Smith, Hofrichter, Hagerty Compete At 2022 USA Wrestling Northern Plains Regionals
FOR THE ANTIGO TIMES
A trio of Antigo Wrestling Club members competed last weekend at the 2022 USA Wrestling Northern Plains Regionals, a qualifying event for the US Marine Corps 16U and Junior Nationals to be held in Fargo, North Dakota in July. The Northern Plains Regionals has fierce competition from some of the best wrestlers in the Midwest.
Leading the charge for Antigo was Samson Smith, an 8th grader who competed in brackets full of high schoolers, and was able to double qualify for Nationals, placing 6th in Freestyle and 2nd in Greco.
Also qualifying for nationals was Alexandra Hofrichter, placing 3rd in Freestyle.
Competing in Greco, Robert Hagerty was able to pick up a victory.
Action started on Saturday in Freestyle. Samson Smith, competing at 182 pounds in the 16U division, had a first-round matchup with Simon Schulte of Illinois. Schulte took 5th at youth state at 188 pounds in Illinois this past year. Schulte was able to get on the board first, earning a pushout point 11 seconds into the match. Schulte would then add a takedown to increase his lead to 3-0 30 seconds into the match. At this point, Smith would take over. Smith started with a takedown at the 46 seconds mark to cut the lead to 3-2. Back on the feet, Smith would hit a lateral drop for a takedown with exposure for 4 points with 49 seconds remaining, increasing Smith’s lead to 6-3. Smith would hit another throw from an overhook position with 18 seconds remaining in the period, and finished the match by pinfall at the 1:48 mark.
The victory advanced Smith to the quarterfinals, where he met Riley Pearce of Minnesota. Pearce qualified for the Minnesota high school state tournament this year as a sophomore.
Smith was able to score first, earning a pushout point 5 seconds into the match. Pearce used an underhook and a trip to earn a takedown 14 seconds into the match, and then turned Smith using a gut wrench three times to take an 8-1 lead. Smith was able to earn a reversal with exposure for 2 points, and then Pearce earned a reversal without exposure for a point. Pearce would add another gutwrench to take an 11-3 lead 48 seconds into the match.
Back on the feet, Pearce was able to use an underhook to take the action to the mat with a far ankle trip, but Smith was able to keep control of the overhook to prevent the takedown. Pearce was able to create exposure for 2 points, but Smith was able to earn a reversal with exposure, and put Pearce on his back for good, with Smith earning the pinfall victory at 1:29 of the first round. There was an insane amount of action in only a 90 second match.
The victory earned a spot in the semifinals for Smith, where he matched up with one of the best wrestlers in the nation. Aeoden Sinclair, also of Wisconsin, is currently the 5th ranked wrestler in the nation at 182 pounds for high school. Sinclair won the WIAA state tournament this year at 170 pounds, and also won the Freestyle state tournament at 192 pounds. He finished 2nd at the National high school boys Folkstyle championships in April. He was also a Greco and Freestyle state champion in 2021.
Smith, knowing he had nothing to lose, went after Sinclair, attempting a double overhook throw to start the match. Sinclair was able to counter, earning 4 points, and added a pushout point to go up 5-0.
Sinclair was able to score a takedown with a snap down, and added a pair of gut wrench turns to win by technical fall 11-0.
Smith faced Maddux Randall, a sophomore that qualified for sectionals from Illinois, in his next match. Randall was able to score first, using a takedown with exposure for the first 4 points. Smith was then able to add a takedown of his own, cutting the lead to 4-2.
Back on the feet, Randal was able to secure another takedown, this time earning the fall at 1:23.
The loss set up a rematch with Riley Pearce for 5th place. Smith was able to score first, using double overhooks to counter a body lock attempt, and throwing Pearce for 4 points 24 seconds into the match.
Pearce would then use an underhook to set up a body lock for a 4-point throw, and then added a pair of high gut wrenches to take an 8-4 lead. Pearce would use another underhook and far leg block for a 4-point takedown, and then added a final turn to earn a 14-4 technical fall victory at 1:24.
Smith was able to qualify for nationals with the top 6 finish, and did very well considering he is an 8th grader competing in a bracket mostly filled with quality high school wrestlers.
On Sunday, Smith competed in Greco. His first match was against Hunter Eastin of Illinois, a high school athlete that took 2nd at state in Greco and 3rd in state in Freestyle in Illinois.
Smith immediately was able to secure an over/under position, and tossed Eastin to his back, earning the pinfall victory in only 18 seconds.
Smith’s next opponent was Tellyer Alix of Wisconsin. Alix was a sectional qualifier as a high school wrestler this year. Smith once again went out aggressive, using double overhooks to set up a 4-point throw 9 seconds into the match. Alix was able to score a reversal with exposure to cut the lead to 4-2.
35 seconds into the match, Smith scored on another double overhook toss, increasing his lead to 8-2. Alix would counter with a headlock attempt by Smith for a takedown at the one-minute mark.
Smith would get back to his feet, lock up over/under position, and lateral Alix to his back, earning the 12-4 technical fall.
In the finals, Smith faced Cittadino Tuttle of Minnesota. Tuttle was a double state champion in Minnesota, winning both the Greco and Freestyle state tournaments. Tuttle also placed 2nd the day before in Freestyle.
Tuttle used double underhooks to get to a body lock and earned 4 points 15 seconds into the match. Tuttle would then add a gut wrench to increase his lead to 6-0.
Back on the feet, Smith was able to lock up an overhook, but Tuttle was able to regain position and step into a hip toss, earning the victory by pinfall at 1:07.
Also competing in Freestyle on Saturday was Alexandra Hofrichter. Hofrichter has been traveling the nation competing in the US Open, Women’s Nationals, and also this event over a 15-day period. After a first-round bye, Hofrichter was matched up with Skylar Slade of Iowa. Slade is currently an honorable mention in the national rankings at 152 pounds.
The battle of nationally ranked athletes started with Slade using a collar tie, while Hofrichter attempted to convert it to a Russian arm lock. Each athlete was able to counter the attempts of the other, until Slade, 80 seconds into the match, was able to score a takedown off of a front headlock attempt. Slade would add 2 points using a high gut to take a 4-0 lead.
Slade would use an underhook to secure a takedown at the two-minute mark, increasing her lead to 6-0. A shot attempt by Hofrichter was countered by Slade, who was able to secure the takedown after a scramble with 23 seconds remaining in the period. Hofrichter was able to score on a reversal without exposure at the end of the period, leading to an 8-1 lead for Slade at the break.
Slade was able to score first in the second period, using an underhook to set up a near side leg trip for the takedown.
Hofrichter was able to start getting her offense going at the midpoint of the second round, using an over/under body lock to set up a lateral for 4 points and cutting the lead to 10-5.
Slade used a slide by to secure another takedown with a minute remaining in the match, before Hofrichter was able to hit another overhook throw for 4, and added another 2 points for Slade fleeing the mat.
Training 12-11 with 15 seconds remaining, Hofrichter went for a side headlock in hopes of exposure, but Slade was able to counter and earn a reversal with exposure, leading to a 14-11 victory for Slade.
Slade would win the tournament with a 16 second pinfall and a 38 second technical fall in her other matches.
The loss sent Hofrichter to the consolation semifinals, where she faced Kyleigh James of Iowa. Hofrichter was able to dominate the match, scoring on a front headlock roll through 47 seconds into the match, adding a turn with leg riding shortly thereafter, and adding a duck under with 20 seconds remaining to take a 6-0 lead into the break.
Once the second round started, Hofrichter scored a takedown with a double leg, and in the ensuing scrambled pinned her opponent in 2:51.
In the third-place match, Hofrichter matched up with Valeria Rodriguez of Illinois. Hofrichter shot in on a double leg attempt 30 seconds into the match, and was able to earn the takedown in the scramble that followed for the initial 2-0 lead. Hofrichter would then hit a hip bump with a whizzer for a 4-point takedown. In the throw, Rodriguez would come down hard on her elbow and injury default the match at 1:21.
With the third-place finish, Hofrichter qualifies for Fargo Nationals in July.
Competing on Sunday in Greco was Robert Hagerty. In the round of 16, Hagerty faced Ty Halverson of Iowa. Hagerty was able to use an over/under body lock for a 4-point throw 20 seconds into the match. Hagerty would end the match 12 seconds later, executing an armspin for another 4-point throw and earning the 8-0 technical fall in 32 seconds.
In the quarterfinals, Hagerty faced Joseph Olalde of Illinois. Olalde was able to start the scoring 25 seconds into the match, spinning around Hagerty off of a counter to a Russian arm lock. Olalde would add another takedown at the 39 second mark, counter a Hagerty head throw attempt. Olalde would secure a gut wrench to increase his lead to 6-0.
Back on the feet, Olalde was able to counter an armspin attempt by Hagerty to earn a takedown, and the technical fall victory.
In the consolations, Hagerty faced Tyler Haydon of River Falls, Wisconsin. Haydon was a D1 WIAA state qualifier this year, and took 2nd at Greco state last week.
Hagerty was able to get on the scoreboard first, as Haydon was penalized for passivity at the 36 second mark. Haydon would tie the match at 1 with 27 seconds remaining in the period, using an underhook to drive Hagerty out of bounds for a pushout point. The wrestlers entered the break tied at 1.
In the second period, Haydon was able to once again use an underhook to drive Hagerty out of bounds and earn a push out point 26 seconds into the period.
At the midpoint of the second period, Hagerty was warned for passivity. Haydon was then able to score with a high gut wrench, increasing his lead to 5-1.
Haydon would add another push out point with 10 seconds remaining. Hagerty went for a headthrow, but Haydon was able to counter with a belly to back suplex, earning Haydon the technical fall victory as time expired.
Up next for Smith and Hofrichter will be the National Duals, where each of them will be representing Team Wisconsin in a dual meet tournament. Those events will be held in June.
The Antigo Wrestling Club is proud to have once again qualified multiple athletes for the national tournament, and are thankful of all of the local sponsors that help make this organization possible.