California's Pico named Outstanding Wrestler after repeating Cadet Nationals Greco-Roman title
By Craig Sesker USA Wrestling
California’s Aaron Pico dominated the field in winning a Cadet Nationals Greco-Roman title on Monday. John Sachs photo.
FARGO, N.D. – California’s Aaron Pico isn’t even in high school yet.
But he already has become a force at the national level in the Cadet division.
Pico capped an amazing tournament by sweeping Nevada’s Brady O’Keefe 6-0, 6-0 to win a Cadet Nationals Greco-Roman title at 132 pounds on Monday afternoon at the Fargo Dome.
Pico, who did not allow a point in blitzing through the tournament field, is now two-thirds of the way to winning a prestigious USA Wrestling Triple Crown. He won a Cadet Nationals Folkstyle title earlier this year in Cedar Falls, Iowa.
Pico was named Outstanding Wrestler of the Greco tournament on Monday. Cadets are wrestlers who are ages 15 and 16.
“It’s definitely important for me to win the Triple Crown – that’s what I’m here for,” Pico said. “I just keep working and getting better. Every tournament I go into it with the mindset to win.”
Pico will compete in the Cadet Nationals freestyle tournament later this week. Pico repeated as Cadet Nationals Greco champion. He also won Cadet Nationals in freestyle in 2011.
Pico is one of five wrestlers still alive to win a Triple Crown in the Cadet class.
Four other wrestlers – Hunter Marko of Wisconsin, Mitchell McKee of Minnesota, Bo Nickal of Texas and Lance Benick of Minnesota – added Cadet Greco titles to the Cadet Folkstyle titles they won earlier in 2012.
Marko looked impressive in sweeping Pennsylvania’s Jon Gabriel 4-0, 6-2 in the finals at 94. McKee topped New Jersey’s Kyle Bierdumpfel 1-0, 2-1 in the finals at 100.
Nickal took charge early en route to a convincing 7-0, 1-0 win over Utah’s Keiffer Taylor in the title bout at 152.
“I came here to win both titles, and that’s what I’m shooting for,” Nickal said. “I thought last year was disappointing when I finished third here in Greco, and that really motivated me. One of my main goals this season was to win the Triple Crown.”
Benick took care of business early when he threw Michigan’s Landon Pelham to his back to record a fall just 40 seconds into the finals at 195.
Washington’s Chandler Rogers won his second straight Cadet Nationals Greco title in dramatic fashion, launching teammate Ryan Christensen to his back to record a fall in just 33 seconds to win the title at 170. Rogers made the U.S. Cadet World Team in Greco earlier this year.
Minnesota edged Illinois in a close race for the team title. Pennsylvania finished third.
Oregon’s Samuel Colbray took charge in the third period to top 2012 Cadet Nationals Folkstyle champion Michael Pixley of Missouri 1-0, 0-1, 3-0 in the finals at 182.
Oregon’s Wyatt Spears scored a turn in the final seconds to pull out a wild 0-8, 3-2, 2-0 win over Tanner Farmer of Illinois in the finals at 285. Farmer chose down in par terre in the third period, but Spears was able to expose Farmer’s back to the mat in the final seconds to prevail.
Joseph Nelson became Wisconsin’s second champion of the day when he blanked Joey Gunther of Illinois 3-0, 1-0 in the finals at 138. Gunther had knocked off returning champion Jonjay Chavez of California en route to the finals.
Florida’s Kyle Norstrem took two straight periods from Pennsylvania’s Vincenzo Joseph, 4-1, 7-0, to win the title at 106.
Virginia’s Coy Ozias outlasted Idaho’s Drake Foster 5-0, 0-4, 1-0 in the finals at 113. Ozias defended in par terre in the third period to earn the title.
Pennsylvania’s Devin Schnupp opened the finals by recording a second-period pin over Maryland’s Breandan Coughlin at 88 pounds.
Vincent Turk dropped the first period before rallying to defeat Illinois teammate Jonathan Marmolejo 1-2, 4-0, 2-0 in the finals at 120.
Michigan’s Cole Weaver looked strong in sweeping Minnesota’s Seth Gross 3-0, 5-0 in the finals at 126.
Minnesota’s Mason Manville collected a championship stop sign after downing Dustin Williams of Kansas 2-0, 1-0 in the finals at 145.
Utah’s Kimball Bastian improved on his runner-up finish from 2011 by defeating California’s Nick Fiegner 1-0, 1-0 in the finals at 160.
Utah crowned a second champion when Roy Nash swept Indiana’s Connor Tolley 4-0, 1-0 in the finals at 220.
Day 4 of the Cadet and Junior Nationals is set for Tuesday in Fargo. The Junior Nationals Greco-Roman finals are scheduled for 2:15 p.m. with the Junior women’s freestyle finals scheduled for 5:45.
Devin Schnupp (Pennsylvania) pinned Breandan Coughlin (Maryland), 2-1, 1:04
Hunter Marko (Wisconsin) dec. Jon Gabriel (Pennsylvania), 4-0, 6-2
Mitchell McKee (Minnesota) dec. Kyle Bierdumpfel (New Jersey), 1-0, 2-1
Kyle Norstrem (Florida) dec. Vincenzo Joseph (Pennsylvania), 4-1, 7-0
Coy Ozias (Virginia) dec. Drake Foster (Idaho), 5-0, 0-4, 1-0
Vincent Turk (Illinois) dec. Jonathan Marmolejo (Illinois), 1-2, 4-0, 2-0
Cole Weaver (Michigan) dec. Seth Gross (Minnesota), 3-0, 5-0
Aaron Pico (California) dec. Brady O’Keefe (Nevada), 6-0, 6-0
Joseph Nelson (Wisconsin) dec. Joey Gunther (Illinois), 3-0, 1-0
Mason Manville (Minnesota) dec. Dustin Williams (Kansas), 2-0, 1-0
Bo Nickal (Texas) dec. Keiffer Taylor (Utah), 7-0, 1-0
Kimball Bastian (Utah) dec. Nick Fiegner (California), 1-0, 1-0
Chandler Rogers (Washington) pinned Ryan Christensen (Washington), 0:33
Samuel Colbray (Oregon) dec. Michael Pixley (Missouri), 1-0, 0-1, 3-0
Lance Benick (Minnesota) pinned Landon Pellham (Michigan), 0:40
Roy Nash (Utah) dec. Connor Tolley (Indiana), 4-0, 1-0
Wyatt Spears (Oregon) dec. Tanner Farmer (Illinois), 0-8, 3-2, 2-0