A two-time defending state champion and three-time finalist in his high school career, Schmitt collected his third silver medal and two All-American honors, giving him seven in four years from the ASICS/Vaughan Junior/Cadet Nationals in Fargo, N.D. Schmitt made a final for a third straight year during the week-long event held July 18-25 at the FargoDome in Fargo, N.D. but did so in the Greco-Roman discipline for the first time.
Schmitt marched through the 120-pound Greco bracket before losing in an 11-0 technical fall to Dalton Duffield of Oklahoma in the championship bout of the junior division – wrestlers who recently completed their junior and senior years in most cases.
Committed to wrestle at Division I West Virginia, Schmitt earned his seventh career medal in the event after finishing sixth in the 120-pound freestyle bracket – the only wrestler at his weight class to earn All-American honors in both disciplines this year, going 5-1 in Greco and 8-2 in freestyle. He finished as national runner-up in freestyle each of the past two years, including at the junior level last year.
Schmitt will enter the upcoming high school season as a favorite to win his third straight title and join an exclusive club at Platte County. Chase Verdoorn (2000-2002) and Tyler St. Louis (2005, 2007-2008) are the only other three-timers for the Pirates.
Ethan Karsten, another Platte County senior-to-be and defending two-time state champion won the first national titles in school history, claiming first in both disciplines last year at the cadet level. He missed this year’s tournament due to a back injury suffered earlier in the summer.
Johnny Blankenship, a third Platte County senior, went 3-2 at 160 pounds in freestyle and did not medal. He was a national finalist at the cadet level the previous season.
Park Hill’s Kelvin Eblen grabbed the only other All-American finish among local participants. A soon-to-be sophomore, he finished seventh in Greco in the junior division’s 106-pound bracket on the heels of a third-place finish at state in Class 4 at the same weight in his first high school season, helping the Trojans to a third straight team title.
Eblen nearly earned all-American honors in both disciplines after falling one match short of the medal rounds in freestyle at 106 pounds, losing a 21-14 decision to California’s Liam Cronin in the quarterfinals. Brakan Mead of Ohio pinned him in the ensuing consolation match to end his tournament.
Overall, Eblen went 5-2 in Greco and 3-2 in freestyle.
Park Hill’s Canten Marriott, who will be a senior, also just missed the medal stand in the junior 160-pound freestyle bracket. He reached the quarterfinals but then lost two straight, bowing out after going 4-2.
Marriott became the ninth undefeated state champion in Park Hill school history this past season, winning the Class 4 152-pound bracket.
Park Hill’s Weston DiBlasi won six total matches competing in the cadet Greco and freestyle brackets at 120, while teammate Josh Steele (113, cadet Greco and freestyle) won five total matches. Others to compete in the event included Matthew Knopp (Platte County), Sage Smart (Platte County), Caleb Crabtree (Platte County), Jacob Sobbing (Park Hill), Casey Jumps (Platte County) and Colston DiBlasi (Park Hill).