There’s one thing you can say about the 2019 US Junior World Team, and that is it’s well-balanced.
An interesting mix of prior World experience, gritty attitudes, and youthful exuberance is what Team USA will be traveling to Estonia with later this summer following an evening Junior Trials final matches that left little to be desired in the way of entertainment.
The 2019 US Junior World Team Trials best-of-three finals unfolded earlier this evening from the South Point Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada and were broadcast live in the US on FLOWrestling.
Five athletes who had made age-group World Teams in the recent past all got the job done, but that doesn’t mean it was always easy. 2017 Cadet World Champion/2018 Junior World bronze Cohlton Schultz (130 kg, Sunkist) got off to a hot start against Lee Herrington (GEWC) when the latter turned the tables in an instant to come away with the tournament’s biggest surprise thus far. Schultz had tossed Herrington and was up 4-0 when he wrapped around the body following a reset. Herrington locked around Schultz’s chin and hipped the ASU-bound star to his back to pick up a resounding fall. But Schultz had little trouble recovering, cruising to a pair of tech falls in the back-end two matches to secure his third straight spot on a Junior World Team.
Two other ’18 Junior World Teamers also repeated. At 63 kilograms, Alston Nutter (Sunkist/OTS) skated to the final round opposite ’17 Cadet World Team member Hunter Lewis (Advanced/Ringers), winning the first one 12-3. The second match got a little hectic. Nutter initially seemed like he would run away with the win in similarly short order, but Lewis responded with effective offense, in one instance whipping a nice headlock. Towards the end of the first period, Nutter seized control. He first scrambled to reverse Lewis and then proceeded to roll a string of high guts. The officials needed a minute to sort it all out, but when they did, Nutter became a Trials champ for the second consecutive year.
“I got the gut after the first one,” Nutter said afterwards. “I felt the momentum and just kept driving. It feels really good to make this second Team. I know what I have to do to go get that medal.
Everyone knew that the scores would be close between Peyton Omania (67 kg, MSU) and Benji Peak (Sunkist/OTS), and they were. Omania clipped the Wisconsin native in Match 1 6-4. In the second and decisive bout, Omania edged ahead early before Peak yanked a counter throw for four. Omania regained the lead after a takedown/turn sequence, and never relinquished it, eventually triumphing 7-4. For Omania, 2019 will bring his third World Championships appearance — he was on the ’16 Cadet squad as well as the Junior Team last year.
Dylan Ragusin (Izzy Style), a Cadet World Teammate of Schultz’s two years ago, had himself a stiff test in the way of Legend of Gold’s Billy Sullivan, who just this past weekend won the Easter Wrestling Tournament in Holland and took out ’17 Junior silver Cevion Severado (NYAC) earlier in the day. Ragusin was a step ahead, almost literally, the entire time in their finals series this evening, winning both bouts via tech.
Nick Boykin (97 kg, Sunkist) might feel as though he at last flinged the monkey off his back. When “Big Nick” first dropped down to 97 ahead of last year’s Junior tournament, he was shocked in the semis by Chad Porter (Sunkist), who went on to defeat the man Boykin faced Thursday evening, Austin Harris (CRTC). And it didn’t look good for Boykin at first.
Match 1 saw Boykin get a throw off to jump on top of Harris 4-0, but then the Oklahoma State athlete went back to the well with a bodylock clinch and flung Boykin to his back, and it appeared for a second that the OTC resident was in serious trouble. But when they returned standing, Boykin wailed a beautiful headlock and adjusted his position to get the pin. Match 2 told a different tale. Harris, the Trials champ from ’18, seemed to carry the same breadth of confidence. Boykin was confident, too. He used a lateral off the edge for his first four points; and then a short time later, wrangled double underhooks and bodied Harris off the opposite side of the mat for his second four.
Depending on how you see it, reigning Fargo champ Zach Braunagel (82 kg) is either the Illinois RTC’s first Greco World Team member in history, or its second, since Travis Rice (63 kg) was still technically attached to NMU when he won the U23 tournament last June. Nevertheless, Braunagel, who projects as an eventual highly-rated Senior, had his hands full with Max Wohlabaugh (Clarion RTC) but used a mature approach through both of their contests to cement his first Worlds appearance, winning by scores of 8-4 and 6-3, respectively.
We will have additional coverage of the Junior World Team Trials throughout the weekend.
The 2019 Junior World Championships begin August 12th from Tallinn, Estonia.
2019 UWW Junior World Team Trials
April 25th — Las Vegas, Nevada
Dylan Ragusin (Izzy Style) def. Billy Sullivan (LOG) two matches to none
Match 1: Ragusin def. Sullivan 8-0, TF
Match 2: Ragusin def. Sullivan 10-1, TF
Mason Hartshorn (NMU/OTS) def. Haiden Drury (Takedown Express) two matches to none
Match 1: Hartshorn def. Drury 7-1
Match 2: Hartshorn def. Drury 4-1
Alston Nutter (Sunkist/OTS) def. Hunter Lewis (Advance/Ringers) two matches to none
Match 1: Nutter def. Lewis 12-3, TF
Match 2: Nutter def. Lewis 16-8, TF
Peyton Omania (MSU) def. Benj Peak (Sunkist/OTS) two matches to none
Match 1: Omania def. Peak 6-4
Match 2: Omania def. Peak 7-4
Tyler Eischens (CARTC) def. Calvin Germinaro (Minnesota Storm) two matches to none
Match 1: Eischens def. Germinaro 17-7
Match 2: Eischens def. Germinaro via fall
Jack Ervien (Takedown Express) def. Isaiah Alford (MWC) two matches to none
Match 1: Ervien def. Alford via fall
Match 2: Ervien def. Alford via fall
Zach Braunagel (IRTC) def. Max Wohlabaugh (Clarion RTC) two matches to none
Match 1: Braunagel def. Wohlabaugh 8-4
Match 2: Braunagel def. Wohlabaugh 6-3
Cameron Caffey (MSU) def. Keaton Fanning (NMU/OTS) two matches to none
Match 1: Caffey def. Fanning via fall
Match 2: Caffey def. Fanning via fall
Nick Boykin (Sunkist) def. Austin Harris (CRTC) two matches to none
Match 1: Boykin def. Harris via fall
Match 2: Boykin def. Harris 10-0,TF
Cohlton Schultz (Sunkist) def. Lee Herrington (GEWC) two matches to one
Match 1: Herrington def. Schultz via fall
Match 2: Schultz def. Herrington 9-0, TF
Match 3: Schultz def. Herrington 2-1