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Plott, Cardenas capture back-to-back U23 freestyle national titles

by Savannah Asmann, USA Wrestling

Dustin Plott in the U23 Freestyle Nationals finals in Geneva, Ohio

Dustin Plott in the U23 Freestyle Nationals finals in Geneva, Ohio. Photo by Sam Janicki.

🎥 U20 World Team Trials Freestyle Champion Interviews

GENEVA, Ohio—The U23 Freestyle Nationals concluded Sunday afternoon at Spire Academy with four wrestlers earning spots on the U23 Freestlye World team, including two repeat champions.

Dustin Plott of Cowboy RTC and Jacob Cardenas of Spartan Combat RTC saw victories for the second-straight year, qualifying for spots on the U23 World team.

At 79 kg, Plott swept Ohio State’s Carson Kharchla in the best of three series. In the first match, Plott was trailing 9-0 to Kharchla before he racked up 21 points, most of which came from a single leg lace series, to grasp a 21-10 technical fall. He fell behind in the second match as well but stormed back to earn the win by fall. Plott wrestles collegiately for Oklahoma State and is a two-time NCAA All-American.

Cardenas, an NCAA All-American at Cornell, bested his opponent Luke Surber of Cowboy RTC in the championship series at 92 kg. The defending champion was surprisingly teched in the first match, 10-0. In the second match, he fought through to a thrilling 18-15 decision, evening the series at one apiece. The final match ended in just 49 seconds after Cardenas got a takedown and reeled off four leg laces, defeating Surber, 10-0.

Julian Chlebove of Sunkist Kids Wrestling Club captured a spot on the U23 World Team following a sweep of Ethan Oakley in the best of three championship series at 61 kg. Chlebove pulled off a close 6-4 decision in bout one followed by an 8-3 decision in bout two.

The 65 kg U23 World Team spot was claimed by Brock Hardy of Nebraska WTC, who was the second seed in the tournament and is an All-American for the Huskers. Hardy defeated Ryan Jack of Wolfpack Wrestling Club in the best-of-three series with a 9-5 decision in the first match and a 10-5 decision in the second match.

The champions in the remaining six weight classes are not guaranteed a U23 World Team spot because there is a Senior National Team member with U23 eligibility in their weight class. The Senior National Team member has priority over the U23 national champion in this scenario.

Including Cardenas’ win at 92 kg, four best-of-three series went the distance.

At 57 kg, Cooper Flynn defeated Northern Colorado’s Stevo Poulin two matches to one. Flynn stormed back after falling in the first bout by 7-4 decision. He bested Poulin in bouts two and three by scores of 4-1 and 9-4.

At 74 kg, Julian Ramirez dropped his first contest to Matt Lee of Nittany Lion WC by 12-2 technical fall. Ramirez, of Spartan Combat RTC, made adjustments to stifle Lee’s offense between the first and second matches. He used a 5-2 decision in bout two and a 10-6 decision in bout three to capture the win. Ramirez is a two-time NCAA qualifier at Cornell.

Dylan Fishback earned the victory at 86 kg, defeating Indiana’s Donnell Washington in bouts two and three. The first match saw Washington tech Fishback early in the second period. After trailing 7-2 in the second match, Fishback fired back with 16 points to earn the 18-7 technical fall. The wild pairing saw Washington lead 6-0 early in the third match, before Fishback scored 13 points to take the lead. In the second period, Fishback tallied six more points to defeat Washington by 19-9 technical fall.

Additional champions include two-time NCAA qualifier Doug Zapf of Pennsylvania RTC (70 kg), NCAA qualifier Nick Stemmet of Illinois (97 kg) and 2021 Junior World Team member and NCAA All-American Wyatt Hendrickson of Air Force RTC (125 kg).

The U23 U.S. Freestyle World Team will compete at the U23 World Championships in Tampere, Finland, this October.

All the matches from Geneva, Ohio, can be viewed on-demand at with a subscription. Brackets and complete results are available on FloArena.

2023 U23 Nationals
At Spire Academy, Geneva, Ohio, June 2-4

U23 Freestyle Finals Results

57 kg
Best-of-three championship series
Cooper Flynn (Southeast RTC, Inc) defeats Stevo Poulin (Northern Colorado WC), two matches to one
Bout 1 – Poulin dec. Flynn, 7-4
Bout 2 – Flynn dec. Poulin, 4-1
Bout 3 - Flynn dec. Poulin, 9-4

61 kg
Best-of-three championship series
Julian Chlebove (Sunkist Kids WC) defeats Ethan Oakley (Boone RTC), two matches to none
Bout 1 – Chlebove dec. Oakley, 6-4
Bout 2 – Chlebove dec. Oakley, 8-3

65 kg
Best-of-three championship series
Brock Hardy (Nebraska WTC) defeats Ryan Jack (Wolfpack WC), two matches to none
Bout 1 – Hardy dec. Jack, 9-5
Bout 2 – Hardy dec. Jack, 10-5

70 kg
Best-of-three championship series
Doug Zapf (Pennsylvania RTC) defeats Edward Scott (Wolfpack WC), two matches to none
Bout 1 – Zapf dec. Scott, 5-4
Bout 2 – Zapf dec. Scott, 5-4

74 kg
Best-of-three championship series
Julian Ramirez (Spartan Combat RTC) defeats Matt Lee (Nittany Lion WC), two matches to one
Bout 1 – Lee tech. fall Ramirez, 12-2
Bout 2 – Ramirez dec. Lee, 5-2
Bout 3 - Ramirez dec. Lee, 10-6

79 kg
Best-of-three championship series
Dustin Plott (Cowboy RTC) defeats Carson Kharchla (Ohio), two matches to none
Bout 1 – Plott tech. fall Kharchla, 21-10
Bout 2 – Plott fall Kharchla, 4:15

86 kg
Best-of-three championship series
Dylan Fishback (Wolfpack WC) defeats Donnell Washington (Indiana RTC), two matches to one
Bout 1 – Washington tech. fall Fishback, 11-0
Bout 2 – Fishback tech. fall Washington, 18-7
Bout 3 - Fishback tech. fall Washington, 19-9

92 kg
Best-of-three championship series
Jacob Cardenas (Spartan Combat RTC) defeats Luke Surber (Cowboy RTC), two matches to one
Bout 1 – Surber tech. fall Cardenas, 10-0
Bout 2 – Cardenas dec. Surber, 18-15
Bout 3 - Cardenas tech. fall Surber, 10-0

97 kg
Best-of-three championship series
Nick Stemmet (Illinois) defeats Samuel Mitchell (Bulls WC), two matches to none
Bout 1 – Stemmet tech. fall Mitchell, 12-0
Bout 2 – Stemmet dec. Mitchell, 6-4

125 kg
Best-of-three championship series
Wyatt Hendrickson (Air Force RTC) defeats Luke Luffman (Illinois RTC/Illini WC), two matches to none
Bout 1 – Hendrickson tech. fall Luffman, 10-0
Bout 2 – Hendrickson tech. fall Luffman, 10-0

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