FARGO, ND — A 126-pound junior champion was literally decided in the last second Tuesday at the United States Marine Corps Junior and 16-Year-Old Wrestling National Championships inside the FargoDome.
Mason Gibson, the rising Bishop McCort Catholic High School junior, beat New Jersey’s Luke Stanich with less than a left tick in the second period to cap a thrilling 7-6 freestyle victory to claim his second national title at Fargo.
“It’s amazing,” said Gibson, who won a national Greco-Roman title and finished third in freestyle in 2021.
“Coming back from an injury and going from third place last year to winning it this year is a great feeling and shows all the hard work I’ve put in since last year at Fargo.”
Gibson, a Cornell University draftee, trailed late in the second period but had two timely takedowns to earn a podium spot. His final takedown was contested by Stanich, but the review upheld the call on the mat and awarded the title to Gibson.
“I never let off the gas, kept my composure and kept fighting every second of the game,” Gibson described on his strategy against 2022 runner-up New Jersey. looked at the clock and stopped at the last second I was there ready to drop it and did it at the very end Overall I never gave up and dug deep to achieve victory.
Gibson, who was a 2021 PIAA Class 2A silver medalist and missed the 2021-22 school season with a knee injury, finished with a perfect 7-0 record. Gibson outscored opponents 80-25.
“Mason wrestled better than he ever did,” said Bishop McCort’s trainer and Gibson’s uncle Bill Bassett. “This weekend was the best version of Mason Gibson. Mason is the only junior to win a freestyle title this year in Pennsylvania.
Gibson went ahead with one out with 2:15 left in the first period. Stanich responded with two takedowns to close out the first period and lead 4-2.
In the second, Gibson earned an out with 1:03 remaining to force a 4-all. Stanich responded with an out 22 seconds later to lead 6-4.
Despite a delay, Gibson did not lose faith.
“Keep fighting and pushing the pace,” Gibson said. “I knew that if I kept going until the very last second, I was going to win. I wasn’t too worried in the end because in wrestling we train and do a lot of these kinds of situations, and I was ready to take it when I lost.
Having won a national title in both freestyle and Greco-Roman, Gibson has shown versatility in both disciplines.
“I believe the fight is the fight,” Gibson said. “I train a lot more freestyle than Greco, but I love Greco. I put a bit of Greco in training whenever I can. They go hand in hand with each other. I love it. definitely picked up in the freestyle part. I wanted the title this year and wasn’t going to stop until I got it. Now is the time to go win a Greco title.
Gibson begins his journey for a Greco-Roman title Thursday in Fargo.
“More confidence, sure, but Greco is more my thing, so I’m just going to do what I always do and have fun and let it all fly,” Gibson said of how Tuesday’s win could help him later in the week.
In the 16-and-under freestyle division, Bishop McCort’s rising rookie Bo Bassett (9-2) lost a 6-4 decision to Pennsylvania’s Gauge Botero in the 120-pound third-place fight. Monday. Bassett edged Bishop McCort teammate Sam Herring 5-2 in the consolation semifinal. Herring (6-3) finished in sixth place after losing 14-4 to Kentucky’s Jordyn Raney.
Three Bishop McCort grapplers became All-Americans.
At 120 in the 16-Under division, Bishop McCort’s Melvin Miller went 4-2, and Crimson Crusher Jackson Butler finished 1-2. Bishop McCort’s Owen McMullen compiled a 2-2 mark at 152. Penn Cambria’s rising junior Trent Hoover went 3-2 at 138. Chestnut Ridge’s Dom Deputy recorded a 4-2 record at 100.
Pennsylvania beat California 223-212 in team points during the event.
At the junior freestyle level, Chestnut Ridge sophomore Easton Mull went 2-2 at 113.