USA TODAY High School Sports is proud to announce its inaugural American Family Insurance ALL-USA high school wrestling team. This team was compiled by Jason Bryant of TheOpenMat.com.
WRESTLER OF THE YEAR:
Chance Marsteller, Senior, Kennard-Dale High School, Fawn Grove, Pa., 170 pounds
When Chance Marsteller was an eighth-grader, he made a decision that had a hand in changing the landscape of college wrestling.
Yes, college wrestling.
Marsteller entered the Nittany Lion Open held at Penn State in December of 2009 at 125 pounds. Considered a phenom in the mold of his then-club coach Cary Kolat, Marsteller won a match against a college competitor – a full year before he’d step onto the high school mats.
Marsteller wouldn’t have a chance to compete in college opens as a high schooler at South Central, Pa.’s Kennard-Dale High School, as the NCAA changed the rules concerning open tournaments, which essentially excluded high school wrestlers from entering. He probably could have won a few more times.
Marsteller capped his career with a fourth PIAA AAA state championship in March, beating Pittsburgh Central Catholic’s Kyle Coniker 14-2 to finish 166-0.
Marsteller became only the third wrestler in state history to claim four state championships and finish his high school career unbeaten.
Lock Haven High’s Michael Johnson was the first to accomplish the feat, winning titles from 1958 to 1961, but the Keystone State wouldn’t see another until the aforementioned Kolat would claim titles from 1989 to 1992 for Jefferson-Morgan. Johnson was an eventual NCAA runner-up while attending Pittsburgh, while Kolat was a four-time NCAA Division I All-American and two-time NCAA champion.
Marsteller wasn’t just good, he was dominant. He won regional championships in a rugged District III. After initially committing to Penn State, he changed his commitment to another national power, Oklahoma State, in November.
Marsteller has Olympic aspirations and while he couldn’t have gone wrong with Olympic champion Cael Sanderson as his coach at Penn State, he’ll have another coach with a notable pedigree training him at Oklahoma State: six-time World and Olympic champion John Smith.
Marsteller twice won the monstrous Super 32 tournament held every October in Greensboro, N.C., and in 2011, he won championships in freestyle and Greco-Roman at the USA Wrestling Cadet Nationals in Fargo, N.D.
During Marsteller’s march to a fourth state title, his closest match was the 14-2 final. He opened up with a first-period fall over Dallas’ Connor Martinez, then had back-to-back technical falls over Downingtown West’s Gabe Hale and Chartiers Valley’s Noah Wilps. As a junior at 160 pounds, his closest state tournament matches were 12-point wins over future Division I signees Zack Zavatsky of Greater Latrobe and Garrett Peppelman of Central Dauphin.
Earlier in the 2011-12 season, Marsteller topped returning 170-pound champion Cody Wiercioch of Canon-McMillan in an overtime tiebreaker to win the Powerade Tournament in Western Pennsylvania, one of the toughest holiday events in the nation.
In two of Marsteller’s four PIAA state championships, he defeated previous state champions — Peppelman and Brian Brill, who went on to wrestle at Lehigh.
Marsteller represented the United States at the Cadet World Championships in the summer of 2012 in Baku, Azerbaijan. Marsteller was injured in the semifinals against Ukraine’s Ruslan Ruchko and could not continue, finishing in fifth place. Marsteller’s build and strength, even at a young age, made him a formidable foe for even the most seasoned upperclassmen.
As Marsteller took the mats for his senior season, no one came close.
COACH OF THE YEAR:
Scott Legacy, Mount Anthony Union High School, Bennington, Vt.
While the state of Vermont isn’t widely known for producing a wealth of wrestling talent, there’s one school in the town of Bennington (pop. 15,764) that’s synonymous with winning. Mount Anthony Union won its 26th straight Vermont state championship this past season and the architect was the USA Today High School Sports Coach of the Year, Scott Legacy. He’s led 158 individuals to state championships. Among those champions is Rachel Hale, the first female to win two state championships against the boys. Legacy currently has six MAU alums wrestling across the mats in the various collegiate divisions. Legacy’s dual meet record at MAU is an amazing 622-35-2.
ALL-USA WRESTLING FIRST TEAM
Yianni Diakomihalis, Freshman, Hilton (N.Y.)
One of a handful of states that allow wrestlers to compete on varsity prior to ninth grade, Diakomihalis won his second New York State championship this year at 106 pounds. He won the Super 32 championship in the fall and recently won the FloNationals championship. He finished 43-0 during the regular season.
Spencer Lee, Freshman, Franklin Regional, Murrysville, Pa.
Going 45-0, Lee helped lead Franklin Regional to its first PIAA AAA state team title. Lee cruised to the championship bout with two technical falls and one pin and then beat General McLane’s Joe Wheeling 15-5 in the title bout.
Nick Piccininni, Junior, Ward Melville, East Setauket, N.Y.
Piccininni won this third Division I New York State championship this past season, finishing 45-0. He capped off his season by defeating Pennsylvania state champion Luke Pletcher of Greater Latrobe in the FloNationals.
Stevan Micic, Senior, Hanover Central, Cedar Lake, Ind.
A multiple-time All-American in freestyle and Greco-Roman, Micic capped his high school career with a third high school state championship in one-class Indiana. Micic finished 42-0 and has signed with Northwestern.
Zahid Valencia, Junior, St. John Bosco, Bellflower, Calif.
A two-time California state champion, Valencia capped his junior season 29-0 and is nearing history. In December, Valencia won the nation’s top in-season high school tournament, the Walsh Ironman, for a third time. Only one wrestler in history has won the Ironman four times, and that’s recent Penn State two-time NCAA champion David Taylor.
Joey McKenna, Senior, Blair Academy, Blairstown, N.J.
Injuries prevented McKenna from winning a fourth National Prep Championship for national powerhouse Blair Academy, but McKenna twice won the Beast of the East in Delaware, and won the Walsh Ironman in December. He was a member of the 2012 U.S. Cadet World Team. Signed with Stanford.
Micah Jordan, Senior, Graham, St. Paris, Ohio
A member of the legendary Jordan wrestling family in Ohio, Micah Jordan capped his career as a four-time state champion for Graham High School. Became the fourth member of the Jordan family to win four state titles, joining his brother Bo, his father and coach Jeff, and his uncle Jim, a U.S. congressman. Signed with Ohio State.
Bryce Brill, Senior, Mt. Carmel, Chicago
Along with Stevan Micic and 182-pound first-teamer Johnny Sebastian, Brill is one of three first-teamers who have signed with Northwestern. Brill is a three-time AAA state champion and is also a USA Wrestling Junior Freestyle National Champion. Did not give up a single offensive point all season. Signed with Northwestern.
Dylan Milonas, Senior, Blair Academy, Blairstown, N.J.
Milonas went undefeated and won the National Prep Championship, Walsh Ironman and a second Beast of the East Championship. Signed with Lehigh.
Chance Marsteller, Senior, Kennard-Dale, Fawn Grove, Pa.
Marsteller is the 2014 American Family Insurance ALL-USA Wrestler of the Year. (See full story above).
Johnny Sebastian, Senior, Bergen Catholic, Oradell, N.J.
Sebastian took one loss this season, finishing 34-1 and ending his career as a three-time state champion in one-class New Jersey. He won the Beast of the East in December of 2013 and claimed the FloNationals title after his junior season. Signed with Northwestern.
Lance Benick, Junior, Totino-Grace, Fridley, Minn.
A member of the U.S. Cadet World Team in 2013, Benick won his third AA state championship in Minnesota in dominating fashion, finishing 48-0. He had two falls and two technical falls en route to the championship. He bumped up to 220 pounds in January and defeated third-teamer Jeramy Sweany of Vacaville, Calif.
Roy Nash, Senior, Taylorsville (Utah)
Nash finished 31-0 and capped his career as a two-time 5A state champion in Utah. Nash has twice won both freestyle and Greco-Roman national titles in Fargo and last season, was the 2013 FILA Cadet National Champion, earning a spot on the U.S. World Team. Signed with Utah Valley.
Nick Nevills, Senior, Clovis (Calif.)
Nevills became the first three-time heavyweight in California history and finished his career with a 200-5 record and 146 career falls. He helped lead Clovis to a fourth straight CIF state team championship, and his only blemish at the state tournament was a third-place finish as a sophomore. Ended career with 105 straight wins. Signed with Penn State.
ALL-USA WRESTLING SECOND TEAM
Devin Brown, Senior, Franklin Regional, Murrysville, Pa.
Brown finished 37-0 and won his second PIAA AAA state championship, defeating Northampton’s Dan Moran 7-6 in the finals.
Nick Suriano, Sophomore, Bergen Catholic, Oradell, N.J.
Suriano finished 41-0 and won his second New Jersey state championship, defeating Patrick D’Arcy of Holy Spirit 7-0 in the finals.
Luke Pletcher, Sophomore, Greater Latrobe, Latrobe, Pa.
Pletcher finished the regular season 39-0 and won his second PIAA AAA state championship, defeating Pennridge’s Scotty Parker 3-1 in overtime to win the championship.
Ke-Shawn Hayes, Junior, Park Hill, Kansas City, Mo.
Hayes went 49-0 and won his second Missouri Class 4 state championship. Won the Walsh Ironman and Kansas City Stampede.
Fredy Stroker, Junior, Bettendorf (Iowa)
Stroker won his second Iowa 3A state championship, capping a 48-0 season by defeating Valley’s Jake Koethe 3-1 in the championship final.
Vincenzo Joseph, Junior, Pittsburgh Central Catholic, Pittsburgh
Joseph had a breakout season: He finished 40-3 and pinned third-teamer Mike Kemerer of Franklin Regional in overtime to win the PIAA AAA championship.
Jason Nolf, Senior, Kittanning (Pa.)
Nolf finished 44-0 and won his third PIAA AA state championship, picking up three falls in four matches. Pinned previously unbeaten Billy Barnes of Williamson in the finals in the first period. Signed with Penn State.
Jacob Danishek, Dayton Christian, Miamisburg, Ohio
Danishek won his fourth Ohio Division II state championship with a 43-0 record. Signed with Indiana.
Garrett Peppelman, Senior, Central Dauphin, Harrisburg, Pa.
Peppelman went 46-1 and won his second PIAA AAA state championship. Only loss this season came at 170 pounds. Will become the fourth Peppelman brother to wrestle Division I, as he signed with Virginia.
Bo Nickal, Senior, Allen (Texas)
Nickal went 43-0 and won his third UIL 5A state championship by pinning three of his four opponents. Won the Walsh Ironman. Signed with Penn State.
Ryan Christensen, Senior, Woodinville (Wash.)
Christensen became Woodinville’s first two-time state champion after winning the 4A state championship. Finished 37-0 this season and ended with a 121-2 career record. Signed with Wisconsin.
Michael Pixley, Senior, Blue Springs (Mo.)
Pixley finished 43-1 and captured his second state championship. Suffered only loss in finals of Kansas City Stampede to fellow second-teamer Bo Nickal at 182 pounds. Signed with Illinois.
Bryan Dobzanski, Senior, Delsea Regional, Franklinville, N.J.
Dobzanski finished his high school wrestling career with 89 straight victories and two New Jersey state championships. Won 32 of his 41 matches this past season by fall. Signed with Louisville to play baseball.
Sam Stoll, Senior, Kasson-Mantorville, Kasson, Minn.
A Junior Greco-Roman world bronze medalist last summer, Stoll ended his career with a national record 63 straight pins and two Minnesota 3A state championships. Won his last 99 matches in a row. Signed with Iowa.
ALL-USA WRESTLING THIRD TEAM
106: Ty Agaisse, Sophomore, Delbarton, Morristown, N.J.
113: Daton Fix, Freshman, Sand Springs (Okla.)
120: Sean Russell, Senior, Collins Hill (Ga.)
126: Tommy Thorn, Senior, St. Michael-Albertville, St. Michael, Minn.
132: Josh Alber, Senior, Dakota (Ill.)
138: Mike Kemerer, Junior, Franklin Regional, Murrysville, Pa.
145: Alfred Bannister, Senior, Bishop McNamara, Forestville, Md.
152: Mason Manville, Sophomore, Blair Academy, Blairstown, N.J.
160: Ryan Blees, Senior, Bismarck, Bismarck, N.D.
170: Anthony Valencia, Junior, St. John Bosco, Bellflower, Calif.
182: Nick Fiegener, Senior, Folsom (Calif.)
195: Chip Ness, Senior, Buford (Ga.)
220: Jeramy Sweany, Senior, Vacaville (Calif.)
285: Thomas Haines, Senior, Solanco (Pa.)