2013 USAW Preseason Nationals Preview | Youth1

2013 USAW Preseason Nationals Preview

The 6th Annual Cliff Keen USA Wrestling Preseason Nationals are slated take place this weekend at the UNI Dome on the campus of
Northern Iowa. The two-day showcase, that gathers college coaches from across the United States, is one of the largest youth and preseason-wrestling-nationalshigh school wrestling tournaments in the world.

This year, over 2,900 wrestlers from 40 states are registered to compete in the event.

"From having a few hundred kids the first year to having over 2,900 kids here this year; it's very exciting," said Tournament Director Brian Keck. "It's mind blowing to see how the tournament has grown over the last few years and how the competition has grown with it."

Wrestlers in this year’s event can participate in up to 10 matches. As one of the first major events of the season, it's a chance for the wrestlers to get rid of the "mat rust."

"Preseason Nationals are a great opportunity for wrestlers to get some matches," Keck said. "Many of them will faceoff versus talent from across the country and compete against kids they've never wrestled before. It's a great opportunity for them to get ready for their regular seasons."

Of the 40 states represented, Illinois leads the way with 619 participants. Iowa is next with 542, then Minnesota with 356 and Wisconsin with 317. With this year’s crop of talent, wrestlers will have to be in midseason form to have a shot a placing well within their brackets. 

Headlining this year’s Middle School division are five wrestlers who will aim to defend their 2012 Cliff Keen USA Wrestling Preseason National Championships. They include 98-pound Juan Bazaldua of Illinois, 105-pound Mason Turner of Kansas, 120-pound Brad Gross of Illinois, 128-pound Ryan Thomas from Ohio and 136-pound Colton Clary from Wisconsin.

Other wrestlers to keep an eye on this weekend include 5-time National Champion Jarett Rueb, Folkstyle National Champion Jace Koelzer, 2012 Folkstyle National Champion Beau Bartlett, 8-time Kansas State Champion Cody Phippen, Greco-Roman National Champion Will Lewan, National Triple Crown Champion Travis Wittlake, and 2-time National Champion Jared Krattiger.

This year’s event will also feature two unique clinics that will be hosted by USA Olympian Ken Chertow.

“Ken Chertow has some of the best camps and clinics in the country, so it’s an honor to have Ken at the Preseason Nationals putting on a clinic for the wrestlers,” says Keck. “I hope the wrestlers learn some new techniques that will help them throughout the upcoming season.

Each bracket, from top to bottom, is loaded with talent and we expect great wrestling to take place throughout the event. For the five wrestlers hoping to defend their titles, they are going to have to bring their “A” games to have a shot at standing atop the podium once again.  

Youth1.com will be following the action all weekend. Be sure to check out Youth1.com next week for a complete recap and a list of Top Performers!


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