NewsUSA WrestlingHigh School & YouthInternationalUSAW

Castillo, Forrest, Kasak and Hopke advance to U17 World semifinals in men's freestyle

by Ellen Paddock, USA Wrestling

Christian Castillo at the U17 World Championships in Rome. Photo by United World Wrestling / Kadir Caliskan

ROME, Italy – U.S. men’s freestyle hit the ground running at the U17 World Championships in Rome, advancing four athletes to the semifinals which take place at 11 a.m. U.S. ET on Friday.

Leading the charge was Christian Castillo wrestling at 48 kg. Castillo started strong with a technical fall over Ozgur Caglayan of Turkey. He used a takedown and a series of turns to lead 8-0 in the first period and landed the technical fall in the second.

In the quarterfinals against Arshia Haddadi of Iran, the 2022 U17 Pan American champion in freestyle and Greco-Roman sailed to 6-0 before Haddadi had three takedowns to take the lead on criteria. The final takedown was called with four seconds left on the clock. Castillo hit a flying squirrel for a match-winning takedown in less than a second.

Caglayan and Haddadi do not currently have international credentials. Haddadi won in the qualification round 8-0 over Azim Abdykalykov of Kyrgyzstan, who finished seventh at the U17 World Championships in 2021.

Castillo wrestles 2022 U17 European silver medalist Rassoul Galbouraev of France in the semifinals.

Jaxen Forrest highlighted the morning session with three controlled wins at 55 kg. Forrest breezed past his qualification match with a technical fall over Takuto Osedo of Japan, who holds no international credentials. He led 8-0 at the break and used a takedown and turn to win 12-2 in the second.

He went on to tech Sandro Hungerbuehler of Switzerland 10-0 in the round of 16 before meeting Zalkarbek Tabaldiev of Kyrgyzstan in the quarters, winning 10-6 in an action-packed match.

Sitting in the semifinals with Forrest is 2022 U17 Asian champion and fifth-place 2021 U17 World finisher Vaibhav Patil from India. 

Tyler Kasak at 65 kg, a 2021 USMC 16U National runner-up in freestyle, had a wild opening match with 2022 U17 Asian silver medalist Akobir Rahimov of Uzbekistan. Kasak led 4-2 before giving up two takedowns. He charged back from a 6-4 deficit with five seconds on the clock. To advance to the semifinals he pinned 2021 U15 silver medalist Bogdan Olinyk of Ukraine. He wrestles Ankit of India, who has yet to give up a point in Rome.

Rounding out the semifinalists for Team USA today is Koy Hopke, wrestling at 110 kg, who also competed in Greco-Roman earlier this week. Hopke won freestyle and Greco-Roman titles at the U17 Pan American Championships this year and is 2-0 so far at Worlds. He advanced to the quarters after a 14-2 technical fall over Ramini Gulitashvili of Georgia, who finished fifth at 2022 U17 European Championships. He also stopped Poland’s Mateusz Pudlowski 11-2 in the quarterfinals.


Hopke will wrestle 2022 U17 Asian bronze medalist Khikmatullo Kurbonov of Uzbekistan for a shot at gold.


2021 USMC 16U Freestyle National champion Zack Ryder dropped his first bout to Reza Soleimanian of Iran by technical fall at 80 kg. If Soleimanian advances to the finals, Ryder will be pulled back into the tournament.


Men’s freestyle semifinals begin at 11 a.m. U.S. ET on Friday. Gabriella Gomez at 46 kg and Valerie Hamilton at 61 kg wrestle for gold at noon ET in women’s freestyle. Watch live on FloWrestling and follow along with live updates @USAWrestling on Twitter.


Schedule (local time, six hours ahead of U.S. ET)


U17 World Championships
Rome, Italy | July 25-31


U.S. men’s freestyle results


48 kg: Christian Castillo (Glendale, Ariz./Thorobred Wrestling Club) – semifinals
WIN Ozgur Caglayan (Turkey), 10-0

WIN Arshia Haddadi (Iran), 8-6

vs. Rassoul Galbouraev (France), 2022 U17 European silver


55 kg: Jax Forrest (Johnstown, Pa.) – semifinals
WIN Takuto Osedo (Japan), 12-2

WIN Sandro Hungerbuehler (Switzerland), 10-0

WIN Zalkarbek Tabaldiev (Kyrgyzstan), 10-6

vs. Vaibhav Patil (India), 2022 U17 Asian champion, fifth at 2021 U17 Worlds


65 kg: Tyler Kasak (Doylestown, Pa.) – semifinals
WIN Akobir Rahimov (Uzbekistan), 7-6

WIN Bogdan Olinyk (Ukraine), fall

vs. Ankit (India),


80 kg: Zack Ryder (Westtown, N.Y. /KD Training Center) – awaiting repechage
LOSS Reza Soleimanian (Iran), 10-0


110 kg: Koy Hopke (Amery, Wis./Pinnacle Wrestling Club) – semifinals
WIN Ramini Gulitashvili (Georgia), 14-3

WIN Mateusz Pudlowski (Poland), 11-2

vs.  Khikmatullo Kurbonov (Uzbekistan), 2022 U17 Asian bronze medalist


Schedule (local time, six hours ahead of U.S. ET)


Friday, July 29
5 p.m. – Semifinals (MFS 48, 55, 65, 80, 110kg)
6 p.m. – Finals (WFS 40, 46, 53, 61, 69kg)
Saturday, July 30
11:30 a.m. – Qualification rounds (MFS 45, 51, 60, 71, 92kg), repechage (MFS 48, 55, 65, 80, 110kg)
5 p.m. – Semifinals (MFS 45, 51, 60, 71, 92kg)
6 p.m. – Finals (MFS 48, 55, 65, 80, 110kg)
Sunday, July 31
4:30 p.m. – Repechage (MFS 45, 51, 60, 71, 92kg)
6 p.m. – Finals (MFS 45, 51, 60, 71, 92kg)