A change in weight classes paid off with a Greco-Roman national title for Jeremiah Wachsmuth at the USA Wrestling Cadet National Championships last week in Fargo, N.D.
Wachsmuth, heading into his junior year at Clackamas, struggled in the freestyle portion of the 16-and-under tournament in previous days, exiting the 113-pound bracket after losing his first two matches 10-2 and 11-0.
“The kids were a lot bigger than me, for sure,” Wachsmuth said. “So me and my coaches talked and we made the decision to cut to 106 for Greco. It was a decent cut, but nothing I couldn't do.”
Wachsmuth responded in a big way at 106, winning all six of his Greco-Roman matches -- the first five by technical fall – and allowing only two points in sweeping to the title. He defeated Vincent Luttrell of New Mexico 11-2 in the semifinals and Ryker Graff of Iowa 6-0 in the final.
“I thought I wrestled pretty good,” Wachsmuth said. “I felt pretty strong. I just held good position, dug for underhooks. Just stayed in good position, basically.”
The title comes after Wachsmuth finished as the 106 runner-up in the 6A tournament as a sophomore.
“It definitely motivated me,” he said. “Second place obviously wasn't my goal, so it definitely gave me some encouragement going into this tournament.”
Wachsmuth said he has taken his game up a notch since the high school season.
“Yeah, definitely,” he said. “Me and my coaches just started working harder in the practice room, just focused on things I need to work on. I'm definitely stronger. I've improved in the weight room.”
Clackamas coach Jayson Wullbrandt said that Wachsmuth has put in the work.
“He took control of his training once the collegiate season was done and did a really good job of making sure that he was training the right way,” Wullbrandt said.
Wachsmuth has trained with his father, John, a former Portland State wrestler who coaches with the Cobra All-Stars. He also has benefited from the expertise of his brother, Noah, who works out at the Olympic Training Center as part of the Elite Accelerator Program.
Noah, who won a state title for Clackamas as a junior in 2018 before moving to Colorado as a senior to train at the OTC, recently placed third in Greco-Roman at the World Team Trials.
“I got to train with him at the OTC, went to a few practices on an invitation,” Jeremiah said. “It kind of motivates me. I want to be better in Greco because my brother is really good. He called me after I won and said he's proud of me.”
Wullbrandt said that Jeremiah is “definitely a Greco kid.”
“His dad's a big Greco guy, too,” Wullbrandt said. “I think he's probably just as good in collegiate as he is in Greco, but he definitely likes Greco a lot more. There's a lot of family ties in Greco.”
Coming off the national title, Jeremiah has high expectations for his junior year.
“I feel like definitely I'll take the state title,” he said. “I've got to work hard for it, though.”
Fargo All-Americans: Wachsmuth was among several Oregon wrestlers to earn All-American status by placing in the top eight in the Cadet and Junior National tournaments at Fargo.
In the Junior Greco-Roman tournament, Roseburg's Gage Singleton (106) placed third, Reynolds' Robert Plympton (195) finished fourth and Roseburg's Nash Singleton (132) took sixth.
In Junior Freestyle, Hayden Walters (195) of Crescent Valley and Nash Singleton (132) placed third, Gage Singleton (106) took sixth and Justin Rademacher (182) of West Linn landed seventh.
Liam Byrne (170) of Mountain View placed seventh in Cadet Freestyle.
In the Junior Girls tournament, Hillsboro's Ayana Medina defeated North Medford's Estella Gutches 4-0 for seventh place.