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Top 50 Countdown - #34-#33

By MI Grappler, 03/24/20, 12:00PM EDT


34. Ben Whitford

Whitford was one of the most dominant high school wrestlers in the state's history.  He started off his prep career winning two state titles for Marmion Academy in Illinois before coming back home to Michigan and winning two more for the St. Johns.  

Nationally, he won it all as well.  He went 4-for-4 in Cadet finals appearances, earning three titles and a runner-up at Fargo in 2009 and 2010.  He followed that up with a double Junior title performance the next summer and a Super 32 title later that fall.  Following his senior year he won the FILA/UWW Junior Freestyle title.

Whitford was a two-time Asics/Tiger 1st Team All-American and was WrestlingUSA's Wrestler of the Year in 2013.  He also was selected to Team USA to compete at the Dapper Dan, where he was victorious.

He's back on the mats, training at Northwestern University and competing on the Senior level.  He picked up a championship at the Cerro Pelado in Cuba in 2019, where he pinned 2017 NCAA Champ Cory Clark.  Whitford was also 3rd at the Dave Schultz International.

Flowrestling Videos:
Whitford at Reno TOC, 2008
Cheesehead Finals, 2011
If You're Not Going to Dominate Don't Go Out There
Super 32 Final, 2011
FILA Jr. Final, 2013
Whitford vs. Jayson Ness, 2019

33. Taylor Massa

Equally as dominant as his St. Johns teammate above, Massa put together a 231-0 career record en route to four state championships. As a senior he was named Asics Wrestler of the Year, was the national recipient of the Dave Schultz High School Excellence Award, and a WrestlingUSA Dream Teamer. He was an Asics 1st Team All-American twice, 3rd Team once, and Honorable Mention once.

Massa's national prep accolades are wild to look at.  He won the Cadet Triple Crown twice (08, 09), meaning he won national titles in Folkstyle, Freestyle, and Greco.  In 2009 he also won FILA Cadets.  A year later, he'd win FILA Juniors and Flonationals and was a double Junior All-American (3rd FS/4th GR).  As a junior, he won FILA Juniors again and made the Junior World Team, which competed in Bucharest, Romania.  Finally, Massa placed five times at Super 32 - all inside the top three - including three finals appearances and a title.

Massa chose to stay in state and compete for Michigan, where he qualified for the NCAA tournament twice.  Injuries hampered his career, but his best season came as a true freshman when he went 27-10 and lost in the bloodround at NCAA's. 

Flowrestling Videos:
#1 High School Freshman
Workout at the Massa Facility
Junior World Cup
Super 32 Finals, 2011
Super 32 Interview, 2011