Four area wrestlers hope their performance at the U.S.A Wrestling Nationals in Fargo, N.D., will pay dividends heading into the high school season.
The national tournament held July 12 to 20, known simply as Fargo to anyone even remotely associated with wrestling, had competition in junior and cadet levels for both Greco-Roman and freestyle. In Greco, the legs may not be used to obtain a pin and no holds can be taken below the waist.
Folkstyle is wrestled in high school and is more similar to freestyle.
Crystal Lake Central’s Andrew Marsden placed third in Greco and fifth in freestyle at 182 pounds. Romeo McKnight, who also wrestles for Central, placed sixth in freestyle and eighth in Greco at 220.
Cary-Grove’s Michael Cullen (113) was third in freestyle and Prairie Ridge’s Travis Piotrowski (106) was sixth in freestyle.
Marsden said placing in both was tough but wrestling both styles was not all that difficult because most of his moves are legal in Greco.
“I felt like going in and placing with both was a real accomplishment,” Marsden said. “It’s not really that hard to switch. All I really do in both styles is throw. Greco is all throwing.”
Switching may have been easy, but wrestling in two tournaments back-to-back was taxing. Marsden only had a day off between Greco and freestyle. He said the toll was as much mental as it was physical.
“I should have come into the tournament more prepared,” Marsden said. “Being aware that I was going to be tired and still have to wrestle hard.”
Marsden, who placed third at IHSA state in February, was satisfied with his performance but still thought he could do better.
“I felt good with the third at Greco,” Marsden said. “I felt like I could do a lot better at freestyle. I didn’t want it to be that low of a place.
The performance also makes him anxious for the high school season to begin and improve on his third place finish at state.
“It’s a good confidence boost,” Marsden said. “If I can place third and fifth at a national level, I can do really good at a state level.”
Marsden also enjoyed watching McKnight, his teammate and friend, place in both styles.
“I was really proud of how [McKnight] did,” Marsden said. “We’ve been best friends for eight or nine years. Seeing him place, it’s pretty cool.”
After heading into the high school state tournament undefeated as the No. 1 seed and coming away with a sixth place finish, Cullen felt he had something to prove at Fargo.
“I kind of took the mindset into this tournament to earn some respect back,” Cullen said.
He’s also hoping the success at the national level will carry over to the high school season.
“I’m so excited. I feel like I’ve got to prove something to myself,” Cullen said.
Tidal Waves Rolling: The Crystal Lake Tidal Waves fastpitch teams continued their winning ways this summer. The 10U team took first place in the Midwest Girls Fastpitch League. At the Game Day Six Flags Great America Summer Games tournament on July 12 to 14 in Pleasant Prairie, Wis., the 12U team took home a championship. The 13U team won the consolation bracket at the 14U “A” NAFA tournament July 12 to 14 in Woodstock. The 14U team, playing up to the 16U level, placed second at the USSSA Storm Dayz tournament June 28 to 30 in Sycamore. And the 18U team finished fourth at the USSSA 18U “A” Heritage Classic State Championship on June 22 and 23 in Joliet.
• Rob Smith is a sports writer for the Northwest Herald. Write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.