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Maryland brings home Gold from the US Open

Emmitt Sherlock Takes U17 Gold in Freestyle and Greco-Roman, will represent team USA at U17 World Championships; Tyler Verceles and Jason Kiessling also bring home Golds!

Gilman’s Emmitt Sherlock finished a junior season that saw him ascend to the No. 10 position in the National Rankings with a runner-up performance at the National Prep Tournament in February.

Adding to his already impressive list of accolades, at this weekend's US Open in Las Vegas, Sherlock would stand atop the podium in both Freestyle and Greco-Roman at 80 KG, earning the right to represent the USA at the U17 World Championships, again in both styles, this summer in Jordan.

The Greco crown came first for the Greyhound, who had little trouble locking the title down, posting technical superiority in every match except his second in the best of three finals with Nebraska’s state champion, Adonis Bonar. Sherlock teched Bonar in their first meeting, 9-0, and won a tight one, 10-9, in their follow-up encounter. As a reminder, a technical superiority, aka a “tech fall”, is an 8-point advantage in Greco and a 10 point advantage in Freestyle.

To reach the finals, Sherlock took out Gavin Craner, a Michigan state champion, 9-1, in the semis. In the quarters, he got past Indiana’s Xavier Smith, 9-1.

Sherlock’s Round of 16 and Round of 32 opponents were two nationally known competitors, Colorado’s Kalob Ybarra and Georgia’s Ryder Wilder. Ybarra, who was second in the state this year and a champ last year, fell 8-0 to Sherlock in the Round of 16, again that’s a tech fall.

How Wilder, who is a two-time state champion that was second (FS) and third (GR) at 16U Fargo last year and third at NHSCAs this year, was seeded low enough to encounter Sherlock in the round of 32 is puzzling given his accomplishments and his honorable mention ranking in the National Rankings. But that’s where they met with Sherlock blanking Wilder, 9-0.

In the Freestyle finals, a similar path played out in that Sherlock teched Wisconsin’s honorable mention Caleb Denee, 12-1, in the opener of their gold medal series, then won the second one, 9-5. Dennee, a junior, is a two-time state runner-up, who didn’t place as a freshman.

Sherlock’s semifinal opponent, Wisconsin’s Liam Crook was fifth in the state as a freshman and won the crown this year as a sophomore, 4-1, over Dennee. Crook fell to Sherlock 7-0. In the quarters, Sherlock downed California’s Isai Fernandez, 11-3. Sherlock teched his other two foes, 18-8 and 13-2.

All in all, Sherlock had an incredible run and represented Maryland. Winning both styles and now traveling with Team USA is quite the accomplishment.

“This weekend was a great success for me making two world teams,” Sherlock remarked. “My results this weekend reflects the effort and support from a lot of people. Headhunters wrestling club and the Gilman school are the two major communities that helped me get this done but also all the past coaches throughout my wrestler career. It takes a lot of time and people to get results like I did this weekend. I’m truly grateful for everyone who has helped me get here.”

“The tournament itself, I knew I could get it done. The tournament was tough and long. I had 12 matches out there in Vegas. I’m proud with how I competed and I’m excited for what’s next. As far as what’s next, I’m going to take a week off to heal up and then start preparing for the Pan-Am championships in June and then continue my training into the world championships in August.”

Tyler Verceles Wrestled with Relentless Focus and Won

To say that Tyler Verceles’ gold at 44KG in the U15 group was impressive is an understatement. Tyler has been a regional star for quite some time but his performance in Greco was inspiring.

Verceles’ first and last matches were tight but in between those he cruised to victory via technical superiority with an 11-2 win over Colorado’s Tristan Pino in the semis and a 10-0 blanking of Virginia’s Flynn Arnestad in the quarters.

In the finals, Verceles got by Illinois’ Michael Rundell, 13-11. The first bout which was arguably his toughest match resulted in a 3-2 victory over Beau Fennick (PA). Verceles also reached the blood round in FS.

Jason Kiessling brought home a Master’s Gold

Jason Kiessling starred at Southern Maryland’s McDonough High School before taking his talents to the University of Maryland, where he won an ACC Title in 2007. Kiessling is now the head coach of Rampage Wrestling but has not completely hung up his wrestling shoes as evidenced by his work in the Masters B Division at the US Open where he claimed a FS gold at 78KG.

Kiessling won his title bout by technical superiority over Utah’s Connor Keating, 12-2. He won on criteria over Joshua Nolan (GA) in the semis, 6-6. Kiessling’s quarter final opponent, California’s Ted Bristol dropped a 6-1 decision. Nolan beat Bristol. 6-4, in the bronze medal match.

Three Other Maryland Standouts reached the podium -- all in Greco-Roman

Corey Brown was the top seed at 45KG in the U17 tournament but was tripped up in his first match by two-time Tennessee state champion, Jose Cordero, 5-3. On the road back through the consolation bracket, Brown defeated two wrestlers who placed at their high school state tournaments, Vincent DeMarco (IL, 4th in 2A), 8-4, and Ethan Humphrey (IA, 8th in 1A), 10-0.

Brown made it all the through to the third-place match where he was granted a rematch with Cordero and turned the tables on his rival with an 8-0 “tech fall” shutout. Brown also reached the blood round in FS.

Mt. St. Joseph star Carter Nogle, who was No. 1 in Maryland at 138lbs in Legacy Wrestling’s Rankings and honorable mention in National Rankings, landed in the sixth spot at 63KG in the U20 brackets.

Nogle lost his opening match to Northern Michigan’s Kaden Ercanbrack, 9-8, then fell to his foe again, 11-8, in their placement match meeting. University of Minnesota’s Rhett Koenig, a four-time Wisconsin state champion, edged Nogle, 5-4, in the consolation semifinals. Nogle beat Tanner Frothinger, who attends the University of Nebraska, 15-11. Other victims for Nogle were Trason Oehme, 13-4, and Dustin Duette-Hall, 9-0.

“Overall, I was unsatisfied with my performance,” Nogle offered. “I never step on the mat without 100% confidence that I am going to win and unfortunately, I was unable to walk away with a title. That being said, the US open is a grind and being in the U20 age division was probably the hardest bracket I’ve wrestled in.”

“Placing 6th in Greco wasn’t what I wanted but I thought I competed well, there are a few things that I can change, and I fully believe that I can make that world team in a month. Freestyle was very tough, facing some top-level guys, but challenging myself is only going to better prepare myself for what’s to come next year. It was also amazing to be able to compete alongside my future teammates and coaches.” Nogle has committed to and will attend the United States Air Force Academy next year.

Maryland resident Ben Smith, who wrestled one season at Mt. St. Joe before moving on to the New York Military Academy, placed seventh at 77KG in the U20 Division.

Smith beat Magnus Kuokkanen, who attends the University of Indiana, 5-1, in the placement match and 6-0 in the Round of 16. Smith’s other notable win came against three-time Colorado state placer Dante Hutchings, 2-1. Smith lost to two college wrestlers, Southern Illinois’ Bradley Gillum, 5-1, and Cleveland State’s Gavin Ricketts, 2-1. Ricketts was a Fargo All-American during his high school career.

Billy DeKraker, who wrestled at McDonogh before moving onto Blair Academy, took third at 61KG in the U20 Division.

All in all, Maryland competed very well where we brought home several medals including four golds. Great job guys!

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