Several local wrestlers shined recently at the summer’s biggest showcase, the USA Wrestling Junior and Cadet Nationals in Fargo, North Dakota. Centennial High rising junior Nathan Kraisser was runner-up in the 119-pound junior Greco division.

Kraisser, a two-time Maryland state public champion, garnered All-American status along with McDonogh School’s rising junior Kevin Marvel and St. Paul’s School’s Eric Friedman. Friedman, also a rising junior, finished sixth in the 119 junior freestyle while Marvel received All-American status in the 189 Cadet Greco-Roman and Freestyle.

Thirty-nine area performers were among a 65-man contingent representing Maryland at the event which attracted more than 3,000 competitors. Neil Adelberg of the Maryland State Wrestling Association, said it was a huge step for state wrestling.

“Our goal was to increase participation in the international style, the other goal was reducing the cost of the trip to Fargo,” said Adelberg, a former coach at Mount St. Joseph. “It used to cost about $1,400 per wrestler.”

Adelberger said the MSWA formed the “Quest for the Best,” where wrestlers earned points for their performance during the high school postseason which includes the state public, private schools and independent championships. Adelberger added the combination of donations to the MSWA and some cost-cutting helped lower the trip cost for Fargo hopefuls.

Before heading to the Midwest, the wrestlers trained at the University of Maryland, American, the Naval Academy and the Cary Kolat Wrestling facility in Cockeysville. Adelberg said the wrestlers were required to attend nine of the 14-day training program.   

“We had Olympic wrestlers, college coaches, national champions; we brought in the very best from all over the place to get ready,” Adelberg said. “Many of the states [at Nationals] were curious how we did it.”

The road to Fargo included qualifying tournaments held at Aberdeen, Mount St. Joseph, Frederick County’s Tuscarora, Huntingtown in southern Maryland, and Stephen Decatur on the eastern shore. Adelberg said the events introduce wrestlers to freestyle and Greco-Roman style, which is the standard worldwide except in America.

Greco-Roman, which prohibits holds below the waist, and freestyle, which allows any hold. Unlike high school and collegiate forum, which emphasize control, the Olympic disciplines award points based on explosive moves and risk.

Adleberg said the Maryland squad will benefit from the experience in the coming high school campaign.

“You’re training with some of the best people in the world, then you’re wrestling against many of the best in the country,” said Adleberg. “You have a tremendous experience and the improvement is going to be noticeable.”

The following is the list of the Baltimore-area wrestlers who competed at the USA Nationals

Logan Brietenbach, Archbishop Spalding: Cadet Greco-Roman & Freestyle 125

Brett Brigman, Archbishop Curley: Cadet Greco-Roman 152

Jordan Brigman, Archbishop Curley: Cadet Greco-Roman & Freestyle 130

Jeremy Byrd, Annapolis: Junior Greco-Roman & Freestyle 152

Brandon Burndley, Winters Mill: Cadet Freestyle 215

Connor Clayton, St. Paul’s: Junior Greco-Roman & Freestyle 130

Mark Colabucci, Reservoir: Junior Greco-Roman & Freestyle 152

Gunner Cullison, Winters Mill: Cadet Greco-Roman & Freestyle 130

Alex Do Quang, Oakland Mills: Junior Greco-Roman & Freestyle 160

Anthony Farace, Oakland Mills: Cadet Greco-Roman & Freestyle 119

Eric Freidman, St. Paul’s School: Junior Greco-Roman & Freestyle 119

Jerry Fumba, Oakland Mills: Junior Greco-Roman & Freestyle 140

Daniel Gallagher, Spalding: Junior Greco-Roman & Freestyle 112

Joseph Galli, St. Paul’s: Junior Freestyle 135

Cole Graves, Spalding: Cadet Greco-Roman & Freestyle 130

Michael Green, St. Paul’s: Junior Greco-Roman 189 & Freestyle 215

Collins Harrell, Broadneck: Cadet Greco-Roman 105 & Freestyle 112

Alvin Harris, Wilde Lake: Junior Greco-Roman & Freestyle 171

Zachary Hensley, Oakland Mills: Cadet Greco-Roman & Freestyle 98

Andrew Hollern, Parkville: Junior Greco-Roman & Freestyle 152

Kevin Johnson, Mount St. Joseph: Cadet Freestyle 130

Nathan Kraisser, Centennial: Junior Greco-Roman & Freestyle 119

Taylor Logue, Winters Mill: Cadet Freestyle 112

Daniel Maltsev, McDonogh School: Cadet Greco-Roman & Freestyle 189

Kevin Marvel, McDonogh: Cadet Greco-Roman & Freestyle 189

Brady Massaro, Mount St. Joseph: Junior Greco-Roman 145 & Freestyle 140

Bradley Mutchnik, St. Paul’s: Junior Greco-Roman 145

Zathy Ndiang, Wilde Lake: Junior Greco-Roman & Freestyle 189

Vincent Perez, Spalding: Cadet Greco-Roman & Freestyle 119

Alex Polonsky, Wilde Lake: Cadet Greco-Roman & Freestyle 112

Alexander Rice, Chesapeake-AA: Junior Greco-Roman & Freestyle 130

Tyler Rill, Mount St. Joseph: Junior Greco-Roman & Freestyle 160

Seth Rowell, Reservoir: Cadet Greco-Roman & Freestyle 125

Daniel Salmon, Mount St. Joseph: Cadet Greco-Roman & Freestyle 152

Nicholas Skudrna, St. Paul’s: Junior Greco-Roman 145 & Freestyle 160

Stephen Smith, Francis Scott Key: Junior Greco-Roman & Freestyle 119

William Switzer, Spalding: Junior Greco-Roman & Freestyle 140