The tournament, which continues through July 26, will feature wrestlers representing nearly every state. Matches are held in the freestyle and Greco-Roman formats, across 16 weight classes.
Wrestlers born in 1998 and ’99 are eligible for the cadet division. The juniors division is comprised of those born Sept. 1, 1994 and later who were enrolled in high school this past spring.
Team Georgia is taking 42 wrestlers, including three females, to the event, which is equivalent to the traditional state championships held each year by the Georgia High School Association. Among the 42, eight were state champions this past season.
“I definitely believe this team is ready for Fargo, said third-year Team Georgia coach Mike Miller, who also coaches Life’s wrestling program. “This is one of the hardest-working groups I’ve ever coached, and all the other Team Georgia coaches would argue the same thing.
“They’re a lot of fun to be around, but they really get after it, and they work. We expect to see good things from them next week.”
While Team Georgia will have several veteran wrestlers, including past All-Americans Justan Rivera, Adam Flatt, Rudy Guillen and Elijah Kerr-Brown, new faces have been added to the roster, which should help in future competitions.
“We are a little younger this year,” Miller added. “There aren’t a lot of veteran guys, but it will be a good experience for everyone. I think a lot of these new additions will give us a few surprising results.”
There are no seedings for the national championships, so opening-round matches will come down to draws to fill out the brackets for each weight class. The top eight finishers in each weight class will earn All-American status.
“We have a ton of guys that can do big things in Fargo,” Miller said. “We’ll see who steps up when it’s all over.”
Rivera, a rising senior at Kennesaw Mountain, will join rising Wheeler junior Aslan Kilic with Team Georgia.
Rivera, a three-time state champion, is in his third season with Team Georgia. He’s a four-time All-American, earning cadet Greco-Roman and freestyle accolades in his first season. Last year, he won the 182-pound cadet freestyle national championship and was a cadet Greco-Roman national runner-up at the same weight class.
Rivera is expected to wrestle Greco-Roman and freestyle in the junior division this week, hoping to earn all-America nods for the third straight year.
Kilic, who placed fourth at 113 pounds at the Class AAAAAA state traditional meet last season, is making his first appearance with Team Georgia. He’ll participate in Greco-Roman and freestyle wrestling in the junior division at 120 pounds.