The 2017 USS Midway Summer Series kicks off on Friday with the start of the Cadet and Junior freestyle competition, whose championship will be held late on the afternoon. Below is an overview of the key wrestlers within each weight class. Information was obtained from a combination of entrants per Trackwrestling.
Jonathan Prata of Titan Mercury Wrestling Club (Photo Credit John Sachs)
2017 California state champion Jonathan Prata (Titan Mercury Wrestling Club) is the strong favorite in this weight class, which would make him a three-time USS Midway champion if he does win it. Others in the field include a pair of outstanding wrestlers in Freestyle, Timothy Levine (Sunkist Kids/ Monster Garage) and Laz Maldonado (Red Wave). Levine, who competes for California power St. John Bosco, garnered his third Fargo All-American status last month. Maldonado who competes for Coach Ian Shaw at Clovis West was triumphant in achieving double All-American status in Akron, Ohio, in April. Two grapplers from the San Diego area that hope to shine this week are Gavin Concepcion (Rancho Bernardo High School WC) and Chaz Hallmark (San Diego). Concepcion was a state qualifier last season at 106-pounds, while Hallmark finished a round shy of advancing to Bakersfield. Evan Taylor (Battle Born Wrestling Club WC), Dylan Kruse (Colorado, Bears of Thunder), Isiah Calderon (Cy-Select Wrestling Inc, Texas), Mitchell Romero (Fall Guys Wrestling, Colorado), and William Giron (Turlock), will all be hoping to make some noise as well.
Conner Ingram of JWC, Utah (Photo Credit Spenser Heaps, Deseret News)
Though many wrestlers enter any given tournament feeling like they could win it, there are at least four at 119 pounds who can make such a case. Conner Ingram (JWC, Utah) completed the 2016-17 season with a 49-10 record and a state championship in the Beehive state. Antonio Lomeli (Pacifica Tritons) had a phenomenal Southern Section Masters Meet tournament as he went 3-2 to finish top 12 at 113-pounds. Winning the tournament could help him become one the elite wrestlers in the Southern Section. While those two could certainly see each other in the finals, a couple of Sac-Joaquin wrestlers will be looking to grab a championship banner themselves. Aaron Curtin (Wrestling Prep) finished the regular season last year top 12 in the section tournament. He is good enough in freestyle to be dangerous. Jayson Ledesma (Blazers Wrestling) advanced to the master’s tournament but failed to place in it. He would be considered a dark horse at best, given his relatively thin freestyle resume, but he has won enough big matches that he cannot be ignored.
Joseph Otero of Team Little Chris (Photo Credit Rio Rancho Public Schools)
Another highly vigorous weight class, which features many outstanding wrestlers. Anchoring this weight class is defending USS Midway Summer Series Champion Jacob Frias (Tucson Cyclones, Arizona). Frias won the tough 126-weight class in a field that included several grapplers with some incredible scholastic credentials. Joseph Otero (Team little Chris, New Mexico) is a talented rising junior who won a state championship as a freshman in 2016. He is an outstanding upper body wrestler that placed seventh at the UWW Cadet Greco-Roman tournament. Keep an eye on two up and coming freshmen in Bryer Hall (Cali Gold, Indiana) and Tyler Sepulveda (Team Selma). Hall was second at the 2017 IHSWCA middle school state tournament, and he is a dangerous individual when it comes to his ground game. Sepulveda is an endowed grappler from the small town of Selma. Any wrestler facing Sepulveda better be careful as the central valley wrestlers can wrestle. Others to watch in this field include San Diego Masters Meet qualifier Elliot Austin (La Jolla Wrestling Club) and 2017 Arizona state qualifier George Galaz (Grindhouse WC).
Ethan Gould of CRAW (Photo Credit John Sachs)
If you pay attention to wrestling in the state of California, Ethan Gould (CRAW) is a name you know. This former Southern Section CIF Champion has competed and beaten some of the best lower weight wrestlers in the state but has yet to advance to the state tournament. That could change this upcoming season. Salvador Silva (Cyclones Wrestling & Fitness, Arizona) was third last year in this tournament and will be looking to climb the podium. Zane Martin (Vacaville WC) was five points away from qualifying for the CIF state tournament last season for the Bulldogs. The competition is ideal to showcase his talent against some of the best in California. As you can probably tell, this weight is a bit lacking in established contenders compared to some of the others. It will be interesting to see if Gould, Martin, and Silva take that opportunity to step into the favorite’s role or if someone else comes out of the pack to surprise. Rey Mundo Aranda (Bears of Thunder), Carlos Ramos (Tucson Cyclones, Arizona), and Bryson Krohn (Brighton WC, Colorado), all would very much like to do just that.
Jace Luchau of Bears of Thunder (Photo Credit Jim Thrall)
Arguably one of the best overall Cadet wrestler anchors this weight class in Jace Luchau (Bears of Thunder), the top rising junior in the state of California. Luchau had a great tournament at Fargo where he went on to claimed double All-American honors. He is one of the many returning Cadet champions as he won this event at 145lbs. Two direct threats to Luchau are Nico Carrasco (Black Cat, Arizona) and Jayden Smith (Brawley WC). Carrasco is a dangerous individual that has placed 6th, 4th, and 3rd, at the Arizona state tournament. Smith, who competes for Imperial County power Brawley High, was 6th at the tough San Diego Masters Meet tournament.
Troy Madrigal of Servite HS (Photo Credit Servite HS)
A pair of state medalists anchor this weight class, Troy Madrigal (Servite HS) and Ryne Lewis (Safford Bulldogs, Arizona). Madrigal had a great CIF state tournament as he placed eighth at 152-pounds for the Friars. Lewis is an experienced wrestler that has medaled at the Arizona state tournament the past three seasons, including, claiming his first state championship this past February at 160-pounds. Madrigal and Lewis are on a collision course to face each other in the finals. Two grapplers that shouldn’t be overlooked are Shane Finney (UTB Wrestling) and Gabriel Lopez (Tucson Cyclones, Arizona). Finney placed at one of the challenging San Diego CIF tournaments, while Lopez competed at the rugged Arizona state tournament for the first time during the 2016-17 wrestling season.
Geoffrey Lozada of Rancho Bernardo WC (Photo Credit Eljay Pena)
You know a wrestler is dead serious about winning an event when he travels almost 500 miles to the tournament. Denzel Mabry (Wan-Tu-Wazuri Oakland Youth WC) had one of the best tournaments of any wrestler from the Oakland section at the 2017 CIF state tournament, as he finished with a 2-2 record. His aggressiveness and strength could help him become a champion this week. Two teammates from San Diego power Rancho Bernardo will put it all on the line to win the weight class. Geoffrey Lozada was a win whiting advancing to the state tournament as he placed fifth at the San Diego Section Masters Meet tournament. Colin Murphy is a two-time CIF medalist and has been a key element the past two seasons for the Broncos.
Tarik Sutkovic of Grindhouse WC, Arizona (Photo Credit YouTube)
With the football season almost upon us, it is natural for most upper weights to be competing on the gridiron. Nevertheless, the competition at 220.50lbs in the Ultimate Summer Series will have some serious athletes to follow throughout the tournament. Tarik Sutkovic (Grindhouse WC, Arizona) will be in the hunt to gain a second tournament title after dominating the field last year. He was undefeated at the 2017 Cadet Duals and finished shy of achieving All-American status at Fargo Nationals. His main competition should come from rising junior Boris Peresadko of team CRAW. Peredadko won a prestigious US Cadet Open Championship while placing second at Western Jr. Regionals.