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Jack is first state wrestler to compete in Who is No. 1 tournament

Danbury’s Ryan Jack battles Jesse Mendez of Indiana in a Who is No. 1 semifinal at the University of Iowa. (Photo courtesy Sam Janicki Photography)

Danbury’s Ryan Jack is the first Connecticut wrestler to participate in FloWrestling’s Who is No. 1 preseason wrestling tournament.

The tournament was held earlier this month at the University of Iowa’s Carver Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City.

Who is No. 1 is a made-for-the-web tournament that pits top wrestlers together to decide who will be No. 1 in the first FloWrestling ranking of the season. The dual meet style event features some of the nation’s best high school wrestlers. This year, 22 competitors from 14 different states competed and the matches were broadcast over FloWrestling.

This is the seventh year for the event and the first year it was held outside of Pennsylvania. The previous six years, it was held at Lehigh University.

Jack was one of four wrestlers to be invited to the event at 132 pounds. It’s just the fourth time in the event’s history that four wrestlers will battle for FloWrestling’s No. 1 ranking.

Danbury High senior Ryan Jack at the Who is Number One preseason tournament in Iowa. (Photo courtesy Sam Janicki Photography)

Jack, who has committed to wrestle at North Carolina State for the 2021 season, was seeded fourth and faced No. 1 Jesse Mendez of Indiana in the semifinal. The top seeded wrestler gets to choose the format of the match and Mendez choose freestyle.

Jack trailed 6-4 after one period but scored four unanswered points to take an 8-6 lead but Mendez was able to score three points in the final minute for a 9-6 victory. In the other semifinal at 132, No. 3 Shane Van Ness of New Jersey beat No. 2 Dominick Serrano of Colorado, 16-6 in 5:22.

In the final match to determine who will begin the season at No. 1, Van Ness, a junior at Blair Academy in Pennsylvania, scored two points with 43 seconds remaining to earn a 10-9 victory in freestyle over Mendez.

Thirteen of the 22 participants have already committed to wrestle at the NCAA Division I level.

2019 Who is Number One preseason tournament
At Iowa City, Iowa
132: (1) Jesse Mendez, IN dec. (4) Ryan Jack, CT, 9-8
132: (3) Shayne Van Ness, NJ dec. (2) Dom Serrano, CO, 16-6, 5:22

113: (1) Richard Figueroa, CA dec. (2) Stevo Poulin, NY, 8-1
120: (1) Jesse Ybarra, AZ dec. (2) Jakason Burks, NE, 3-1
126: (1) Robbie Howard, NJ dec. (2) Trevor Mastrogiovanni, NJ, 4-2
138: (1) Beau Bartlett, PA dec. (2) Ryan Sokol, MN, 6-3
65kg or 143:  Anthony Echemendia, AZ dec. Josh Saunders, MO, 10-0, 3:36
145: (1) Victor Voinovich, OH pin (2) Jesse Vasquez, CA, 3:42
152: (1) Sonny Santiago, CA dec. (2) Travis Mastrogiovanni, NJ, 5-3
160: (2) Keegan O’Toole, WI dec. (1) Paddy Gallagher (OH), 5-3
170: (2) Patrick Kennedy, MN dec. (1) Alex Facundo, MI, 5-2
132:  (3) Van Ness dec. (1) Mendez, 10-9
Pat Downey Iowa City, IA dec. Nick Rodriguez (Grappling), 12-0 3:53

Gerry deSimas, Jr., is the editor and founder of Connecticut Wrestling Online. He is an award-winning writer and has been covering sports in Connecticut and New England for more than 30 years. He was inducted into the New England High School Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2018.

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