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GFC Preview

By MI Grappler, 10/12/17, 12:15PM EDT

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Elite Division Weight by Weight Preview

ELITE 98
The Favorite: Tommy Larson (WI)
The only high school placer in this bracket, Larson finished 6th in the Badger State at 106 in 2017.  He then wrestled 94 at the Cadet Folkstyle Nationals, where he placed.  That alone speaks volumes that he could compete with those bigger guys and still have success.  That's why he's the favorite at a weight class that might be right in his wheelhouse.

The Contenders: There are a handful of guys who are eager to get on the scene and take home the title.  At the top, Stephen Roberson (Indiana) and Casey Swiderski (Michigan) are two kids that are still in middle school but are skilled beyond their years.  Drew Lang (Utah), Dylan Chappell (Pennsylvania), and Blake West (Minnesota) also could be right in the hunt. 

ELITE 105
The Favorite: Andrew Chambal (Michigan)
The Davison native headlines this weight that is full of hammers.  Last year Chambal was 3rd in D1 in MI and followed that up with a double finalist showing at Fargo.  He's been very active on the national scene the past two summers.  That experience wrestling high level guys and knowing what it takes to string together tough wins should come in handy this weekend.

The Contenders:
A pair of state finalist are entered here, with D3 State Champ Sean Spidle (Michigan) and Riley Bettich (Michigan) seeded in the top 4.  Also add in Timothy Levine (California) who was a State Qualifier in the single division, but also a Double Cadet All-American and Junior Freestyle All-American.  Parker Decker (Texas) was 3rd in the state and 2nd at Junior Greco Nationals.  Logan Bailey (Indiana) has placed twice at this tournament and will be a tough matchup for anyone.  Throw in Cadet Folkstyle Runner-Up Logan Brown (Michigan), GFC placer Josh Barr (Michigan), Regional Qualifier Sam Freeman (Michigan), and IHPO placer Garett Lautzenheiser (Ohio) and you've got a deep, deep 105 weight.

ELITE 112
The Favorite: Nic Bouzakis (Florida)
Bouzakis was an undefeated State Champ in the Sunshine State as a 7th grader last year.  To add to that, he just knocked off the defending Cadet Freestyle Champ at the Journeymen a couple weeks back.  While he will have a host of competition this weekend, he looks to be the clear cut favorite on paper.

The Contenders:
Vinny Zerban (Illinois) is a hammer incoming freshman who placed at the Cadet Freestyle Nationals this summer and was super successful as a middle schooler.  Jesse Mendez (Indiana) is the defending GFC Champ and one of the top 8th graders in the country.  Gavin Ritter (Ohio) won the IHPO last month and won the GFC Varsity here a year ago.  Another defending GFC Champ Noah Horst (Tennessee) is here as well; he won a State Title last year.  A quartet of Michigan lightweight hammers: Reese Fry, David Stepanian, TJ Daugherty, and Nick Alayan are also challengers.

ELITE 119
The Favorite: Matthew Cardello (Ohio)
Cardello is an extremely tough lightweight from Ohio who has had a ton of success on the national level.  He's committed to the Naval Academy to continue his career after high school.  In the past season he was 3rd in the state and an All-American at both Super 32 and the UWW Cadet Freestyle Nationals.

The Contenders:
Ryan Chauvin (Florida) has a super impressive resume throughout his career.  The Army-commit has placed at just about everything and is a 2x State Champ as well.  Three other wrestlers have won state titles in their respective states: Cody Holmes (Wisconsin), Bretli Reyna (Florida), and Vincent Mannella (Georgia).  Jake Canitano (Ohio) was a bracket-buster last year when he made the finals and has the ability to make a similar run this year.  Josh Ogunsanya is a Double Cadet All-American and has the skills to compete with anyone here.

ELITE 125
The Favorite: Travis Ford-Melton (Illinois)
2x Cadet National Finalist Ford-Melton is the frontrunner here.  He's currently ranked #12 in the nation and is coming off an IHPO title in September.  It's his first appearance at the GFC but he's been battle tested and should be ready to compete in a very deep weight class.

The Contenders:
Branson Proudlock (Michigan), a defending State Champ and Junior All-American is entered here and may be one of the top challengers.  Florida's Maylek Hines is a State Champ himself and a Double Cadet All-American.  Cayden Rooks (Indiana) will be right in the mix - he was a State Champ this season.  Returning GFC Champ Carlos Champagne (Illinois) could be a real threat to win it again as well.  Also look for Collin Poynter (Indiana), Logan Heil (Ohio), Brock Peele (Indiana), and Danny Poupore (Michigan) to make deep runs.

ELITE 130
The Favorite: Joey Silva (Florida)
Silva is now the #1 ranked wrestler in the country following his victory at Who's #1 last weekend.  He's won the NHSCA Nationals every year and will be going for his fifth state title this year.  Michigan fans will be treated to a sneak peak as he is committed to the Wolverines already.

The Contenders:
The biggest challenger for Silva is a worthy one in Anthony Madrigal (Illinois).  Madrigal is an Oklahoma Sooner commit and a 2x State Runner-Up, as well as a 2x Cadet Freestyle AA.  Should he and Silva meet in the finals, it'd be the best matchup in terms of rankings.  2x State Champ AJ Facundo (Michigan) is back after taking 2nd here a year ago.  He's joined by fellow 2x MI State Champ Robert Rogers.  Graham Rooks (Indiana) placed 7th here last year and was 4th in the state.  Joey Bianchi (Wisconsin), Michael DeAugustino (Florida), and a trio of Michiganders - Kaleob Whitford, Matt Tomsett, and Anthonie Taylor - add depth.

ELITE 135
The Favorite: Josh Edmond (Michigan)
Although only a sophomore, Edmond was 2nd in the state as a freshman and suffered his only loss of the year in that finals match.  In the offseason he placed 3rd at Cadet Folkstyle Nationals, and 8th at Cadet Freestyle Nationals.  He's a super talented kid but will be tested by an equally talented field.

The Contenders: 
Kris Rumph (Indiana) highlights the field of challengers at this weight.  He was 2nd in one-division Indiana a year ago and 4th at the IHPO in September.  Corbyn Munson (Michigan) was a Runner-Up in D2 last year and 4th at the IHPO as well - a weight below Rumph.  State Champ Skyler Crespo (Michigan) is entered as well and is one of the top sophomores in the state.  Val Kochiu (Wisconsin) was 2nd in Wisconsin last year and makes five state finalists in the weight.  Four Michigan wrestlers round out the top challengers in Tony Williams, Derek Gilcher, Isiah Berry, and Marc Shaeffer.

ELITE 140
The Favorite: Kevon Davenport (Michigan)
The DCC Junior is already a 2x State Champ and a defending GFC Champ.  He added Double Cadet Finalist and Cadet Greco Champ to his resume this summer as well.  He's your favorite in a weight that consists of fourteen wrestlers who've finished top-4 at their state tournaments.

The Contenders:
We Rachal (Illinois) was a late add to the tournament but he is a hammer coming from the Land of Lincoln.  Rachal is a 2x State Champ and was 2nd at the tough Dvorak Tournament.  A pair of state champs and All-Americans, Nick Freeman (Michigan) and Noah Castillo (Florida), are also entered and will pose legitimate threats to the title.  As mentioned, about a dozen other quality guys are here and could pull some major upsets.  Most notably, Zach Melloh (Indiana), Dawson Combest (Indiana), Holden Heller (Illinois), James Whitaker (Michigan), and Alex Urquiza (Florida).

ELITE 145
The Favorite: Alex Facundo (Michigan)
It's not often that an incoming freshman is a favorite at a weight class like this.  But Facundo proved himself nationally this summer winning the Cadet Folkstyle and then the Cadet Freestyle Nationals.  Hailing from Davison, he's the #1 incoming freshman in the state at any weight class.

The Contenders:
Kendall Coleman (Illinois) will be the biggest test and, should he and Facundo meet, it'll be a preview of their match next Saturday at the Agony in Ames where they're slated to wrestle.  Coleman was 2nd in the state and 3rd at the Dvorak last season.  Kai Bele (Florida) is another hammer entered here.  He was 3rd in the state but won the NHSCA Freshman Nationals.  St. Paris Graham's Jeffrey Thomas is making the trip up from Ohio.  Thomas was 3rd in DII last year.  Graham Calhoun (Indiana), Patrick Ryan (Illinois), Jordan Slivka (Indiana), and BJ Bailey (Illinois) round out the top 8 seeds. 

ELITE 152
The Favorite: Connor Brady (Ohio)
Brady highlights the best weight in the history of this event.  Although he was 3rd in the state last year, his weight class included two wrestlers ranked top-4 nationally.  Brady himself is currently ranked #4 at 152.  He was 3rd at the Ironman, 5th at Super32, and 3rd at UWW Cadet Freestyle.  The Olentangy Liberty Junior is the complete package and will be a lot of fun to watch him battle the hammers that are entered in this weight class.

The Contenders:
The list of contenders for this weight is so long that it could fill its own article, honestly.  There are ten state finalists and that doesn't include Brady.  Anyways.  Markus Hartman (Illinois) is a definite contender being the defending champ.  He was a state runner-up and Double Junior All-American this past season.  Cameron Amine (Michigan) is a 2x State Champ, and a Double Cadet AA two summers ago.  He was 2nd to Hartman at the GFC in 2016.  Brevin Balmaceda (Florida) is bringing some serious heat from the south.  He's won two state titles and a pair of NHSCA national titles as well.  Nevan Snodgrass (Ohio) is a nationally ranked guy who placed 4th in the state as a freshman and added Cadet Freestyle and UWW Cadet Freestyle All-American honors this summer.  John Manning (Canada) is another guy who'll challenge for the title.  Recently committed to Brown University, he was 4th at the Beast of the East last year and, more recently, 2nd at the IHPO.  Alec Rees (Michigan) and three Ohioans - Sandro Ramirez, Joey Sanchez, and Ben Pasiuk, round out the top 10.

ELITE 160
The Favorite: Erich Byelick (Florida)
Byelick is the frontrunner here and brings an impressive resume to a very deep weight class.  He actually dropped down from 170 and added to the already deep weight class.  He's won two state titles and an NHSCA Junior National title this past season.  This is his first appearance at the GFC since 2015 where he finished 4th.  The Northwestern commit is an extremely solid guy but will certainly be tested by this field.

The Contenders:
This weight has 15 guys who've finished top-three in the state, which is pretty staggering.  At the top, Mason Reiniche (Tennessee) is definitely a title contender.  He's won a state title, won the NHSCA Sophomore Nationals, earned double Cadet AA honors, and wrestled at the Cadet Greco Worlds.  Following him is a defending GFC finalist and Ohio State Champ, Ryan Thomas.  Both guys are currently ranked in the top 20 in the nation.  A pair of Illinois guys are seeded top 5 in Danny Braunagel and Alex Cramer.  Braunagel won the state last year and added Flo AA honors.  Cramer was 4th at the NHSCA Sophomores two years ago and finished 5th at the GFC last fall.  Todd Perry (Florida) is another quality guy who finished 2nd in the state and 6th at NHSCA Freshman Nationals.  Then you get into what should settle some questions about the top 160 pounders in Michigan: Dustin Gross, Layne Malczewski, Brian Case, River Shettler, Sam York, Austin O'Hearon, Tylor Orrison, and Zach Bellaire are all registered.  It should be exciting to see some of those matchups and how they shake out.

ELITE 171
The Favorite: Zac Braunagel (Illinois)
Defending GFC Champ Zac Braunagel is back here and is the clear-cut favorite at this weight.  He added to the GFC title by winning a state title last season.  He's a double Junior AA, Flonationals AA, UWW Cadet AA, and former NHSCA Sophomore Nationals Runner-Up.  Committed to Illinois, he should definitely be on track to win a second title this year.

The Contenders:
The entries in this weight beefed up a little bit over the course of this week and got considerably deeper than we initially thought.  Max Cosmides (Florida) is one guy who could get into the finals.  He was a State Runner-Up last season.  Gavin Morgan (Michigan) is another with a great resume, finishing 2nd as a freshman in D3.  He's one of the top sophomores in the state.  Ruston Robinson (Georgia) is the other state placer in the weight, as he was 5th in the state.  Daniel Rasmussen (Illinois), Joey Livingston (Michigan), Aidan Wagh (Michigan), Jacob Sklenar (Wisconsin), and Davin Simpson (Michigan) should all be in podium contention.

ELITE 189
The Favorite: Ryan Ringler (Michigan)
The Cedar Springs junior is the top seed at 189.  He's coming off a summer that saw him roll through the Cadet duals and then go on to become a double Cadet All-American at Fargo.  He's finished 3rd in the state twice at 171 the past two seasons.  Ringler is a physical as anyone and if his motor is ready to go he should be in good shape to make a run at a title.

The Contenders:
Ashton Eyler (Ohio) is a guy with a legitimate shot to win it all at this weight.  He's fresh off an IHPO title last month and was 3rd at the GFC last year.  Eyler was also 3rd in the state in Ohio last season.  Another returning GFC placer and all stater entered is Beau Yineman (Wisconsin).  Nick Benton (Florida) was 4th in the state at 170 last year as a freshman, so he's definitely another talented guy.  A pair of Michigan guys who finished 5th in D1 and D2, respectively, are Chris Hackney and Honour Kline.  Both are very tough and could make a deep run as well.

ELITE 215
The Favorite: Brandon Whitman (Michigan)
Back at the GFC after a year off, Whitman is primed to make a run at his fourth state title this year.  He's placed at just about every national tournament you can think of.  In fact, he's wrestling Friday night in Iowa against #5 Joel Shapiro of GA and then driving back to get more great matches in at the GFC.  Committed to North Carolina, he's the top overall senior in the state of Michigan.

The Contenders:
Expect two guys to battle it out to face Whitman in the finals.  One is Ben Goldin (Florida).  Goldin is a 2x State Champ, finished 2nd at the NHSCA Juniors, and 7th at the Ironman this past year.  He was 3rd at this tournament two years ago and is committed to Penn.  The other is Jared Ball (Ohio), who was a runner-up at last year's tourney and 3rd in the state.  He was also 3rd at the Ironman and 4th at Flonationals.  So if that match should happen, it'll be one of the best semifinals in the entire tournament.  Chase Gibson (Michigan) is the only other state placer currently registered.  Four other state qualifiers round out the seeded guys: Cameron Sauerwein (Ohio),  Adam Jones (Wisconsin), Jacob Stanbro (Florida), and Joe Nagle (Michigan).

ELITE 285
The Favorite: Curtis Ruff (Florida)
Rounding out the slew of Lake Highland Prep guys who are entered in this tournament is the big man Ruff.  Just a sophomore, he placed 3rd in the state last season as a freshman.  He also finished 2nd at the NHSCA Freshman Nationals.  He looks to have the edge on the others entered at this weight and is the top seed heading in.

The Contenders:
Every other wrestler currently entered is from Michigan.  Rounding out the top 4 seeds are Tyler Moore, Blake Coffell, and Emiliano Flores.  Moore was 4th in the state last year at 215.  Coffell and Flores were both 8th, in D2 and D3, respectively.  Also look for Trace Schirmers to break out as he's coming off an excellent summer.  Sophomores Tyler Delooff and Joe Harper are both talented guys who could make deep runs in the bracket as well.