We hear year after year about how many high school wrestlers have become national champions of All-Americans, but everybody knows that when it comes to the best of the best, Fargo is where you make your name.
We kick off Fargo week with boys and girls Cadet freestyle action and our first preview of the week will feature the boys.
As per usual, the Cadet field has a bunch of a relatively unproven talent looking to break through on the national stage, with a number of former Cadet AAs and champions moving up to juniors.
Just four Cadet champs return and a number of the “big name” contenders will have made their name in state tournaments as freshman or at the schoolboy level. You’ll see some names that moved into the latest set of rankings with seniors taken out, but mostly you’re looking at names that are just scratching the surface of their abilities.
So, without further ado, we’ll begin our 2019 Cadet boys freestyle preview.
2018 Champ: Mason Gelhoff, Minnesota
As we mentioned above, the Cadet divisions typically serve as an opportunity for wrestlers to introduce themselves on a national stage. Nowhere is that truer than at the 88, 94 and 100-pound weight classes where many of the athlete competing did not compete in high school the year prior.
This year, we look at regional champs to find some of the favorites. That starts with Northern Plains champ Caleb Thoennes who would be looking to make it back to back years to Minnesota after an all-Minnesota final between Gelhoff and Jore Volk a year ago. Thoennes was dominant at Northern Plains, winning all three matches by first-period tech fall and not conceding a point. Fellow Minnesotan Alex Koehler went undefeated for Team Minnesota at Cadet National Duals but lost to Thoennes in the final of the regional.
Utah’s Kysion Garcia has had a similarly strong start to his freestyle season, winning the Western Regional and then going undefeated at Cadet Duals, though he did have a close semifinal at the Western Regional with Washington’s Ryan Wilson which he won 4-2 with the decisive takedown coming with 30 seconds left in the match. Braeden Davis of Michigan was the Central Regional champ, but he only wrestled two matches in a small pool. That pool did include Georgia’s Tanner Spalding who he teched 10-0. Missouri’s Kolby Warren didn’t compete at Southern Plains this year after winning the schoolboy division at 77 pounds a year ago, but he did go to National Duals where he put up an undefeated marker.
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