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Team Idaho Makes Big Statement at 2022 Fargo USA Nationals
Twenty-one Idaho wrestlers came home from Fargo with All-American honors
Published: 7/25/2022 2:08:47 PM
Al Fontes
Contributing Writer
 

Blackfoot's Mack Mauger celebrates at the 2022 Fargo Nationals (Photo courtesy of Tony Rotundo)

The 2022 Fargo USA Wrestling Nationals will go down in the history books as one of the best performances by Team Idaho since the first championships were held at the Fieldhouse on the campus of the University of Iowa in 1971. The first championships only conducted competition in Junior Freestyle and fifty-one years later with multiple divisions has broken the record for the third year in a row with a combined 6,646 competitors in 2022.

Entering this year’s championships with its largest contingent ever, Team Idaho brought 110 wrestlers to the Fargo Dome and came home with 21 All-American honors from the multiple divisions, the second largest number since producing the state record of 24 last year.

The first Idaho wrestler to earn All-American honors was Zane Jones in 1980 (Junior Greco) and this past weekend Team Idaho surpassed the 300 mark by producing 312 All-Americans to date.

Additionally, the Junior Division had its best team finish in history by placing 3rd in Greco-Roman and 4th in Freestyle (the 2006 team placed 4th in Greco).

Moreover, the Junior Freestyle team had a record four finalists (prior record of 3 in Junior Greco, 2006) and tied the 2005 team with 5 All-Americans. In Junior Greco-Roman, Idaho tied the record of 7 All-Americans, which was established last year.

Individually, Blackfoot’s Mack Mauger became the first Idaho wrestler to win double Fargo titles (FS/GR) twice and joins fellow Idahoan Hayden Tuma (2010 – ’13) with the most individual titles at four. Mauger was joined by teammate Aden Attao (Borah), who also won double Fargo titles at Heavyweight (third Fargo All-American honor).

As a result, both Mauger and Attao were awarded the USA Wrestling Triple Crown for winning titles in Freestyle, Greco-Roman, and Folkstyle in the same season. This is not an easy task considering only 9 wrestlers have won 11 Junior Triple Crowns since the award was established in 2007.

Bishop Kelly graduate and Princeton commit Christopher Martino earned his sixth Fargo All-American honor and becomes the tenth Idaho wrestler to earn five or more medals.

Only a junior, Kolter Burton of American Falls earned his fifth All-American honor and for the second year in a row competed in both the 16U and Junior Freestyle and Greco-Roman divisions, which is an unprecedented achievement that very few wrestlers attempt. For instance, Burton not only had to compete in 25 plus matches in a span of a week, but also had to make weight for each division.

Other notable wrestlers include Hudson Rogers (Meridian) and Grand View University commit Kyle Rice (New Plymouth Grad.), each earning their third Fargo All-American honor. Additionally, University of Michigan commit Rylan Rogers (Coeur d’ Alene Grad), Joely Slyter (Lewiston), Dedrick Navarro (Nampa), and Alyssa Randles (Coeur d’ Alene) all earned their second Fargo All-American honor.

Other Idaho wrestlers earning their first Fargo All-American honor include Rider Seguine (Post Falls), Saxton Scott (Bonneville), Boden Banta (So. Fremont), Liv Wieber (Eagle), Shilo Jones (Mountain View), and U15 World Champion, Jadon Skellenger of Suples Wrestling Club.

Another notable anecdote is the all-Idaho final this year in Junior Freestyle. Rated among the top lightweights in the country, Blackfoot’s Mack Mauger and Kolter Burton of American Falls met in the finals at 106s, a first in Junior Nationals history dating back to 1971. In the Junior Greco-Roman division, the Gem State has had an all Idaho final three times (2004, ’05, and ’10).

For the second year in a row, Team Idaho produced 20 plus All-American honors. Last year, Team Idaho broke their prior state record of 15 with 24 and this year came close to the same with 21 All-Americans.

Unbeknownst by many outside the Idaho wrestling circles is that this year’s team also had ten other returning Fargo All-Americans (8 out of 10 placed in 16U last year) that came up short of placing again this year.  Another leading indicator that Idaho is making a big impact on the national scene is twelve other wrestlers on this year’s team did not earn Fargo accolades, but placed at either the Folkstyle Nationals or United World Wrestling National competitions.  Idaho’s presence on the national scene did not happen by accident nor is it an outlier on a statistical graph. The common denominator has been the “All hands on deck” effort led by Chris Owens, the Director of Idaho USA Wrestling and many other coaches and volunteers in the Gem State.

To sum it up, the state is buying into Chris Owens’ “Blue Print For Action”, which is to grow wrestling throughout Idaho, create a Team Idaho Concept, and build a wrestling culture that focuses on reaching one’s greatest potential at the state, national, and world levels.  Prior to Chris joining the national staff in 1995, the state of Idaho averaged only 2 All-Americans in the 1980s, 4 in the early 1990s, and broke the record with 9 in his first year. During the first decade of the new millennium, Idaho averaged 10 All-Americans and reached a total of 15 three times by 2013.

After missing the 2020 nationals due to the COVID pandemic, Team Idaho wasted no time and made big strides in the last couple of years with 20 plus All-Americans in 2021 and 2022 and in my humble opinion has established its position among the top small states in the country.

Considering that the current population of Idaho is approaching 1.9 million (ranked 38th – 2022 estimates), Team Idaho is performing exceptionally well considering the per capita statistics. To put it into perspective, below is the final team results (top 5) for the Junior Freestyle and Greco-Roman divisions, where Team Idaho had a banner year, placing in the top 4 in each style (first time achievement). Likewise, in 2021, Idaho had its best finish ever in 16U Greco-Roman, placing fourth in the team standings and producing a record 10 All-Americans in both styles.

 

TOP 5 TEAM SCORES – JUNIOR FREESTYLE

1 – Iowa (13 AAs): 214 pts (pop. 3.19 million)

2 – Pennsylvania (8 AAs): 116 pts. (pop. 12.9 million)

3 – California (9 AAs): 115 pts. (pop. 39 million)

4 – IDAHO (5 AAs): 99 pts. (pop. 1.9 million)

5 – Wisconsin (9 AAs): 84 pts. (pop. 5.9 million)

 
TOP 5 TEAM SCORES – JUNIOR GRECO-ROMAN

1 – Illinois (9 AAs): 164 pts. (pop. 12.8 million)

2 – Wisconsin (8 AAs): 104 pts. (pop. 5.9 million)

3 – IDAHO (7 AAs): 100 pts. (pop. 1.9 million)

4 – Florida (6 AAs): 93 pts. (pop. 22 million)

5 – Iowa (8 AAs): 75 pts. (pop. 3.19 million)

 
In summary, the state of Idaho is making a big statement on the national scene. Case in point, the past couple of years has experienced an exponential increase in the number of All-Americans produced annually at Fargo, Folkstyle Nationals, and other national level events.

From my first experience observing the wrestling scene in Idaho just over two years ago, I could feel it in the air that something special was happening here. The wrestling culture in the Gem State is growing and from my observation is solidifying into a system that any wrestler willing to put in the time and effort is more than capable of reaching their full potential at the highest of levels.

I want to give a “thumbs up” to Chris Owens, all coaches and volunteers involved with Team Idaho, as well as a job well done for each and every Idaho wrestler that competed at the Fargo Nationals. Below is a summary of Team Idaho’s performance at Fargo, list of 2022 All-Americans per division, and Fargo statistics dating back to 1980. We’re One Idaho!

TEAM IDAHO HIGHLIGHTS

  • Produced 312th All-American since first in 1980 (Zane Jones, 114.5 – Junior GR)
  • Produced second highest number of All-Americans at Championships with 21 (Record – 24 in 2021)
  • 3rd Place finish in Junior Freestyle finish – BEST IN IDAHO HISTORY
  • 4th Place finish in Junior Greco-Roman (Last achieved in 2006)
  • 5 Junior Freestyle All-Americans – Ties Idaho record (last achieved in 2005)
  • Record 4 Junior Freestyle Finalist – Prior Idaho record of 3 (Jr GR – 2006)
  • Tied record 7 Junior Greco-Roman All-Americans (first achieved in 2021)
  • Junior Women tied record 2 All-Americans at Championships (last achieved in 2009, ’16, ’21)

INDIVIDUAL HIGHLIGHTS

  • Mack Mauger (Blackfoot) becomes the first Idaho wrestler to win double Fargo titles (FS/GR) twice. Joins Hayden Tuma in Idaho’s 4x National Champion Club
  • Aden Attao (Borah) earns double Fargo titles. Joins Idaho’s 3x All-American Club
  • Aden Attaoand Mack Mauger win USA WRESTLING TRIPLE CROWN (FS/GR/Folkstyle). Only 9 athletes have won 11 Junior Triple Crowns since the award was launched in 2007
  • Christopher Martino (Bishop Kelly Grad) earns sixth Fargo All-American honor. Tenth Idaho wrestler to earn 5 or more All-American honors
  • Mack Mauger and Kolter Burton become the first all Idaho final in Junior Freestyle since the first tournament in 1971
  • Kolter Burton (American Falls) joins Idaho’s 5x All-American Club
  • Hudson Rogers (Meridian) and Kyle Rice (New Plymouth Grad) join Idaho’s 3x Fargo All-American Club
  • Joely Slyter (Lewiston), Alyssa Randles (Coeur d’ Alene), Dedrick Navarro (Nampa), and Rylan Rogers (Coeur d’ Alene Grad) join Idaho’s 2x All-American Club

 

16U FREESTYLE ALL-AMERICANS

106 – Kolter Burton (American Falls, 11), 5th Place (5x Fargo AA)

170 – Hudson Rogers (Meridian, 11), 6th Place (3x Fargo AA)

 

16U GRECO-ROMAN ALL-AMERICANS

94 – Rider Seguine (Post Falls, 9), 5th Place

94 – Saxton Scott (Bonneville, 9), 3rd Place  

100 – Boden Banta (South Fremont, 10), 4th Place

170 – Hudson Rogers (Meridian, 11), 4th Place (3x Fargo AA)

 

JUNIOR FREESTYLE ALL-AMERICANS

106 – Kolter Burton (American Falls, 11), 2nd Place (5x Fargo AA)

106 – Mack Mauger (Blackfoot, 11), NATIONAL CHAMPION (4x Fargo AA/Triple Crown Winner)

106 – Dedrick Navarro (Nampa, 12), 5th Place (2x Fargo AA)

195 – Rylan Rogers (Coeur d’ Alene, Grad.), 2nd Place (2x Fargo AA)

285 – Aden Attao (Borah, 12), NATIONAL CHAMPION  (3x Fargo AA)

 

JUNIOR GRECO-ROMAN ALL-AMERICANS

106 – Mack Mauger (Blackfoot, 11), NATIONAL CHAMPION (4x Fargo AA/Triple Crown Winner)

113 – Kolter Burton (American Falls, 11), 5th Place (5x Fargo AA)

132 – Kyle Rice (New Plymouth, Grad.), 7th Place (3x Fargo AA)

138 – Christopher Martino (Bishop Kelly, Grad.), 5th Place (6x Fargo AA)

160 – Jadon Skellenger (Suples WC, 11), 2nd Place

285 – Aden Attao (Borah, 12), NATIONAL CHAMPION (3x Fargo AA/Triple Crown Winner)

285 – Shilo Jones (Mountain View, 11), 6th Place

 

16U WOMEN’S FREESTYLE ALL-AMERICANS

94 – Joely Slyter (Lewiston, 10), 2nd Place (2x Fargo AA)


JUNIOR WOMEN’S FREESTYLE ALL-AMERICANS

122 – Alyssa Randles (Coeur d’ Alene, 12), 3rd Place (2x Fargo AA)

138 – Liv Wieber (Eagle, Grad.), 4th Place

 

TEAM IDAHO MEDAL COUNTS/STATS SINCE 1980

JUNIOR DIVISION

  • Individual Titles – Freestyles (9)
  • Total Medals – Freestyle (59)
  • Individual Titles – Greco-Roman (16)
  • Total Medals – Greco-Roman (76)
  • Total Medals – Freestyle/Greco-Roman (135)

16U DIVISION

  • Individual Titles – Freestyle (3)
  • Total Medals – Freestyle (61)
  • Individual Titles – Greco-Roman (10)
  • Total Medals – Greco-Roman (87)
  • Total Medals – Freestyle/Greco-Roman (148)

JUNIOR WOMEN’S DIVISION

  • Individual Titles – Freestyle (2)
  • Total Medals – Freestyle (16)

16U WOMEN’S DIVISION

  • Individual Titles – Freestyle (2)
  • Total Medals – Freestyle (13)

TOTAL FARGO MEDALS/ALL-AMERICANS – ALL DIVISIONS (312)

  • 61 – 16U Freestyle
  • 87 – 16U Greco-Roman
  • 59 – Junior Freestyle
  • 76 – Junior Greco-Roman
  • 13 – 16U Women’s Freestyle
  • 16 – Junior Women’s Freestyle

MOST MEDALS COMBINED AT CHAMPIONSHIPS – 24 (2021)

  • 7 – 16U Greco-Roman
  • 3 – 16U Freestyle
  • 7 – Junior Greco-Roman
  • 3 – Junior Freestyle
  • 2 – 16U Women’s Freestyle
  • 2 – Junior Women’s Freestyle

10 OR MORE ALL-AMERICANS AT CHAMPIONSHIPS – ALL DIVISIONS (15x)

  • 24 – 2021
  • 21 – 2022
  • 15 – 2010, ’12, ‘13
  • 14 – 2006
  • 13 – 2004, ‘05, ‘17, ‘19
  • 12 – 2011, ‘14
  • 11 – 2015, ‘16
  • 10 – 2000

MOST ALL-AMERICANS AT CHAMPIONSHIPS – PER DIVISION

  • 4 – 16U Freestyle, 2000
  • 7 – 16U Greco-Roman, 2021
  • 5 – Junior Freestyle, 2005, ‘22
  • 7 – Junior Greco-Roman, 2021, ‘22
  • 2 – 16U Women’s Freestyle, 2015, ‘21
  • 2 – Junior Women’s Freestyle, 2009, ’16, ’21, ‘22








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