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Previewing the field for the Last Chance World Team Trials Qualifier

by Mike Willis, USA Wrestling

With the Olympic Games, Fargo and the Cadet World Championships all on the immediate horizon, there is one important Senior-level tournament that can’t be overlooked. The Last Chance World Team Trials Qualifier will take place on July 16 at the FargoDome, preceding the 2021 Junior and 16U National Championships and will be streamed live on FloWrestling. The tournament will feature men’s and women’s freestyle as well as Greco-Roman.

While this tournament isn’t the largest in terms of participants, the talent pool runs deep, and it should be highly competitive as each champion qualifies for the 2021 World Team Trials (Date TBA).

Men’s Freestyle
The most credentialed freestyle wrestler in the tournament is Ryan Deakin, who is competing at 70 kg. Deakin earned the No. 2 spot on the National Team at 70 kg after defeating two-time World medalist James Green at the 2019 U.S. Open. Green came back and defeated Deakin at Final X to earn the World Team position. Deakin wrestles collegiately for Northwestern and is a two-time NCAA All-American and a 2020 NWCA First-Team All-American with one season of eligibility left.

Also of note at 70 kg are AC Headlee and Collin Purinton. Headlee was a three-time NCAA qualifier for North Carolina while Purinton was a 2020 NCAA qualifier for Nebraska.

Two-time NCAA champion Dean Heil looks to be the man to beat at 65 kg. Heil wrestled collegiately for Oklahoma State, where he was a three-time All-American, and now trains with the Navy-Marine Corps RTC.

Heil’s NMCRTC teammate Quentin Perez will compete at 74 kg. Perez, a four-time NCAA qualifier for Campbell, will also compete in Greco-Roman at 77 kg. He is a two-time U23 Nationals third-place finisher in freestyle. Missouri’s three-time NCAA qualifier and 2021 NCAA round-of-12 finisher Jarrett Jacques will look to push Perez. Jacques finished fifth at the 2021 U23 World Team Trials.

Another former Oklahoma State wrestler, 2019 NCAA finalist Derek White, is registered at 125 kg. White was a fourth-place finisher at the 2019 U.S. Open and also took eighth at the 2019 Senior Nationals. White should see could competition from Lucas Davison, a 2019 Junior World silver medalist. Davison recently finished runner-up at the 2021 U23 World Team Trials and also placed at both the 2020 and 2021 Senior Nationals. Davison is a two-time NCAA qualifier for Northwestern with three years of elligbility remaining. Another name to look for at heavyweight is Brandon Metz, a two-time NCAA qualifier for North Dakota State. Metz made the 2021 U23 World Team in Greco-Roman and also finished fifth at the U23 World Team Trials in freestyle. Currently, he is only registered for freestyle.

Others to watch include Appalachian State’s three-time NCAA qualifier Codi Russell at 57 kg, Campbell’s two-time NCAA qualifier Andrew Morgan at 86 kg, 2021 Junior World Team Trials runner-up Carter Young at 61 kg and Jakason Burks, a 2018 Cadet Greco-Roman World Team member and Fargo 16U freestyle champion and Junior runner-up at 57.

Women’s Freestyle
The women’s freestyle division is populated mostly by talented collegiate-level athletes. King University’s Sophia Mirabella, a 2021 NCWWC All-American, is one of the wrestlers to watch at 55 kg. Mirabella finished runner-up at the 2021 U23 World Team Trials and third at the 2021 Last Chance Olympic Trials Qualifier, barely missing the opportunity to wrestle at the 2021 Olympic Team Trials (the top two in each weight class qualified.)

Two more King wrestlers to watch for include Phoenix Dubose at 59 kg and Makayla Welch at 57 kg. Dubose finished third at the 2021 National Collegiate Women's Wrestling Championships and was a 2020 WCWC All-American, finishing fourth. Additionally, Dubose took fourth at both the 2021 UWW U23 and Junior Nationals. Welch earned All-American honors with a fourth-place finish at the NCWWC. She also placed seventh at the 2020 U23 Nationals.

Hunter Robinson looks to lead the field at 76 kg. Robinson placed fourth at the 2021 NAIA Women's National Invitational representing Grand View. She also logged a sixth-place finish at the 2021 Senior Nationals.

Kendall Bostelman is a name to look for at 65 kg. Currently wrestling for prep powerhouse Wyoming Seminary, Bostelman is a two-time U23 Nationals fourth-place finisher (2020, 2021) and a three-time UWW Junior Nationals place-winner (8th in 2019, 4th in 2020, 5th in 2021).

At 53 kg, Autumn Gordon has the potential to make a deep run in the bracket. Gordon was a 2017 Fargo Junior finalist and more recently placed seventh at the 2021 U23 World Team Trials. Gordon is also an age-group World champion in Jiu-Jitsu.

Billy Sullivan and Justus Scott, two members of the 2021 Junior World Team slated to compete in Russia this August, will be in the field in Fargo. Sullivan wrestles at 55 kg and is a 2019 Fargo champion and a 2019 Junior Pan Am bronze medalist. Scott wrestles at 72 kg and competes collegiately for Baker University.

The brackets will feature numerous former age-group World Team members as well. 2019 Cadet World Team member Robert Perez III is slated to compete at 67 kg. Perez is a 2019 Cadet Pan Am champion in both styles. He is also a two-time Fargo 16U champion (2018, 2019) and finished third at the Last Chance Olympic Qualifier.

2018 Cadet World Team member James Burks (brother of Jakason) will wrestle in the 82 kg bracket. Burks, who wrestles for Northern State University, is a 2021 Junior Pan Am champion and a 2019 Fargo Junior champion.

At 87 kg, 2019 Cadet World Team member Tyler Hannah will look to qualify for his first Senior World Team Trials. Hannah claimed U15 Pan Am titles in both styles in 2016 and Junior Pan Am titles in both styles in 2021. He is a 2018 Fargo 16U champion and a 2021 Junior World Team Trials runner-up. He also placed fourth at the 2021 U23 World Team Trials.

Other wrestles to look for include Camden Russell at 60 kg, a 2019 Fargo Junior champion and 2021 U23 World Team Trials fourth-place finisher and Logan Savvy at 67 kg, a seasoned competitor who finished runner-up at the 2019 Last Chance World Team Trials Qualifier.