FARGO, N.D. — Mick Burnett may have cured his stage freight Sunday. This time he also added a bit of history to a storied Elyria wrestling program.
The junior hit the mats at the FargoDome in the toughest weight class at the toughest tournament in the nation and once again found it to his liking.
Wrestling in the U.S. Marine Corps Cadet Freestyle Nationals, the 126-pounder kept up an incredible run to reach the finals Sunday.
He became the first Cadet freestyle finalist in school history.
Burnett, who finished sixth last season, will wrestle 2017 cadet runner-up and United World Wrestling All-American Dom Serrano of Colorado for the championship today at 2 p.m.
It’s a rematch of last year’s semifinal match won by Serrano.
“It’s a big thing and speaks a lot for where our program is heading,” Burnett said. “It speaks a lot for the progress I’ve made in the last 365 days.”
The biggest match and one of the biggest wins of his life came when he built a six-point lead over Tennessee state champ and Northeast regional titlist Cody Chittum and then held on for a 10-7 victory in the semifinals.
“It’s actually nerve-wracking to me to be in big matches like that,” Burnett said. “I’ve been able to overcome some difficulties and adversities. It’s definitely a big thing for me to be in these matches and performing well. It’s good to get results like that.”
Burnett knocked off a third-place finisher and three state runners-up to open the tournament and continued the impressive performances in the quarterfinals with a win over Missouri state runner-up Vincent Zerban, who actually wrestled for Illinois.
Zerban built a sizable lead throughout the match, but Burnett roared back and won 7-6 thanks to a two-point takedown on the right edge of the mat with four seconds left.
“You’re wrestling a good kid and you just have to stay focused the whole time,” Burnett said. “That’s what I did really well in that match. I tried not to lose my composure and stayed mentally sound and found a way to score at the end. Wrestling guys like that, you have to keep your mindset. The adrenaline is still going right now.”
Avon resident and St. Edward state champion Bryce Hepner (145) fell two matches short of placing after winning five matches in a row in the bottom side of the bracket.
Junior freestyle started Sunday as well.
Elyria’s two-time cadet All-American Dylan Shawver (120) is still alive on the championship side along with teammates Jordan Crace (138) and Colin Noel (100).
Lorain’s Blake Bartlome (100) is also in the top side of the bracket.
“I think I did well,” Shawver said. “I’ll have to be prepared a lot Monday because they’ll be prepared and wanting to win.”
- College commitment: Elyria senior Jordan Crace's strong showing at wrestling nationals pays off in Michigan State scholarship
- Wrestling nationals: Experience on big stage a plus for area contingent
- Wrestling: Elyria keeps rising as Mick Burnett finishes second at nationals and Jordan Crace and Colin Noel secure All-American status
- Wrestling: Elyria's Mick Burnett off to another good start at Cadet Freestyle Nationals
- Wrestling: Team Ohio, loaded with area talent, likes its chances at upcoming nationals
- State Wrestling: Elyria has three in finals with chance to win title
- Elyria goes 0-3 in title matches; Avon's Hepner wins crown for St. Edward (VIDEOS/PHOTOS/SOCIAL UPDATES)
- State Wrestling: Elyria comes up empty, goes 0-for-3 in title matches; St. Edward's Bryce Hepner of Avon champion at 126 pounds
- State wrestling: Elyria starts strong on Day 1 (VIDEO)
- Division I district wrestling: Elyria's Brendon Fenton wins title, shows who's the real No. 1
- Division I district wrestling: Elyria in third after first day, sends six to semifinals
- Sectional Wrestling: Powers collide -- St. Ed's takes title, Elyria finishes 2nd in marquee matchup
- High school wrestling: Dual team state tournament nothing new for Elyria, which makes its fourth straight appearance today
- High school wrestling: Elyria's fourth appearance at dual team state tournament is a short one as Pioneers fall to La Salle in first round
- High school wrestling: Elyria racks up six individual GCC titles on way to fourth straight league championship; Joshua Breeding makes it 4-for-4 in conference tournaments
- H.S. Wrestling: Dual domination -- Elyria headed back to state tourney after pair of big wins
- H.S. Wrestling: Elyria bests CVCA in matchup of state-ranked teams; Brendon Fenton prevails in marquee matchup
- H.S. Wrestling: Elyria, Midview set for showdown in dual team tournament
- High school wrestling: Amherst's Matt Lee bounces back from loss in big way at Maumee Bay Classic; Elyria brings home team title
- High school wrestling: Elyria keeps rising, takes eighth at Brecksville tourney with two champions
- Wrestling: Elyria's Brendon Fenton and Dylan Shawver put last year's Ironman experience to good use, head to quarterfinals
- Rise of the wise: Elyria's Joshua Breeding excels on mat, in classroom
- Wrestling nationals: Elyria's Dylan Shawver and Mick Burnett proud but not satisfied after All-American performances
- Wrestling Nationals: Elyria's Josh Breeding, Mick Burnett looking for glory in Fargo
- Wrestling: Elyria's Mick Burnett and Dylan Shawver start strong at nationals, advance to quarterfinals
- Wrestling nationals: Mick Burnett and Dylan Shawver keep Elyria's string of All-Americans going