High School Wrestling

Projecting Who’s #1 Matchups in 2021


photo courtesy of Sam Janicki; SJanickiPhoto.com

Just over a week ago, Who's #1 took place in Austin, Texas and it happened to include some of the best matches in the event's history. As has been the custom, the rankings shifted at multiple weight classes based on the results of the dual. Instead of looking back at that event again, we're going to look forward—almost 12 months into the future and project how the 2021 version of WNO will look. Of course, this will take some imagination, mixed with educated guesses. Projecting which high school kids will move up a weight class (or classes) or even stay the same, is no easy task. 

What we've done is project possible matchups for 13 high school weight classes at WNO in 2021. Only 13 because we have excluded 106 lbs. That weight has only been contested twice in the history of the event. That weight class rarely has two, clear-cut, favorites at 106 when the event is planned over the summer. For every other weight, we have tabbed an exciting matchup that features a pair of wrestlers capable of challenging for the top spot in the nation in 2021-22. There aren't really any darkhorses listed because most wrestlers competing in this event need to have a long track record to be considered for a number one ranking. 

So without any further explanation, Projecting the Who's #1 participants for 2021!

113 lbs - Nate Jesuroga (Southeast Polk, IA) vs. Aden Valencia (Ann Sobrato, CA)

A strong summer has elevated 2020 Iowa 3A state third-place finisher Nate Jesuroga into the top spot in the country at 106 lbs. Nate has been equally good at free and folkstyle, which should help him keep and maintain a top-ranking throughout the summer of 2021. Coming from Iowa, he wrestles a tough enough schedule to legitimize an undefeated season, but will not face the constant competition that may come from a state like Pennsylvania. Those potential hiccups could cost a wrestler their number one (or number two) ranking. We're going on a limb and projecting Aden Valencia into the match opposite Jesuroga. There's no doubt that competition for a California state title will be hotly contested and maneuvering without a loss or two, is difficult. Of the young 106 lbers, he should have the most consistent freshman season in 2020-21. A pair of gold medals in 2019 at the U15 World Combat Games suggest that Valencia will be able to handle the possibility of taking over as the next great lightweight from California. He also has a strong background in judo, as well. 

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