Brooks, O'Toole lead men’s freestyle group to compete at U23 World Championships
by Savannah Asmann, USA Wrestling
The U.S. is set to send ten men’s freestyle athletes to compete at the 2023 U23 World Championships in Tirana, Albania, October 23-29. Four of the ten American athletes have competed at prior age-group World Championships, with three earning medals.
Men’s freestyle begins competition next Monday at the Sports Hall “Feti Borova” in Tirana. Athletes in the first five men’s freestyle weight classes (61-74-86-92-125 kg) begin their tournaments on October 23, with the second wave of weights (57-65-70-79-97 kg) kicking off on October 24. Each bracket will be contested over a two-day period that continues into the semifinals on the first day, followed by repechage and medal matches on the second day of competition.
Seven athletes of the U23 men’s freestyle team were decided at U23 Nationals held in early June at Spire Academy in Geneva, Ohio. The champions in each respective weight class earned a berth if there was not an age-eligible athlete on the 2023 Senior National Team eligible to claim the spot. Keegan O’Toole (74 kg), Aaron Brooks (86 kg) and Isaac Trumble (97 kg) are Senior National Team members that elected to compete at the 2023 U23 World Championships.
Senior National Team member Sammy Sasso (70 kg) accepted the U23 World Team spot, but is unable to compete as he is recovering from gunshot injuries which he sustained in an attack in Columbus, Ohio on August 18. Doug Zapf, U23 Nationals champion at 70 kg, will compete at the 2023 U23 World Championships.
Jacob Cardenas is the lone returning U23 World Team member from last year’s event and looks to reach the top of the podium after earning a silver medal in 2022. Three athletes join Cardenas with age-group World Championships experience in O’Toole, Brooks and Wyatt Hendrickson (125 kg).
O’Toole, a two-time NCAA D1 National Champion, earned gold at the 2021 Junior World Championships. Brooks, a three-time NCAA D1 National Champion, is a two-time age group World medalist, capturing gold at the 2017 Cadet World Championships and silver at the 2018 Junior World Championships. Hendrickson aims to reach the podium at this year’s event following a fifth place finish at the 2021 Junior World Championships.
Six athletes will make their debut at the U23 World Championships in Albania. Cooper Flynn (57 kg), Zapf (70 kg) and Dustin Plott (79 kg) competed in their first international competition earlier this year at the Waclaw Ziolkowski Memorial in Poland. Flynn and Zapf wrestled their way to gold at the tournament, and Plott earned bronze.
Julian Chlebove (61 kg), Brock Hardy (65 kg) and Trumble (97 kg) will be appearing in their first international tournament. Chlebove, a redshirt junior at Arizona State, had a breakout performance at U23 Nationals in June to claim the U23 World Team spot. Hardy, an NCAA DI All-American from Nebraska, has won several U.S. national tournaments. Two-time Senior National Team member Trumble is aiming for a medal at this year’s event.
The U.S. finished in third place as a team in the men’s freestyle division at the 2022 U23 World Championships with a total of 112 points and five medalists.
The U23 World Championships will be live streamed on FloWrestling.com to the U.S. market. Brackets and updated results will be provided by United World Wrestling on uww.org and the UWW mobile app.
Those seeking to follow along in real time can reference the complete event schedule below. Tirana, Albania, is in the GMT +2 time zone, which is six hours ahead of U.S. Eastern Time. USA Wrestling will provide regular updates on TheMat.com and its social media platforms throughout the event.
2023 U23 World Championships
At Tirana, Albania, October 23-29
Monday, October 23
10:30 a.m. – Qualification Rounds (MFS 61-74-86-92-125 kg)
5:15 p.m. – Opening Ceremony
6 p.m. – Semifinals (MFS 61-74-86-92-125 kg)
Tuesday, October 24
10:30 a.m. – Qualification Rounds (MFS 57-65-70-79-97 kg) and Repechage (MFS 61-74-86-92-125 kg)
4:45 p.m. – Semifinals (MFS 57-65-70-79-97 kg)
6 p.m. – Medal Matches and Awards (MFS 61-74-86-92-125 kg)
Wednesday, October 25
10:30 a.m. – Qualification Rounds (WFS 50-55-59-68-76 kg) and Repechage (MFS 57-65-70-79-97 kg)
4:45 p.m. – Semifinals (WFS 50-55-59-68-76 kg)
6 p.m. – Medal Matches and Awards (MFS 57-65-70-79-97 kg)
Thursday, October 26
10:30 a.m. – Qualification Rounds (WFS 53-57-62-65-72 kg) and Repechage (WFS 50-55-59-68-76 kg)
4:45 p.m. – Semifinals (WFS 53-57-62-65-72 kg)
6 p.m. – Medal Matches and Awards (WFS 50-55-59-68-76 kg)
Friday, October 27
10:30 a.m. – Qualification Rounds (GR 60-67-72-82-97 kg) and Repechage (WFS 53-57-62-65-72 kg)
4:45 p.m. – Semifinals (GR 60-67-72-82-97 kg)
6 p.m. – Medal Matches and Awards (WFS 53-57-62-65-72 kg)
Saturday, October 28
10 a.m. – Qualification Rounds (GR 55-63-77-87-130 kg) and Repechage (GR 60-67-72-82-97 kg)
4:45 p.m. – Semifinals (GR 55-63-77-87-130 kg)
6 p.m. – Medal Matches and Awards (GR 60-67-72-82-97 kg)
Sunday, October 29
4 p.m. – Repechage (GR 55-63-77-87-130 kg)
6 p.m. – Medal Matches and Awards (GR 55-63-77-87-130 kg)
*Listed times reflect local time in Amman, Jordan, which is seven hours ahead of U.S. Eastern Time
U.S. Men’s Freestyle Roster
57 kg – Cooper Flynn (Seymour, Tenn./Southeast RTC/Titan Mercury WC)
61 kg – Julian Chlebove (Northampton, Pa./Sunkist Kids WC)
65 kg – Brock Hardy (Brigham City, Utah/Nebraska WTC)
70 kg – Doug Zapf (Downingtown, Pa., Pennsylvania RTC)
74 kg – Keegan O’Toole (Hartland, Wis./Tiger Style WC)
79 kg – Dustin Plott (Tuttle, Okla./Cowboy RTC)
86 kg – Aaron Brooks (Hagerstown, Md./Nittany Lion WC/Titan Mercury WC)
92 kg – Jacob Cardenas (Kearny, N.J./Spartan Combat RTC/Titan Mercury WC)
97 kg – Isaac Trumble (Springfield, Neb./Wolfpack, WC/Titan Mercury WC)
125 kg – Wyatt Hendrickson (Newton, Kan./Air Force RTC)
U.S. Men’s Freestyle Delegation
Coach: Joe Russell
Coach: Sam Barber
Personal Coach: Tyler Caldwell
Personal Coach: Kendric Maple
Personal Coach: Nick Gwiazdowski
Personal Coach: Cody Brewer
Personal Coach: Bryan Snyder
Personal Coach: Brandon Slay
Personal Coach: Cael Sanderson
Personal Coach: Zeke Jones
Personal Coach: Tiraq Wilson
Training Partner: Brandon Courtney
Training Partner: Casey Cunningham
MD: Dr. Steven Broman
ATC: Randy Boswell
Official: Leslie Tamayo
Official: Jason Babi
Official: Nick Kindred
Team Leader: Tim Manning
Team Leader: Meredith Suess
USA Wrestling, Communications Coordinator: Savannah Asmann
Delegate: Jose Campo