Gross, McKenna, Berger, Hall, Dieringer, Moore among men’s freestyle stars entered at Senior Nationals this weekend

by Gary Abbott, USA Wrestling

Seth Gross (USA) competing in the 2022 World Cup. (Photo by Ginnie Coleman, United World Wrestling)

Over 125 of the top men’s freestyle wrestlers in the nation will compete this weekend in Fort Worth, Texas at the 2023 Senior Nationals, the largest U.S. Olympic Team Trials qualifier of the season. The top five finishers in each of the six Olympic weight classes earn a berth to the U.S. Olympic Team Trials next April.

Only three of the entries have already qualified for the Olympic Trials (Spencer Lee, Seth Gross, Christian Lance). So far, 39 men’s freestyle wrestlers have punched their ticket for Penn State.

There are five current Freestyle National Team members entered: Joey McKenna, Tyler Berger, Mark Hall, Alex Dieringer and Kollin Moore.

We will look at each weight class separately, with a summary of the top challengers and a list of the current entries.

57 kg preview

There is a lot of star power at 57 kg, although no current National Team members are entered. Three-time NCAA champion and multiple age-group World champion Spencer Lee is entered, even though he is already qualified for the Olympic Trials by winning the Bill Farrell last month. Past National Team members Nico Megaludis and Daniel DeShazer are among the top title contenders, both who have competed at 61 kg in the past. Lee beat Megaludis in the Bill Farrell finals. Two-time NCAA champion Nick Suriano, a U.S. Open runner-up last year, was fourth on the Senior National Team ladder last year. U17 World champion and U20 World silver medalist Luke Lilledahl was a strong third at the Bill Farrell International. 2023 U23 World Team member Cooper Flynn and Brandon Courtney both placed in the top six at the Bill Farrell International. A veteran challenger is Joshua Rodriguez, a 2022 U.S. Open runner-up and 2019 Pan American champion. Others to watch are Liam Cronan, Cael Nasdeo and Devan Turner

57 kg entries

Michael Beets, KY, Knights RTC                                 

Lee Celestino, TX, Cowboy/Cowgirl Wrestling Club                              

Brandon Courtney, AZ, Sunkist Kids Wrestling Club                               

Liam Cronin, NE, Nebraska Wrestling Training Center                                          

Peter Del Gallo, ME, South Side Wrestling Club                                     

Daniel DeShazer, KS, Gopher Wrestling Club - RTC                               

Cooper Flynn, TN, Titan Mercury Wrestling Club (TMWC)                                 

Benyamin Kamali, MI, Olivet Wrestling Club                                          

Spencer Lee, IA, Titan Mercury Wrestling Club (TMWC)                                     

Luke Lilledahl, MO, X-Calibur Athletics Wrestling Club                                       

Jakob Lyons, OK, Oklahoma                                        

Nico Megaludis, PA, Titan Mercury Wrestling Club (TMWC)                              

Cael Nasdeo, PA, Nittany Lion Wrestling Club                                        

Joshua Rodriguez, PA, Titan Mercury Wrestling Club (TMWC)                                          

William Sprouse, CA, Central Valley High School Wrestling                                

Nick Suriano, NJ, New Jersey                                      

Devan Turner, IN, Indiana RTC

65 kg preview

Joey McKenna, currently No. 3 at 65 kg on the National Team and a 2020 U.S. Olympic Team Trials runner-up, comes in as the favorite in a very deep weight class. McKenna has as much international success, including age-group World medals, as anybody in the entire tournament, regardless of weight class. Seth Gross, who was fifth in the 2022 Senior World Championships at 61 kg and a past NCAA champion, is the only previous World Team member who is registered for men’s freestyle in Fort Worth. Gross has already qualified for the Olympic Trials. Alec Pantaleo, a 2022 U.S. Open champion at 70 kg, and No. 4 on the National Team ladder at 70 kg, is another top title hopeful. Anthony Ashnault, a past NCAA champion, Senior National Team member and Pan American champion, is capable of a strong run. 2023 NCAA champion and past U.S. Open champion Andrew Alirez is a proven freestyle talent. There is a ton of talent in the field, meaning that there will be some amazing matches early in the tournament. Beau Bartlett, who lost to 2023 World Team member Nick Lee on the way to fourth place at the U.S. Open last year, is among the top young talents. Winning medals at the Bill Farrell were runner-up Matthew Kolodzic and third-place Austin DeSanto. The rest of the field includes considerable talent who have the experience to earn a spot in the Olympic Trials such as Jaydin Eierman, Dean Heil, Patricio Lugo, Michael McGee, Ian Parker, Luke Pletcher, Michael McGee and Aden Valencia.

65 kg entries

Aden Valencia, CA, Titan Mercury Wrestling Club (TMWC)  

Andrew Alirez, CO, Titan Mercury Wrestling Club (TMWC)                               

Anthony Ashnault, NJ, Titan Mercury Wrestling Club (TMWC)                                          

Jawid Azimi, TX, Paradigm Wrestling                                       

Beau Bartlett, PA, Nittany Lion Wrestling Club                                       

Chase Daudelin, NY, New York                                   

Austin DeSanto, PA, Titan Mercury Wrestling Club (TMWC)                               

Jaydin Eierman, MO, Titan Mercury Wrestling Club (TMWC)                             

Seth Gross, MN, Sunkist Kids Wrestling Club                                         

Dean Heil, OK, Titan Mercury Wrestling Club (TMWC)                                       

Nathaniel Johnson, AZ, Arizona                                   

Tyler Kasak, PA, Nittany Lion Wrestling Club                                         

Matthew Kolodzik, NJ, New York Athletic Club                                      

Timothy Levine, CA, Nittany Lion Wrestling Club                                  

Patricio Lugo, FL, Titan Mercury Wrestling Club (TMWC)                                  

Grant Martsolf, IN, Indiana                                          

Aydin Matanane, OK, Oklahoma                                 

Chandler Mazur, CO, Cornerstone Wrestling Club                                   

Michael McGee, IL, Sunkist Kids Wrestling Club                                   

Joseph McKenna, NJ, Titan Mercury Wrestling Club (TMWC)                             

Christian Monserrat, MA, New York Athletic Club                                  

Alec Pantaleo, MI, Titan Mercury Wrestling Club (TMWC)                                  

Ian Parker, VA, Cavalier Wrestling Club                                    

Luke Pletcher, PA, Titan Mercury Wrestling Club (TMWC)                                  

Henry Porter, IN, Indiana RTC                                     

74 kg preview

2023 Pan American Games champion Tyler Berger, who is No. 2 on the Senior National Team at 70 kg, is the only current National Team member registered for Senior Nationals at 74 kg. Berger won the U.S. Open and was second in Final X last year, and has considerable international experience. This weight class has considerable young stars who are currently breaking through on the Senior level in men’s freestyle. Three of the top four from the recent Bill Farrell Memorial are registered to compete, runner-up Alex Marinelli, third-place Quincy Monday and fourth-place Jarrett Jacques. All had considerable college achievements, but are now adding to their Senior resumes. Marinelli and Monday had wins over Berger at the Bill Farrell. Joey Lavallee, a 2021 U.S. Open runner-up, was fourth on the National Team ladder in 2022. Doug Zapf, who was fifth at the 2023 U23 World Championships, is among the young stars. 2022 U17 World champion Joseph Sealey made a nice run at the Bill Farrell in his first major Senior event. U20 National champion Alec Facundo is another capable up-and-comer. Yahya Thomas, a 2019 U20 World Team member, moves up to 74 kg for the Senior Nationals. Others with the ability to qualify for the Olympic Trials are veteran Joshua Fields, plus Isaiah White and Wyatt Sheets.

74 kg entries

Hassan Ajami, MI, Michigan                                        

Terrell Barraclough, UT, Nittany Lion Wrestling Club                                           

Garrett Bass, OH, Green Machine Wrestling Club                                   

Tyler Berger, NE, Pennsylvania RTC                                          

Gabe Blough, KS, Spire Wrestling Club                                     

Jack Chesman, IN, Florian Techniques Wrestling Club                                          

Alex Facundo, MI, Nittany Lion Wrestling Club                                      

Shane Gantz, WI, Ranger Wrestling Club                                  

Jarrett Jacques, MO, Tiger Style Wrestling Club                                      

Quentin LaCour, TX, Rise RTC                                    

Joey Lavallee, PA, Titan Mercury Wrestling Club (TMWC)                                  

Alex Marinelli, IA, Titan Mercury Wrestling Club (TMWC)                                 

Quincy Monday, NJ, Titan Mercury Wrestling Club (TMWC)                              

Jeremiah Moody, IA, Titan Mercury Wrestling Club (TMWC)                              

Drayden Morton, MN, West Coast Regional Training Center                                 

Brandon Murray, NJ, Dubuque RTC                                            

Elroy Perkin, CA, Titan Mercury Wrestling Club (TMWC)                                   

Alec Robeson, TX, Dubuque RTC                               

Joseph Sealey, PA, Pennsylvania                                  

Wyatt Sheets, OK, Titan Mercury Wrestling Club (TMWC)                                  

Joshua Shields, AZ, Sunkist Kids Wrestling Club                                    

Michael Tantillo, TX, Warrior Trained Wrestling                                     

Yahya Thomas, IL, Titan Mercury Wrestling Club (TMWC)                                 

Dellton Warren, TX, Rise Wrestling                             

Isaiah White, IL, Indiana RTC                                      

Jaison White, MA, New England Regional Training Center                                   

Doug Zapf, PA, Titan Mercury Wrestling Club (TMWC)         

86 kg preview

There are a pair of current National Team members registered at 86 kg, Mark Hall, who is at No. 3 at 86 kg, and Alex Dieringer, who is at No. 3 at 79 kg. Hall, a multiple age-group World champion, was a 2022 U.S. Open champion and recently won a silver medal at the 2023 Pan American Games. Dieringer, who was second at the Bill Farrell Memorial last month, was a 2019 U.S. Open champion. Dieringer won three NCAA titles and Hall was also an NCAA champion in college. David McFadden, a 2022 U.S. Open champion and fourth on the National Team ladder at 79 kg, is another top title contender. Cameron Caffey won a 2022 U.S. Open title in freestyle, and also excels in Greco-Roman. Morgan McIntosh is fresh off winning a gold medal at the CISM Military World Championships. 2022 NCAA champion Max Dean has thrown his hat in the ring in Senior freestyle. Marcus Coleman, a 2022 U.S. Open runner-up, and Taylor Lujan, a three-time U.S. Open placewinner, are among the emerging talents. Evan Wick, who has placed in the U.S. Open at both 74 kg and 79 kg, has moved up for his Olympic run at 86 kg. Bernie Truax, a 2020 U20 National champion and three-time NCAA All-American, and Connor Mirasola, a 2023 Junior Nationals champion, are among the others to watch.

86 kg entries

Aarif Asif, PA, Nittany Lion Wrestling Club                              

Donovon Ball, PA, Nittany Lion Wrestling Club                                      

Cameron Caffey, IL, Michigan Wrestling Club                                         

Jason Carter, NJ, MontCo Wrestling Club                                  

Marcus Coleman, NC, Titan Mercury Wrestling Club (TMWC)                                           

Maxwell Dean, MI, Titan Mercury Wrestling Club (TMWC)                                

Alex Dieringer, OK, Titan Mercury Wrestling Club (TMWC)                               

Jared Fekete, MI, Marines                             

Javian Garrett, TX, Rise RTC                                        

Alex Graff, FL, Florida                                  

John Gunderson, WI, Panther Wrestling Club RTC                                  

Mark Hall, PA, Titan Mercury Wrestling Club (TMWC)                                        

Alex Hamm, FL, Florida                                

Taylor Lujan, IA, Titan Mercury Wrestling Club (TMWC)                                    

David McFadden, VA, Titan Mercury Wrestling Club (TMWC)                                           

Morgan McIntosh, PA, Army (WCAP)                                       

Connor Mirasola, WI, Askren Wrestling Academy                                   

Andrew Morgan, NY, Navy Wrestling Club                              

Michael O'Malley, NJ, Pennsylvania RTC                                  

Dylan Roth, IN, Indiana                                 

Chase Sophus, TX, Rise RTC                                        

Bernie Truax, CA, Nittany Lion Wrestling Club                                       

Martin Verhaeghe, KS, Tiger Den Wrestling Club                                    

Owen Webster, MN, Gopher Wrestling Club - RTC                                 

Evan Wick, CA, Titan Mercury Wrestling Club (TMWC)                                                     


97 kg preview

Current National Team member Kollin Moore, who is No. 3 at 92 kg, is the only current National Team member in this weight class. Moore was second in the 2020 Olympic Team Trials at 97 kg, and is a past age-group World medalist. Past Senior National Team members Nate Jackson and Jay Aiello are among the other top title contenders. Jackson was second in Final X in 2022 at 92 kg, and was a 2021 Pan American champion. Aiello was a 2021 U23 World bronze medalist. Jacob Warner, a past age-group World medalist, had a strong showing at the Bill Farrell Memorial by placing second. Eric Schultz, a 2022 Bill Farrell Memorial champion, was fourth in the 2023 U.S. Open. Tony Cassioppi, who was a 2021 U23 World champion at 125 kg, is making the drop to 97 kg for the first time after a career as a dominant heavyweight. Timothy Dudley, who has placed in the U.S. Open for seven straight years, is a veteran talent. Others to watch include Lou Deprez, Cole Mirasola and Morgan Smith.

97 kg entries

Jonathan Aiello, VA, Titan Mercury Wrestling Club (TMWC)                               

Anthony Cassioppi,, IL, Titan Mercury Wrestling Club (TMWC)                                        

Austin Craig, WA , 10 Year Active Athlete List                                         

Eulogio Rosino, Dalmeida, NE, Nebraska                                  

Lou DePrez, NY, Bearcat Wrestling Club                                   

Timothy Dudley, SC, Sunkist Kids Wrestling Club                                  

Eric Gamble, PA, Pennsylvania                                    

Rodsean Graham, IL, Illinois                                        

Sterling Hecox, IL, Illinois                                           

Tyrie Houghton, NC, Titan Mercury Wrestling Club (TMWC)                              

Nathan Jackson, NJ, New York Athletic Club                                           

Kallen Kleinschmidt, MT, Montana                             

Cole Mirasola, WI, Askren Wrestling Academy                                       

Kollin Moore, OH, Titan Mercury Wrestling Club (TMWC)                                 

DeAndre Nunn, IL, Chicago Wrestling Club                             

Eric Schultz, IL, Nebraska Wrestling Training Center                             

Morgan Smith, WA, Titan Mercury Wrestling Club (TMWC)                               

SirQuinces Stewart, TX, Future Champs of Texas/Southside Wrestling Club                                    

 Jacob Warner, IA, Titan Mercury Wrestling Club (TMWC)                                   

Gary Traub, OH, Titan Mercury Wrestling Club (TMWC)

125 kg preview

Dom Bradley, a past U.S. Open champion and National Team member, has the most achievements among the entries at 125 kg. Bradley, a U20 World champion all the way back in 2009, is fourth on the Senior National Team ladder and most recently won a 2023 Pan American Championships title. Greg Kerkvliet, a 2017 U17 World champion and 2023 NCAA runner-up, takes time from the college season to pursue a Senior Nationals title. Christian Lance qualified for the U.S. Olympic Team Trials by placing second at the Bill Farrell Memorial, but enters seeking a national title. Demetrius Thomas, who has placed at the U.S. Open the last two years, is another title contender. Moving up from the college ranks are Sam Schuyler and Gary “Gas Tank” Traub, who placed third and fourth respectively at the Bill Farrell Memorial. Trent Hillger, who was fourth in the 2020 U.S. Open, was a three-time college All-American. Daniel Erekson, second in the 2011 U.S. Open at 96 kg, will also be in the running.

125 kg entries

Dominique Bradley, MO, Sunkist Kids Wrestling Club                                          

Jacob Bullock, IN, Indiana RTC                                   

Daniel Erekson, ID, Air Force Regional Training Center                                        

Trent Hillger, MI, Gopher Wrestling Club - RTC                                      

Malik Jones, FL, Florida                                

Daniel Kerkvliet, PA, Nittany Lion Wrestling Club                                 

Christian Lance, MO, Sunkist Kids Wrestling Club                                 

Duncan Lee, IA, Cyclone Regional Training Center C-RTC                                  

Dino Saracco Jr, CO, All American Wrestling Academy                                         

Samuel Schuyler, NY, Cyclone Regional Training Center C-RTC                                        

Demertius Thomas, MO, Pittsburgh Wrestling Club