USA Wrestling’s Junior and 16U national championship tournament in Fargo, North Dakota, earlier this month is the largest wrestling tournament in the world, according to USA Wrestling.
There were a record 7,134 entries in the six tournaments, eclipsing the previous record of 6,646 entries a year ago in 2022. There were 72 wrestlers from Connecticut registered to participate in the event.
2023 Junior/16U Nationals entries by tournament
• 16U Women’s Freestyle Nationals: 740
• 16U Men’s Freestyle Nationals: 1,595
• 16U Greco-Roman Nationals: 1,206
• Junior Women’s Freestyle Nationals: 853
• Junior Men’s Freestyle Nationals: 1,596
• Junior Greco-Roman Nationals: 1,144
Total: 7,144 total entries
Of the five tournaments which saw growth in 2023, the 16U women’s freestyle had the most increase, with 222 more entries than last year, which is a whopping 42.8% increase in just one season. The only event which saw a decrease was the Junior women’s freestyle, which went from 944 athletes last year to 853 wrestlers.
The main change that impacted this event was the fact that for the first time, the 16U women’s nationals and the Junior women’s nationals were held at the same time. In the past, many 15- and 16-year old women athletes that were also in high school could compete in both tournaments.
The growth this year came at the 16U level, where there were 543 more entries in the three national events than last year. Also of note is the tremendous growth in entries over the last five years, with over 2,000 more total entries than in the 2018 Junior/16U nationals.
A USA Wrestling report was used to write this story.