It was a good day for Fargo area wrestling. Two of West Fargo’s finest; graduated senior Brandon Metz and incoming senior Jared Franek, both who will attend NDSU at the college level, have gone through two days of freestyle competition unblemished and will wrestle for Junior Freestyle national titles tomorrow afternoon at the Fargdome.
Franek has been a one man wrecking crew thus far, scoring three technical falls and a pin before upending Illinois grappler Markus Hartman 7-3 in the semifinals. That match was nip and tuck though one period, but Franek opened things up with a beautiful four point fireman’s carry followed by a gut wrench for two more. Franek also defeated Hartman in the Cadet national finals last season.
Metz has had tight matches throughout, but he hasn’t really been in serious danger either. Metz ground out victories in his two bouts of the day, starting with a 4-2 decision over Kentucky’s Brandon Reed in the round of 16. In the quarterfinals, Metz earned a 5-1 victory over Ohio’s Jon Spaulding with a text book Metzmode throw for four in the final minute of a tied match. Metz then scored a quick 10-0 technical fall over Zach Mueller of Illinois that finished with a roar of excitement from the soon to be Bison.
Franek and Metz are very familiar with their finals opponents, both of whom hail from Illinois. Franek will wrestle Will Lewan, who currently ranks third in the nation at 152 pounds and defeated Franek 4-1 at UWW Cadet nationals in Akron last month. In that match, Lewan scored an early four point firemans to take a 4-0 lead, and held off a myriad of Franek’s best attacks for the remainder of the match. Lewan has some of the best single leg defense in the country. Metz will get another chance at Anthony Cassioppi, who defeated him at UWW Junior Freestyle Nationals by dominating 13-2 decision. Not many in America have had a better spring and summer than Cassioppi, who was recently named the outstanding wrestler at Junior Pan Ams and has verbally committed to the University of Iowa.