U.S. Greco-Roman team receives draw at U23 World Championships
by Gary Abbott, USA Wrestling
The draws are set for Greco-Roman competition at the 2023 U23 World Championships in Tirana, Albania. Team USA has a strong group of ten that are ready to compete.
Returning U23 World Team members from last year’s competition include Nebraska natives Camden Russell (55 kg) and Phillip Moomey (60 kg).
Russell drew Saudi Arabia’s Hassan Alharthi in the first round of action. In 2023, Russell was the Senior World Team Trials Challenge runner-up and placed third at the US Open. He holds down the third spot on the Senior National Team at 55 kg.
Moomey will open with Kazakhstan Aibek Sabyrbekov in the qualification round. In 2021, Moomey earned a bronze medal at the Junior Pan American Games and placed eighth at the Junior Pan American Championships.
Three other Senior National Team members are competing: Robert Perez III (67 kg), Justus Scott (72 kg) and Cade Lautt (97 kg).
Perez sees the winner of the qualification round match against Umesh (UWW) and Mustada Yildirim (Turkey). Perez, an experienced age-group World Team member, seeks his first World medal. Yildirim is a 2023 U23 European Championships silver medalist and 2022 U23 European Championships bronze medalist.
Scott has a strong resume this year as he is a Final X runner-up, Senior Pan American Championships gold medalist and US Open champion. He draws experience from the 2021 Junior World Championships. His first round opponent is Junior Benitez of Spain, a 2021 Junior Mediterranean Championships champion.
Lautt, competing at 97 kg, matches up against Juan Diaz of Venezuela, a 2023 U20 Pan American Championships gold medalist. This year, he was the World Team Trials Challenge tournament runner-up, earning the third spot on the Senior National Team.
Other athletes with age-group World Championships experience on the team include Payton Jacobson (77 kg), Tyler Eischens (82 kg) and Michael Altomer (87 kg).
Jacobson, a Junior Pan American Championships silver medalist, sees Khvicha Ananidze of Georgia who placed fifth at 2023 U23 European Championships.
Eischens, a 2023 graduate of Stanford, finished tenth at the 2019 Junior World Championships. He will face Kelsi Nelaj of Albania in the qualification round at 82 kg.
At 87 kg, Altomer meets Matej Mandik of Croatia in the qualification round. Earlier this year, Altomer placed 16th at the U20 World Championships in Amman, Jordan.
Jordan Hamdan makes his international tournament debut at 63 kg and will face 2021 U23 European Championships bronze medalist Rakhman Tavmurzaev, an Individual Neutral Athlete from Russia in the qualification round. Hamdan won his weight class at U23 Nationals earlier this year and wrestles collegiately at Michigan State.
Also in his first age-group World Championships is Kaleb Reeves at 130 kg. Reeves, who competed for Coe College, will open against two-time Kazakhstan age-group World Team member Assylbek Zhanibekuly.
Starting their competition on Friday are Moomey, Perez III, Scott, Eischens and Lautt. Saturday will be the first day for competition for Russell, Hamden, Jacobson, Altomer and Reeves.
The event is being broadcast live by FloWrestling.
2023 U23 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS
At Tirana, Albania
U.S. Greco-Roman first round draw
55 kg - Camden Russell (Omaha, Neb./NYAC/MWC Wrestling Academy)
Vs. Hassan Alharthi (Saudi Arabia), 6th in 2023 U23 Asians, 3rd in 2022 Arab U23 Championships
60 kg - Phillip Moomey (Kearney, Neb./Spartan Combat RTC)
Vs. Aibek Sabyrbekov (Kazakhstan), 12th in 2023 Polyak & Varga Memorial (Hungary)
63 kg - Jordan Hamdan (Hudson, Mich./Michigan WC)
Vs. Rakhman Tavmurzaev (AIN), 2021 U23 European Championships bronze medalist
67 kg - Robert Perez III (Colorado Springs, Colo./Sunkist Kids)
Vs. winner of Umesh (UWW) or Mustafa Yildirim (Turkey)
Umesh – 2022 and 2023 India U20 World Team member
Yildirim - 2023 U23 European Championships silver medalist, 2022 U23 European Championships bronze medalist
72 kg - Justus Scott (Colorado Springs, Colo./Army WCAP)
Vs. Junior Benitez (Spain), 2021 Junior Mediterranean Championships champion
77 kg - Payton Jacobson (Elkhorn, Wis./Sunkist Kids)
Vs. Khvicha Ananidze (Georgia), 5th at 2023 U23 European Championships
82 kg- Tyler Eischens (Anoka, Minn./Spartan Combat WC)
Vs. Kelsi Nelaj (Albania), no information available
87 kg - Michael Altomer (Stuyvesant, N.Y./Curby 3 Style WC)
Vs. Matej Mandik (Croatia), 3rd at 2023 Gezda International (Croatia), 8th in 2021 U23 Europeans
97 kg - Cade Lautt (Olathe, Kansas/Tarheel WC)
Vs. Juan Diaz (Venezuela), 2023 U20 Pan American Championships gold medalist
130 kg - Kaleb Reeves (Sigourney, Iowa/Eastern Iowa WC)
Vs. Assylbek Zhanibekuly (Kazakhstan), 2021 Kazakhstan U20 World Team member, 2018 Kazakhstan U17 World Team member
U23 World Championships Greco-Roman Event Schedule
Friday, October 27
10:30 a.m. – Qualification Rounds (GR 60-67-72-82-97 kg)
4:45 p.m. – Semifinals (GR 60-67-72-82-97 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 Tirana, Albania, which is six hours ahead of U.S. Eastern Time