Anthony Whitephoto courtesy of Joe Warner; MyCentralJersey.com
The Super 32 has come and gone. It was everything that a wrestling fan could hope for and more. Some of the top wrestlers in the nation lived up to their pre-tournament billing and came home with championship belts. Young stars got their first opportunities to shine on a big stage, while plenty of wrestlers from unheralded states had success. As with any tournament of this ilk, some veterans who may have been overlooked in the past forced college coaches and rankers to take notice. We have outlined eight seniors whose performance this weekend at the Super 32 elevated their standing amongst both of those observers. If these eight are not in the next rankings update, they could be soon.
Mikey Caliendo (Batavia, IL) 6th Place--160 lbs
Looking at Mikey Caliendo’s 2019-20 season is one reason why it takes more than just looking at state placements to properly analyze the high school scene. Caliendo was a respectable fourth at the Illinois 3A state tournament; however, that type of finish will typically leave a wrestler on the outside of the national rankings. Looking at Caliendo’s state tournament, he went to sudden victory before falling in the semifinals to Connor Gaynor (Mt. Carmel), who is no slouch himself. In the third-place bout, Mikey was edged by two-time state finalist and 2017 Cadet freestyle national champion, Fidel Mayora (Montini Catholic). Basically, Caliendo was right there with national-caliber competition. At the Super 32, Mikey made it to the quarters with four consecutive wins, the last coming over Iowa super sophomore Tate Naaktgeboren. Tate was a runner-up at Iowa’s largest division in 2020. Mikey was dropped in the quarters by the eventual runner-up, Matthew Singleton, but not before scaring the 16U national finalist and taking the match to sudden victory. To solidify a spot in the top eight, Mikey beat Florida state placer Dylan Kohn for the second time in the tournament. He wasn’t done, though. Caliendo’s last win of the event came over Derek Fields (Brunswick, OH), who entered the weekend ranked eighth in the nation.
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