LOCKPORT – While most area wrestlers are content to see how well they can perform at the IHSA tournament, several elite local wrestlers have set their sights even higher and want to see how they match up against some of the nation’s best competitors.
One of those athletes is Lockport senior Anthony Molton, who not only won a state title in 2018 to give him medals in the past two seasons, but who also has made a habit of competing in the Cadet and Junior National Championships each year in Fargo, North Dakota.
He earned All-American honors for the third year in a row and also claimed his fourth All-American medal. During his recent visit to the U.S. Marine Corps Junior Nationals in Fargo, he assured himself of another Greco-Roman medal and became a double All-American for the first time after capturing his initial Freestyle medal.
Molton earned his third All-American medal in Greco-Roman after taking fourth place at 120 pounds in the Junior division. And he claimed his initial medal in Freestyle after a seventh-place effort in the same weight class. Molton was the national runner-up at 113 pounds a year ago in Junior Greco-Roman and placed third in Cadet Greco-Roman at 106 in 2016.
He also was part of two championship squads from his home state. The Greco-Roman squad easily won over Washington by a 110-45 margin, while Illinois’ Freestyle squad defeated Ohio, 95-62, for top honors.
The only other Porters to be All-Americans three years in a row at Fargo were Mark Stenberg and Brad Johnson.
Stenberg was a three-time Greco-Roman medalist from 2007-09 and also was a medal winner in Freestyle in 2007. Johnson was a three-time Freestyle medalist from 2009-11.
“It was pretty exciting to be an All-American again and I’m honored to place in both styles this year,” Molton said. “It makes me want to go back there to get another one, only that time I hope it’s a title. I know that a lot of people will be coming for me this season, so I have to keep getting better and make sure that I don’t fall off.”
Molton’s Porters teammate and his good friend, senior Matt Ramos, was a two-time All-American in Freestyle and Greco-Roman in 2016 and 2017, which also gave him four medals in Fargo. He didn’t compete this year, instead taking part in the Cadet Freestyle World Championships in Croatia, where he surprised many by being the only U.S. champion.
The double All-American honors will provide a big boost for Molton, who capped a 47-7 junior season with the Porters by winning the Class 3A championship at 120 after upsetting Marian Catholic’s Travis Ford-Melton, 7-4 by tiebreaker, in the finals. That followed his fourth-place showing at 113 in 2017, when he finished with a 46-12 record.
Along with Ramos, another two-time placewinner at the IHSA meet, it’s not surprising that the pair was ranked among some of the nation’s top competitors. Molton is ranked 16th at 120 by FloWrestling, while Ramos was ranked sixth at the same weight. But Molton says that he will wrestle one weight class up from where he was when he won the 2018 IHSA title.
With the two good friends working together each day in the practice room, the wrestlers that already have accomplished so much during their careers seem poised once again to make very serious runs at IHSA titles as they wrap up their prep careers.
“Matt winning the world title was pretty exciting and I was happy for him,” Molton said.
“We practice with each other all of the time and just work hard every day. I can’t wait for our last year at Lockport. The coaches are great and it will be hard to leave there. But I want to go to college, even though I haven’t committed to any school yet.”