Baylor senior Omaury Alvarez and wrestling coach Rex Kendle
Baylor senior Omaury Alvarez finished eighth in the 170-pound weight class of the Junior Freestyle division at the 2022 United States Marine Corps/USA Wrestling Junior and 16U National Championships in Fargo, North Dakota in July. In doing so, Alvarez not only accomplished one of the most difficult feats for a high school wrestler, he became Baylor's first Junior Freestyle All-American since Doug Dyer '78 placed fourth in the tournament 44 years ago.
Colloquially known in wrestling circles only as "Fargo," the tournament is the largest high school wrestling tournament in the nation, this year attracting 5,000 prep school competitors, and is thought by most coaches to be the toughest competition a prep wrestler can face. "Only the most dedicated year-round wrestlers from Baylor attend this tournament," said Baylor head coach Rex Kendle. "It requires an entire summer of training and, historically, not many Baylor wrestlers have wrestled year-round. We've had less than 20 compete at Fargo to the best of my knowledge." The TSSAA prohibited wrestlers in Tennessee from competing in the national competitions for many years.
Dyer (pictured above), a state champion in 1978 and a member of the Baylor Sports Hall of Fame, placed fourth in 1978 after losing to future Olympian Bruce Baumgartner. "I remember Coach (Luke) Worsham was not a big fan of freestyle wrestling, so I had to find another coach to help me learn the style and to help me at the tournament," says Dyer, who was obviously a quick study. "I'm perfectly happy to be joined by Omaury as the only freestyle place-finishers from Baylor at this tournament. It's always great to see Baylor teams and athletes succeed."
Alvarez had the distinction of earning another All-American honor at the tournament, placing second in the Junior Greco-Roman division as well. "Omaury had one of the best summers in Baylor wrestling history," continued Kendle. "To place in the Junior Freestyle division in Fargo is one of the hardest things to do in high school wrestling. Several outstanding Baylor wrestlers, such as Michael Murphy '16 and Mason Reiniche '19, have been so close to placing in freestyle but it had been 44 years since Doug did it. That shows you just what a feat it is." Alavarez will have his eye on a state championship this winter, having placed third and second in the state tournament so far in his career.
Baylor had six wrestlers competing at Fargo this summer and four of them placed in the top eight, earning All-American status. Rising sophomores Nate Askew '25 and Hunter Sturgill '25 were runners-up in the Cadet (16 and under) Greco-Roman division and Baylor newcomer Oliver Phillips '26 was third in Cadet Greco. Micah Tisdale '23 and Mason Alley '22 also represented Baylor at the tournament.