St. John Vianney Freshman Anthony Knox Wins Coveted Super 32 Title
St. John Vianney freshman Anthony Knox is already one of the best wrestlers in the country, and although he has yet to compete in a Lancers singlet his resume continues to grow exponentially.
On Sunday, Knox won a marquee matchup in the Super 32 Challenge 106-pound championship bout, defeating Cadet World Champion Bo Bassett by a 10-4 decision at the Greensboro Coliseum Special Events Center in Greensboro, North Carolina.
The Freehold native is ranked No. 1 in the nation at 113 pounds but with Bassett, who is an eighth-grader from Bishop McCort in Johnston, Pennsylvania, in the field at 106 pounds Knox decided to cut down to set up the super match. Bassett won a world title over the summer and also scored an 11-3 major decision over Missouri's Luke Lilledahl during FloWrestling's Who's No. 1 event. Lilledahl is ranked No. 2 in the nation at 113 and won the Super 32 113-pound title on Sunday.
Tied 2-2 entering the second period, Knox started the period on top and turned Bassett for a 5-2 lead before adding four more points to take a 9-3 advantage into the third period. Bassett earned a stalling point before Knox had to take injury time (shoulder), then Bassett cut Knox loose in order to go for a multi-point move from neutral. Knox was able to hold onto the lead to come away with the statement-making 10-4 victory.
Knox now has multiple Super 32 belts along with championships at Tulsa Nationals, Freestyle Nationals, and the Journeyman Classic. Over the summer, Knox captured the 106-pound freestyle title in Fargo at the U-16 Nationals. He has traveled far and wide and earned a haul of medals and accolades, and soon the Shore Conference will get to see him in action.
There is considerable hype surrounding Knox as he gets set for his first high school season in December. He is an obvious state championship favorite who has the talent to go down as one of the all-time greats. That is precisely his goal and his mindset.
"I'm not going to lose a match in high school," Knox told NJ.com after competing in the Garden State Scrap in January.
Knox will join a St. John Vianney program that said goodbye to one of the best wrestlers in Shore Conference history in two-time state champion Dean Peterson, who is now a freshman at Rutgers. Along with Knox, the Lancers have several more impact freshmen ready to debut and multiple incoming transfers such as junior Thomas Clearly (8-2 at 170 for Holmdel), junior Kevin McBride (7-4 at 145 for Marlboro), junior Jasiah Queen (2-time state qualifier from Elizabeth) and senior Blake Geibel (6-4 at 120 for Northern Burlington).
Knox was the only Super 32 champion in the high school division from New Jersey, but it was a great showing for the Garden State and the Shore Conference. Howell senior Hunter Mays, last season's 160-pound NJSIAA state champion, placed third at 160 pounds. Christian Brothers Academy sophomore Alex Nini, who was eighth in the state at 113 last season, finished eighth at 120 pounds at the Super 32.
In the middle school division, Bayville's Paul Kenny won the 85-pound Super 32 championship and Sean Kenny placed fifth at 75 pounds.
New Jersey had a total of 11 Super 32 place-winners in the high school division. In addition to Knox, Mays and Nini, Camden Catholic's Martin Cosgrove was second at 195 pounds, St. Peter's Prep's Adrian Dejesus (106), Clearview's Ty Whalen (145) and High Point's Brian Soldano (182) placed third, Paramus Catholic's Max Acciardi was fourth at 285, Kingsway's Dakota Morris was seventh at 160 and St. Peter's Prep's Felix Lettini (138) and Lower Cape May's Brock Zurawski (170) finished eighth.
The 2021-2022 New Jersey high school wrestling season begins with weight certification on Nov. 1 and with practices beginning on Nov. 29. Opening day is Dec. 17, sectional championship matches are on Feb. 11 and the NJSIAA Group Championships will be contested on Sunday, Feb. 13. After a one-year stint at Phillipsburg High School due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the NJSIAA Individual Tournament will return to Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City from March 3 through March 5.