Port wrestler solidifies standing among elite by securing junior freestyle title in impressive fashion
The most decorated wrestler in Port Washington High School history has solidified his standing among the country’s young elite in his sport.
Alex Dieringer, who will be a senior this fall, not only pinned down first-place honors in the USA Wrestling Junior Nationals freestyle tournament in Fargo, N.D., on July 24, he did so in dominant fashion.
On his way to the 145-pound title as a member of the Wisconsin state team, Dieringer posted an 11-0 record in the three-day competition, including a 6-4, 1-2, 6-5 win over Dylan Ness of Minnesota in the final.
Dieringer also placed third in the same weight class in the Junior Greco-Roman Nationals several days earlier. Only a narrow loss in the semifinals kept him from coming home a double champion.
“It’s great. It’s awesome,” Dieringer said of his freestyle crown.
“It wasn’t an easy tournament because you had to wrestle a lot of matches in three days against tough competition. Every single kid there was not bad at all.”
High-profile meets are nothing new to Dieringer, who has won two WIAA state titles as well as numerous honors in out-of-state tournaments and is being recruited by a dozen Division I college programs. But his victory over Ness cemented his reputation as a premier high school athlete and made him the only Wisconsin wrestler to win a Junior Nationals title this year.
There were more than 90 wrestlers in Dieringer’s weight class.
“It’s the toughest tournament in the country, and Alex cleaned up,” said Angelo LaRosa, Dieringer’s high school coach who also served as nationals coach for Wisconsin Cadet wrestlers.
“This was the biggest title he has won yet. It’s a great accomplishment.”
The junior division is open to high school wrestlers ages 19 and younger. Dieringer moved to that group after winning 130-pound freestyle and 135-pound Greco-Roman national titles in the cadet division last year.
Dieringer was one of 10 Port Washington wrestlers on the Wisconsin team, most of whom participated in the cadet division in their first national meet.
He cruised through his first 10 matches before being pressed to the limit in a best-of-three-periods title match. Ness was a familiar foe for Dieringer, who defeated him to win a folkstyle title but lost to him at the Freestyle Junior Duals in June.
Ness, who won the Minnesota state title last season as a senior at Bloomington Kennedy High School, “is a pretty tough wrestler,” Dieringer said.
“But this time, I was really ready,” he added. “I wrestled all month to prepare for the Junior Nationals, and it paid off.”
Despite his impressive showing, Dieringer said he didn’t expect to win a title at the junior level.
“I thought it would be nearly impossible because I moved up a weight class and was in it for the first time,” he said. “But I just went out there and wrestled my style.”
Besides mental and physical toughness, Dieringer attributed his success to his “left-handed style, which most wrestlers aren’t used to.”
With another prestigious title under his belt, Dieringer is attracting more looks than ever from college recruiters. He said he’s open to all offers and will “take a few more visits and consider what’s out there.”
However, Dieringer also said his top four choices are Wisconsin, Central Michigan, Missouri and Arizona State.
“I really like Wisconsin. That’s probably at the top of the list right now,” he added, noting that longtime friend and wrestling rival Jesse Thielke of Germantown is headed to Madison.
Dieringer wants to make a choice by September, putting the decision-making process behind him well before his final season at Port High.
No other Port wrestler placed in last month’s national tournament, but LaRosa said each gained valuable experience, including qualifying for the team by participating in a July camp.
They included junior division wrestlers Justin Meins (130 pounds) and Tyler Griswold (215) and cadet division wrestlers Josh Meins (152), Eli Rosado (125), David Cornell (125), Adam Dreikosen (130), Nathan Schnell (130), Tyler Madden (125) and Tyler Brown (160).
THE MOST DECORATED wrestler in Port High history, Alex Dieringer (front) added another trophy to his collection by winning first place in the USA Wrestling Junior Nationals freestyle tournament in Fargo, N.D., last month. Other Port High wrestlers who participated in the tournament included (second row, from left) Tyler Griswold, Tyler Madden, (back row) Nate Schnell, Josh Meins and Eli Rosado. Photo by Sam Arendt