Fargo. That one word is now used to describe the largest wrestling tournament in the world.

The 2024 U.S. Marine Corp Junior and 16U Nationals will take place July 12-20. The floor of the Fargo Dome in Fargo, North Dakota will be covered with wrestling mats as wrestlers from across the country compete.

This tournament has come a long way since The Fieldhouse on the campus of the University of Iowa first hosted Junior Nationals in 1971. Future Iowa Hawkeye Dan Holm (Illinois) won a national title at 154 lbs.

I believe it was at these early tournaments that Sandy Stevens began her career as an announcer.

I attended my first Junior Nationals in Cedar Falls in 1983 to watch Royce Alger of Lisbon win a 154 lbs. Junior National title. I went to my last Junior Nationals in Fargo in 2005 to see Ryan Morningstar of Lisbon win a national title at 154.

I went every year Junior Nationals were in the UNI-Dome (1983-1990). I sure miss this tournament in the UNI-Dome.

A good article on the history of Junior Nationals:



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The largest wrestling tournament in the world is continuing to grow. The addition of women’s wrestling has made a big impact for continued growth for the tournament.

From USA Wrestling in 2023:

2023 USMC Junior/16U Nationals entries, in comparison to 2022 record event

  • 16U women’s freestyle: 740 vs. 518 (+ 222 entries)
  • 16U men’s freestyle: 1,595 vs. 1,436 (+159 entries)
  • 16U Greco-Roman: 1,206 vs. 1,044 (+162 entries)
  • Junior women’s freestyle: 853 vs. 944 (- 91 entries)
  • Junior men’s freestyle: 1,596 vs. 1,563 (+33 entries)
  • Junior Greco-Roman: 1,444 vs. 1,141 (+ 3 entries)

USA Wrestling blitzed the overall record with 7,134 entries this year, blasting through the 7,000 athlete barrier and topping the 2022 record of 6,646 athletes by 488 athletes, a healthy increase of 7.3%.


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Incoming recruits for the men’s and women’s program will be competing. Junior Girls will be on Saturday and Sunday, July 13-14. Junior Boys will be on Monday-Wednesday, July 15-17.

Schedule for Junior and 16U Nationals:


FloWrestling will have full coverage on their premium service.

I will have a preview and follow up blogs with results for incoming recruits for both programs..

It is great to be an Iowa Wrestling fan.

Go Hawks!