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MCDONALD'S GAME OF THE WEEK (Wrestling): U.S Marine Corps Junior and 16U Nationals
Fennimore five competes at Fargo Nationals
Fennimore Wrestlers
Top left: Fennimore's Ian Crapp (126 pounds, Greco-Roman), top right, from left: Evan Gratz (285, Greco and Freestyle), Wyatt Miles (220 Greco and Freestyle), Brecken Muench (126 Freestyle), and bottom left: Amryn Nutter (112, Greco) each competed at the U.S. Marine Corps Junior and 16U Nationals at the Fargodome in Fargo, N.D. July 18–23.


By Jason Nihles, The Fennimore Times

FARGO, N.D. — Five members of the Fennimore High School wrestling team competed at the U.S Marine Corps Junior and 16U Nationals at the Fargodome July 18–23.

In order to participate at Nationals, wrestlers had qualify to represent their respective states this summer.

Fennimore’s Evan Gratz (285 pounds), Wyatt Miles (220) and Brecken Muench (126) earned spots on Team Wisconsin’s U16 freestyle nationals team.

Gratz (285) and Miles (220), along with Ian Crapp (120) and Amryn Nutter (112) earned spots on Wisconsin’s U16 Greco-Roman national team.

The goal for the athletes is to finish in the Top-8 to earn coveted All-American Status that requires the athletes to go through a gauntlet of the nation’s best wrestlers in both Freestyle and Greco–Roman representing all 50 states.  

Fennimore had five athletes participate with a few just missing out on a top-8 placement.  

Nutter finished 4–2 at 113 pounds in the U16 greco tournament, while Gratz went 2–2 at 285 pounds, and both Crapp (120) and Miles (220) finished 1–2.

Gratz also went 4–2 at 285 pounds in the freestyle nationals tournament, while Muench finished 3–2 at 126 pounds in the freestyle tournament and Miles (220) went 2–2.

Gratz, who was a 16U state champion earlier this summer in both greco and freestyle also participated earlier this year on the Wisconsin National Dual Team, where he went 5–1 in freestyle and 3–2 in Greco-Roman in the national duals.

Team Wisconsin finished fifth in the 16U Men’s Freestyle division and fourth in the Junior Mens’ Freestyle division.

Team Wisconson placed third in the 16U Men’s Greco–Roman final standings and third in the Junior Men’s Greco–Roman team standings.

Last year’s Junior and 16U Nationals event was cancelled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but more than 6,200 wrestlers were expected to shattered participation records at this year’s event.

This is a year of celebration, as the 50th Junior Nationals will be held in Fargo in 2021. This would have occurred last year if the pandemic had not stopped the event. 

The first Junior Nationals was held in 1971 in Iowa City, Iowa, with only a men’s freestyle division, and was held 49 straight years prior to last year.

The Junior Nationals were held in Iowa City for 12 years (1971–83), Cedar Falls, Iowa for eight years (1984–90), Warrensburg, Mo. for one year (1991), St. Paul, Minn. for one year (1992) and Fargo, N.D. for 27 years (1993–2019). This will be the 28th year that Fargo has hosted this event.

As part of the celebration of the 50th anniversary of Junior Nationals, a number of the champions from the first Junior Nationals in 1971 will be honored guests at the competition.