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North graduate eyes Junior National wrestling tournament

July 19, 2002|by DAN KAUFFMAN

kauffman@herald-mail.com

North Hagerstown graduate Chris Joliet made his goal clear for next week's Junior Nationals wrestling tournament - become a national champion.

It's a lofty goal for Joliet, a state 1A/2A placewinner this year for the Hubs who will wrestle as part of the Maryland National freestyle team next week, but one he says is the only goal to have.

"A tournament like this, everybody has the goal to be a national champion or be an All-American," Joliet said. "You've got to win 10 or 11 matches just to be an All-American, but that's everybody's goal. Nobody really wrestles at these tournaments just to wrestle. Everybody's going there to win."

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Joliet, along with Walkersville junior Dan Caywood and Frederick junior Matt Sera, will leave for Fargo, North Dakota this evening. Caywood finished second in the 1A/2A state tournament his freshman year but lost in the first round last season. Sera, who competes in 3A/4A, has not qualified for the state tournament yet.

Williamsport senior Corey Leggett, a two-time state placewinner and three-time state qualifier, also qualified for the team but will not attend for undisclosed reasons.

Joliet, who will wrestle at 125 pounds at Nationals, won 29 straight bouts, became the West Region champion and made it to the state semifinals at 119 last season, but called his fifth-place finish "a disappointment."

"I'll always remember screwing up in the semis," Joliet said of his 5-4 loss to Wheaton's Francis Jeffry-Idun. "Your season doesn't really matter, it's all about that last tournament."

Joliet said qualifying for Junior Nationals via tournaments through the Frederick International Freestyle Mat Club - including winning the 125 title at the Maryland State Games at River Hill High School, which featured wrestlers from Delaware and the New England states - helped take the edge off the disappointment at states.

"That was real good experience, to wrestle guys from differtent states," Joliet said. "It was some good guys. It's good to wrestle at things like that for Nationals, because the competition out there is just incredible."

Joliet will attend Loch Raven University starting in the fall, where he plans to wrestle. Joliet said he will likely redshirt his freshman year, and is assured a spot on the team.

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