As per usual, Illinois and Minnesota just can’t stop trading paint.
The latest installment of the rivalry between the two age-group powerhouses took place earlier today in the final round of the 2017 Junior Greco-Roman National Duals, held at the Cox Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Illinois (Pool A) powered through Minnesota Blue (Pool B) on the strength of eight straight wins to wrap this one up, though up and down the lineup big names came up with big wins.
2017 Cadet World Team member Dylan Ragusin (106 lbs, Illinois) found himself in the just the kind of dogfight that could help him later on this summer when he’s battling it out in Athens against savvy international opposition and he has Joseph Thompson (Minnesota Blue) to thank for it. Ragusin took command early on and was seemingly on his way to skating through. Up by four in the second period, Ragusin appeared to be controlling the action with busy inside work until Thompson locked around and tossed him down for four of his own to knot the score (and take criteria). But before Thompson could try and tack on more, Ragusin got going again virtually instantly after the reset and coerced Thompson off the edge for a point. It wasn’t over yet — Thompson doggedly tried to nestle into a tie-up and create some kind of motion to track down points. But Ragusin stayed in the pocket nicely, shifting inside and angling into position enough to ward off any late-breaking trouble to come away with a hard-fought 6-5 victory.
2015 Fargo bronze and 2017 UWW Cadet World Team Trials runner-up Anthony Molton (113 lbs, Illinois) is a future star and one reason why is because the kid likes to lift. Any excuse he can find to grab a lock and go is all he really seems to want, as could be seen throughout the day. In the final round versus Max Crowe (Minnesota Blue), Molton was a ball of kinetic energy. First was two from a takedown. He then neatly transitioned into a lock and gutted Crowe over for a double pair. Already on top 6-0, Molton slithered his arms around Crowe’s waist, set his feet, and took him over with a reverse lift to put him away with a crisp and impressive 10-0 tech.
Anthony Cassioppi (285 lbs, Illinois) is another wrecking machine. Coming off of his dominant performance at the 2017 Pan Ams just a couple of weeks ago, Cassioppi was similarly scary on this day, going undefeated and nearly untested. Against Trenton Rogich (Minnesota Blue), he once again did not require a lot of time to end things. After hustling Rogich to the mat, Cassioppi clamped around for a mighty gutwrench he rolled four straight times to put a bow on the proceedings.
One of the biggest jaw-dropping moments of the entire day also took place in this dual. At 152 lbs, Calvin Germinaro represented one of Minnesota Blue’s most accomplished and capable athletes. Although by this point doubt had been erased as to which team would win (Illinois led 34-16 with only two bouts remaining), Germinaro, like Jake Allar, who would wrestle last, was seen as one who could at least keep Minnesota in the argument somewhat. But that thought was dashed fairly quickly when Matthew Ortiz (Illinois) played back in an exchange and whipped a booming headlock on Germinaro for the fall in under a minute.
2015 Cadet World Team member Allar at 170 lbs and Peyton Robb (160 lbs) earned wins in the final two matches to push Minnesota up to 21 points. But the damage had been done long before. Illinois started the engine early and never let up, doubling up on their rival to the tune of 41 points. It is a slight measure of revenge — last week at the Cadet Greco-Roman National Duals in York, Pennsylvania, the Minnesota Storm defeated Illinois in an action-packed final 40 to 38.
- Former Cadet World Team member, 2016 Fargo champ, and Missouri commit Dack Punke (120 lbs, Illinois) faced off with one of Minnesota’s biggest threats in hyper-talent Patrick McKee and kept the party hopping with a 12-4 tech fall win.
- If Molton’s triumph at 113 lbs was highlight-reel-worthy stuff, then so was Austin Macias at 126. Macias was in quite the rush taking down Jake Gliva (Minnesota Blue) and he dutifully moved right into a gutwrench. After he hit a roadblock in his hurried offensive barrage, Macias then got in on Gliva for a pretty four-pointer, only he wasn’t done. He got around again and unfurled one more four-point throw for good measure. A startling 12-0 tech.
- Illinois scored five tech falls and one pin out of the 15 matches. Minnesota Blue scored two, with one belonging to surging prospect Paxton Creese over Anthony King.
- Illinois’ closest dual meet of the day actually took place earlier in a 38-23 win over Michigan Blue. All told, Illinois scored an astounding number of total points in their seven dual meets, outscoring the opposition 353-104.
2017 Junior Greco-Roman National Duals Final
Illinois — 41 Minnesota Blue — 21
182 lbs: Jack Jessen (Illinois) def. Caden Steffens (Minnesota Blue) 11-0, TF
195 lbs: Daniel Kerkvliet (Minnesota Blue) def. Cameron Caffey (Illinois) 18-4, TF
220 lbs: Noah Ryan (Minnesota Blue) def. Jace Punke (Illinois) 6-1
285 lbs: Anthony Cassioppi (Illinois) def. Trenten Rogich (Minnesota Blue) 10-0, TF
100 lbs: Paxton Creese (Minnesota Blue) def. Anthony King (Illinois) 13-2, TF
106 lbs: Dylan Ragusin (Illinois) def. Joseph Thompson (Minnesota Blue) 6-5
113 lbs: Anthony Molton (Illinois) def. Max Crowe (Minnesota Blue) 10-0, TF
120 lbs: Dack Punke (Illinois) def. Patrick Mckee (Minnesota Blue) 12-4, TF
126 lbs: Austin Macias (Illinois) def. Jake Gliva (Minnesota Blue) 12-0, TF
132 lbs: Savion Haywood (Illinois) def. Brent Jones (Minnesota Blue) 8-7
138 lbs: Joey Bianchini (Illinois) def. Jake Bergeland (Minnesota Blue) 7-1
145 lbs: Duncan Nelson (Illinois) def. Alex Lloyd (Minnesota Blue) 8-4
152 lbs: Matthew Ortiz (Illinois) def. Calvin Germinaro (Minnesota Blue) via fall (0:52)
160 lbs: Peyton Robb (Minnesota Blue) def. Alex Cramer (Illinois) 10-8
170 lbs: Jake Allar (Minnesota Blue) def. Zachary Braunagel (Illinois) 8-3
Gold/Silver Pool Results
Champion — Illinois
Runner-up — Minnesota Blue
3rd — Michigan Blue
4th — Kansas Blue
5th — Ohio
6th — Oklahoma Outlaws
7th — Nebraska Blue
8th — Tennessee
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