Northwestern Wrestling Family,

I hope you're all enjoying your summer thus far. The team has been incredibly busy since the season wrapped up as you may well know. After the U.S. Open, we sent our junior division wrestlers down to North Carolina for a chance to represent Team USA.

First-year Jack Jessen got the guys rolling with a first match tech fall against Gavin Hoffman from Ohio State. Jack suffered a couple of losses to Hoffman earlier in the season so this was certainly a dominant win for Jack. He used that momentum to overcome an early eight point deficit against Christopher Foca to win a wild 20-13 match landing him in the finals of the challenge tournament. Jack ultimately dropped a tough 9-6 match against Victor Marcelli, however this was a wonderful tournament for Jack as he gritted through some tough situations and finished with the bronze medal on the day.

Our Junior U.S. Open Champions Yahya Thomas and Lucas Davison both waited patiently for their opposition to be declared. With day one in the books, Thomas would face off against highly touted Keegan O'toole and Davison against UNC redshirt, Brandon Whitman.

Reshirt first-year Yahya Thomas came out physical as he made a few key adjustments from their first meeting at the U.S. Open. Thomas was able to break through O'toole's defense taking the match 7-0 on three takedowns and a pushout.

Their second match was a little more controlled by both parties. Yahya took a 1-0 lead into the second period and used a passivity point to take the match 2-0 and will officially represent Team USA in the Junior World Championships taking place in Estonia, August 12-18th.

Lucas Davison also came out hot utilizing a "nasty armspin" as the commentator so aptly put it to take a 4-0 lead. Luke "The Big Tuna" Davison continued to put up points taking match one 9-0.

Similar to Thomas, Luke's second match was a much more stingy affair. With only a 1-0 lead at the break, Luke closed out match two with a pushout, lost challenge, and a closing takedown to cement his 5-0 win. Congrats Big Tuna!

Luke will join Yahya in their quest to win a Junior World Medal in Estonia! Northwestern University is the only school with multiple representatives on the Junior World Team.

Quick Trivia Question... can anyone recall the last Northwestern Wrestler who represented Team USA on a Junior World Team?

This man! Ryan Deakin finished with a silver medal in the 2017 Junior World Championships.

Ryan wrestled incredibly all summer long winning the U.S. Open as a sophomore in college and landed himself in the Final X event where he would face off against James Green, a rematch from the U.S. Open Finals.

Match one was ended quickly as Ryan unfortunately got caught in a match-ending leg lace. Ryan made some amazing adjustments heading into match two wrestling in a hostile Nebraska environment (Green wrestled for the University of Nebraska). Winning with less than a minute remaining Ryan gave up a takedown to ultimately drop the match 4-3 against the two-time World Medalist.

Ryan is now number two on the world team ladder for Team USA at 70 kg. He will have the ability to travel and wrestle in a number of overseas competitions while on the National Team. The number two's are scheduled to wrestle in the Alexander Medved International Tournament of Prizes. Fun Fact here - this tournament used to be called the Alexander Medved International Tournament of Cash and Prizes. Apparently they ran out of cash but are chock full of prizes.

I know Ryan was disheartened after the event, but I can undoubtedly say the entire Northwestern Wrestling Family was honored to watch him compete. He is still finding ways to improve in leaps and bounds, even at such high of a level. Terminator Deakin "will be back" and on top of the podium, I can assure.

Our next Final X contestant was RTC member and food enthusiast, Joe Rau. Joe was also a winner of the U.S. Open at 87 kg in Greco, so similar to Ryan, he earned his place in Final X and was awaiting the winner of the World Team Trials Challenge Tournament to decide his opposition. His opponent was a re-match of his U.S. Open semi-finals where Joe took a tight 1-1 decision on criteria against multiple world team member, Ben Provisor.

Joe's first match was looking bleak as he trailed by a point with less than 10 seconds left. Joe glances towards the clock and quickly backsteps to a beautiful high-dive running his opponent out of bounds securing match 1 by a score of 2-1. Peep the vid below!

Match two was much less nerve-racking for the Illinois native. Joe secured a point early and used that momentum to roll up his opponent with two consecutive gut-wrenches to take an early 5-0 lead. Joe closed out the match 5-1 and will represent Team USA in the World Championships taking place in Kazakhstan September 14-22.

Joe has recently started his own food blog @chowwithrau on Instagram. Feel free to give him a follow for a more personal sneak peak into the world team member’s off-the-mat antics.

In other RTC related news, the Wildcat Wrestling Club is excited to announce its newest constituent in Lucas Sheridan. Luke was a Final X contestant at 97 kg's in the Greco style and currently serves in the US Army WCAP program.

Lucas Sheridan pictured in red

In order to satisfy his military requirements, Luke will remain based in Colorado, but will fly out to train with the club for a period of time every month. Luke is a great addition for our current Greco Roman athletes as well as our upper-weight college men.

The Northwestern Wrestling Golf Outing was a huge success this year as we recorded a record high 34 foursomes.

This golf outing is instrumental in funding our athletes and providing these extraordinary opportunities for them to compete year-round. Thank you to all of you who found the time to make it out and support your 'Cats. To everyone else, I'm not mad, I'm just disappointed. Just kidding, but seriously, we'd love to see you there next year.

I'd also like to extend a special shout out to the Wildcat Wrestling Club Board as well as the Greco family for the amazing hospitality and helping us bring the event back to the Royal Fox Country Club. Thank you!

Have a great summer and I look forward to delivering more positive news shortly!

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