Dreshaun Ross, an incoming freshman wrestler at Fort Dodge, wins 16U men’s freestyle national title

Cody Goodwin
Des Moines Register

The Under-16 men’s freestyle portion of the 16U and Junior national championships, USA Wrestling’s biggest national-level high school tournament which runs all week in North Dakota State’s FargoDome, features many of the nation’s top young wrestlers.

In the case of Iowa high school wrestling, the future looks extremely bright — thanks, in large part, to a young phenom from Fort Dodge.

Dreshaun Ross, an incoming freshman at Fort Dodge Senior High School, won the 195-pound title at the 16U men’s freestyle national championships. He was one of eight total All-Americans for an Iowa team that took sixth overall in the 16U freestyle team race.

Many of the state’s top wrestlers, male and female, are repping Iowa at this seven-day competition against wrestlers from other states. Ross, at just 14 years old, firmly established himself this week as perhaps Iowa's next big star.

Ross went 6-0 and outscored his six opponents by a combined 69-21 en route to gold. In Monday afternoon’s finals, he registered a 6-4 win over New Jersey standout Vincenzo Lavalle, who is currently ranked No. 14 nationally by MatScouts.

Ross, meanwhile, is just 14 years old — doesn’t turn 15 until December — but he is an impressive 14-year-old.

He stands 6-foot-2 and has been winning high-level wrestling competitions for many years. He’s a six-time AAU state champ, one of just eight in Iowa history, and a six-time champ at Tulsa Nationals, one of the country’s most prestigious youth tournaments.

He trains with Sebolt Wrestling Academy, which has developed many of Iowa’s premiere wrestling talents over the last decade. Ross appears to be next in line. He won both the freestyle and Greco-Roman titles at USA Wrestling’s 15U national tournament in Las Vegas in May, then dominated the competition this week.

The possibilities about Ross’s future — at Fort Dodge and beyond — are seemingly endless, and his athletic potential appears tantalizing. He also plays football, and his still-growing frame will make college coaches from both sports salivate over the next four years.

On Monday, he solidified his wrestling stardom months before his first official high school match. Expectations will be high once he enters Fort Dodge’s lineup, but his performance these last few days showed he's game for whatever challenges come next.

Team Iowa finished with 8 All-Americans at the 16U men's freestyle national championships. Mac Crosson, front row far left, and Dreshaun Ross, back row second from right, won national titles.

With 8 All-Americans, Iowa wins team team title at 16U women's freestyle nationals

Bondurant-Farrar, Southeast Polk, Bettendorf wrestlers lead Iowa 16U freestyle national championships

Ross was one of eight total All-Americans for an Iowa team that totaled 99 points in the 16U men's freestyle team race, good for a sixth-place finish. That's Iowa’s best 16U men’s freestyle team finish since taking fifth in 2017.

Team Iowa finished behind Pennsylvania, which took first with 223 points; California,  second with 212; Ohio, third with 149; New Jersey, fourth with 120; and Wisconsin, fifth with 119.

Three Iowa schools combined to produce six of the eight total All-Americans for Iowa's 16U men's freestyle team: Bettendorf, Bondurant-Farrar, and Southeast Polk.

  • Bettendorf's Jake Knight and Tycho Carmichael: Knight, the son of Bettendorf head coach Dan Knight, took fourth at 106 pounds, finishing with a 7-2 record that included a 5-3 win over Virginia's Tyler Dekraker, who's ranked No. 14 nationally. Carmichael took fifth at 145. He went 5-2 and reached the semifinals then ended with a 12-4 win over Oklahoma's Beau Hickman, who is ranked No. 19 nationally.
  • Bondurant-Farrar's Connor Fiser and Maximus Riggins: Fiser is now a two-time All-American after taking eighth at 113 pounds. He took fifth last summer in the Junior men's freestyle division, then went 5-3 this week, reaching the quarterfinals and winning his bloodround match on a last-second exposure. Riggins went 6-2 overall to finish fifth at 126 pounds, with four victories by technical fall.
  • Southeast Polk's Carter Pearson and Cooper Martinson: Pearson went 5-2 and took seventh at 100 pounds, capping his summer as both a 16U All-American and U17 world team trials place-winner. Martinson took fourth at 285 pounds with a 4-2 record. He scored a late two to win his quarterfinals match to secure All-American status, then won a hard-fought 3-1 match in the wrestlebacks to reach the top-four.

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Bondurant-Farrar's Maximus Riggins, right, took fifth at the 16U men's freestyle national championships at 126 pounds.

Indianola middle-schooler Mac Crosson wins title at 88 pounds

Mac Crosson, an Indianola middle-schooler, was the eighth All-American for Iowa's 16U men's freestyle team. He took first at 88 pounds, outscoring his five opponents 49-6, capped by a 7-6 finals win over Wisconsin's Caleb Noble.

Crosson will just be an eighth-grader next year, another sign of Iowa wrestling's bright future. His championship run marked the fourth time in state history that an Iowa wrestler won the lightest weight class at the 16U/Cadet national championships.

The others to do it: Andrew Long, at 84 pounds in 2005; Cullan Schriever, at 88 pounds in 2016; and Drake Ayala, at 88 pounds in 2017. Long was a multiple-time NCAA All-American, and both Schriever and Ayala are current Iowa Hawkeye wrestlers.

Pretty good company.

Cody Goodwin covers wrestling and high school sports for the Des Moines Register. Follow him on Twitter at @codygoodwin.