Ryen Nieman finished 3rd in 2009
Fargo has long been the spot where many athletes are able to showcase their abilities to college coaches and go on to wrestle at the next level.
We decided to go back and pull out ten breakout performances from Michigan wrestlers. These guys put themselves on the map nationally and some were even shocking to those within the state.
Take a look at some of the most notable break-through tournaments of the last fifteen years:
Braden L'Amoreaux (Clarkston) - 1st Cadet Freestyle, 2003
L'Amoreaux had yet to place in the MHSAA State Tournament before having a breakout run to a championship in '03. In the days of vertical pairing, he actually took a loss during the tourney but still won his side of the bracket and advanced to the finals. He won 3-0 in the finals over Chris Karsseboom (OR) and also finished ahead of future 2x state champs Justin Chrzanowski and Jason Brew. He would go on to win a D1 state title in 2004 and eventually wrestled at the University of Michigan.
Eddie Phillips (Lakewood) - 2nd Cadet Greco, 2004
Similar to his future Wolverine teammate, Phillips was unknown on the national scene prior to his '04 run. He was 6th in D2 during the season but went on the have an amazing run before falling to Missouri hammer Deron Winn in the 171 lb Greco finals 7-1. The tournament propelled him to make two consecutive state finals appearances before winning a state title as a senior.
Pat Wright (Grand Ledge) - 1st Cadet Freestyle, 2005
Never a state champion in high school, Wright had a Cinderella run to a Cadet Freestyle title in 2005. He won an 11-9 shootout in the finals over Chris Hacker (OK), who would later go on to be a starter for Nebraska. Future NCAA All-American Cayle Byers was also in the bracket, finishing 6th. Wright never again placed at a national tournament, but this showing was enough to catch the eye of Missouri, where he went on to have a solid career.
Mike LeHolm (Jackson Northwest) - 4th Junior Freestyle, 2008
After not qualifying for the state in 2007 and finishing 4th in the Regionals in 2008, no one would have predicted LeHolm would take 4th in Junior Freestyle. However, a bracket-busting run to a state title combined with uber confidence and he did just that. He put together a 6-1 record on his side before falling to future Wolverine Eric Grajales for 3rd. He would go on to wrestle at EMU. Interestingly, current EMU assistant coach Scott Mattingly finished 6th in this bracket.
Ryen Nieman (Bullock Creek) - 3rd Junior Freestyle, 2009
Fargo was a coming out party on the national scene for Nieman. He had already won two state titles on his way to a third, so many in Michigan knew how talented he was. But his performance in Junior Freestyle was what put him over the top and eventually landed him at Indiana University. He won his first seven matches before dropping a 3-period bout to eventual champ Josh Dziewa (PA).
Jordan Wohlfert (St. Johns) - 1st Cadet Freestyle, 2009
Wohlfert personified grit throughout his run to a Cadet title in 2009. Not only did he suffer a loss before battling back to win his side of the bracket, he dropped the first period of three matches that he would go on to win, including his finals match. He would later wrestle collegiately for two in-state programs in Michigan State and Central Michigan.
Camryn Jackson (Lansing Eastern) - 6th Junior Freestyle, 2010
Taking 6th in his first trip to the Palace in 2010 would have been a nice way for Jackson to jump on to the Michigan wrestling scene. But he decided to parlay that into an All-American finish in Junior Freestyle, taking 6th. To say anyone saw this coming would've been a flat out lie. Jackson backed it up his senior year with a thrilling win for a state title and then hopped right into the lineup for U of M as a true freshman.
Tim Lambert (Forest Hills Eastern) - 3rd Junior Freestyle, 2011
Like many others, Lambert was a known in-state stud before taking the leap into freestyle as a Junior. He put together an unbelievable run and nearly made the finals. With a win over future NCAA Champ Nahshon Garrett, he fell in the finals of his pool to David Terao (HI) in three periods, despite outscoring him 7-2 in the match. He would go on to knock off this year's 133 NCAA Champ Cory Clark for 3rd, and later win his elusive state title the following season. Lambert polished off his college career this year as a 4x NCAA Qualifier for Nebraska.
Luke Ready (Brighton) - 2nd Cadet Freestyle, 2014
Ready hopped on to the freestyle scene in 2014 for the first time and notched a double All-American finish at 220. He was 4th in D1 at 189 that year. He scored four straight tech falls to make the finals before dropping an 8-7 heartbreaker to current ISU Cyclone Gannon Gremmel in the finals. But, the tournament gave Ready enough momentum to finish off his high school career with two straight titles and is continuing his career at Michigan currently.
Corey Gamet (Parma Western) - 1st Cadet Freestyle, 2016
Jordan Hamdan (Hudson) - 1st Cadet Greco, 2016
We'll lump these two together as it marked just the second time in history for Michigan that two wrestlers won a Cadet title in the same year (3 in 2009). Both were coming off of state championships as freshmen, and both continue to be two of the top prospects from Michigan in the class of 2020. Gamet was a total wildcard, after a 2-4 showing at Cadet Duals. But he made the drop from 113 to 106 and put on a display. Hamdan was impressive in his own right, rallying from an early deficit in his finals match and notching an 11-8 victory to win Cadet Greco.