Prep 10 Breakdown: August 2013

By Steve Widzinski
MI Grappler HS Analyst

#1 Zac Hall

Monthly Summary:
5th Junior FS Nationals 132lbs
  • 12-11 to #9 @138 Gary Wayne Harding (OK 3X State Champ)
  • 8-6 to Kyle Gliva (MN Junior FS Runner-Up)
Notable Wins
  • 10-0 TF over Tyler Miles (KS State 3rd)
  • 11-0 TF over Luis Nunez (AZ Runner-Up)
  • 14-4 TF over Wade Hodges (OH State 4th)
  • 23-13 TF over #3 @132 Hayden Tuma (ID 4X Fargo Champ)
  • 6-0 over #5 @132 Mike Kemerer (PA State Runner-Up)
  • 5-4 over #10 @132 Jacob Rubio (TX Junior FS AA)

Analysis: As far as I am concerned no chart at any tournament this summer will be as tough as the 132lbs Junior FS chart in Fargo last month. It was insanity. Both finalists lost matches to a kid that fell shy of placing.

I know how badly Zac wanted to win a stop sign, and in my opinion he was the best 132lbr in attendance, so initially his 5th place finish felt like a bit of a let down. However, now that enough time has passed to put the results into perspective, it’s safe to say that Hall still had a pretty darn good tourney.

He beat 3 kids that are currently ranked top-10 in the country by Flo. Most notably, Hall recorded an epic 23-13 TF over Hayden Tuma, a 5X Fargo champ who entered the week with a #1 national ranking.

Despite a pair of losses by scores of 12-11 and 8-6, Hall was Michigan’s top performer in the FargoDome, and with teammate Logan Massa currently nursing an injury he is the clear-cut #1.

#2 Drew Garcia

Monthly Summary:
7th Junior FS Nationals 170lbs
  • 10-0 TF to #2 @170 Bo Nickal (TX Junior FS National Champ)
  • 10-0 TF to Zach Beard (OK 4X State Champ)
Notable Wins
  • 14-3 TF over Johnny Shepherd (UT State 4th)
  • 10-0 TF over Konstantin Parfiryev (NY State 6th)
  • 16-6 TF over #11 @170 Bryce Martin (CA Junior FS AA)

Analysis: A FS All-American at the Cadet and FILA Cadet levels, Garcia reached another milestone in July by earning Junior AA status for the first time. Competing on a star-studded chart, Drew finished 7th with his only losses came to a pair of wrestlers who have been ranked #1 in the nation at some point this spring/summer.

Also, on a somewhat unrelated note, Garcia recently made a verbal commitment to Cornell. He joins Hall (U of M) as Michigan’s second big name senior to announce their college plans. Congrats Drew!

#3 Angus Arthur

Monthly Summary: Did Not Compete

Analysis: After staying off the grid all summer, Arthur will have his chance to shine in weeks to come. Later this month Angus will travel to the opposite side of the globe where he will represent the United States at the prestigious FILA Cadet World Championships in Serbia. It would have been fun to see him compete for a national title in Fargo, but Arthur’s spot on the world team gives him a free pass for sitting out.

#4 Cole Weaver

Monthly Summary:
4-2 Junior FS Nationals 132lbs
  • 6-3 to #19 @132 Jack Mutchnik (MD National Prep Champ)
  • 12-11 to #4 @132 Freddy Stroker (IA State Champ)
Notable Wins
  • Cole Weaver 6-2 over Ian Brown (PA State 3rd)
  • Cole Weaver 12-2 TF over Richie Screptock (OH State 4th)
  • Cole Weaver 11-9 over #1 @132 Seth Gross (MN Junior FS National Champ)

Analysis: As previously noted, the 132lbs chart was absolute madness in Fargo. This was particularly true in Weaver’s case. In a bizarre turn of events, Weaver fell shy of placing, but managed to register a victory over eventual champion Seth Gross of MN.

Early into the tourney he had a slip-up against Maryland’s Jack Mutchnik that resulted in a 6-3 loss, and ultimately that was what cost him AA status. His only other loss came to eventual 4th place finisher Freddy Stroker of IA in a 12-11 barnburner.

Outside of the Mutchnik match, I was really impressed by the way Cole wrestled in Fargo. Although he was expected to AA, Weaver’s résumé is far too broad to place much emphasis on one loss to a quality foe.

At this point in time Hall is the runaway #1, and I see Weaver/Arthur/Garcia as the next tier. The separation between them is minimal, and there is a lot of potential for movement this fall.

#5 Jordan Cooks

Monthly Summary: Did Not Compete

Analysis: Despite not competing this month Cooks jumps up a spot due to Logan Massa’s trip to the DL. Although it would have been nice to see him debut in Fargo, Cooks was active earlier this summer at the JR Duals and America’s Cup, so his inactivity in July is not much of a concern.

However, Logan Marcicki is nipping at his heels after a 4th place Junior FS finish. The two met three times last season. Marcicki won by fall in December, and Cooks responded by winning a pair of close decisions at team/individual state.

Luckily, both will likely be at 171lbs for the Grappler Fall Classic, so this ranking scenario should play out naturally with out much of a need to dissect results.  

#6 Logan Marcicki

Monthly Summary:
4th Junior FS Nationals 160lbs
  • 10-0 TF to #9 @160 Davonte Mahomes (IL Junior FS Runner-Up)
  • 10-0 TF to #20 @160 Christian Stackhouse (NJ Junior FS 3rd)
Notable Wins
  • 10-0 TF over Logan Poloncic (WY State Champ)
  • 11-0 over Chad Soloman (TN State Champ)
  • FALL 3:59 over Robert Janis (VA State Champ)
  • 11-0 TF over Paden Moore (MN State Runner-Up)
  • 17-7 TF over Tim Miklus (IA State Champ)
  • 12-7 over Seth Monty (AZ 2X State Champ)
  • FALL 1:31 over Trey Seymour (NY State 3rd)
  • FALL 3:36 over #17 @170 Chris Weiler (PA Junior FS AA)

Analysis: The biggest riser in this month’s Prep 10, Marcicki moves up four slots from his previous #10 ranking. This comes as a result of a masterful run in Fargo that concluded with a 4th place finish in the Junior FS division.

As I’ve written before, throughout his HS career consistency has been Marcicki’s biggest struggle. He went a long way towards erasing any of those doubts in Fargo by grinding his way through a brutal gauntlet of competition without any snags.

Logan rattled off wins against state champs from IA, VA, AZ, TN & WY, and also managed to defeat to a MN runner-up, NY 3rd place finisher, and PA state placer. Making this feat even more impressive, 7 of the aforementioned wins came by Fall or TF.

As previously stated, he is not far behind Cooks at all. I see Cooks/Marcicki/Oliver as the 3rd tier in the Prep 10, and just like the 2nd tier, the miniscule separation between them leaves plenty of potential for movement in months to come.

#7 Justin Oliver

Monthly Summary:
5th Junior GR Nationals 138lbs
  • 10-3 TF to Blane Invernon (ID Junior GR 3rd)
  • 8-0 TF to #3 @138 Joey McKenna (NJ Junior GR National Champ)
Notable Wins
  • 9-8 over Michael Sprague (MD Runner-Up)
  • 8-1 TF over Kurtis Loftis (ID Runner-Up)
  • 8-1 TF over Andrew Crowne (WI 2X Junior GR AA)
4-2 Junior FS Nationals 138lbs
  • 12-2 TF to #13 @138 Ronnie Gentile (NJ Runner-Up)
  • 17-7 to #16 @138 Jonce Blaylock (OK Junior FS AA)
Notable Wins
  • 14-13 over Blane Invernon (ID Junior GR 3rd)
  • 12-0 TF over Zac Youngchild (WI Junior GR AA)
  • FALL 2:35 over Matt Pente (MD State 4th)

Analysis: I loved what I saw from Oliver in Fargo and was extremely conflicted about leaving him at #7. A case could be made for him as high as #5, but this is where he remains for the time being. With that being said he is within millimeters of Marcicki and Cooks at #5/#6.

I give Oliver a lot of credit for wrestling both styles, something that's become increasingly rare in recent years. It was certainly his best Greco performance to date, and he followed up with a very respectable 4-2 FS showing.

Folkstyle has always been Oliver’s greatest strength, and I like the direction he is trending with major events such as the GFC and Super 32 Challenge on the horizon.

#8 Alec Pantaleo

Monthly Summary: Did Not Compete

Analysis: One of Michigan’s best-kept secrets from a national perspective, Pantaleo makes his debut in the Prep 10 this month. It’s not as if he is an unknown, but in my opinion two factors have minimized his national exposure.

A) He has only wrestled at the state tourney once. As a freshman he probably cut too much weight and was eliminated from a brutal region. As a junior he missed the postseason due to a broken hand.

B) Alec only wrestles Folkstyle during the offseason. Despite training hard year round, guys who don’t wrestle at Fargo and/or the national duals simply don’t receive the same national attention.

However, I don’t see Pantaleo remaining under the radar for long. He is coming off his best spring yet, and has been improving his mat game all summer. Expect big things from hit at the GFC this fall.

#9 Nick Bennett

Monthly Summary: Did Not Compete

Analysis: This spring Bennett exploded onto the scene when he knocked off #1 Zac Hall in the MUSAW Junior FS state finals. He followed up by dominating both styles at the Central Regional and handling highly touted IA state champ Freddy Stroker.

He was absent at Fargo and the Junior Duals, but his performance earlier this spring left a lasting impression. He did have a noticeable size advantage over Hall and Stroker, so that’s the primary factor keeping him at #9 for the time being.

Entering the fall he remains a bit of a wildcard, but if he can replicate his success from earlier this spring at the GFC and/or Super 32 he could vault near the top of the list.

#10 Jordon Brandon

Monthly Summary:
1st Grand River Rumble Open 290lbs
Notable Wins
  • 4-2 over Adam Ortman (MI D1 State 5th)
5-0 Grand River Rumble Duals 220lbs
Notable Wins
  • 3-2 over Chase Challender (MI D2 State 3rd)
  • 9-5 over Kevin Koenig (MI D4 State 2nd)
12-1 AAU Junior Olympics 220lbs
  • 12-3 to Mike Boykin (PA State 3rd)
Notable Wins
  • FALL 2:30 over Mike Sullivan (MD State 5th)
  • 6-1 over Ricky Briggs (MN State 4th)

Analysis: One of the breakout stars of the 2013 MHSAA season, Brandon has quietly followed up with an extremely impressive offseason. He’s been all over the place, logging more matches against quality competition than anyone else in the state.

It started with an eye-popping 5th place finish at Flonationals that earned him a spot in the national rankings. Since then, Brandon has competed at NUWAY nationals, Ohio TOC, NHSCA VA Beach Duals, Junior FS Central Regional, AAU Disney Duals, Grand River Rumble and Junior Olympics.

Amazingly, Brandon only lost 2 matches throughout that gauntlet of competition. Even more impressive, both losses came in FS; a style he had not wrestled prior to this summer.

He’s registered at 215lbs for the GFC, and he enters the fall with his stock rising more rapidly than any other wrester in the state of Michigan.


Nate Limmex

Analysis: Limmex has been on the mend since winning Flonationals in April. The timing could not have been much worse. Nate seemed to be really hitting his stride after missing most of the MHSAA season, and his injury foiled plans to compete at Fargo and the Disney Duals. As of now it remains to be seen whether or not he will recover in time to compete at the GFC/Super 32. If not, his season will most likely start with a showcase matchup against Cole Weaver when Hudson and GRCC meet in an opening night dual!

Logan Massa

Analysis: Similar to Limmex, timing was cruel to Massa this summer. He was white-hot and primed to make a run at a Junior FS national title, but an ankle injury suffered in his final match at the Junior Duals put an end to that goal of his. It’s not all bad news for Massa though; the junior recently announced his verbal commitment to the University of Michigan, and has re-set his sights on winning the prestigious Super 32 Challenge this fall.

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