YORK, Pennsylvania — Just like in 2016, Team Minnesota once again rose above the rest, edging Illinois in an instant classic showdown at the 2017 US Cadet Greco-Roman National Duals earlier today. The much-anticipated match-up between the two age-group powerhouses was a nailbiter every step of the way and saw numerous instances where one team would get on a seemingly unstoppable roll.
Illinois cruised their way through the A Pool, taking down Colorado (63-15), Utah (60-12) and Pennsylvania Red (40-36). They then met with Ohio (48-30), Iowa Gold (63-12) and Oklahoma (52-24) in the championship bracket to set up the rematch with Minnesota.
Minnesota (Storm) also rolled on through in Pool B competition, outscoring their opponents 164-59. The squad first took down Kansas Red (60-14) followed by Ohio (47-26) and Missouri Red (57-19). Inside the championship bracket Minnesota still couldn’t be stopped, picking up wins against Pennsylvania Red (44-33), Michigan Red (52-22) and Washington (56-19).
Some kind of final
The final matchup between these teams was a sight to be seen, with many matches featuring a matchup of Greco-Roman state champions. All matches but three were decided by either a tech fall or fall. Illinois actually won the most matches with nine victories to the Storm’s eight. However, Minnesota was able to rack up more points, winning seven out of eight by tech or pin opposed to Illinois only winning seven of nine with bonus points, putting them two points short of Storm at the end.
The dual began at 113 lbs. Noah Surtin (Illinois) an Illinois Greco-Roman state champion, grabbed an early lead after a takedown from around the waist over Reid Ballantyne (Minnesota), the 2017 Northern Plains champion. Surtin would then get in on Ballantyne’s waist again, this time for four followed by a gut for two more. Surtin was on his way to another pair of points, but the ref called bloodtime. After that restart Surtin would execute another gutwrench to claim the 10-0 tech fall in the first period, giving Illinois an early 4-0 lead.
At 120 lbs, Ryan Sokol (Minnesota) came back with a 10-0 tech fall for the Storm over Luke Odom (Illinois). Sokol, a Minnesota Greco-Roman State Champion, took Odom, an Illinois Greco State Champion himself, over for four. With three quick turns, the match was over in just :30, tying the match at four all. Minnesota would then go on to win the next four as well.
Carson Manville (Minnesota) and Fabian Lopez (Illinois) battled it out at 126 lbs. Manville made quick work of Lopez, only giving up a single takedown to win with another tech fall for the storm 13-2. Tyler Shackle (Minnesota) would continue the rampage at 132 lbs. After giving up a six-point series to Bolivar, Shackle was looking for inside position. Bolivar scored another two after stepping behind once again. While trying to turn Shackle, Bolivar fell out of position, leading to Shackle ending up on top, and ultimately securing the fall just inside the first period.
The 138 lbs match would end similarly. Colby Njos (Minnesota), another rising stud, battled with Joshua Ramos (Illinois) for two periods before picking up the fall late. Ramos scored first on an inside bodylock around the waist plus another point. Njos came back with a ten-point swing that, too, started from around the waist. The period would end with Njos carrying a 10-5 lead. Late in the second period Njos executed a head and arm throw that would end in another pin for Minnesota.
Willie Bastyr (Minnesota) took out Illinois State Champion Jayden Terronez (Illinois) with a close 14-8 decision at 145 lbs. In a back and forth battle, Bastyr was able to edge Terronez, wearing him out by the end. In the first period Bastyr scored first with a takedown. Terronez responded by forcing a step out and a big four-point bear hugged lock. Terronez opened the second period with another takedown and a pushout, giving him an 8-6 lead. However, Bastyr would secure two more takedowns and exposures to ultimately give him the decision. After a five match swing, Minnesota held a 21-6 lead.
At 152 lbs, Donnell Washington (Illinois) broke the Storm winning streak with a hard-fought 13-8 decision over State Champion Dylan Fudge (Minnesota). Fudge came out swinging and scored first, but Washington recovered nicely, eventually finding his stride and picking up some points for team Illinois. Minnesota came right back and won two more in a row at 160 and 170 lbs. Serious talent Cade King (Minnesota) tech’ed James Cagnina (Illinois) 12-1 before Dalton Andrist (Minnesota) flattened former Cadet National runner-up Abe Assad (Illinois). At the halfway point, Minnesota Storm owned a seeming mile-wide 36-10 lead. But Illinois wasn’t done yet. As expected, the fighting had only just begun.
In an interesting meeting between two brute-tough state champions, Trevor Swier (Illinois) kept his foot on the pedal and piled it on against a game Grant Parrish (Minnesota Storm) 12-2 at 182 lbs. A bout later, Peter Christensen (Illinois) stayed with the momentum to run it up versus Brennan Rutt (Minnesota) 10-0. 220 lbs saw Jacob Kaminski (Illinois), a 2016 State champion, get on top of Wyatt Cruise (Minnesota) and deliver a fall early in the second period. They just wouldn’t stop. The lead was beginning to grow increasingly thin with Illinois picking up steam. It continued on when heavyweight Luke Luffman (Illinois) came out like a ball of fire against Nick Pierce (Minnesota) to rack up 12 points and another technical fall for Illinois. There were more wins to come for Illinois. The question was, did Minnesota have any more left in the tank?
With the dual now starting from the top of the order, Tommy Curran (Illinois) won a narrow 10-8 decision over Blake West (Minnesota). Still in it. Next, Brody Norman (Illinois) ran up the score against Kanin Hable 12-1 at 94 lbs. After Illinois’ six match streak, Minnesota still held a one point, 35-34 advantage with two matches to go and Illinois was about down to its last breath when Paxton Creese picked up the final win for Minnesota . Creese, one of the most well-rounded Cadet athletes in the country, teched state champ Alex Villar (Illinois), a state champion 10-0. This brought the score to 34-39 heading into the final match. Illinois needed a fall to tie.
Alas, this is when the drama began to fade. Matthew Ramos (Illinois) and Joey Thompson (Minnesota Storm) squared off at 106 lbs, the stakes well-known to everyone in attendance. Ramos came out hunting for the pin. He was in on Thompson repeatedly, finding scoring chances from bruising tie-ups and neatly-cut angles. It was a brilliant performance where Ramos answered the call to unload his offense and sure enough, he did knock off the two time champ Thompson by virtue of a 16-5 tech fall. Though, it wasn’t quite enough. Illinois needed a pin and they didn’t get it allowing Minnesota to walk away as repeat champs 40-38 in what is sure to be one dual remembered for a long, long time to come.
Correction: an earlier version of this report indicated that Minnesota Storm defeated Illinois in the 2016 Cadet Greco-Roman Duals final.
2017 US Cadet Greco-Roman National Duals Final
Minnesota Storm — 40 Illinois — 38
113 lbs Noah Surtin (Illinois) def. Reid Ballantyne (Minnesota) 10-0, TF
120 lbs Ryan Sokol (Minnesota Storm) def. Luke Odom (Illinois) 10-0, TF
126 lbs Carson Manville (Minnesota) def. Fabian Lopez (Illinois) 13-2, TF
132 lbs Tyler Shackle (Minnesota) def. Eddie Bolivar (Illinois) via fall (1:42)
138 lbs Colby Njos (Minnesota) def. Joshua Ramos (Illinois) via fall (5:25)
145 lbs Willie Bastyr (Minnesota) def. Jayden Terronez (Illinois) 14-8.
152 lbs Donnell Washington (Illinois) def. Dylan Fudge (Minnesota) 13-8.
160 lbs Cade King (Minnesota) def. James Cagnina (Illinois) 12-1, TF
170 lbs Dalton Andrist (Minnesota) def. Abe Assad (Illinois) via fall (2:54)
182 lbs Trevor Swier (Illinois) def. Grant Parrish (Minnesota) 12-2, TF.
195 lbs Peter Christensen (Illinois) def. Brennan Rutt (Minnesota) 10-0, TF
220 lbs Jacob Kaminski (Illinois) def. Wyatt Kruse (Minnesota) via fall (2:55)
285 lbs Luke Luffman (Illinois) def. Nick Pierce (Minnesota) 12-2, TF
88 lbs Tommy Curran (Illinois) def. Blake West (Minnesota) 10-8.
94 lbs Brody Norman (Illinois) def. Kanin Hable (Minnesota) 12-1, TF
100 lbs Paxton Creese (Minnesota) def. Alex Villar (Illinois) 10-0, TF
106 lbs Matthew Ramos (Illinois) def. Joey Thompson (Minnesota) 16-5, TF
Gold /Silver Pool Results
1st – Minnesota Storm
2nd – Illinois
3rd – Pennsylvania Red
4th – Iowa Gold
5th – Ohio
6th – Washington
7th – Oklahoma
8th – Michigan Red