By: Scott Emigh, Editor-in-Chief
Two Sandites competed at the 2016 USAW Junior Men's Greco-Roman Nationals in Fargo, North Dakota this past week. Charles Page High School senior Jack Karstetter placed eighth in the tournament. Class of 2016 graduate Sage Singleton also competed, but didn't place.
Karstetter and Singleton were joined by Sophomore Riley Weir and Senior Michael Ritchey for the Freestyle competition.
The USA Wrestling event is considered by many to be the most prestigious national tournament a Cadet or Junior-aged wrestler can compete in.
Karstetter rode an impressive wave of victories into the event. In February he came in Runner-Up at the Oklahoma High School State Championship, then came in Runner-Up at the United World of Wrestling Cadet Greco Nationals in June. Earlier this month he competed at the Cadet Pan-American Championship in Lima, Peru and took Silver.
At Fargo Karstetter stepped up to a higher age-division and competed at the Junior level in the 126 pounds bracket.
The Sandite got off to a great start with back-to-back 10-0 technical falls. The first opponent to fall was two-time Arizona State-Placer Tanner Borneman, followed by Kyle Clough of Illinois. He had a tough quarterfinal matchup in former Flonationals Champion Cole Manley, but prevailed with a 6-2 decision over the Pennsylvanian.
Karstetter finally met his match in the semifinals against West Virginia University freshman Matthew Schmitt. The two-time Fargo Runner-Up and three-time Missouri State Champion defeated the Sandite by decision and went on to win the tournament.
Moving to the consolation quarterfinals, Karstetter won a close 10-9 decision over three-time Montana State Champion Clayton Currier. From there he was defeated 7-1 by UWW National Champion Paul Bianchi and 12-8 by four-time Kansas State Qualifier Taylor Jokerst, but secured eighth place and All-American status for the second year in a row.
Singleton competed at 120 pounds and was eliminated after two matches. In the first round he was pinned in 0:34 by former Fargo Runner-Up Brandon Meikel of Utah. In the consolations he was teched 10-0 by Marquel Parks of Washington. The winner of the 120 bracket was fellow Oklahoma Dalton Duffield of Westmoore High School.
Weir made an impressive return to action in the Freestyle competition.
The State Qualifier has been recovering from an elbow injury since February but you wouldn’t know it based on his performance at the prestigious tournament. Weir made a brief appearance at the Junior National Duals in Tulsa last month, but only wrestled three matches.
He kicked off the contest with a 10-0 tech fall over Luc Valdez of Illinois and followed it up with a 16-6 tech over Arkansas State Champion Christopher Whisenant.
In the quarterfinals Weir fell 14-4 to Northern Plains Champion Matthew Petersen, but worked his way up through the consolation bracket with three straight wins.
Texas’s Chris Thomas fell 14-2, Illinois Freestyle State Champion Anthony King fell 10-0, and New York Freestyle State Champion Brandon Nunez lost by an ultimate tie breaker. The winning streak finally came to an end with a 17-5 loss to UWW Cadet National Runner-Up Cevion Severado.
Karstetter got off to a great start with four straight victories before being eliminated with back-to-back losses. He scored tech falls of 10-0 and 12-2 over Hawaii’s Ryan Wahl and North Carolina Freestyle State Champion Caleb Kreitter, respectively. He picked up a high quality win with a 5-4 decision over three-time Kansas State Finalist Corbin Nirschl, and followed it up with a 12-10 decision over Colorado’s Zeke Alirez.
Karstetter finally met his match in nationally-ranked No. 20 Zachary Sherman of New Jersey in an 11-6 decision. Once again he was pitted against Schmitt and WVU wrestler prevailed again, 10-0.
Ritchey won his first match 10-0 over Utah’s Kaden Love but fell in his next match to USAW Greco National Runner-Up Gabriel Townsell of Illinois. He was eliminated by fellow Okie Trey Edwards of Mustang.
Singleton was defeated 10-0 by Codi Russell and Trevon Majette.
Seven-time USAW National Champion (three-time Greco, four-time Freestyle) Daton Fix didn’t defend his Fargo title this year and instead is spending time at the US Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs to prepare for the World Championship inMacone, France.