Frankie Tal-Shahar photo courtesy of Sam Janicki; SJanickiPhoto.com
Now that we are in the second week of the unofficial preseason for high school wrestling, the amount of tournaments increases each week. This time around we had two big ones with Michigan’s Grappler Fall Classic and the California World Challenge. Both events featured plenty of ranked wrestlers with some eyebrow-raising upsets sprinkled in. Iowa also had the first Iron Elite Fall Nationals; however, the field has not had time to grow like the two previous tournaments. Here are some of the highlights from the weekend at each of these preseason events.
Grappler Fall Classic
At 106 lbs Casey Swiderski (Dundee, MI) prevailed in a weight class filled with young talent. Swiderski, an eighth-place finisher in Cadet National freestyle this summer, captured his title with a tiebreaker win over fellow incoming freshman Ryan Luna (St. Francis, CA). On his way to the final Casey took out a pair of incoming freshman from Florida, Danny Nini (Lake Highland Prep, FL) and Kai Owen (Tampa Jesuit, FL). Nini was a state champion as an eighth-grader and Owen was third in freestyle as a Cadet this summer in Fargo while competing at 94 lbs. In other notable news from this bracket, Luna pinned two-time Michigan state champion Sean Spidle (Powers Catholic, MI) in the semis. Owen got to the semis with a sudden victory decision over Hoosier Preseason Open champion Kamariyon Nelson (Brownsburg, IN).
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