches in Division I. The two-time Cadet world member and two-time Colorado state champion is considered by many as the top 106-pound wrestler in the country. Besides his experience on the international level, Heinselman is also a three-time Fargo champion. Malik will look to continue the international freestyle success found by other Ohio State alumni recently and put on some more weight to contribute to the ongoing success of the Buckeyes in Division I.
3. Seth Nevills of Clovis, Calif.
College: Penn State
Nevills could become one of the most decorated prep wrestlers to step on a mat in the state of California next season. His mat awareness and aggressive style of competition have helped him acquire three state titles in the Golden state. Next season, he could win his four state title without having a single loss in his prep career. Nevills recently won Flo Nationals by dominating various competitors with multiple state titles in their resumes. In less than a year, Nevills will be attempting to win the Doc Buchanan Tournament, one of the most prestigious tournaments in the country, and the best on the West Coast.
2. Travis Wittlake of Marshfield, Ore.
College: Penn State
Wittlake competes for Marshfield High School in Coos Bay, Ore. and is ranked second in the country at 170-pounds. He has won three consecutive Oregon state titles and will be in the hunt to claim his fourth next season. An outstanding grappler in the international styles of wrestling, Wittlake won the bronze medal at the 2016 Cadet World Championships and garnered All-American honors multiple times at Fargo. Next year, he will be attempting to win his fourth Sierra Nevada Tournament title as well. Wittlake is projected to wrestle at 184 or 197 pounds at the collegiate level.
1.Roman Bravo-Young of Sunnyside, Ariz.
College: Penn State
Bravo-Young completed the 2016-17 season by winning his third AIA state championship at 132-pounds and has racked up his 130 wins in the state of Arizona without a loss. A member of the 2016 Cadet world team, Bravo-Young has been a beast on the mats of Fargo as he has claimed four titles; including being a double champion in 2014-15. Bravo-Young is projected to wrestle at 133 or 141 pounds at the collegiate level.