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Pennsylvania wrestler Luke Lilledahl named SBLive national champion at 126 pounds

With wins over the second and third ranked wrestlers in the 126-pound class, Wyoming Seminary ace is the clear No. 1 for 2023-24

Last spring, Luke Lilledahl won the U20 World Team Trials in Freestyle by defeating a college wrestler, Oklahoma State’s Troy Spratley, two straight in the best of three final. Spratley is seeded sixth at 125 in the upcoming NCAA Division I Wrestling Tournament. The Blue Knight ended up landing in the second position on the World Podium with a loss to Japan’s Yuto Nishiuchi.

Lilledahl spilt with No. 2 Jax Forrest (Bishop McCort, PA) last season and was 1-0 versus his rival this year with a win in the Ironman Finals, 2-1. The senior beat No. 3 Seth Mendoza (Mt. Carmel, IL) in overtime there as well.

Wyoming Seminary's Luke Lilledahl, already an accomplished wrestler on the international stage, is SBLive's final top-ranked 126-pound wrestler for the 2023-24 season in our National High School Wrestling Rankings.

Wyoming Seminary's Luke Lilledahl, already an accomplished wrestler on the international stage, is SBLive's final top-ranked 126-pound wrestler for the 2023-24 season in our National High School Wrestling Rankings.

The Ironman title was the Blue Knight’s second in a row after being second as a sophomore. There was no Ironman held during his freshman year due to COVID.

Later in December, at the Hall of Fame Duals, Lilledahl took out No. 6 Gage Walker (Bixby, OK). Following that Forrest abstained from a number of events before resurfacing for the National Prep Championships.

Lilledahl put his second consecutive prep crown in the books with a win over Charlie DeSena (Lake Highland Prep, FL) in the finals to end the season with a 22-0 record. The Seminary grappler was third at preps as a sophomore.

Forrest kicked his season off with a prestigious Super 32 crown at 126lbs. In the finals he downed JJ McComas (Stillwater, OK – No. 3 at 132). Other victims included Adrian DeJesus (St. Joseph Regional, NJ – No. 4 at 132), Nick O’Neill (Malvern Prep, PA – No. 6 at 132), and Virginia’s Noah Nininger (Staunton River), who ended the season all the way up at 150lbs.

A fifth place showing at the Clarion Open preceded his second place turn at Ironman. At Ironman, the sophomore defeated McComas again. He owns a third win over McComas from the Fargo Junior FS Finals at 126.

A title at the Carnahan Memorial included a win over Mendoza. His second PowerAde crown was gained with a pin of No. 11 Eren Sement (Council Rock North, PA) and a tech-fall of No. 18 Andrew Binni (Canon-McMillan, PA). Forrest’s Mid-Winter Mayhem gold came at the expense of Tyler Kapusta (Franklin Regional, PA – No. 20 at 120).

Forrest entered the Mat Town College Open and won that bracket with an overtime victory against Lehigh’s Luke Stanich, who is the No. 2 seed at this week’s NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships at 125lbs.

With all those amazing accomplishments it was a bit startling to see Bentworth’s No. 13 Chris Vargo upset the Crusher in the AA Southeast Regional finals, 13-7. Forrest bounced back in the state finals a week later and destroyed Vargo, 15-0, for his first state title. McCort could not participate in last year’s postseason.

Mendoza followed up a third-place finish at Fargo in Junior FS at 120 with a title at the Grappler Fall Classic, and a fifth-place finish at Super 32, where he was beaten by DeJesus and McComas.

A title at the Dan Gable Donnybrook propelled Mendoza to a third-place finish at Ironman where he avenged his loss to McComas. Mendoza capped a 42-2 season with a 3A state title.

No. 4 Nikade Zinkin (Clovis, CA) did not place at Super 32 and was second at the Zinkin Classic with a loss to Honorable Mention Ashton Besmer (Buchanan, CA).

The junior began to shift the tide on his season with a second-place finish at the Doc Buchanan Tournament where he beat Walker, avenging a loss from the NHSC Spring Duals in 2023. In the Doc B Finals, Zinkin lost to No. 5 Isaiah Cortez (Gilroy, CA).

Leading up to the California state tournament, Zinkin beat Clovis West’s No. 14 Jeff Lopez at the Districts and Masters Tournaments. In the state finals, Zinkin again beat Lopez after Lopez upset Cortez in the semis.

Cortez stays in the No. 5 position despite his state hiccup because he won the Doc B Cowboy Hat by beating Zinkin and No. 23 Geronimo Rivera (Layton, UT). Lopez lost to Rivera in the fifth-place match at Doc, and also lost to Walker.

Additionally, Cortez was third at the US Open U17 FS competition with a win over Bo Bassett (Bishop McCort, PA). The sophomore was fifth at 120 in Junior FS at Fargo, with a win over Mendoza, and first in Greco-Roman at 126 at Fargo.

Walker was fifth at Ironman with a win over No. 7 Jayden Raney (Union County, KY) and third at Doc B.