Kadir Caliskan, United World Wrestling

Keegan O'Toole wins his 74 kg semifinal match en route to the U23 World finals.


Day One Wrap: O’Toole, Brooks, Hendrickson reach U23 World finals, Chlebove, Cardenas in the hunt for bronze

by Savannah Asmann, USA Wrestling

The U.S. men’s freestyle team got off to a hot start at the U23 World Championships. Three athletes will wrestle in the World finals tomorrow while two remain in the hunt for bronze after being pulled into repechage to remain in the tournament.

Keegan O’Toole, 2021 Junior World Champion, bested his way through the bracket at 74 kg, defeating four opponents to push himself back into an age-group World final. In his first match, O’Toole led 6-0 after three first period takedowns, two more and he captured the 10-0 technical fall. O’Toole fell behind early in his second match against Romania’s Krisztian Biro, but secured a takedown to even the score at 2-2. A succession of takedowns in period two gave O’Toole the lead, as he won by 12-2 technical fall.

In the semifinals, O’Toole matched up against Sonny Santiago of Puerto Rico. O’Toole used a cradle to pin Santiago and make his way back to a World final.

The U.S. saw its second finalist in Aaron Brooks at 86 kg shortly after. Brooks defeated Individual Neutral Athlete Arslan Bagaev in the semifinals. Brooks scored the first takedown of the match and added a shot clock point. Bagaev was awarded two off a shot attempt/neutral exposure. Aaron Brooks moves into the 86 kg gold medal match with a 5-4 win over Arslan Bagaev.

He navigated his way through the bracket in dominating fashion. In his qualification round match against Turkey’s Ismail Kucuksol, Brooks fired fast and early, leading 3-0 through the first period. He started period two with a takedown and Kucuksol scored his first point after forcing Brooks out of bounds. Brooks responded with a takedown and claimed the 7-1 victory.

Brooks controlled the second match brilliantly, defeating Canada’s Owen Martin by 10-0 technical fall. He advanced to the semifinals with a 7-0 win over Moldova’s Ivan Ichizli.

At 125 kg, Wyatt Hendrickson found his way to a World final for the first time. The heavyweight placed fifth at the 2021 Junior World Championships, and already guaranteed himself a higher finish today. Hendrickson was aggressive in his semifinal match, winning a 4-2 decision to Greece’s Azamat Khosonov.

Hendrickson picked up two wins on the day prior to the semifinal victory, as he defeated Individual Neutral Athlete Azamat Khosonov by fall after leading 17-9 in a high-scoring affair. The next match was all Hendrickson working a double leg to put Moldova’s Nicolae Stratulat on his back for big points repeatedly.

Julian Chlebove defeated Antonio Margiotta of the Philippines in a quick 11-0 technical fall match to open his tournament. Chlebove picked up four points early and Margiotta was hit with a passivity call, pushing him ahead 5-0. A series of turns gave him a 9-0 lead, and Chlebove sealed the win with another takedown.

In his quarterfinal match, Chlebove fell to Individual Neutral Athlete Bashir Magomedov, 14-3. Chlebove captured an early 3-0 lead, but Magomedov scored a takedown and turned him to take the 8-3 lead after the first period. Magomedov scored six points in period two to win 14-3 after tying up a leg lace.

Magomedov was victorious in his semifinal match, pulling Chlebove in to repechage. He faces Mezhlum Mezhlumyan of Armenia in the first match tomorrow.

At 92 kg, Jacob Cardenas was pulled into repechage and faces Satoshi Miura of Japan tomorrow. Cardenas, 2022 U23 World silver medalist, opened his tournament with a win over Individual Neutral Athlete Alan Bagaev. Cardenas pulled out of the close match with a 4-3 victory over Bagaev, a two-time age group World champion.

In his quarterfinal match, Cardenas fell in a 10-1 decision to Muhammed Gimri of Turkey. Gimri built up an early lead, and Cardenas was unable to close the gap for the win.

Group two of the U.S. men’s freestyle team begins their competition Tuesday: Cooper Flynn (57 kg), Brock Hardy (65 kg), Doug Zapf (70 kg), Dustin (79 kg) and Isaac Trumble (97 kg).

2023 U23 World Championships

At Tirana, Albania, October 23-29

Men’s Freestyle Group One Finals Pairings

61 kg – Bashir Magomedov (AIN) vs. Assylzhan Yessengeldi (Kazakhstan)

74 kg – Keegan O’Toole (United States) vs. Imam Ganishov (AIN)

86 kg – Aaron Brooks (United States) vs. Tatsuya Shirai (Japan)

92 kg – Muhammed Gimri (Turkey) vs. Ion Demian (Moldova)

125 kg – Wyatt Hendrickson (United States) vs. Adil Misirci (Turkey)

Men’s Freestyle Group One semifinals results

61 kg

Bashir Magomedov (Individual Neutral Athlete) tech. fall Ivan Hramyka (Individual Neutral Athlete), 10-0

Assylzhan Yessengeldi (Kazakhstan) dec. Taiyrbek Zhumashbek uulu (Kyrgyzstan), 9-7

74 kg

Keegan O’Toole (United States) pin Sonny Santiago (Puerto Rico), 3:32

Imam Ganishov (Individual Neutral Athletes) tech. fall Naveen Naveen (UWW), 10-0

86 kg

Aaron Brooks (United States) pin Arslan Bagaev (Individual Neutral Athletes), 5:58

Tatsuya Shirai (Japan) dec. Benjamin Greil (Austria), 4-0

92 kg

Muhammed Gimri (Turkey) dec. Pruthviraj Patil (UWW), 8-5

Ion Demian (Moldova) tech. fall Andro Margishvili (Georgia), 11-1

125 kg

Wyatt Hendrickson (United States) dec. Azamat Khosonov (Greece), 4-2

Adil Misirci (Turkey) dec. Kumar Anirudh (UWW), 3-0

U.S. men’s freestyle Group One results

61 kg – Julian Chlebove (Northampton, Pa./Sunkist Kids WC)

WIN Antonio Margiotta, tech. fall 11-0

LOSS Bashir Magomedov (AIN), tech. fall 14-3

Pulled into repechage, faces Mezhlum Mezhlumyan (Armenia)

74 kg – Keegan O’Toole (Hartland, Wis./Tiger Style WC)

WIN Vadim Kurylenko (Ukraine), tech. fall 10-0

WIN Krisztian Biro (Romania), tech. fall, 12-2

WIN Hikaru Takata (Japan), dec. 10-1

WIN Sonny Santiago (Puerto Rico), pin 3:32

Gold medal match - Imam Ganishov (AIN)

86 kg – Aaron Brooks (Hagerstown, Md./Nittany Lion WC/Titan Mercury WC)

WIN Ismail Kucuksol (Turkey), dec. 7-1

WIN Owen Martin (Canada), tech. fall 10-0

WIN Ivan Ichizli (Moldova), dec. 7-1

WIN Arslan Bagaev (AIN), dec. 5-4

Gold medal match - Tatsuya Shirai (Japan)

92 kg – Jacob Cardenas (Kearny, N.J./Spartan Combat RTC/Titan Mercury WC)

WIN Alan Bagaev (AIN), dec. 4-3

LOSS Muhammed Gimri (Turkey), dec. 10-1

Pulled into repechage, faces Satoshi Miura (Japan)

125 kg – Wyatt Hendrickson (Newton, Kan./Air Force RTC)

WIN Abdulla Kurbanov (AIN), pin 5:15

WIN Nicolae Stratulat (Moldova), tech. fall 14-1

WIN Azamat Khosonov (Greece), dec. 4-2

Gold medal match - Adil Misirci (Turkey)