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Aaron Saunders , Published July 21 2012

USA wrestling tournament stage critical to recruiting

FARGO – Many of the wrestlers who competed in the USA Junior and Cadet national wrestling championships freestyle junior division Saturday morning have college in their forecast.

Some of the competitors are two years away, some are a year away, and some – like 170-pound freestyle national champion Kyle Crutchmer – are less than a month away from stepping foot on the campus.

“With this tournament, if you come out here and do well, a lot of schools are going to look for you because it’s just a grind,” said Crutchmer, who will attend Oklahoma State in the fall. “And I think a lot of college coaches want guys that are going to be tough and push through these 12 to 13 matches.”

Crutchmer was not the only future Cowboys wrestler to claim a national title Saturday. Spokane, Wash., native Jordan Rogers defeated Glenn Climmons of Georgia to take home the championship at the 182-pound weight class.

“In Washington I really never got to see what a Division I program looks like, so my first official visit was the first time I ever got to see what wrestling looked like in college,” Rogers said. “So when I got to OK State, I was in the wrestling room for half an hour, I watched them practice and wrestle and said, ‘That’s how I want to wrestle.’ ”

Rogers and Crutchmer were not the only athletes from the freestyle finals headed to college. Six other finalists also pledged to wrestle in college, five of them at Division I schools.

Wrestling recruiting is a little different than football and basketball because coaches can’t talk to the athletes until July 1 prior to the wrestler’s senior year.

“Right before senior year, I think I had 13 to 14 calls the first day,” Crutchmer said. “It was pretty crazy and awesome and a good experience for guys like me, who put in all this time and effort in the sport to get a couple calls from colleges showing interest.”

For some of the wrestlers in the competition, this was a chance to garner national attention and take them from local and state commodities to national prominence on the wrestling scene.

“This is huge, winning state titles is really big and really important,” said 120-pound national champ Nathan Tomasello, who has not lost a match in high school since his freshman year. “I mean those kids are the best in the state, but this tournament is the best kids in the country. These guys you will probably see trying to make the Olympics someday.”

Wrestling in the Olympics remains the pinnacle of the sport because there are no mainstream wrestling leagues that would garner national attention, since Real Pro Wrestling folded in 2007 after two seasons.

“I thought Real Pro Wrestling was great,” said 113-pound champ and Minnesota native Tommy Thorn. “I thought the first season was awesome. I would love to see it come back if there ever was a chance for it.”

Junior - 100 pounds

Championship: 1st Place: Tanner Rohweder (Iowa) over Carlos Fuentez (Illinois) Dec 1-0,2-1

Third place: Jabari Moody (Illinois) over Noah Ajram (Iowa) Dec 2-4,2-1,7-4

Junior - 106 pounds

Championship: Paul Mascarenas (New Mexico) over Nkosi Moody (Illinois) Dec 5-4,4-0

Third place: Ethan Lizak (Pennsylvania) over Kaz Onoo (Iowa) Dec 5-4,2-6,2-0

Junior - 113 pounds

Championship: Tommy Thorn (Minnesota) over Adrian Cordova (Colorado) Dec 2-0,6-0

Third place: Ronnie Bresser III (Oregon) over Jordan Wigger (South Carolina) Dec 2-0,4-6,5-1

Junior - 120 pounds

Championship: Nathan Tomasello (Ohio) over Zac Hall (Michigan) Dec 3-1,0-3,3-2

Third place: Dylan Peters (Iowa) over Tim Lambert (Michigan) Dec 2-1,1-0

Junior - 126 pounds

Championship: Cory Clark (Iowa) over Joey McKenna (New Jersey) Dec 0-6,5-3,2-2

Third place: Godwin Nyama (Pennsylvania) over Connor Schram (Pennsylvania) Fall 4-0,0:51

Junior - 132 pounds

Championship: Zain Retherford (Pennsylvania) over Zane Richards (Illinois) Dec 1-1,1-1

Third place: Robbie Mathers (Arizona) over Nick Kelley (New York) Dec 6-5,4-3

Junior - 138 pounds

Championship: Bryce Brill (Illinois) over Quinton Murphy (New York) TF 6-3,11-4

Third place: Hayden Tuma (Idaho) over Anthony Ashnault (New Jersey) Dec 4-0,6-0

Junior - 145 pounds

Championship: Anthony Collica (Ohio) over Austin Eads (Missouri) Dec 3-3,3-0,7-0

Third place: Jake Short (Minnesota) over Jack Bass (Texas) Dec 4-0,6-0

Junior - 152 pounds

Championship: Josh Llopez (Maryland) over Yoanse Mejia (Florida) Dec 1-0,2-1

Third place: Oliver Pierce (Texas) over Brian Realbuto (New York) ID

Junior - 160 pounds

Championship: Isaiah Martinez (California) over Nick Wanzek (Minnesota) Dec 4-3,0-6,3-2

Third place: Matt Gray (Wisconsin) over Dylan Palacio (New York) Dec 2-1,3-2

Junior - 170 pounds

Championship: Kyle Crutchmer (Oklahoma) over Micah Barnes (Minnesota) Dec 1-0,6-0

Third place: Justin Koethe (Iowa) over Zach Epperly (Virginia) Dec 5-1,4-1

Junior - 182 pounds

Championship: Jordan Rogers (Washington) over Glenn Climmons (Georgia) Dec 5-2,2-0

Third place: Garet Krohn (Colorado) over Richard Robertson (Illinois) Dec 2-1,2-1

Junior - 195 pounds

Championship: Sam Brooks (Illinois) over Broc Berge (Minnesota) Fall 3-1,0:32

Third place: Ryan Solomon (Pennsylvania) over Timothy Dudley (South Carolina) Dec 5-1,2-1

Junior - 220 pounds

Championship: J’Den Cox (Missouri) over Michael Swider (Illinois) Dec 4-0,5-0

Third place: Kyle Snyder (Maryland) over Daniel Chaid (California) Dec 3-0,7-0

Junior - 285 pounds

Championship: Adam Coon (Michigan) over Donte Winfield (Indiana) Dec 1-0,1-0

Third place: Brooks Black (Pennsylvania) over Jake Scanlan (Iowa) Dec 2-0,2-0

Forum reporter Aaron Saunders can be reached at (701) 241-5549