After winning the Junior Greco National Title at 105lbs earlier this week, Freddie Rodriguez was considered by most as a favorite to double up with a Freestyle title. However, after not making 105lbs for the Junior Freestyle Weigh-Ins on Thursday morning, Rodriguez quickly shifted from the huge favorite at 105 to a notable contender to watch at 112. Even after winning his pool to make the finals at 112lbs, Rodriguez entered yesterday's Junior Freestyle Finals as a heavy, heavy underdog.
The Holt sophomore, who finished the season ranked 18th at 112lbs by InterMat, was pitted against Evan Silver of the notorious Blair Academy program, who ended the year ranked #1 at the same weight class.
The first period went how many might have anticipated as Silver came out looking much larger in size and stature than Rodriguez, who made 105lbs a few days prior, and scored a quick first period takedown and transitioned to a nast ankle-lace that he used to score 5 more points and win the first period via tech-fall 6-0.
After scoring a quick takedown in the 2nd period, Silver was in deep again on Rodriguez for yet another takedown, and that is when it all changed. Rodriguez hipped Silver over to his back to take his first lead of the match, and he would never look back from there. He went on to execute slick shots one after another to win the 2nd period 6-2.
The third period was all Rodriguez as the 2x Division 1 State Champ used 4 consecutive takedowns and a gut wrench ot put the top ranked Silver away and score one of the most exciting wins of the Junior Freestyle Finals. With his win Rodriguez not only won a Double Title, but also became just the second wrestler ever to win a Junior Triple Crown (Folkstyle, Freestyle, Greco).
Two-time double champ Taylor Massa fell short of repeating his Championship ways as he dropped one match in his pool to Matt Hickman of California, however, the St Johns sophomore finished strong with a finals win over Matt White of Oklahoma 5-1, 6-0.
Conor Youtsey (119lbs), Camryn Jackson (130lbs), and Jordan Thomas (160lbs) rounded out Michigan's Junior Freestyle All-Americans.
Youtsey scored a two period win over Iowa state champ Eric Devos to finish 7th at 119lbs. Lansing Eastern all-stater Camryn Jackson put himself on the map with a strong showing at 130lbs, finishing 6th to earn All-American status. Thomas, one of the top sophomores in the country, earned his 3rd All-American honor in as many tries, finishing 7th at 160lbs.
Michigan's Junior Freestyle All-Americans
112lbs: Freddie Rodriguez, 1st
119lbs: Conor Youtsey, 7th
130lbs: Camryn Jackson, 6th
152lbs: Taylor Massa, 3rd
160lbs: Jordan Thomas, 7th