photo courtesy of Richard Immel
Thousands of the nation’s best wrestlers will head down to Orlando, Florida this week for the annual AAU Disney Duals to determine the best club team in the country. The event, which features over 100 of the nation’s best club teams, are often considered one of the premier events of the summer. This year is no different and powerhouse teams compete to see who’s the best in the country and a number of wrestlers look to make a name for themselves.
Last year, it was MAWA Knight Point Blue who came out on top, dominating the field en route to a first-place finish. This year, they’re among our top-five teams to watch heading into what should be a star-studded event. Here are those teams:
1) MAWA Knight Point Blue
The defending champs are back and are looking to return to the throne in 2019. On paper, they’re probably the prohibitive favorites as well. This year’s team, like previous years, is made up of a number of the Mid-Atlantic’s best talents across a handful of states. They start off at the lower weights with PA state champ Sheldon Seymour of Troy (106) and National Prep champion Ryan Miller of Blair Academy (113).
Those two are joined by Miller’s teammate and former No. 1 at 132, Shayne Van Ness of Blair Academy as well as fellow National Prep champ Jonathan Miers of Wyoming Sem at 138. As you go further up the lineup, you find Beast of the East runner-up Cole Handlovic of BeCaHi at 152 and PA state champ Trey Kibe of Mifflinburg at 160. Up at 170 you’ve got Lehigh commit and two-time PA champ, Edmond Ruth followed by a formidable duo of Darrien Roberts of Wyoming Sem and Luke Stout of Mount Lebanon at 182, one of whom will likely fill a hole at 195. The lineup is capped by West Virginia signee Michael Wolfgram of Central York, a two-time PA state placer.
2) MAWA Knight Point Red
The team with perhaps the best chance to knock of KP Blue is its counterpart. MAWA Knight Point Red is not far behind KP Blue when it comes to elite talent. While it may not have the depth as KP Blue, KP Red certainly has the top-end firepower. That begins at the beginning of the lineup with Bethlehem Catholic’s Matt Mayer who took fourth in the state of Pennsylvania in March. At 113, we’ve got Biglerville’s, Levi Haines. Haines, a product of David Taylor’s M2 Training Center, took second to the aforementioned Seymour at the state tournament.
Joining Mayer on the team is his BeCaHi teammate Kenny Herrmann. Herrmann, a state runner-up, will man the spot at 132 pounds. He’s currently ranked fifth in the country. Rutgers commit and two-time PA state placer Devon Britton of Northampton slots in at 138. Mac Stout, the younger brother of the previously mentioned Luke Stout, will fill the spot at 160 while 170 is manned by New Jersey’s state champion Brandon Green of Paulsboro. Rounding out the lineup is PA state champion Colby Whitehill of Brookville. The heavyweight is currently ranked No. 4 in the nation.
3) CFWA Stars
After finishing second to KP Blue a year ago with the CFWA South Florida Lightning squad, the Central Florida Wrestling Academy is back with yet another rock-solid team. Additionally, they’ll have a bit of a home-mat advantage as the club is based in the heart of Orlando.
While they don’t have the depth that either MAWA squad does, there’s certainly a good amount of talent. That starts at 113 with Lake Highland Prep’s Danny Nini who took third in folkstyle states and second in freestyle states. At 132, CFWA will boast FAWA freestyle state champion Myles Griffin who holds a pair of ranked wins this past season. Then up at 138 you have Campbell commit Justin Rivera of Lake Highland Prep. Rivera currently finds himself ranked No. 11 in the country.
Capping off the names to watch is yet another wrestler from powerhouse Lake Highland Prep, that’s 195-pounder Logan Andrew. Andrew went 39-5 this past season on the way to a state championship.
4) Team Nauman AS
Though Dan Nauman recently took the head coaching job at Northern HS in Pennsylvania, he’s not shying away from his club duties and after finishing fourth a year ago with Team Nauman Red, the club fields yet another strong team with Team Nauman All-Stars.
A pair of PA fourth-place finishers highlight the strength at the top of the lineup, first with Cedar Cliff sophomore Aidan Lewis at 106 and then with Northeastern’s Cole Wilson at 120, who took fourth in 2018.
Burrell High stud Ian Oswalt handles the spot at 126. The sophomore has taken fourth and fifth in his two trips to the state tournament. George Mason will have a rep at 132 in the form of Bedford High graduate Kaden Cassidy, who took third at 132 in March. The big guns come out at 138 with multiple-time state champ and defending state runner-up Sammy Hillegas. The rising senior from North Hills is committed to Virginia Tech and ranked No. 1 in the country.
Clearfield’s Mark McGonigal fills the spot at 152. While he failed to place this past year at 152, McGonigal is considered one of the state’s top freshmen. Lastly, look out for Easton’s Isaiah Reinert at 170. Reinert, like McGonigal, did not place at the state tournament but the sophomore has shown tremendous growth year over year.
5) Young Guns WC Black
Young Guns will send four teams down to Disney this year with three competing in the District/All-Star Division.
The black team is by far the most significant threat for a title and starts off with a bang thanks to a pair of Franklin Region wrestlers. State champion Carter Dibert will head the way at 106 pounds, while teammate Finn Solomon, a state runner-up, takes the spot at 113. The Franklin Regional run doesn’t stop there, either, as a state runner-up and Pitt commit Colton Camacho will go at 126.
In non-Franklin Regional wrestlers, state champion Brock McMillen of Glendale steps in at 132, while 145 is manned by Forest Hills’ Erik Gibson. Gibson took third in the state as a freshman and is one of the top prospects in the Class of 2022. State champion and Purdue commit Gerrit Nijenhuis fills the spot at 170, where he’s currently ranked third in the country.
Rounding out the lineup is Meyersdale’s Jalen Stephens, a sophomore who took third in the state at heavyweight in March. Stephens in the No. 20 ranked heavyweight in the national and a top 100 recruit in the Class of 2021.