Wrestler Ty Smith has won several state and regional championships during his tenure at Virgin Valley High School. He can now add the title of “national champion” to his impressive wrestling resume.
Smith captured the 113-pound title Tuesday at the USA Wrestling Men’s Junior Freestyle Nationals at the Fargodome in Fargo, North Dakota.
The senior to be at VVHS defeated Brandon Kaylor of Puyallop, Washington, 17-6, in the finals to become just the second wrestler from Nevada to win a national championship in the boys’ junior freestyle division. That title came in 1988.
“Ty was determined he was going to win. That was his goal,” VVHS head coach Skyler Woods said. “As a coach, this was one of the coolest things I’ve ever been a part of. To win here at Fargo is the ultimate accomplishment for high school wrestlers. I’m so proud of Ty.”
Smith, who is a three-time Nevada state champion, defeated Jace Koelzer of Olathe, Kansas, 13-2, in a semifinal match after downing Matthew Cardello of Canfield, Ohio, 5-0, in the quarterfinals.
Heading into his senior year, Smith has been recruited by several colleges and universities including the United States Military Academy at West Point (Army) and Drexel University of Philadelphia. He also has been drawing interest from PAC-12, Big Ten and Ivy League schools.
Since winning at Fargo, however, the floodgates have opened.
“Ty was already drawing some interest before nationals,” Woods said. “Ever since he won his semifinal match, it’s just been crazy.”
Smith was one of three VVHS wrestlers competing at the nationals in Fargo along with Cresent Crandall and Dayden Payne. Crandall competed at 182 pounds in both freestyle and Greco-Roman while Payne competed at 220 in both categories. Smith did not wrestle in the Greco-Roman division.
“All three of our guys wrestled well,” Woods said. “These are the best high school wrestlers in the country. I’m proud of all three of them.”
All three Bulldog wrestlers were part of Team Nevada, which consisted of 40 wrestlers from both northern and southern Nevada.