UWW Junior and Senior Nationals took place over the weekend at Xtream Arena in Coralville, Iowa. For Seniors, placing in the top-5 secures a trip to the World Team Trials. For Juniors, winning the tournament clinches a spot on the Junior World Team. Michigan was well-represented with a solid group for both Greco and freestyle in each division.
Leading the way for Michigan natives were Greco champions Dalton Roberts (Senior - 60kg) and Chayse LaJoie (Junior - 63kg). Roberts was dominant, teching his way through the field, include an 8-0 tech over a tough Dylan Koontz in the finals. LaJoie was equally dominant on his way to a championship. The Gaylord HS grad won both matches in the best two-of-three finals by tech. LaJoie will represent the United States at the Junior World Championships in Russia in August. Roberts Other Greco place-winners included David Stepanian, who took 2nd at 63kg in the Senior division, Jordan Hamdan, who took 3rd at 63kg in the Junior division, and Hunter Murphy who took 6th in the Senior 72kg division.
Michigan natives found a lot of success in Junior freestyle, coming away with 4 placers. Of the 4 placers, three of them have Detroit Catholic Central ties. Former Shamrocks and current Missouri Tigers Josh Edmond and Steven Kolcheff both put together great tournaments to reach the podium. Edmond entered as the 2-seed and came away with a 3rd place finish, reaching the semis before falling to Michigan commit Chance Lamer of Oregon. Kolcheff, who is teammates with Edmond at Missouri, reached the semis before falling to Heindselman of Oklahoma. Manny Rojas, who just finished his Junior year with his second consecutive state championship for DCC, reached the semis before falling to NCAA-qualifier Logan of Lehigh on a late second period push-out. In the 5th place match, Rojas went upper-body to pick up a fall over Peyton Craft of Blair Academy, who is a Cornell commit. Rounding out the Junior freestyle place-winners was 4x state champ Alex Facundo of Davison. Facundo had a spectacular weekend, finishing 3rd, with his only loss coming to NCAA D1 All-American Keegan O’Toole of Missouri. O’Toole would go on to win the tournament. Facundo’s notable wins were over Julian Ramirez of Cornell, Fargo champ and Wisconson commit Dean Hamiti Jr, and Sonny Santiago of North Carolina.
Alec Pantaleo led the way in Senior freestyle, reaching the finals at 70kg. Pantaleo, a graduate of Canton High School and the University of Michigan, picked up a big 6-2 win over Tyler Berger in the semis. Berger was a three-time All-American and national finalist for Nebraska. In the finals, Pantaleo fell to 5x world team member James Green. Pantaleo picked up the first takedown, but he was unable to hold onto the lead, falling 7-2. Devin Skatzka (Richmond HS, University of Minnesota) also put together a great tournament. His only loss came in a wild match to 2x NCAA champion Isaiah Martinez. Skatzka jumped out to a 9-0 lead at the break, needing only 1 point for the tech. Martinez, however, picked up the fall after hitting a nice inside trip from a front headlock
Other notable placers were Willie Miklus in 5th place at 92kg (assistant coach for Michigan State), Cam Caffey in 6th place at 92kg (currently wrestling for Michigan State), and Matt Stencel in 6th place at 125kg (currently wrestling for Central Michigan). Caffey and Miklus wrestled for 5th place and a spot at the world team trials, with Miklus picking up the win.
60kg Dalton Roberts (Fowlerville HS, Army WC) – 1st
63kg David Stepanian (Warren Woods Tower HS, New York Athletic Club) – 2nd
72kg Hunter Murphy (North Branch HS, Olivet College) – 6th
70kg Alec Pantaleo (Canton HS, Cliff Keen WC) - 2nd
79kg Devin Skatzka (Richmond HS, Gopher WC) - 3rd
63kg Chayse LaJoie (Gaylord HS, Spartan Combat RTC) – 1st
63kg Jordan Hamdan (Hudson HS, Michigan State University) – 3rd
65kg Josh Edmond (Detroit CC HS, Univ. of Missouri) - 3rd
74kg Alex Facundo (Davison HS) - 3rd
79kg Manny Rojas (Detroit CC HS) - 5th
125kg Steven Kolcheff (Detroit CC HS, Univ. of Missouri) - 6th