Best-of-three finals set at the U23 Greco-Roman World Team Trials
by Mike Willis, USA Wrestling
Feature photo of Spencer Woods mid-lift courtesy of Mark Lundy/Lutte Lens
Lincoln, Neb. – Later this afternoon, 20 wrestlers will compete in the best-of-three finals to claim their spots on the U23 Greco-Roman World Team, slated to wrestle in Belgrade, Serbia in November.
The 55 kg finals series features two of the most credentialed wrestlers in the entire tournament, Brady Koontz and Taylor LaMont. Koontz is currently No. 2 at 55 kg on the National Team and is a three-time age group World Team member. LaMont, a 2021 NCAA All-American at Utah Valley, was No. 3 on last year’s National Team at 60 kg. He is a seven-time age group World Team member and a 2016 Junior World bronze medalist. Both wrestlers picked up technical falls in their quarterfinals and semifinals bouts.
Dylan Gregerson, the 2020 U23 Nationals 63 kg champion, will look to win back-to-back titles down a weight class at 60 kg. This is his third-straight U23 Nationals finals appearance. In the finals, he will face Dylan Koontz, twin brother of Brady. Koontz is the 2021 Senior Nationals runner-up. Both wrestlers have teched their way through the tournament, including Koontz’s impressive semifinal win over Mason Carzino-Hartshorn, a returning U23 champion and 2019 Junior World Team member.
2020 Senior Nationals runner-up Mosha Schwartz will square off with 2021 Senior Nationals runner-up David Stepanian in the 63 kg. Schwartz is a two-time NCAA qualifier for Northern Colorado and a 2016 Cadet World Team member. Stepanian, the 2020 UWW Junior Nationals runner-up, picked up two technical falls in two matches.
2019 Junior World bronze medalist, Alston Nutter picked up three technical falls in three matches, outscoring his opponents, 27-0, to reach the 67 kg finals. There, he will take on Jaden Enriquez, a 2017 Junior Fargo champion.
At 72 kg, both Benji Peak and Lenny Merkin teched their way to the finals. Peak is currently No. 3 on the National Team at 67 kg. He is a 2020 Senior Nationals champion and a 2020 U23 Nationals runner-up. Merkin is a 2019 U23 World Team member and a 2018 Junior Pan Am champion. Merkin pinned Peak in the Last Chance Olympic Qualifier finals, but Peak got revenge in the opening round of the Olympic Team Trials with a 9-0 technical fall.
Ryan Epps and Britton Holmes will wrestle in the 77 kg best-of-three series. Epps was the runner-up at the 2021 Senior Nationals while Holmes finished fifth. Holmes was a runner-up at this tournament in 2019.
George Sikes, who represented the U.S. at the 2018 U23 World Championships, will battle returning U23 Nationals champion Tommy Brackett for the 82 kg World Team spot. In the semifinals, Sikes downed 2018 Cadet World Team member James Burks, 6-1, while Brackett picked up an 8-0 technical fall over 2017 Cadet World Team member Jake Hendricks.
2021 Senior Nationals champion Spencer Woods has looked dominant at 87 kg, earning two shut out technical falls in two matches, including an 11-0 win over 2019 Cadet World Team member Tyler Hannah in the semifinals. In the finals, he will wrestle Job Ayala, an eighth-place finisher at the 2021 Senior Nationals.
Familiar opponents Nick Boykin and Chad Porter will square off for the 97 kg World Team spot. Boykin, a 2020 and 2021 Senior Nationals champion, defeated Porter in the 2020 Senior Nationals finals, 5-1. Boykin is a 2019 Junior World Team member, while Porter is a 2018 Junior World Team member and a 2019 U23 World Team member.
At 130 kg, Brandon Metz and Spencer Trenary will wrestle in the best-of-three finals. Metz, a two-time NCAA qualifier for North Dakota State and a 2021 Senior Nationals third-place finisher, picked up a big win in the semifinals over Lee Herrington, the returning U23 Nationals champion, 4-1. Trenary, who competes collegiately for South Dakota State, is the 2020 UWW Junior Nationals champion.
55 kg – Brady Koontz (Ohio RTC) vs. Taylor LaMont (Sunkist Kids)
60 kg – Dylan Koontz (Ohio RTC) vs. Dylan Greger (Brunson UVRTC)
63 kg – Mosha Schwartz (Northern Colorado WC) vs. David Stepanian (NYAC)
67 kg – Alston Nutter (Sunkist Kids) vs. Jaden Enriquez (Michigan WC)
72 kg – Benji Peak (Sunkist Kids) vs. Lenny Merkin (NYAC)
77 kg – Britton Holmes (Army WCAP) vs. Ryan Epps (MN Storm)
82 kg – George Sikes (NYAC) vs. Tommy Brackett (Tennessee)
87 kg – Spencer Woods (Army WCAP) vs. Job Ayala (Iowa)
97 kg – Nicholas Boykin (Sunkist Kids) vs. Chad Porter (Sunkist Kids)
130 kg – Brandon Metz (Bison WC) vs. Spencer Trenary (Jackrabbit WC)
Brady Koontz WI (Ohio Regional Training Center) TF Cole Smith CO (Army (WCAP)), 8-0 0:55
Taylor Lamont UT (Sunkist Kids Wrestling Club) TF Joseph Harrison NE (MWC Wrestling Academy), 8-0 2:36
Dylan Koontz WI (Ohio Regional Training Center) TF Mason Carzino-Hartshorn CA (Community Youth Center - Concord Campus), 9-0 5:35
Dylan Gregerson UT (Brunson UVRTC) TF Camden Russell NE (MWC Wrestling Academy), 8-0 2:14
Mosha Schwartz CO (Northern Colorado Wrestling Club) TF Corbin Nirschl NE (MWC Wrestling Academy), 11-2 4:26
David Stepanian MI (New York Athletic Club) TF We Rachal IL (Illinois Regional Training Center/Illini WC), 11-0 3:34
Alston Nutter WI (Sunkist Kids Wrestling Club) TF Ratbek Erkinbekov WA (Washington), 8-0 1:00
Jaden Enriquez CA (Michigan Wrestling Club) TF Aundre Beatty IN (Warren Wrestling Academy), 8-0 3:17
Lenny Merkin NY (New York Athletic Club) TF Jaron Jensen WY (Wyoming Wrestling Reg Training Ctr), 8-0 1:40
Benjamin Peak WI (Sunkist Kids Wrestling Club) TF Noah Wachsmuth CO (Colorado), 8-0 2:22
Britton Holmes CO (Army (WCAP)) DEC Jack Ervien, jr. WA (Washington), 6-0
Ryan Epps MN (Minnesota Storm) DEC Cael Carlson MN (Gopher Wrestling Club - RTC), 7-6
George Sikes FL (New York Athletic Club) DEC James Burks NE (MWC Wrestling Academy), 6-1
Tommy Brackett TN (Tennessee) TF Jake Hendricks PA (Pennsylvania RTC), 8-0 0:59
Spencer Woods AK (Army (WCAP)) TF Tyler Hannah WI (Combat W.C. School of Wrestling), 11-0 0:54
Job Ayala WI (Wisconsin) TF Macaron Kukowski MN (Minnesota Storm), 8-0 2:22
Nicholas Boykin TN (Sunkist Kids Wrestling Club) TF Keaton Fanning MI (NMU-National Training Center), 11-1 4:49
Chad Porter AZ (Sunkist Kids Wrestling Club) TF Guy Patron IA (Dubuque Wrestling Club), 10-1 3:35
Brandon Metz ND (Bison Wrestling Club) DEC Lee Herrington NE (Nebraska Golden Eagles Wrestling Club), 4-1
Spencer Trenary IA (Jackrabbit Wrestling Club) DEC Kaleb Reeves IA (Eastern Iowa Wrestling Club), 11-8