Numerous upsets highlight first session of the U23 Men's Freestyle World Team Trials
by Mike Willis, USA Wrestling
Feature photo of Lawrence Saenz courtesy of Mark Lundy/Lutte Lens
Lincoln, Neb. – The round-of-16 is set after the first session of wrestling at the U23 Men’s Freestyle World Team Trials. This afternoon’s session begins at 4:00 p.m. CST, and will wrestle through the quarterfinals.
Numerous big upsets took place in the opening rounds. Lawrence Saenz of the Central Coast RTC was responsible for two of them in the 65 kg bracket. Saenz, a 2020 NCAA qualifier for Fresno State before transferring to Cal Poly where he logged a 4-4 record in 2021, knocked off Missouri’s Allan Hart, 4-4, on criteria in the round of 64. Hart is a two-time NCAA qualifier and finished in the round of 12 last season. Saenz followed it up with an even bigger come-from-behind win over Nebraska’s three-time NCAA All-American Chad Red, 13-8. After falling behind early, 6-0, Saenz rallied to claim the victory. In his next match, Saenz will square off with Indiana’s NCAA qualifier Cayden Rooks.
Another big upset in the 65 kg bracket came when Eddie Homrock of the Michigan Wrestling Club pinned two-time age-group World Team member Josh Saunders of the Spartan Combat RTC. Saunders was leading 9-0 at the time, trying to close out the technical fall, when Homrock stepped over on a gutwrench attempt, catching Saunders on his back for the fall.
At 61 kg, two-time DIII All-American Eron Haynes of Nebraska Wesleyan took out 2021 Arizona State All-American Michael McGee by technical fall 16-6. Haynes fell behind, 6-0, before rattling off 16 straight points to close out the match.
At 97 kg, Antonio Andrade of the California RTC picked up a 14-11 victory over Cornell All-American Ben Darmstadt. Andrade was a 2019 JUCO National champion for Northeastern Oklahoma A&M before transferring to Menlo College, where he currently competes.
2016 Cadet World Team member Brandon Whitman of the Tar Heel Wrestling Club picked up a big win over Zach Elam of Tiger Style WC at 125 kg, 2-1. Elam is a two-time NCAA qualifier for Missouri and a 2019 Junior World silver medalist.
Fans can view the full brackets on FloWrestling here.
U23 Men’s Freestyle World Team Trials First Session Notable Upsets
61 kg – Mason Clarke (NYC RTC) dec Michael DeAugustino (Wildcat Wrestling Club), 10-6
61 kg – Eron Haynes (Nebraska) TF Michael McGee (Sunkist Kids), 16-6
65 kg – Saul Ervin (Kentucky) TF Mosha Schwartz (Northern Colorado WC), 10-0
65 kg – Eddie Homrock (Michigan WC) FALL Josh Saunders (Spartan Combat RTC), 1:13
65 kg – Lawrence Saenz (Central Coast RTC) dec Allan Hart (Tiger Style RTC), 4-4
65 kg – Lawrence Saenz (Central Coast RTC) dec Chad Red, 13-8
70 kg – Doug Zapf (Pennsylvania RTC) dec Ridge Lovett (Nebraska WTC), 8-7
97 kg – Antonio Andrade (California RTC) dec Ben Darmstadt (Spartan Combat RTC), 14-11
125 kg – Brandon Whitman (Tar Heel WC) dec Zach Elam (Tiger Style WC), 2-1.