Nation’s top young athletes expected for the world’s largest tournament, the USMC Junior & 16U Nationals in Fargo, N.D., July 15-22
FARGO, N.D. – Every year, the nation’s best young wrestlers come together for the world’s largest wrestling competition, the 2023 U.S Marine Corps Junior and 16U Nationals at the Fargodome on the campus of North Dakota State in Fargo, N.D.
In 2022, the Junior/16U Nationals set a new participation record, with a combined 6,646 participants in the six national tournaments. Five of the six tournaments in 2022 saw growth over the previous year. Based upon preliminary registration from USA Wrestling’s state associations, organizers expect another new record this year, with the possibility of going over the 7,000 entries mark for the first time. There will be 30 mats used for this year’s competition.
It all started with the Junior Nationals in men’s freestyle, held in Iowa City, Iowa in 1971, which added Greco-Roman in 1972, and later was merged with the 16U Nationals (formerly the Cadet Nationals) in 1996. The Junior Nationals enters its 52nd year, held annually except in 2020 when it was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The 2023 tournament is scheduled for July 15-22 and the field is as strong as ever. USA Wrestling has official state association team standings in all the divisions held in Fargo, adding to the tradition of state wrestling pride exhibited at this event.
The USMC Junior Nationals features high school wrestlers in grades 9-12. Every year, the Junior division features talented athletes who are proven winners, as well as many emerging stars. The 16U division features athletes who turned 15 or 16 years old in 2023 and is a tournament where athletes can begin to make a name for themselves on the national level.
The combined USMC Junior and 16U Nationals has become a traditional highlight of the wrestling season. This year’s event will feel quite a bit different, due to a big change in the schedule and event presentation.
Instead of starting each of the six national tournaments on different days and holding a one-mat finals on six consecutive days, this year the tournament is broken up by discipline. Both the Junior and 16U Nationals finals in each discipline will be held side-by-side on two raised mats. It starts with women’s freestyle (July 15-16), followed by men’s freestyle (July 17-19) and Greco-Roman (July 21-22). There is an off-day on Thursday, July 20.
Only nine boys have won the coveted USA Wrestling Triple Crown on the Junior level since the program was created in 2007, earned by claiming folkstyle, freestyle and Greco-Roman Junior National titles in the same year. There are only two athletes who have won two Junior Triple Crowns, Adam Coon of Michigan (2012-2013) and Tony Cassioppi of Illinois (2017-2018).
Last year’s Junior Triple Crown winners Mack Mauger of Idaho (106) and Aden Attao of Idaho (285) are entered in Fargo again. Mauger won the 113-pound title at the 2023 Junior Folkstyle Nationals, and will be eligible to seek another Triple Crown, but Attao did not enter the Folkstyle Nationals this year.
There have been 23 different boys to win a 16U Triple Crown since the program began in 2003. The only two-time 16U Triple Crown winner was Taylor Massa of Michigan (2008-2009). There were no 16U Boys Triple Crown winners in 2022.
A Triple Crown program for Junior and 16U girls was launched last year, but there has not yet been a girl who won a Triple Crown to date.
Here is a quick peek at the stars who are included in the pre-registration at this time.
Women’s freestyle – Saturday, July 15 and Sunday, July 16
2022 Junior National women’s freestyle champions who have pre-registered include Clare Booe of Florida (106, now at 112), Alexandra Szkotnicki of Maryland (112), Cadence Diduch of Illinois (122, now 138), Sydney Perry of Illinois (144), Mishell Rebisch of Michigan (152, now at 144), Sabrina Nauss of Michigan (180) and Savannah Isaac of Ohio (200).
2022 Junior women’s freestyle runners-up who have pre-registered include Aspen Blasko of Minnesota (106), Aubre Krazer of Pennsylvania (112, now 122), Skylar Little Soldier of Minnesota (132, now at 144), Stella Steigler of Virginia (152), Ella Pagel of Minnesota (164) and Alivia White of Washington (180)
The 2022 Junior women’s freestyle team champions were California, followed by second-place Michigan, third-place Illinois, fourth-place Missouri and fifth-place Texas.
Another indication of the strength of the state teams are the results from the 2022 Junior Women’s National Duals in Tulsa, Okla. Missouri was the team champion, with Michigan placing second. Pennsylvania finished third, followed by fourth-place Ohio and fifth-place Colorado.
2022 16U Nationals women’s freestyle champions who have pre-registered include Molly Allen of Iowa (112) and Sarah Henckel of Connecticut (138, now at 152),
2022 16U freestyle women’s runners-up who have pre-registered include Mary Manis of Florida (100, now at 106), Isabella Marie Gonzales of California (117) and Skylar Slade of Iowa (144).
Iowa was 2022 16U women’s freestyle team champions, with Missouri in second place. California finished third, Michigan was fourth and Minnesota was fifth.
Men’s freestyle – Monday, July 17, Tuesday, July 18 and Wednesday, July 19
2022 Junior National men’s freestyle champions who have pre-registered include Tyler Garvin of Maryland (100, now at 113), Mack Mauger of Idaho (106, now at 113), Kannon Webster of Illinois (132, now at 145), Ryder Block of Iowa (138, now at 145), Connor Mirasola of Wisconsin (182, now at 195), Cody Merrill of California (195, now at 285) and Aden Attao of Idaho (285).
The only 2022 Junior freestyle men’s runner-up who has pre-registered is Kolter Burton of Idaho (106, now at 126).
The 2022 Junior freestyle team champions were Iowa, followed by runner-up Pennsylvania. California was in third, with Idaho in fourth and Wisconsin in fifth.
The 2023 Junior National Duals in freestyle in Tulsa went to champion Illinois, with Ohio in second place and Wisconsin in third. Iowa placed fourth and Oklahoma finished fifth.
2022 16U men’s freestyle champions who have pre-registered at 16U include Mac Crosson of Iowa (88, now at 100), Michael Romero of California (100, now at 120), Jayden Rainey of Kentucky (106, now at 120) and Dreshaun Ross of Iowa (195).
2022 16U men’s freestyle men’s runners-up who have pre-registered at 16U include Caleb Noble of Wisconsin (88, now at 100), Keanu Dillard of Pennsylvania (100, now at 120) and Jacob Levy of Georgia (185).
The 16U freestyle team champions in 2022 were Pennsylvania, with California in second. Ohio placed third, New Jersey was fourth and Wisconsin finished fifth.
The men’s freestyle champions at the 2023 16U National Duals in Loves Park, Ill. was Iowa, which beat Illinois in the finals. Rounding out the top five were third-place Ohio, fourth-place Pennsylvania and fifth-place Wisconsin.
Greco-Roman – Friday, July 21 and Saturday, July 22
2022 Junior National Greco-Roman champions who have pre-registered include Mack Mauger of Idaho (106, now at 113), Anthony Rudzic of Illinois (113, now at 120), Otto Black of Colorado (126, now at 132), Kannon Webster of Illinois (132, now at 145) and Aden Attao of Idaho (285).
Runners-up in the 2022 Junior Greco-Roman Nationals who are registered include Isaac Stewart of Montana (100, now at 106), Brayton Casey of Wisconsin (106, now at 113), Carter Nogle of Maryland (113, now at 132), Massey Odiotti of Illinois (120, now at 126) and Derek Guanajuato of Arizona (126, now at 132).
Illinois was the 2022 Junior Greco-Roman team champions, followed in the standings by runner-up Wisconsin, third-place Idaho, fourth-place Florida and fifth-place Iowa.
The 2023 Junior National Duals Greco-Roman champion was Illinois, followed by runner-up California. Placing third was Wisconsin, fourth was Iowa and fifth was Oklahoma.
2022 16U National Greco-Roman champions who have pre-registered at 16U include Caleb Noble of Wisconsin (88, now at 100), Lincoln Skledzianowski of Florida (100, now at 106), Jayden Raney of Kentucky (112, now at 120) and Thomas Verrette of Colorado (126, now at 132)
The only runner-up in the 2022 16U Greco-Roman Nationals who is registered at 16U is Michael Mocco of Florida (195, now at 220).
The 16U Greco-Roman team champions in 2022 were California, followed by Wisconsin in second place. Rounding out the top five were third-place Florida, fourth-place Pennsylvania and fifth-place Iowa.
The results from the 2023 16U National Duals showed Iowa in first, with Illinois placing second. Pennsylvania was third, followed by fourth-place Wisconsin and fifth-place Minnesota.
Click here for the complete 2023 USMC Junior/16U Nationals schedule
For the sixth year in a row, TheMat.com is announcing state team rosters prior to Fargo as they are received, to give fans a chance to see what star wrestlers plan to be in Fargo and what teams should be strong this time around. Check TheMat.com for daily updates.
For the second year in a row, there will be Beach Wrestling held in conjunction with the USMC Junior/16U Nationals. Three days of competition will be held at the Gastropub Volleyball Complex in Fargo. On Friday, July 14, competition for Kids (8U-14U), Seniors and Masters is set for 6:00 p.m. On Sunday, July 16, 16U and Junior Women’s Beach wrestling will begin at 3:00 p.m. On Thursday, July 20, 16U and Junior Boys Beach wrestling starts at 9:00 a.m.
The U.S. Marine Corps Junior Nationals and the 16U Nationals brings together hundreds of wrestling volunteers, including referees, pairing officials, coaches, state leaders and tournament operation workers, all who provide the opportunity for about 7,000 athletes to pursue their dreams.
All of the matches on all of the mats from the 2023 U.S. Marine Corps Junior & 16U Nationals will be broadcast live on Flo Wrestling at https://flosports.link/3pNTamQ
USA Wrestling has created a Special Section which will have all of its coverage prior to and during the competition, with rosters, previews, event coverage, interview videos, photo galleries and more at https://www.teamusa.org/USA-Wrestling/Features/2023/June/28/2023-Junior-and-16U-Special-Section
SCHEDULE FOR 2023 CHAMPIONSHIP FINALS IN FARGO
- Sunday, July 16 – Junior and 16U Women’s Freestyle Finals (side-by-side) at 6:00 p.m. CT
- Wednesday, July 19 – Junior and 16U Men’s Freestyle Finals (side-by-side) at 5:30 p.m. CT
- Saturday, July 22 -Junior and 16U Greco-Roman Finals (side-by-side) at 6:00 p.m. CT