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SBLive Sports National High School Wrestling Rankings (1/19/2023)

Escape the Rock Tournament plays havoc; national competitions now giving way to state events

As we reach the halfway mark of the high school wrestling season for most, a lot of the big national tournaments are wrapping up and states are beginning to focus more on their local action.

There was a big one in Pennsylvania, Escape the Rock, that played havoc with the rankings. A lot of the other events were more region based.

At 106, Ayden Smith (Notre Dame, PA) upset Tyler DeKraker (Blair Academy, NJ) in the finals in the ultimate tie-breaker period of overtime. California had a couple of tournaments that impacted the rankings. The Temecula Valley Battle for the Belt was one of those. In the 106lb finals, unranked Griffin Rial (Pine Creek, CO) edged No. 20 Abram Cline (Granite Hills, CA), 3-2. Rial was a runner-up to Devon Harrison (Liberty, MO) at the KC Stampede, proving he’s legit.

No. 5 Leo DeLuca (Blair Academy) lost to Lukas Littleton Mascaro (Malvern Prep, PA) at 113 at Escape. Littleton Mascaro is Malvern’s backup to No. 6 Anthony Mutarelli, so Mutarelli moves ahead of DeLuca.

Malvern Prep’s No. 17 Tommy Link (120) lost to two unranked foes at Escape, Max Elton (Holy Spirit, NJ) and Mason Ziegler (Quakertown, PA). Elton owns a win over No. 23 Santino Rodriguez (Don Bosco, NJ) from the Beast of the East. We moved Elton and Ziegler ahead of Link, while Kellen Wolbert (Oconomowoc, WI), Ben Bast (West Bend West, WI), and Jackson Blum (Lowell, MI) moved ahead of that whole pack. Gauge Botero (Faith Christian Academy, PA) was second at Escape with a win over Ziegler. Botero also owns a win over Elton at the Beast.

No. 16 Nik O’Neill (Malvern Prep) pinning No. 2 Dillon Campbell (Legacy Christian, OH) in the Escape semis created a shift at 126. Vincent Robinson (Homewood Flossmor, IL) recently dropped from 132 and he moves ahead of Campbell based on his PowerAde title at 132, plus being fourth at Ironman at 132 compared to Campbell’s third at 126.

Campbell doesn’t tumble far because he has wins over the wrestlers directly behind him at Ironman Max Gallagher (Blue Point, NY) and Mason Gibson (Bishop McCort, PA). O'Neill on the other hand, is holding some losses from Ironman that kept him from ascending ahead of Campbell.

At New York’s Southern Tier Memorial, No. 15 Elijah Rivera (Lake Highland Prep, FL) won the crown over Jaden Pepe (Wyoming Area, PA). Pepe was ranked No. 18 at 132, now No. 16 at 138. At Escape, No. 5 Kollin Rath (Behlehem Catholic, PA) held serve with a 3-1 win over No. 12 Pierson Manville (State College, PA). The rest of the ranked field at Escape fell into chaos. No. 17 Alessandro Nini (Christian Brothers, NJ) avenged a loss to No. 16 Spencer Barnhart (Malvern Prep) from an earlier dual meet. Barnhart did not place at Escape losing to unranked Bryson Vaughn (Notre Dame). Gabriel Bouyssou (Scituate, PA) joins the party this week with his win over Vaughn at Escape.

The Escape quarter finals proved unfriendly for two guys favored at 144lbs. No. 9 Collin Gaj (Quakertown) downed No. 7 Sam Cartella (Western Reserve, OH) and No. 20 Julian George (Christian Brothers) took out No. 12 Vince Bouzakis (Notre Dame). Gaj would defeat George for the crown, while Bouzakis fell one more time to No. 17 Collin Dupill (Greeneville, TN) and took fifth.