Prep 10 Breakdown
By Steve Widzinski
MI Grappler HS Analyst
#1 Zac Hall
After committing to U of M in April, Hall has had a relatively quiet spring as far as competition goes. He did not compete in any of the postseason Folkstyle tourneys or at FILA Juniors, but he did wrestle at MUSAW States where took a Freestyle loss to DCC newcomer Nick Bennett.
I don’t think should Hall should be penalized too heavily because at 145lbs he was clearly giving up some size, and as a 2X Texas state champ Bennett is not exactly a slouch. Plus, Hall has simply been too good for too long to read too much into one loss.
However, with teammate Logan Massa surging, Hall will need to bounce back with a strong showing at the Junior Duals to hold onto his #1 spot.
#2 Logan Massa
Dating back to his 2012 state finals match with Tim Lambert, Massa has been wrestling with a vengeance and just seems to get better every time he steps on the mat. While he is currently slotted #2, Massa is nipping at Zac Hall’s heels and if he keeps up his current pace it may be hard not to rank him #1 by summer’s end.
He began this spring by tearing it up at FILA Juniors where he opted to compete at a higher age group, and placed 3rd on a loaded 63kg/138.75lbs Freestyle bracket that included numerous current D1 NCAA wrestlers. His only loss came early on in a 3 period slugfest with Joey McKenna, a member of last year’s Cadet World team. However, Massa came back to avenge that loss by beating McKenna 4-4, 3-0 in the 3rd place bout.
Even more impressive was his performance at FILA Cadets where he was 2nd behind only Aaron Pico of California, the #2 pound-for-pound wrestler in the country per Flowrestling.
Along the way to his runner-up finish Massa recorded a slew of dominant victories, posting tech-falls against 2X Michigan state champ Justin Oliver, nationally ranked Illinois state champ Chris Garcia, and Cadet Freestyle All-American Luke Rowh. To cap it all off, in his final match Massa won a 14-11 barnburner over 3X Oregon state champ Tyler Berger to take true 2nd.
#3 Drew Garcia
It has been a relatively quiet spring by Garcia’s standards. His only competition came in Vegas where he wrestled both styles at the Western Junior Regional. In the 170lbs Greco finals he fell to Junior Greco All-American Kyle Bateman, but bounced back to beat Bateman in Freestyle the next day.
A pair of head-to-head wins during the season keep him at #3 for now, but after Angus Arthur’s eye-popping performance at FILA Cadets it will take a strong performance at the Junior Duals for Garcia to maintain his spot in July’s Prep 10 rankings.
#4 Angus Arthur
Last month I knew Arthur would fit somewhere into #6-10 range when I began to formulate the Prep 10. However, after the way he wrestled at FILA Cadets, one could now piece together a fairly convincing argument for him at #1. He looked that good.
In one of the year’s most prestigious events, Arthur doubled up by winning FILA Cadet national titles in Greco and Freestyle at 85kg/187.5lbs. Throughout both tournaments he was extremely impressive, but what really turned heads was his Freestyle finals match.
Competing against nationally renowned Indiana State Champion Bobby Steveson, Arthur avenged a loss he suffered in Fargo last summer. Not only did he beat one of the nation’s most accomplished wrestlers, but also he physically dominated him to the tune of 12-2 technical fall.
Thanks to his breakout performance at FILA Cadets Arthur has secured a spot on the Cadet World Team, and later this summer he will travel to Serbia to represent the United States of America.
#5 Cole Weaver
Weaver’s only action on the national circuit this spring came in Las Vegas at the Western Junior Regional. He powered his way through a tough Greco chart at 126lbs, picking up wins over Wisconsin state champion Jens Lantz, Missouri runner-up Malacai Collins, and Washington state champion Matt Iwicki.
Weaver also reached the finals in Freestyle, once again posting a solid win over Lantz along the way. However, this time he fell to California state champ and last year’s Cadet Freestyle National Champion Zahid Valencia in a tight 1-1, 1-0 bout.
Valencia is as elite as they come, so by no means is this a bad loss for Weaver. Nevertheless, Valencia lost to #9 Lincoln Olson and fell short of placing at FILA Cadet Freestyle Nationals, so that is what keeps Weaver from having a higher Prep 10 ranking.
With that being said, Weaver tends to wrestle his best when the pressure is on, and the past two summers he has been awesome in Fargo. If he can match that success as a first-year Junior this July, Weaver will more than likely find himself near the top of this list come August.
#6 Jordan Cooks
This ranking stirred up a bit of controversy, and many argued that Cooks should be ahead of Arthur since he beat him head-to-head in their only meeting. While that result weighed heavily on the ranking process, Arthur’s national accomplishments are simply too vast to overlook.
I am huge Jordan Cooks fan, and believe it or not I don’t enjoy making tough rankings decisions like this one. However, with all due respect to Cooks, a Double FILA Cadet National Championship overrides a 3OT win from the first week of the season any day of the week.
Although he has not been out on the freestyle circuit much this spring, Cooks did have a nice showing at the NUWAY America’s Cup Duals. He posted a 6-1 record with his only loss coming to 3X California state champion Isaiah Martinez in a close 3-2 bout.
I am unaware of his plans for the rest of the summer, but Cooks is proven Freestyler and certainly has the potential to vault near the top of the list if he can bolster his national credentials at the Junior Duals and Fargo.
#7 Justin Oliver
After missing nearly the entire season due to injury, it was clear that Justin Oliver was not himself at the state tournament. That made it all the more impressive when he got back near 100% in time to tear it up at Flonationals in April.
Oliver took 3rd on a loaded chart at Flo, posting wins against Maryland runner-up Austin Kraisser, Ohio runner-up Zac Carson and Pennsylvania state placer Jesse Rodgers along the way. In his final match he avenged the only loss he suffered throughout the tourney, topping New York state champion Nick Kelley.
It looks like he has now turned his focus to Freestyle heading towards the Junior Duals and Fargo. Oliver went 2-2 at FILA Cadets, with his losses coming to Logan Massa and nationally ranked Cadet Freestyle All-American Nick Gil of Illinois.
Having won his past two meetings with Limmex, this seems to be the perfect spot for Oliver as of know. He will be a first year Junior in Fargo this summer where he has fallen just shy of placing in his past two trips, so it will be interesting to see what the next two months hold for Oliver.
#8 Nate Limmex
While he was a relative unknown beforehand, Limmex took the world of high school wrestling by storm at this April’s Flonationals. After coming in with a #13 seed, Limmex proceeded to outscore his opponents by a cumulative of margin of 36-5 along the way to a national title.
His most impressive win came in the semifinals, where he put a 10-0 hurting on defending Flonationals champ and 2X Pennsylvania runner-up Zeke Moisey. Other impressive victories came against 2X Georgia state champ Griffin Higginbotham and 3X Florida state champ Jamal Morris.
This performance garnered Limmex a lot of national exposure, and it will be a tough act to follow the next time he competes nationally. He doesn’t seem to be much of a Freestyler, so it would be nice to see him at the Disney Duals. Either way, at this point he has to be considered among the top contenders to win the GFC and Super 32 Challenge this fall.
#9 Lincoln Olson
The biggest win of Olson’s high school career came at FILA Cadets last month when he knocked off Zahid Valencia, a 2012 California state champion that Intermat ranks as the #1 Class of 2015 recruit in the nation. What’s even more impressive is that Olson won the match competing at 58kg/127.75lbs, a huge jump from wrestling 112lbs during the high school season.
Olson wound up finishing 5th at FILA Cadets, with his two losses coming at the hands of nationally ranked Minnesota runner-up Mark Voss, and the nation’s #2-ranked wrestler in the class of 2017, Nick Lee of Indiana. In addition to beating Valencia, he also had dominant wins over Ohio state champ Jarred Ganger, and Pennsylvania prep school state champ Danny Boychuck.
At this point #9 seems just right for Olson. Beating Valencia gave him a common opponent victory over Cole Weaver, but he can’t yet match his national resume. However, that is something Olson has the potential to change by following up on his great FILA Cadet performance at the Junior Duals and Fargo.
#10 Logan Marcicki
The great thing about Logan Marcicki is that kid is never afraid to compete. He takes his fair share of losses, but he also logs more matches against elite competition than just about anyone else in the entire state.
Because he gets out so much nationally it is hard to read too much into any one win or loss. Instead, his ranking is a very cumulative product yielded by his performance at a slew of high level events. Over the past few years Marcicki is a 2X GFC Champion, USAW Cadet Greco Runner-Up, FILA Cadet Freestyle All-American, and a host of other accolades.
Most recently, Marcicki was impressive at the Junior Central Regional. He took 3rd in Greco after falling to 3X West Virginia state champion Justin Arthur, but he bounced to win the Freestyle chart by to avenging his loss to Arthur and topping 3X Kentucky state champion Kevin Cooper.
There are a lot of talented guys on the cusp of breaking into the Prep 10, so Marcicki will need a strong Junior Duals outing to maintain his spot next month. On the other hand, he seems to be poised for a big run in Fargo, so it’s not unfeasible that he could a vault a few spots in the near future either.
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