Seventeen Virginia wrestlers competed for Team VA at the 2021 U16 National Duals last week in Westfield, Indiana. Team VA joined 31 Greco and 33 Freestyle teams coming from AL, CA, CO, DE, FL, GA, ID, IL, IN, IA, KS, MI, MN, MO, NE, NJ, OH (Freestyle only), OK, PA, TN, TX, UT, VA, and WI. Overall, Team VA collected 11 team victories and gave up 5 team losses.
In Greco, Team VA went 6-2, defeating Team Indiana Blue (45-28), Team Georgia Red (67-6), Team PA Red (51-19), Team Utah (38-35), Team DE (71-6), and Team Michigan Red (70-6). It lost two matches in the opening bracket by very close margins (with two forfeited weights), dropping to Team Outlaws Red (38-36) and Team Iowa (41-37).
In freestyle, Team VA went 5-3, defeating Team Kansas Red (45-29), Team Missouri (45-35), Team Iowa (46-30), Team Indiana Blue (48-28), and Team Colorado (42-36) for a third place finish in the bronze/copper pool. Team VA lost its first match in the opening bracket to Team Colorado by a 1-point margin (37-36) (with one forfeited weight), which loss Team VA avenged when it later defeated the same team to claim the third place slot in the bronze/copper pool at the end of the tournament. Team VA also dropped to Team Indiana Gold (39-33) in the original bracket and Team Florida (42-33) in the bronze/copper pool.
Three wrestlers went undefeated in both Greco and Freestyle: Cadell Lee (94), Noah Nininger (106), and Parker Ferrell (220). In addition, Mitchell Faglioni (132) went undefeated in Greco and Duncan Christiansen went undefeated in Freestyle (145). Thirteen of the seventeen wrestlers achieved an even or winning record overall. Several wrestlers stepped up to wrestle at a higher weights, helping Team VA fill its slots and minimize the damage of any forfeits to the team. All of the wrestlers competed hard over a grueling 4-day schedule and acquired great experience to take to Fargo.
The team was coached at the event by Mark Fontana and Matt Keel, with added support from Chip Nininger and Matt Christiansen. Rob Prebish lead the Greco training. All the athletes were well trained by their club, school, and clinic coaches who have collectively contributed to the growing strength of Virginia’s wrestlers on the national scene.