U17 World Championship Bronze medalist overcame an injury riddled season to claim top spot
Fargo was the last event for outgoing seniors in the Class of 2023. Our next set of rankings will come out in September after Flo’s Who’s #1 showdown. That version will see incoming freshmen added in and last year’s seniors removed.
Quite a few wrestlers ended up in weights different than the ones in which they competed during the high school season. The final rankings reflect the weight in which these wrestlers most recently competed. Wrestlers who did not participate in the spring and summer may have moved up or down based on the results (win or lose) individuals around them.
If you have watched a Freestyle or Greco-Roman match you realize that the Olympic Styles lend themselves to fluky results and matches shift quickly. Numerous times watching these matches, we saw a wrestler on the verge of being “teched,” not only staving that reality off but registering their own tech-fall.
Given the nature of these matches and the fact that 80% of our rankings are based on Folkstyle, we will use the Olympic Style results to inform the rankings more than reshape them. In some cases, they are reliable but there are a few instances where wrestler A has multiple Folkstyle wins over wrestler B, but B defeated A in the Olympic Styles.
There are also guys who specialize in these styles, and therefore, do not excel in Folkstyle. There are wrestlers that placed at Fargo who were fifth or sixth in their state tournament and in some cases, not even placing at states.
Zack Ryder (Minisink Valley, NY) was injured for most of the year, but his past accomplishments put him as the top guy at 182. He lost the Who’s No. 1 showdown with Brayden Thompson (Stillwater, OK), who was still wrestling in Illinois at the time, 4-3 TB. Ryder did make it back in time to claim state supremacy in the Division I state tournament, posting a 3-0 decision of Elijah Diakomihalis (Hilton).
Ryder was the US representative at the U17 World Championships where he brought home a FS bronze at 80 KG (176 lbs). At the U17 US Open, Ryder beat De’ Alcapon Veazy (Fort Wayne, IN) 4-1 and 10-0, to earn gold. Ryder also defeated Jarrel Miller (St. Edward, OH) and Adam Waters (Faith Christian Academy, PA) at the open.
Gabe Arnold (Iowa City, IA) had four encounters with Tate Naaktgeboren (Linn-Mar, IA) during the regular season. Arnold won each of them, but the last two meetings came down to the tie-breaker period, including a 2-1 win for the 3A State Gold. Arnold also downed Connor Mirasola (West Bend West, WI), 4-3, at the Dan Gable Donnybrook. Arnold edged Rocco Wesh (Waynesburg Central, PA), 3-2, in the finals of the U20 FS US Open at 79 KG (roughly 176 lbs).
Naaktgeboren was a double champ at Fargo, claiming the FS gold over Orlando Cruz (Crown Point, IN), 10-4, and taking out Franklin Ordonez-Fernandez (Southwest Miami, FL), 6-1 in the GR finals.
Josh Barr (Davison, MI) beat Miller at Carnahan, 7-2. At Brecksville, he downed Dylan Newsome (Bishop Hartley, OH), 12-2. A D1 state crown finished a 33-0 senior year. Welsh needed overtime to down Barr at the Pittsburgh Wrestling Classic but did so, 3-1. Barr was second at the U20 FS World Team Trials with wins over AJ Heeg (Stillwater, OK) and Ethan Riddle (Germantown, WI).
Simon Ruiz (Delbarton, NJ) missed the start of the season but posted big wins when he returned to the mat. The biggest, perhaps, was over Norman, 4-2, in a dual meet. At state duals, Ruiz beat Rocco Dellagatta (St. Joe Regional), 6-2. Ruiz’s state crown came by a 3-2 decision against Harvey Ludington (Brick Memorial).
Newsome was fifth at 175 at Ironman, with a loss to Eise and Takats. Takats beat Eise and placed third. The Brecksville Tournament gave Newsome a chance for revenge, and he capitalized with a semi-final win over Takats, before falling to Barr in the finals. Both won Ohio State Championships, Newsome in D II and Takats in D I. Takats beat Miller in Districts and the state finals.
Heeg placed third at 182 at Super 32, then wrestled the season at 190, finishing second in the 6A division to Payton Thomas (Moore), 3-2. At the U20 FS WTTs, Heeg was down to 79 KG. For the Junior National Duals, Heeg settled in at 182 for both styles. He didn’t have much noteworthy action in GR, but in FS, Heeg teched Marco Christiansen (Minnetonka, MN), 10-0. Heeg beat Cruz at Ironman, 5-0.
Cruz is another grappler who has jumped around in weight. After being at 190 for Ironman and taking fifth with a win over Justin Griffith (Sanford, DE), Cruz came down to 182 and won a state championship over Veazy, 5-4. Cruz dropped the USA Folkstyle Nationals Final to Wyatt Ingham (Amery, WI) in overtime, 9-4. Cruz beat Adam Cherne (Wayzata, MN) at the NHSCA Spring Duals. At Fargo, he avenged the loss to Ingham and also beat Miller, Savoy New (Cardinal Gibbons, NC), and Justin Rademacher (West Linn, OR) on his road to the finals.
Rademacher was third at Fargo in FS and pocketed wins over Christiansen, Cole Han-Lindemyer (Farmington, MN), and Hoke Poe (Commerce, GA). Rademacher’s fifth-place march in GR included tech falls of Thomas Sandoval (Vacaville, CA), Isaiah Twait (Meridian, ID), and Veazy. Rademacher won Doc Buchanan and 6A state titles and was third at the Reno Tournament of Champions.
Poe competed at the 1A state tournament at 215 and was pinned by Landon Williams (Dade County) in the finals, 5:39. At the NHSCA Junior Nationals, Poe was at 182 and brought home the gold with a 10-2 win over Ayden Flores (Maize, KS), who, interestingly enough, also wrestled at 215 in his state tournament. Poe made his mark at the Elite 8 FS Duals with an 11-2 win over Kingsley Menifee (Fauquier, VA). At Fargo, Poe was fourth and beat Christiansen and Veazy.
Ludington was second at the Beast of the East, losing to Wright in the finals and hanging a loss on Abe Wojcikiewicz (Civic Memorial, IL). After finishing as a state runner-up to Ruiz, Ludington captured the NHSCA Sophomore Nationals 182lb crown, pinning Miller in the first period, 1:29. At the NHSCA Spring Duals, Ludington piled up high-caliber wins, the two biggest being over Han-Lindemyer and Veazy.
Veazy was second in FS and GR at the U17 US Open. Veazy beat Waters in the first match of their best-of-three series, 6-0, but Waters won the last two, 1-1 and 6-0. In GR, Veazy beat Bryce Burkett (Watertown, MN), 2-1. Ryder dealt Veazy his FS finals loss in two straight, 4-1 and 10-0. Veazy beat Jordan Chapman (Cranford, NJ), 15-7, in FS.
Veazy was fifth in Junior FS and sixth in JR GR at Fargo. In his fifth-place match, Veazy pinned Christiansen, 4:24. Other FS wins were 10-0 over Han-Lindemyer, 14-4 over Noah Poe-Hatten (Flathead, MT), and Sandoval, 12-1. Veazy beat Sandoval again in GR, 11-0.
Han-Lindemyer did not place at Fargo but did defeat Nathan Taylor (Green Farms Academy, CT) in FS and Ingham in FS. He lost to Christiansen in GR but beat Christiansen in the finals of the Northern Plain Regional in both FS and GR. Han-Lindemyer was fifth at 182 at Super 32. His AAA state title completed a 47-3 season that saw all three of his losses occur at 195 to highly ranked foes.
Miller, who was an Ironman and state runner-up, hung losses on Christiansen and Riddle at the Junior National FS Duals. Riddle beat Christiansen at those duals and owns multiple wins over Noah Mulvaney (Arrowhead, WI). Christiansen was sixth at Fargo in JR FS and eighth in GR. Christiansen lost to Ingham at the Big Lake Invitational, 6-2, during the season. He beat Ingham at JR GR Duals and placed at Fargo, while Ingham did not.
Cherne beat Christiansen in their first two meetings of the season, but Christiansen gained his revenge at the most important moment, the AAA state finals. Cherne beat Ingham at Cheesehead.
Westpfahl was second in his state to Brett Smith (Troy Buchanan). A 2-1 TB win against Riley Davis (Randall, TX) delivered the KC Stampede title to Westpfahl. At KC, Westpfahl beat Omaury Alvarez (Baylor School, TN), 3-1. Westpfahl’s seventh-place Fargo work includes wins over New and Cade Ziola (Skutt Catholic, NE).
Alvarez was sixth at 175 at Ironman with a win over Wright and took second at National Preps to Norman. George Rhodes has multiple wins over Brock Zurawski (Lower Cape May, NJ). Rhodes didn’t place at Fargo but beat Ingham, 18-12.
Eddie Neitenbach (Buckeye, OH) got on our radar at the Junior FS Duals when he beat Sandoval two times by 10-0 scores.
Final 2022-23 SBLive Sports National High School Rankings at 182 pounds
1-Zack Ryder (Minisink Valley, NY) JR
2-Gabe Arnold (Iowa City, IA) SR
3-Rocco Welsh (Waynesburg Central, PA) SR
4-Tate Naaktgeboren (Linn-Mar Marion, IA) SR
5-Josh Barr (Davison, MI) SR
6-Simon Ruiz (Delbarton, NJ) SR
7-Dylan Newsome (Bishop Hartley, OH) SR
8-Myles Takats (Perrysburg, OH) SR
9-AJ Heeg (Stillwater, OK) SR
10-Orlando Cruz (Crown Point, IN) SR
11-Justin Rademacher (West Linn, OR) SR
12-Hoke Poe (Commerce, GA) JR
13-Harvey Ludington (Brick Memorial, NJ) SO
14-De’Alcapon Veazy (Fort Wayne, IN) SO
15-Cole Han-Lindemyer (Farmington, MN) JR
16-Jarrel Miller (St. Edward, OH) SO
17-Ethan Riddle (Germantown, WI) SR
18-Marco Christiansen (Minnetonka, MN) JR
19-Adam Cherne (Wayzata, MN) SR
20-Peyton Westpfahl (Liberty, MO) SO
21-Omaury Alvarez (Baylor School, TN) SR
22-George Rhodes (Absegami, NJ) SR
23-Wyatt Ingham (Amery, WI) JR
24-Brock Zurawski (Lower Cape May, NJ) SR
25-Timothy McDonnell (Fountain Valley, CA) SR
CJ Walrath (Notre Dame, IA) SR
Sonny Kling (Canyon Springs, CA) JR
Nate Taylor (Green Farms Academy, CT) JR
Luke Barker (Dodge City, KS) SR
Brady Unger (Fairport, NY) SR
Eddie Neitenbach (Buckeye, OH) JR
Thomas Sandoval (Vacaville, CA) JR
Tyler Hodges (Clovis, CA) SR
Cade Ziola (Omaha Skutt, NE) SO
Isaiah Twait (Meridian, ID) SR
Noah Poe-Hatten (Flathead, MT) SR