U23 Greco-Roman World Team Trials recap: four World Team members decided
by Ellen Paddock, USA Wrestling
Phillip Moomey after making the U23 World Team. Photo by Sam Janicki
After a day full of great wrestling at the SPIRE Institute in Geneva, Ohio, the 2022 U23 Greco-Roman World Team Trials champions have been crowned after grinding out victories over their opponents in best-of-three series finals matches. These champions are one step closer to making the U23 World Team for the opportunity to compete at the World Championships in Pontevedra, Spain (Oct. 17-23) given there is no age-eligible athlete from the Senior Men’s Greco-Roman National Team (Final X winner, Final X runner-up or 3rd overall senior athlete via the 2022 Senior Men’s Greco-Roman World Team Trials) who accepts the spot.
U23 Greco-Roman best-of-three finals recap:
Camden Russell (MWC Wrestling Academy) punched his ticket to the World Championships after defeating Samuel Braswell (Cougar Wrestling Club) in two straight matches. Russell can get comfortable in his spot on the 2022 World Team because there is no age-eligible Senior athlete in the mix at 55 kg. Russell was hot out of the gate in the first meeting of the best-of-three series scoring early with a 4-point throw. Braswell responded with two points after coming out on top of Russell’s arm spin attempt in the first minute of the period. After the break, Braswell scored two points right off the whistle with a body lock to tie the score 4-4, but in the end, it was Russell who found a way to win by scoring four points off a front headlock, winning 8-4. Russell swiftly wrapped up the series with a 9-0 technical fall in the second match.
Phillip Moomey put on a show at 60 kg. Moomey (Spartan Combat RTC) defeated Max Black (NMU-National Training Center) in two straight matches to punch his ticket to the World Championships, as there is no other age-eligible Senior athlete ahead of him. Black had an impressive day, bouncing back and forth between the U20 and U23 finals mats, but he couldn’t get past Moomey who stopped him from making two World Teams. Moomey scored four points off a body lock and one on a push out to start the first match with a 5-0 lead. Black was able to put two points on the board, but Moomey put the match out of reach when he pinned Black with an assassin. In round two, Moomey out-pummeled Black, who was eventually put down in par terre. From there, Moomey finished with a technical fall, 8-0.
Savion Haywood (Iguana Wrestling Club) is the champion at 63 kg after back-to-back technical falls over Zachary Westlund (Gladiator Wrestling Club). He finished the first match in 45 seconds after repeating a snap down, go-behind to a gut wrench combination twice in a row. Round two followed suit. Haywood scored four points off an explosive throw from double underhooks to Westlund’s back, ending the period in 30 seconds with a technical fall, 8-0.
Cayden Henschel (Askren Wrestling Academy) and Job Greenwood (Wyoming Wrestling Reg Training Ctr) went the distance in the best-of-three series. After losing in the first round 8-7, Greenwood came back to win the next two matches winning 5-6 and 10-0. In round one, Greenwood got an early 5-0 lead that he maintained throughout the period. In the second, Henschel was successful in par terre scoring four points off a reverse lift and two more off a gut wrench, the match ended 8-7 in favor of Henschel. In the second round it was another close battle. Henschel started with a headlock to Greenwood’s back, at that point it looked like he would run away with the match, but Greenwood wasn’t ready to throw in the towel. After the break, Greenwood came back to win with a 6-5 decision over Henschel. In the tie-breaker match Greenwood cleaned things up nicely with a 10-0 technical fall.
Peter Ogunsanya (West Point Wrestling Club) defeated Dominic Damon (NMU-National Training Center) for the World Team Trials title with an 8-3 victory in the first round before Damon forfeited out of the series. Ogunsanya was put down in par terre where Damon was able to score two on a turn to take a 3-0 lead. However, Ogunsanya scored off a front headlock that led into a series of turns to seal the deal. Standing ahead of Ogunsanya for the U23 World Team spot is the Final X Stillwater champion, Benji Peak.
Northern Colorado’s Cody Eaton and Justin Mccunn (Viking Wrestling Club) traded matches in the first two rounds before Eaton injury defaulted in the finals, giving Mccunn the title. Mccunn turned Eaton in par terre for a 3-0 lead in the first period and ended up taking the match 7-0. In the second meeting, the wrestlers appeared to collide heads when Mccunn took Eaton to his back for the pin, leading to the eventual injury default in the third round. Britton Holmes (Final X) and Payton Jacobson (National Team) stand in front of Mccunn for the World Team spot.
Tyler Cunningham (MWC Wrestling Academy) had a dominant victory over Jake Hendricks (Pennsylvania RTC) in the first round with an 11-3 technical fall. Cunningham was up 7-3 by the second period and it was a feet-to-back throw for four points that locked in the match. Hendricks was able to adjust to take the win in the second round with a 6-3 decision. He hit a four-point body lock and lateral drop to secure the lead. Round three was all Cunningham, who ended the series with a 13-6 decision over Hendricks. This win guarantees Cunningham a spot on the 2022 World Team.
Michial Foy (Gopher Wrestling Club - RTC) and Vincent Baker (Blue Blood Wrestling Club) had a back-and-forth battle. Kicking things off in the best-of-three series was Baker with an arm spin that led into a series of turns in the first minute. Baker took the first match 9-5. In match two and three, Foy flipped the script with two technical falls. Foy pushed the pace in match two with Baker being put down in par terre where Foy scored five points on a lift, winning 8-0. The 2022 U23 World Team spot is guaranteed for Foy.
2021 Senior Pan American bronze medalist and returning U23 World Team member Nicholas Boykin (Sunkist Kids Wrestling Club) got the job done against his opponent Ryan Tiers (Kansas) in two clean sweeps. The first match of the series was highlighted by a four-point throw in the first 15 seconds and it didn’t take Boykin much longer to rack up enough points for a technical fall. The Ohio State wrestler then repeated a technical fall in the final match of the series with a takedown, four points on a body lock and two more on a go-behind. Boykin’s World Team spot depends on if Braxton Amos, who faces G’Angelo Hancock in Final X New York, accepts or declines his bid.
2021 Junior Pan American Champion, Matthew Cover (New Jersey RTC) defeated his opponent Gary Powell (Ohio) in two straight matches. Cover turned Powell four times in a row in round one for the 9-0 technical fall. In the second match, Cover took Powell to his back for a pin in the first period. Cover’s World Team spot hinges on the decision of the 130 kg Final X champion, Cohlton Schultz.
2022 U23 Greco-Roman World Team Trials champions:
55kg – Camden Russell (MWC Wrestling Academy)
60 kg – Phillip Moomey (Spartan Combat RTC)
63 kg – Savion Haywood (Iguana Wrestling Club)
67 kg – Job Greenwood (Wyoming Wrestling Reg Training Ctr)72 kg – Peter Ogunsanya (West Point Wrestling Club)
77 kg – Justin Mccunn (Viking Wrestling Club)
82 kg – Tyler Cunningham (MWC Wrestling Academy)
87 kg – Michial Foy (Gopher Wrestling Club - RTC)
97 kg – Nicholas Boykin (Sunkist Kids Wrestling Club)
130 kg – Matthew Cover (New Jersey RTC)
Age-eligible wrestlers on the Senior Men’s Greco-Roman National Team who could accept U23 World Team spot:
63 kg - Mason Carzino-Hartshorn (National Team)
67 kg - Alston Nutter (Final X)
67 kg - Peyton Omania (National Team)
72 kg - Benji Peak (Final X)
72 kg - Noah Wachsmuth (National Team)
77 kg - Britton Holmes (Final X)
77 kg - Payton Jacobson (National Team)
97 kg - Braxton Amos (Final X)
130 kg - Cohlton Schultz (Final X)
Saturday, June 4th
Session 1: Freestyle
U20 FS World Team Trials - Challenge Tournament - Preliminaries, Quarterfinals, Semifinals, Finals & Consolations
9:30 AM - 2:30 PM
U23 (Men) FS Preliminaries and Consolations
9:30 AM - 2:30 PM
Session 2: Freestyle:
U20 FS World Team Trials Challenge Tournament Consolations, All Medal Matches, and FINAL WTT Best 2 out of 3 finals
4:00PM – 7:00 PM
U23 (Men) FS Preliminaries and Consolations
4:00 PM - 9:00 PM
Sunday, June 5th
Session 3: Freestyle:
U23 (Men) FS Quarterfinals, Semifinals, Consolations, All Medal Matches, and Best 2 out of 3 Finals
10:00 AM to 3:30 PM