Ashton Sharp started strong and finished even stronger.
Set for his sophomore year at Park Hill, the 195-pounder took home a pair of titles in the USA Wrestling Cadet/Junior Freestyle and Greco Roman National Championships last month in Fargo, N.D. Sharp needed a drastic comeback in the final to win the cadet freestyle national championship then posted three technical falls and a shutout in the final later in the week to bring home the cadet Greco title.
Park Hill junior-to-be Devin Winston earned cadet All-American honors in both disciplines, including a freestyle national title at 182 pounds, while Platte County senior-to-be Cody Phippen was a double junior All-American at 113 pounds. All-American honors go to the top eight in both the cadet and junior divisions.
Having won a folkstyle national championship earlier in the summer, Sharp ended up a “triple crown” winner.
Winston and Sharp gave Park Hill, the 2017 Class 4 state runner-up, a pair of freestyle finalists, who competed in back-to-back matches. Winston recorded five straight technical falls in the 182 bracket to reach the championship match, allowing just three points total in those matches.
In the championship bout, Winston pulled away late and won a 5-1 decision against Jacob Logan of New York.
“I expected to take first,” said Winston, a two-time Class 4 state qualifier who won a state title at 170 pounds this past season. “I don’t try to sound cocky, but after all my hours I put into practice and all the extra time, I wouldn’t let myself take anything except first.”
Sharp took a more difficult route to the 195 final.
After three straight technical falls, Sharp won his 2-2 quarterfinal on tiebreaker criteria against Oklahoma’s Konner Doucet, who came back to take fifth in the bracket. Sharp earned a 17-7 technical fall in the semifinals but fell behind early in his finals match with Matthew Cover of Ohio.
Cover took a 1-0 lead after 10 seconds and went into the second 3-minute period up 4-0. Early in the second, Sharp used a late throw out of bounds for a four-point move and ended up scoring six unanswered in his 6-4 victory.
The quick change in momentum from the throw at the edge of the mat proved pivotal.
“It was kind of a last-ditch effort,” said Sharp, who placed third at state in Class 4 at 195 pounds in his freshman season.
Sharp ended up with his second “stop sign,” the slang term for the hexagonal championship plaques over the weekend in Greco, which focuses on upper body wrestling. He reached the final and won a 4-0 decision over Peter Christensen of Illinois in the final for his second national title.
Winston reached the semifinals of the Greco 182 bracket before losing to runner-up Grant Parrish of Minnesota. Winston also lost to third-place finisher Darrien Roberts of Pennsylvania before coming back to win the fifth place match.
Phippen, already a two-time Class 3 state champion for Platte County, suffered early losses in both the 113 freestyle and Greco brackets.
In freestyle, Phippen ended up on the wrong end of a wild 20-16 decision with Andres Lucero of Colorado in the round of 16. Lucero led 8-0 in the match, but Phippen came back to tie it after the first period.
Lucero led again 12-8 in the second period, only for Phippen to score six straight and take a brief 14-12 lead. Phippen gave up the next six straight and couldn’t quite complete another comeback in a final scramble as time ran out.
Phippen came back to win six straight consolation matches, including a 10-0 technical fall against Jace Koelzer of Kansas in the third-place match. In Greco, Phippen lost in the quarterfinals to Brandon Kaylor of Washington but won four straight consolation matches to again take third.
In the third-place match, Phippen won 5-2 over Eric Barnett of Greenville, Wisc. Phippen was Platte County’s lone All-American this summer.
Park Hill had four total All-Americans during the week.
Trey Crawford, who placed sixth at 106 in Class 4 as a freshman, reached the 113 cadet freestyle quarterfinals before finishing 1-3 in his final four matches. He won once on the backside to secure All-American honors and ended up fifth.
Tommy Lisher, a 2017 graduate and two-time state qualifier, reached the 152 junior Greco semifinals. He came back to win his fifth-place match 13-0.