Those results reversed last summer’s showdown in the cadet division when Snyder won the freestyle competition and Cox captured top honors in the Greco Roman tournament.
“We’re pretty evenly matched,” said Snyder, who was bidding to become Maryland’s first double junior champ since Mike Faust in 2000. “He’s a tough guy with really good leg defense. He’s very aware of his body on the mat.”
At one of the country’s premier high school tournaments, Cox and Snyder distanced themselves from the rest of the 220-pound field. (The event includes Greco Roman and freestyle tournaments, the styles contested at the Olympics, as opposed to folkstyle, which is used in high school and NCAA competition.)
Matches in both tournaments were scored by period with the first wrestler to win two advancing. For the week, Snyder did not lose any periods in his other 13 contested matches, while Cox lost just one.
Head-to-head, the pair squared off in three tight bouts. Snyder started off strong in the Greco Roman competition, beating Cox in three periods, 0-1, 2-0, 1-0, before knocking off Daniel Chaid of California in the final.
In two freestyle matchups at the end of the week, Cox won all four periods by a 1-0 score. Snyder came back to beat Chaid in the third-place match.
Snyder, 16, will have two more trips to Fargo if he chooses, and he’s already looking forward to seeing Cox again.
“If you don’t lose, you don’t really have anything to fuel your fire,” said Snyder. “I don’t want to say it was a good thing, but it wasn’t a bad thing at the same time.”
In the past, Snyder’s return from Fargo has signaled the unofficial beginning of his football season. With his focus squarely on wrestling this time around, he plans to take a month off from wrestling to let his body recover and focus on getting even stronger in the weight room.
Llopez takes freestyle crown
After a lackluster showing in the Greco Roman tournament, Josh Llopez, a rising junior All-Met, went 11-0 in the junior 152-pound freestyle competition, finishing his run to the title with a 1-0, 2-1 victory over Yoanse Mejia of Florida in Saturday’s final.
A year ago in his first trip to the event, Llopez suffered a broken rib early in the week and still managed to finish third in the cadet freestyle tournament. This time, he eased through the Greco Roman portion with a 1-2 record and put much of his energy into bettering that freestyle result.