FARGO, N.D. — Mick Burnett’s teammates and family might have stressed out during his Junior Freestyle national semifinal match Monday, but the Elyria junior was as cool as the inside of a Frigidaire.
See, this isn’t Burnett’s first rodeo at nationals. In fact, it’s not the state champion’s first trip to the semifinals in the FargoDome.
The two-time All-American reached the semifinals for the third straight year, so he didn’t panic, scoring the winning takedown against four-time Colorado state champion Mosa Schwartz with a second left to win 6-4 and advance to the 132-pound finals.
“Oh, my God, being in that semifinal match for the third time, especially having one where I lost a close match (as a freshman) and winning one last year keeps my mentality calm,” Burnett said. “I know I can score at any time. There were only 10 seconds left. I knew he was getting tired. I knew I was getting in on my shots the whole time.
“I have to give a lot of credit to my coaches, breaking that quad pod position is something we’ve been working on and it paid off. It was awesome.”
Always the aggressor, Burnett pushed the action throughout the match and went for his home run with about seven seconds left.
Down 4-3, Burnett tried a head outside single high crotch at first, but switched to a double and Schwartz put both hands in front of him with his feet holding strong.
Burnett kicked the leg out and hit the score with a second left. The Colorado camp protested and lost, giving Burnett the two-point win.
“I don’t know what they were challenging, whether the time was out or his knee hit,” Burnett said. “All I know is I wrestled to the final whistle. That’s kind of my thing. I’ve been successful wrestling all six minutes. It shows.
“He wrestled a helluva a 5:59, but that last second, I outwrestled him. That’s where I have the advantage. It’s insane to have the opportunity to be here. It’s so humbling to wrestle on the stage I’ve been watching my whole life.”
Burnett, who finished second last year at the Cadet level, will face a familiar foe in today’s final: Colorado’s Dom Serrano. A two-time Cadet freestyle finalist, Serrano faced Burnett last year in the championship and handed him a 5-1 defeat.
In 2017, the Nebraska commit beat Burnett 6-4 in the semifinals at Fargo. Not that those two matches matter to Burnett, who Monday became Elyria’s second three-time All-American in Fargo, joining Ben Darmstadt (2014-16).
“I’m just going to go out and wrestle like I’ve wrestled the entire weekend and whatever happens, happens,” Burnett said.
In other action, Elyria’s Dylan Shawver (126) and Jake Evans (182) came up two matches short of All-American status.
Shawver fell 10-4 to North Dakota state champion and Wisconsin commit Kyle Burwick, while Evans fell 13-2 to Minnesota state champion and Iowa commit Zach Glazier.
Avon resident and St. Edward senior Bryce Hepner (152) counted four wins, but fell to Indiana state champion Matt Lee and Washington titlist Adrian St. Germain to fall out of All-American contention.
It took a pair of state champions in Colorado’s Kenny Sailas and New York’s Elijah Rivera to knock out Elyria’s Colin Noel (106), who comes home with three wins at Fargo.
Avon’s Ty Daugherty (100) won both his matches on Day 1, but fell to Illinois’ Samuel Hayes and Pennsylvania’s Robert Gardner to miss the top eight as well.
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