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FARGO, N.D. – Soon to be wrestling Monarch, Jake Velarde from Poulsbo, Wash. placed second in the 2013 USAW Junior Greco Nationals in Fargo, N.D. at 138 pounds. Action began on Tuesday and finished up yesterday in the Fargo Dome. Velarde attended North Kitsap High School, where he won four state championships.

After losing his first match of the tournament in Fargo, Velarde reeled-off eight consecutive victories to land himself in the championship bout. One of those eight victories came against Renaldo Rodriguez-Spencer (Cheektowaga HS, New York), who became a NHSCA National Champion in April and is currently ranked No. 8 within his 138-pound weight class throughout all of high school wrestling in the United States.

Head coach Steve Martin spoke on Velarde’s performance, “We thought Jake had a great Junior National Greco Roman tournament in Fargo, North Dakota. In his first match, he wasn’t feeling very well and got defeated, but then he came back and showed us a lot about his character by winning eight straight matches in order to advance to the finals.”

In the championship match against Joseph Mckenna (Blair Academy, N.J.), Velarde ended up losing an extremely competitive match, 6-5. Mckenna recently placed third at the Junior World Team Trials in Stillwater, Okla. and is currently the No. 1 ranked high school wrestler at 132 pounds, according to Flo Wrestling.

Martin continued, “Jake lost a hard-fought bout to Mckenna in the championship; even in that match Jake had his opportunities to win the match. Mckenna has been around for a long time and we can see those two battling it out for years to come.”

Wrestling in a high profile tournament does not end there for Velarde, as tomorrow marks the start of the 2013 USAW Junior Freestyle Nationals in the Fargo Dome in Fargo, N.D. 

Soon to be ODU teammate, Austin Eads (Blue Springs South, Mo.) will also be competing in the three-day freestyle tournament starting tomorrow. Last year at the same tournament, Eads was the runner-up in the 145-pound weight class.

Coach Martin explained, “Jake and Austin are looking forward to the Junior National Freestyle tournament starting tomorrow. Success at these tournaments help our guys stay in the national spotlight, which ultimately helps them work towards their goals of winning national titles.”

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