In his second season with Team Georgia, rising Kennesaw Mountain junior Justan Rivera won his third All-America nod in the cadet division, following Greco-Roman and freestyle honors last year. He was the national runner-up at 182 pounds.
Rivera competed in the Greco-Roman style, as did all the male wrestlers in the competition. Female wrestlers competed in the freestyle format.
Rivera won six straight matches before getting a bye. He picked up a technical fall victory over Arizona wrestler Jeremiah Imonode and advanced to the final, where he lost via decision to Maryland’s Hunter Ritter. Rivera had split two matches with Ritter last month at the USAW Cadet National Duals in Daytona Beach, Fla.
“I went in there thinking (Ritter) wouldn’t remember my moves, but he obviously looked at them coming in,” Rivera said. “I’m disappointed a little bit that I didn’t win, but every one of these matches is a learning experience for me. I’m glad we were able to put on a good match for the people in the stadium.”
Jake Adcock, an offseason transfer to Pope after previously attending Carrollton, won his first All-America honor after a fifth-place showing at 138 pounds in the cadet division. He won his first seven matches, but after a bye, he lost two straight before collecting a technical fall over Oregon’s Hayden Bates in the fifth-place match.
Other Cobb County wrestlers competing for Team Georgia included Walton’s George Humphreys (heavyweight, cadet), Pope’s Tyler Haskin (126, junior) and Walton’s Jacob Murphy (138, junior). Recent Pope graduate Jake Henson went 5-2 in the 152-pound junior division.
Team Georgia’s Chance McClure captured his first national championship, going 9-0 to win the 195-pound junior division title by decision over California’s Jeremy Sweany.
McClure’s victory assured Team Georgia of claiming at least one national champion in either the Greco-Roman or freestyle divisions in back-to-back seasons. He’s also the team’s third national champion in four seasons.
Joining Rivera, Adcock and McClure as Greco-Roman All-Americans were Adam Flatt, Rodolfo Guillen, Taylor Lujan, Elijah Kerr-Brown, Matt Moody and Tyler Denova. Amy Hou and Emily Pinson took home women’s freestyle All-America honors.
The nine Greco-Roman All-Americans marked a record for Team Georgia. Including Hou and Pinson, the program’s total of 11 All-Americans has already tied its previous record, with the boys freestyle competition still to come.
“That’s just fantastic for us to come away with that many All-Americans this quickly into the competition,” said Team Georgia co-coach Mike Miller, also the coach at Life University. “We’re proving yet again that we’re catching up to those upper-echelon states, and we’ll just keep building.”
Among the cadets, Flatt was a national runner-up at 113 pounds, while Guillen placed seventh at 132. Lujan was fourth at 152 pounds and Kerr-Brown finished seventh at 160.
Earning All-America status in the junior division were Moody (runner-up, 145) and Denova (fourth, 195).
Hou became a four-time All-American following her runner-up finish at 105 pounds in the junior division. Pinson was runner-up in the 112-pound junior division.
Team Georgia scored 27 points and placed seventh of 30 teams in the cadet Greco-Roman competition, its best finish since placing fifth in 2010. It was 10th of 30 teams in the junior Greco-Roman division with 20 points.
Competition in Fargo will continue through Saturday with the junior and cadet freestyle championships. Cadet finals will be held Friday, followed by the junior finals Saturday.