Paniro Johnson Wins U23 National Title, Makes World Team

Photo Courtesy of Iowa State Wrestling

The following is a press release from Iowa State Athletics

GENEVA, Ohio – Paniro Johnson claimed a national title while three other Cyclones finished on the podium Saturday at the 2024 U23 Nationals and U20 World Team Trials. Johnson’s 70 kg freestyle title earns him a spot on the USA U23 Men’s Freestyle World Team, which will compete at the World Championships Oct. 21-27 in Tirana, Albania.

Zach Redding and Jacob Frost, who both wrestled in the U23 65 kg freestyle bracket, placed seventh and eighth, respectively. In the U20 86 kg freestyle bracket, Tate Naaktgeboren, finished fourth.

Johnson defeated two NCAA All-All Americans and three NCAA Qualifiers en route to his title. The Cyclone took out Ed Scott, who placed fifth for NC State at the 2023 NCAA Championships, 6-1, in the Round of 16. In the quarterfinals, Johnson dispatched of Daniel Cardenas, a fourth-place NCAA finisher for Cornell at the most recent NCAA Championships, 8-2.

Johnson defeated Caleb Rathjen (Hawkeye Wrestling Club), 8-3, in the semifinals before he defeated John Wiley (Oklahoma RTC) in the first two bouts of the best-of-three finals. Johnson won bout one, 6-2, and bout two, 2-2, to flip a result from the 2023 college folkstyle season where Wiley bested Johnson.

Match-by-match results from the tournament are listed below. Finals brackets can be found on FloArena.

Ethan Perryman (U23 57 kg) – DNP
Ethan Perryman (C-RTC) VSU Micah Medina (Knigths RTC), 10-0 1:06
Blake West (Northern Illinois RTC) VSU1 Ethan Perryman (C-RTC), 16-6 5:20
Ethan Perryman (C-RTC) VSU1 Braden Graff (Viking Wrestling Club (IA)), 13-2 5:14
Ethan Perryman (C-RTC) VFA Garett Lautzenheiser (Ohio RTC), 15-9 2:53
Joey Cruz (Hawkeye Wrestling Club) VSU1 Ethan Perryman (C-RTC), 15-4 4:45

Zach Redding (U23 65 kg) – 7th Place
Zach Redding (C-RTC) VSU Aaron Lanster (Bulls WC), 11-0 1:48
Zach Redding (C-RTC) VSU1 Elijah Knight (RTC South), 15-4 4:53
Zach Redding C-RTC) VSU1 Cameron Johnson (Spar Wrestling Academy), 13-2 3:45
Zach Redding (C-RTC) VSU1 Kai Owen (New York City RTC), 12-1 3:23
Joshua Saunders (Spartan Combat RTC/ TMWC) VSU Zach Redding (C-RTC), 10-0 1:14
Zach Redding (C-RTC) VPO1 Sean Carter (Boone RTC), 8-6
Julian Tagg (Jackrabbit WC) VSU Zach Redding (C-RTC), 10-0 3:13
Zach Redding (C-RTC) VFO Jacob Frost (C-RTC)

Jacob Frost (U23 65 kg) – 8th Place
Jacob Frost (C-RTC) VSU Danny Martinez (Southern Illinois RTC), 10-0 2:03
Jacob Frost (C-RTC) VSU1 Cj Composto (Pennsylvania RTC), 17-7 5:25
Jacob Frost (C-RTC) VSU1 Avery Allen (Jackrabbit WC), 12-2 3:00
Cael Happel (Panther WC RTC) VFA Jacob Frost (C-RTC), 14-7 3:57
Jacob Frost (C-RTC) VPO1 Cj Composto (Pennsylvania RTC), 11-5
Ryan Jack (Wolfpack WC) VSU Jacob Frost (C-RTC), 10-0 1:54
Zach Redding (C-RTC) VFO Jacob Frost (C-RTC)

Paniro Johnson (U23 70 kg) – Champion
Paniro Johnson (C-RTC) VSU Hartwell Taylor (Spire WC), 10-0 2:02
Paniro Johnson (C-RTC) VSU Carson Desrosier (Charleston RTC), 10-0 5:06
Paniro Johnson (C-RTC) VSU Sam Mcmonagle (Brown RTC), 10-0 3:46
Paniro Johnson (C-RTC) VPO1 Edward Scott (Wolfpack WC), 6-1
Paniro Johnson (C-RTC) VPO1 Daniel Cardenas (Bear Cave WC), 8-2
Paniro Johnson (C-RTC) VPO1 Caleb Rathjen (Hawkeye WC), 8-3
Paniro Johnson (C-RTC) VPO1 John Wiley (Oklahoma RTC), 6-2
Paniro Johnson (C-RTC) VPO1 John Wiley (Oklahoma RTC), 2-2

MJ Gaitan (U20 79 kg) – DNP
MJ Gaitan (C-RTC) VSU1 Lorenzo Norman (New Jersey), 16-5 4:21
Gabriel Arnold (Hawkeye WC) VPO1 MJ Gaitan (C-RTC), 5-2
MJ Gaitan (C-RTC) VFA Bradley Gillum (Southern Illinois RTC), 10-4 3:24
Lucas Condon (Wisconsin RTC) VSU MJ Gaitan (C-RTC), 12-0 4:15

Tate Naaktgeboren (U20 86 kg) – 4th Place
Tate Naaktgeboren (Cyclone Regional Training Center C-RTC) VSU Tucker Hogan (Stellar Trained), 10-0 2:45
Max Mcenelly (Minnesota Storm) VSU Tate Naaktgeboren (Cyclone Regional Training Center C-RTC), 11-0 4:35
Tate Naaktgeboren (Cyclone Regional Training Center C-RTC) VPO1 De’alcapon Veazy (Black Fox Wrestling Academy), 8-5
James Rowley (Boilermaker RTC) VPO1 Tate Naaktgeboren (C-RTC), 2-1

Jacqueline Cordova


Jacqueline graduated from Iowa State University with a degree in Journalism and Mass Communications. She has been fortunate enough to have interned for Cyclone Fanatic for 2 and a half years before being promoted to stay on. She currently wears a lot of hats at Cyclone Fanatic: Social Media Director, Iowa State Wrestling beat reporter, and staff photographer. Jacqueline loves reading and watching trash reality TV shows when she's not watching sports. One of her favorite accomplishments is having interned for the Minnesota Vikings and during Super Bowl LII.