With the major preseason tournaments all but done, and official scholastic season practices either having started already or about to start, it is now time for the presentation of the preseason national high school weight class rankings. The top-20 wrestlers in each weight class are recognized, with the most elite wrestler named as the No. 1 wrestler in the country.
Below are profiles on each of the 14 preseason top-ranked wrestlers.
106 pounds: Richard Figueroa (Selma, Calif.)
The sophomore won the single-class California state title in this weight class as a freshman, with his lone blemish coming in a Walsh Ironman semifinal loss to end of season number one Jacob Decatur. During the spring/summer period, Figueroa won the UWW Cadet Nationals in freestyle at 48 kilos and would go on to earn world silver at that weight class. Then at the end of last month, he won the Super 32 Challenge up at 113 pounds, one year after earning runner-up honors in that tournament at 106.
113 pounds: Jacob Decatur (CVCA, Ohio)
In eighty matches over the last two seasons, Decatur has amassed a record of 78-2 on the way to winning two state titles. The two losses came in December of 2016 by 3-2 scores (one of which was in the ultimate tiebreaker) to 2017 Cadet World freestyle team member Julian Tagg. Decatur has razor tight defense that precludes almost all opponents from scoring offensive points, and during the 2017-18 season won multiple tournaments at 106 and 113, including the Walsh Ironman at 106.
120 pounds: Eric Barnett (Hortonville, Wis.)
The senior University of Wisconsin verbal commit is 91-0 on the way to state titles the last two high school seasons, with his most recent of three high school career losses coming in a 1-0 state semifinal defeat during his freshman season. Barnett bookended the 2017-18 scholastic season with runner-up finishes at the Super 32 Challenge and Junior Folkstyle Nationals tournaments. This summer saw Barnett win a Junior National freestyle title at 120 pounds.
126 pounds: Robert Howard (Bergen Catholic, N.J.)
The two-time state finalist has amassed a record of 68-4 in two seasons of high school competition, with the only loss of his sophomore state title season coming by a 4-3 score in the quarterfinal round of the Beast of the East. Each of the last two springs, Howard has qualified for the Cadet world team in freestyle by beating a returning world team member during the course of that tournament (Aaron Cashman in 2017 at 54 kilos, Julian Tagg in 2018 when competing at 55 kilos).
132 pounds: Jordan Decatur (CVCA, Ohio)
The Ohio State verbal commit is a two-time state champion headed into his senior year of high school. Decatur comes off a summer in which he won a third Fargo freestyle title, this time at the Junior level; the only year he did not win a Fargo freestyle title was in 2017 when he qualified for the Cadet world team. During the spring, he was runner-up at the UWW Junior Nationals in freestyle at 61 kilos.
138 pounds: Jaden Abas (Rancho Bernardo, Calif.)
Three times has the Stanford commit finished in the top three of the single-class California state tournament, this past year a state champion at 138 pounds after finishing third as a sophomore and runner-up as a freshman. Additional major event success includes being a two-time Super 32 Challenge finalist at 138 pounds, earning the title last month; plus a pair of top three finishes in Fargo freestyle, including third at the Junior level this summer.
145 pounds: Ryan Anderson (Bethlehem Catholic, Pa.)
Now a three-time Super 32 Challenge placer, including beating Abas to win the title last year at 138 pounds, Anderson won his first state title this past season after placing third as a sophomore. He is also a two-time placer at the Walsh Ironman, including a runner-up finish his sophomore year, and added a runner-up finish at the Beast of the East in that sophomore season. The Iowa State commit also was undefeated this summer at the Disney Duals.
152 pounds: Andrew Alirez (Greeley Central, Colo.)
This spring Alirez performed excellently at the UWW Junior Nationals and Junior World Team Trials in freestyle at 65 kilos. He placed third at the Junior Nationals, beat NCAA All-American Nick Lee to win the WTT challenge tournament, and then lost the best-of-three trials final in three matches. In three years of scholastic competition, Alirez has three state titles along with a career record of 120-1, the lone loss coming 1-0 to Abas in the semifinals of the Doc Buchanan Invitational his sophomore year. The Northern Colorado commit is also a two-time Super 32 Challenge placer, including a runner-up finish in 2016.
160 pounds: Alex Facundo (Davison, Mich.)
Just ready to enter the scholastic season of his sophomore year, Facundo already has a career worth of accomplishments. Before even enrolling in high school, he already was a Cadet National folkstyle and freestyle champion. During the 2017-18 school year, Facundo was a semifinalist at the Super 32 Challenge (placing fourth), a state champion (having to beat a two-time state champion to win his title), a Junior National folkstyle champion (while still Cadet eligible), and a UWW Cadet Nationals champion in freestyle at 70 kilos. This summer he was a Cadet World bronze medalist, and last month he was champion at the Super 32 Challenge.
170 pounds: Carson Kharchla (Olentangy Liberty, Ohio)
Since the end of the 2016-17 scholastic season, Kharchla has been on an extraordinary run. He was a UWW Cadet freestyle All-American, fourth in Junior freestyle, and third at the Super 32. During the past season, Kharchla won a state title going 38-2, including a dominant 7-2 state semifinal victory over a returning state champion. This summer the Ohio State commit ran the gauntlet in Fargo, earning shutout technical fall victories in five of six matches during his Junior National freestyle title run.
182 pounds: Parker Keckeisen (Nicolet, Wis.)
The Northern Iowa commit finished his junior season an undefeated state champion at 170 pounds with a 31-0 record. Before that season, he was champion at the Preseason Nationals; while during this summer he placed third in Junior freestyle, the lone loss coming to Kharchla while beating four extremely high-end opponents. Keckeisen was runner-up at state as a sophomore, fifth as a freshman, and has a career mark of 110-11.
195 pounds: A.J. Ferrari (Blair Academy, N.J.)
The nation’s top overall junior had but one loss in two state title winning seasons, while competing at Allen High School just outside of Dallas. During his sophomore season, Ferrari was champion at the Walsh Ironman and Reno Tournament of Champions, while his lone career loss came in the Reno TOC final as a freshman. Last summer, he was a Cadet National freestyle champion and this spring he was a Junior National folkstyle champion; while the pinnacle of the resume is a Cadet World bronze medal in freestyle at 92 kilos this summer.
220 pounds: Braxton Amos (Parkersburg South, W.Va.)
Despite missing his freshman year of high school due to an injury sustained during preseason training, the third overall ranked junior nationally has a very robust resume. It includes a pair of double Cadet National titles in Fargo, two Super 32 Challenge titles, a 48-0 sophomore season that included titles at the Walsh Ironman and Powerade, as well as a third-place finish at the UWW Cadet Nationals in freestyle at 92 kilos.
285 pounds: Greg Kerkvliet (Simley, Minn.)
In his last two high school seasons, the nation’s top overall senior has amassed around 95 wins to just two defeats, those coming against Jacob Warner in 2016-17 and up a weight against Gable Steveson this past season. The Ohio State commit is a three-time state champion with just four losses in those seasons compared to over 140 wins. His freestyle exploits are even more impressive, as Kerkvliet has been in the Cadet World finals each of the last two years, winning gold at 100 kilos in 2017 and finishing runner-up this summer at 110 kilos. In addition, he dominated Junior World silver medalist at 97 kilos Zach Elam in three meetings this spring (three technical falls in a combined 4:22) but did not compete at the world tournament in Slovakia due to injury.