happelfargoLooking over this Junior group there are a lot factors to be positive about as the team will look to go for the third straight summer of producing at least one Junior national champion. This group of wrestlers has produced two Cadet national champions, two Cadet runner-ups, and has earned a total of 18 All-American honors. While only two of the wrestlers in this group have earned hardware in the Junior division, there are at least five All-Americans coming in from the Cadet division.

Since winning his first national title back in 2014, Carter Happel (138) has been one of the best talents the state of Iowa has featured. A two-time All-American at this tournament, Happel is one of the two Junior All-Americans Iowa returns from 2015 when he took fifth at 138. The only year Happel did not earn All-American honors at Fargo was the same summer that he won a UWW Cadet national title and represented the United States on the Cadet National team overseas. He is considered a top 30 talent in the class of 2016 and has been in the top five of the 138-pound rankings since he dropped back into the weight following winning his fourth state title this past February. After watching not only one of the state’s – but the nation’s – best wrestlers compete for the past four years, Happel will look to be one of Iowa’s best chance to go out on top.

In 2014 this Junior group saw it’s second wrestler win a national title when Dubuque’s Gannon Gremmel (285) won the Cadet heavyweight title. The tournament win was a big coming out party for Gremmel, who had been stuck in some rather tough state tournament brackets for the first three years of his career. Last summer Gremmel reached the quarterfinals of the Junior heavyweight bracket before he was defeated by Daniel Stibral of South Dakota, and was then eliminated by Iowan Carter Isley in the round of 12. His rivalry with Isley has continued, with Gremmel winning a folkstyle match at the Iowa All-Star dual, but then Isley getting revenge at the freestyle state tournament. Gremmel finished the season as the nation’s #3 ranked heavyweight according to InterMat.

After diving into his battles with Gremmel, Carter Isley (285) seems like the next logical Iowan to preview. Like Happel, Isley is a returning Junior All-American having also earned fifth last summer. The only losses Isley suffered last summer was to the eventual national champion and eventual third place finisher. This summer he took first at freestyle state and was the primary stater for Team Iowa’s Greco and freestyle national dual teams. In freestyle he was 7-1, the one loss being to Michigan’s Trent Hilger (who also beat him in Greco). Isley surrendered just five points at Junior Duals, while he put up 36 points (plus a fall). Isley has strong defense and the ability to score making him an excellent national title contender.

Returning Cadet finalists Alex Thomsen (126) and Marcus Coleman (170) will both be trying to rectify what they each view as falling one match short of their goal a year ago. Coleman was 5-3 for team Iowa at Junior Duals, and is currently ranked #10 by Flowrestling. Thomsen (also ranked 10th at his weight by Flo) was runner-up at the Northern Plains Regional, and fell to Keaton Geerts at UWW Cadet Nationals before placing.

In addition to Thomsen and Coleman, there are three additional 2015 Cadet All-Americans who will be making their way into Juniors. Kyle Biscoglia (113), Anthony Sherry (182), and Wyatt Wriedt (220) all look to return to the stand in 2016. Sherry is the more credentialed of the group, placing in both freestyle and Greco in each of his Cadet tournaments for a total of four All-American honors. Sherry also had a surprise win over Chase Shiltz, at the freestyle state tournament.

Former Cadet All-American Ethan Andersen (285) will try and outdo his 2013 performance where he placed seventh. Andersen was also a UWW/FILA All-American in 2014, and the Greco national champion at that same tournament.

After taking fourth as a Cadet in 2014, Colton Clingenpeel (160) will attempt to add Junior freestyle All-American to his resume. Clingenpeel went 4-4 for Team Iowa’s Junior Duals team, won freestyle state, and placed fourth at Northern Plains (up at 170).

Returning Cadet All-American Bryce West (120) will be back after failing to place in his first attempt at Juniors. Bryce along with his brother Drew West (126) have been relevant on the national since 2014 when each wrestler made the finals of Greco at Fargo. Not only that, but the pair also finished top six at UWW/FILA Cadet Freestyle Nationals that same year.

Jack Wagner (120) is the last remaining wrestler in the preview who has earned an All-American finish throughout his career, taking third in 2013 at 100. Wagner was the freestyle state champion (up at 126), and went 7-1 for Team Iowa at Junior Duals. His only loss was to New Jersey’s nationally ranked Sebastian Rivera.

When the topic of rising seniors is brought up, there is a good chance that Keaton Geerts’s (132) name is going to come up. After winning a state title in February, Geerts has continued his winning ways doubling up the freestyle and Greco state tournament and then taking seventh at UWW Cadets. One of Geerts’s biggest wins this summer was over fellow instate wrestler Alex Thomsen, who he beat 7-3 at UWW Cadets. Geerts is currently ranked #11 by Flowrestling.

Hawkeye recruit Brock Rathbun (132) is another name to watch this weekend. Rathbun won the Northern Plains Regional and then went 6-2 for Team Iowa at Junior Duals.

Nelson Brands (145) continues to see his stock rise and is currently ranked #13 by Flowrestling. Brands went to the Southeast Regional and Georgia and not only won his bracket, but was named the tournaments outstanding wrestler in freestyle. He also competed for Iowa at Junior Duals, going 5-3.

In addition to Sherry, Iowa fans should be plugged in to watching Max Lyon and Chase Shiltz at 182 pounds. Shiltz is currently ranked #11 by Flowrestling and finished third at the state tournament. Lyon is currently ranked #3 at 182, was the freestyle state champion, and is coming off a 5-3 performance at Junior Duals.

Returning All-Americans

100 Kyle Biscoglia 6th
120 Alex Thomsen 2nd
152 Ben Sarasin 5th
160 Marcus Coleman 2nd
170 Anthony Sherry 7th
195 Garrett Kubovec 8th
285 Wyatt Wriedt 4th
285 Cooper Lawson 7th
138 Carter Happel 5th
285 Carter Isley 5th

100 Noah Fye 7th
113 Bryce West 4th
138 Colton Clingenpeel 4th
152 Anthony Sherry 6th
220 Gannon Gremmel 1st

100 Jack Wagner 3rd
132 Carter Happel 1st
195 Ethan Anderson 7th

Thursday, July 21st

Junior Men’s Freestyle: Session I – Preliminaries and Consolations
9:30 AM to 1:30 PM

Junior Men’s Freestyle: Session II – Preliminaries and Consolations
3:30 PM to 7:30 PM

Friday, July 22nd

Junior Men’s Freestyle: Session III – 1/8 Championships, Quarterfinals, Consolations
9:00 AM to 1:00 PM

Junior Men’s Freestyle: Session IV – Semifinals, Consolations and Consolation Semifinals
6:00 PM to 8:00 PM

Saturday, July 23rd

Junior Men’s Freestyle: Session V – Finals, Medal Matches & Awards
10:00 AM to 1:00 PM

By Ross Bartachek (@rossbchek)

Lead Editor of IA Wrestle

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