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Cadet Freestyle Recap

By Steve Widzinski, 07/27/14, 2:00PM EDT

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Ready and Freeman finish 2nd, 3 more earn AA honors

It was another solid year in Fargo for Team Michigan with the bulk of the success coming in Freestyle competition. At the Cadet level, Michigan was led by a pair of runner-ups: Walled Lake Central sophomore Ben Freeman at 113lbs, and Brighton junior Luke Ready 220lbs. They were joined by 3 additional All-Americans: Leslie junior Kanen Storr at 120lbs, Oxford junior Wyatt Harden at 195lbs, and St Johns junior Ian Parker at 113lbs.

Freeman came in as one of Michigan’most decorated Freestylers with a trio of Cadet AA finishes already to his name including a runner-up finish at FILA’s this spring. He marched to the finals with relative ease, winning all of his matches by 9 points or more. However, once there he fell victim to a red hot Austin Gomez of Illinois. Although they have had some comparable results against mutual opponents, Gomez is a bad matchup for Freeman having beaten him handily in two meetings over this cycle. Regardless, it was another great run for Freeman, and he continues to show substantial progress in his development every time he competes.

Prior to Fargo Ready had minimal high level competition experience in Freestyle/Greco, but you wouldn’t have guessed it watching him compete. He acclimated himself to the environment by earning a 5th place finish in Greco a few days prior, and as a result Ready looked more confident and relaxed in Freestyle action. He stormed his way to the finals, teching all 4 of his opponents, which included NHSCA Runner-Up Cole Nye of Pennsylvania, and Cadet Folk AA’S Ethan Hofacker of Wisconsin and Brandon Musselman of Missouri. In the finals Ready squared off with the highly regarded Gannon Gremmel of Iowa; a 2X Cadet Folk National Champion ranked as one of the country’s top-50 wrestlers in the class of 2016. Ready performed admirably and in many senses outwrestled Gremmel, but was called for a 2-point illegal head scissor in the match’s final seconds that proved to the deciding factor in an 8-7 loss.

For Storr, it was all about hard work paying off. The 2013 D3 state champ has logged as many matches as anyone over the past couple offseasons, but Freestyle All-American status had eluded him up to this point. He was knocked into the consolation bracket fairly early by Greco national champ Coltan Williams of Texas, but managed to rattle off 5 consecutive wins to reach the consolation finals. In fact, in one of those wins Storr reversed the outcome of his loss by recording a tech-fall against Williams. In his final bout, Storr suffered his only unavenged loss of the tourney against New York state champion Vitali Arajau for a 4th place finish.

Prior to last week Harden was still largely unknown, even in the state of Michigan, but he changed that in a hurry with a breakout performance of monumental proportions in Fargo. Already a runner-up in Greco, Harden entered the Freestyle tournament with a great deal of positive momentum which carried him into the semifinals. To get there, he defeated Virginia state champ Jeffrey Allen and returning AA Brian Barnes of Oregon. In his semi match Harden was the aggressor against Cadet Folk champ Kobe Woods of Indiana, but was unable to convert on most of his attacks. Following a loss to Woods, Harden dropped to the consolation semis where he was up 4-0 early in a rematch with Allen, but suffered an injury that forced him to default to 6th place. While unfortunate that he was unable to pursue 3rd place, it was a remarkable run for Harden nonetheless, and one that establishes him as a legitimate contender to compete for an individual state title this upcoming season.

Despite falling a bit short of his goals, Parker wrestled a very solid tournament that was better than his 7th place would indicate. He cruised to quarters with 3 techs and a controlling win over California state 3rd Navonte Demison. Once there he ran into Austin Gomez of Illinois who has seemingly been kryptonite for Michiganders this entire offseason. It was a closer match than the 12-0 score would indicate, but Parker came out on the wrong end of a few flurries that resulted in big points for Gomez. He bounced back with another dominant win to lock up AA status, but in the following match fell victim to a big early throw by Greco national champ Bryce West of Iowa. Parker did manage to finish on a high note, recording his 5th shutout tech of the tournament over returning AA Brent Jones of Minnesota to lock up 7th place.

In addition to the 5 All-Americans, Ann Arbor Pioneer sophomore Rayvon Foley at 88lbs and Dansville junior Dresden Simon at 126lbs both came within 1 match of placing. Also turning in very solid performances and recording 3 or more respective wins were Gaylord sophomore Dom Lajoie at 106lbs, St Johns sophomore Lucas McFarland at 132lbs, and Grandville sophomore Kam Bush at 145lbs.

 

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