Brandon Metz wasn’t happy with the way he wrestled the Freestyle final against Illinois wrestler Anthony Cassioppi. Metz felt he allowed Cassioppi to control the pace of the match and that that ultimately led to Metz’s 4-1 loss. Metz vowed not to let that happen in the Greco final.
“You’re gonna see a different Brandon Metz win or lose,” Metz told NDwrestle prior to the Greco finals. “I’m coming at him hard and with constant pressure tomorrow.”
That Metz did, and for 5:57 of a 6:00 minute match it looked like it would be enough to upend the Iowa recruit Cassioppi. From wire to wire Metz pushed the action and held his ground. In the first scoring exchange of the bout, Metz attempted a throw that was stopped for two Cassioppi points, but Metz also scored a point when Cassioppi stepped out of the ring in the post throw flurry.
That 2-1 score held until Metz attempted a correct throw arm throw that and was awarded two points. Though Cassioppi didn’t expose his back, the referees felt Metz took enough action to warrant a two point move and thus a 3-2 lead into the period break.
The second period was all a battle for position, with neither wrestler taking any major risks. Metz was given an attention for passivity with :30 second remaining on the clock, but the NDSU signee still held a one point advantage with short time remaining. Needing a hail mary, Cassioppi attempted a lateral drop with :03 seconds on the clock that knocked Metz off balance. The judges ruled that the throw warranted a correct throw for Cassioppi, and the Illinois wrestler was awarded the two points he needed for victory. The North Dakota coaches corner attempted to challenge the call, but it was upheld as Metz stood by in utter disbelief.
Cassioppi was awarded the Junior Outstanding Wrestler award for the tournament, as it capped a USA Wrestling triple crown. Metz ends his North Dakota prep career with seven Fargo All American finishes and one Cadet and Junior Greco national championship.
In the 138 pound third place match, Bismarck Century graduate Mason Schulz did something he hadn’t done throughout the entire tournament; he ground out a positional battle for a six minute victory. Schulz was solid all the way through and defeated Oregon’s Aristotle Rockwell by 7-3 decision. Schulz’s run to third place finish in a deep weight class filled with Greco-Roman talent is a testament to the talent the MSU-Moorhead signee possesses when at the top of his game.