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Danbury’s Jakob Camacho wins fourth medal at the U.S. Open

Jakob Camacho of North Carolina State finished third at 57 kg at the U.S. Open Friday in Las Vegas. (Photo courtesy North Carolina State wrestling)

It’s been a while since Danbury High graduate Jakob Camacho was competing on the mat. A three-time qualifier for the NCAA Division I tournament, he missed the entire season at North Carolina State due to a knee injury.

Camacho made a successful return at the U.S. Open national championship meet in Las Vegas winning five of six matches to finish third at 57 kilograms (125 pounds) in senior men’s freestyle. It’s his fourth straight medal at the U.S. Open.

Camacho finished third a year ago and won a national title in 2021 at 57 kg.

He won his first three bouts by technical fall and didn’t give up a single point. He beat Francisco Barrera of Southern Oregon 10-0 in 2:13, Fabian Gutierrez of Chattanooga, 10-0, in 33 seconds and beat NCAA champion Patrick Glory of Princeton, 10-0, in 55 seconds in a quarterfinal match.

Glory was the first Princeton wrestler in 72 years to win a NCAA championship with his victory at 125 pounds in March.

Zane Richards, a two-time All-American from Illinois and the top seed, beat Camacho, 8-4 in the semifinals, racing out to leads of 6-0 and 8-1. Richards is currently on the U.S. national team and won the tournament at 57 kg. Richards will face Thomas Gilman at the Final X on June 10 in Newark, N.J. with the winner representing the U.S. at the world championships in Serbia this fall.

Camacho got an early takedown and built up a four-point lead to win his consolation semifinal bout over Cooper Flynn of Virginia Tech, 4-2.

In the consolation final, Camacho got the first takedown to take the lead over Austin Assad of Ohio. Leading 2-1, Camacho when Assad was thrown out of bounds by a driving Camacho.

Camacho extended the lead to 5-1 with a second takedown and a two-point exposure to boost the lead to 7-1. Another takedown with 32 seconds remaining and a throw helped Camacho earn a 13-2 win by technical fall in 5:44.

The last Connecticut senior wrestler to win a medal at the U.S. Open before Camacho in the Senior division was Middletown’s Richard Perry in 2018.

Stanford freshman Nico Provo of Stratford competed in the tournament at 61 kilograms (134 pounds). He went 1-2 with a 10-0 victory in 43 seconds over Cristian Chavez from Luther College in Decorah, Iowa.

Provo dropped his next two matches, losing 10-0 in 22:20 to Ohio State’s Nathan Tomasello and 9-0 to Julian Farber of Pennsylvania.

Marlborough’s Jackson Heslin, a student at Greens Farms Academy in Westport, finished fourth in the U17 Greco-Roman tournament at 55 kilograms

Heslin won his first three matches by technical fall and each was under 1:23. In the second round, he had a 10-0 in 1:21 over the top seed in the tournament, Bo Bassett of Bishop McCort in Johnstown, Penn.

Heslin, who was the No. 16 seed, beat No. 10 Isaiah Cortez of Gilroy, California, 8-0 in 31 seconds to advance to the semifinals but Heslin fell to the eventual tournament champion, Jordyn Raney of Union County High in Kentucky, 6-3.

In the consolation semifinals, Heslin beat Jayden Raney of Union County, 8-6 but Cortez beat Heslin in the consolation final, 5-0 to finish third.

Emma Heslin, Jackson’s older sister, competed in the women’s senior freestyle competition at 50 kilograms and dropped a pair of matches.

2023 U.S. Open results and brackets (FloArena)

57 kg
1st – Zane Richards (Illinois RTC/Titan Mercury WC) dec. Nick Suriano (Sunkist Kids WC), 3-3
3rd – Jakob Camacho (Wolfpack WC/Titan Mercury WC) tech. fall Austin Assad (Ohio), 13-2
5th – Cooper Flynn (Southeast RTC/Titan Mercury WC) forfeit Spencer Lee (Hawkeye WC/Titan Mercury WC)
7th – Caleb Smith (North Carolina) fall Michael Tortorice (Knights RTC), 4:26

Recent Connecticut medalists at USA Wrestling Senior Nationals
The event was called the U.S. Open up to 2018.

2023: Jakob Camacho, Danbury Third 57 kg Wolfpack Wrestling Club
2022: Jakob Camacho, Danbury Third 57 kg Wolfpack Wrestling Club
2021: Jakob Camacho, Danbury First 57 kg Wolfpack Wrestling Club
2020: Jakob Camacho, Danbury seventh 57 kg Wolfpack Wrestling Club
2018: Richard Perry, Middletown second 86 kg Pennsylvania RTC
2017: Richard Perry, Middletown second 86 kg Pennsylvania RTC
2015: Richard Perry, Middletown seventh 86 kg Pennsylvania RTC

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 40 years. He was inducted into the New England High School Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2018.

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