Last Wednesday through Saturday, Tulsa was the home of the Junior National Duals. Coming off of a Cadet National Freestyle Title, Team Illinois had high expectations in the duals, but came up a bit short, finishing in second place in both Greco and Freestyle. While we did not have any coaches working with the Junior teams, we had three wrestlers participating in the duals: Anthony Molton, Matt Ramos, and Shayne Oster.
Out of the three Lockport wrestlers competing, only Shayne Oster, who will be wrestling for Northwestern University next year, is actually a Junior by USAW standards. Anthony Molton and Matt Ramos, both heading into their sophomore years of high school, are USAW Cadets. But, Cadets are allowed to wrestle at the Junior level if they wish, and both Molton and Ramos were asked to be a part of the Junior Team.
Molton, wrestling only as a member of the Greco team, posted a 2-4 record for the competition at 106 pounds, just a week after competing as a member of the Cadet Greco team, where he went 3-1. Molton was just shy of posting a 3-3 record at the Junior level, but dropped a 4-4 match on criteria in the finals of the Greco Duals, which Illinois lost by a score of 42-21 to Minnesota. It's worth noting that the other three losses were all to wrestlers who have already obtained All-American status in high school, placing in the top-8 at either Fargo or UWW Cadets.
Matt Ramos was the only Lockport wrestler to double up and compete in both styles, posting a 5-2 record (not counting forfeits) overall. Ramos, wrestling at the 100 pound weight class, went 2-1 in Greco while posting a 4-1 record in Freestyle. Ramos's losses were both to UWW All-Americans in their respective styles; his Greco loss was a 12-10 decision to the 7th place finisher (whom Ramos had beaten in the freestyle part of that tournament), while his freestyle loss came to the 4th place finisher at UWW Cadet Freestyle, a bracket in which Ramos placed 7th.
Shayne Oster, competing for the first time since the IHSA State Tournament, posted a 5-2 record in Freestyle competition at 145/152 pounds, notching back-to-back wins over Fargo National Champions in the process. In the pool semifinals against Florida, Oster avenged a loss from the 2015 UWW Cadet Nationals by picking up a 6-5 decision over Anthony Artalona - a 2015 Fargo Cadet National Champion, ranked 16th by FloWrestling and 19th by InterMat at the end of this past season. In the finals of the pool, Oster picked up what FloWrestling called the "Upset of the Tournament?" by picking up a dominating 11-1 technical fall over Pennsylvania's Sammy Sasso. Sasso, also a 2015 Fargo Cadet National Champion, was ranked 6th by FloWrestling and 7th by InterMat at 138 pounds at the end of the year. Sasso was also coming off of a runner-up finish at UWW Cadet Nationals.
Oster's two losses came up at 152 pounds, by way of Iowa's unranked Matt Malcolm, who caught Oster with a bottom-leg cradle in a scramble, and to Oklahoma's Wyatt Sheets, who ended the year ranked 11th by FloWrestling and 8th by InterMat at 160 pounds. Oster did pick up two wins at 152, though. One was a 12-2 technical fall over Andrew Merola, unranked by InterMat but ranked 19th by FloWrestling. The other was a 21-10 technical fall in the finals over Ohio's Davey Tunon. That match is only of note because Oster was down 0-9 at one point - one point away from losing by technical fall. Instead, he went on a 21-1 scoring streak to win by technical fall. Illinois fell short as a team, however, losing that final to Ohio by a score of 37-27.
Keep your eyes peeled for two upcoming updates: T-Shirts in support of Haley Augello as she gets closer to the Rio Olympics, and info on the 2016 USAW Cadet and Junior Nationals in Fargo, held the second-to-last week of July.