Brooks, O’Toole among men’s freestyle stars announced for U23 U.S. World Team to compete in Tampere, Finland
by Richard Immel, USA Wrestling
Photo: Aaron Brooks (left) and Keegan O’Toole (right) are past age-group World champions heading to the 2023 U23 World Championships in men’s freestyle. (Tony Rotundo, wrestlersarewarriors.com)
The U.S. men’s freestyle team set to compete at the 2023 U23 World Championships in Tampere, Finland, has been finalized, with past age-group World champions and current U.S. Senior National Team members Aaron Brooks and Keegan O’Toole headlining an accomplished group.
Both Brooks and O’Toole have posted successful summer campaigns building off the momentum of individual NCAA title runs in March—Brooks won his third NCAA crown for Penn State while O’Toole picked up his second such honor for Missouri.
After earning a U.S. Open championship in April, Brooks finished as runner-up to Olympic and two-time World champion David Taylor at Final X to secure the No. 2 U.S. Senior National Team spot at 86 kg. The Hagerstown, Md., native has a proven history at World Championship events having earned a gold medal at the 2017 U17 Worlds in Athens, Greece, and a silver medal at the 2018 U20 Worlds in Trnava, Slovakia. This year will mark his first U23 World-level contest.
O’Toole finished with the No. 3 spot on the U.S. Senior National Team at 74 kg following a third-place finish at the U.S. Open and victory-by-forfeit over U.S. Open runner-up Vincenzo Joseph in his true third match at Final X. He won a U20 World title for the U.S. in Ufa, Russia, in 2021
U23 eligible wrestlers (athletes born between 2000 and 2005) who qualified for the U.S. Senior National Team had top priority to attend the U23 World Championships. Joining Brooks and O’Toole on the U23 World Team with the U.S. Senior National Team distinction are Sammy Sasso at 70 kg and Isaac Trumble at 97 kg.
Sasso sits at No. 3 on the U.S. ladder at 70 kg. He was runner-up at the U.S. Open and is a two-time NCAA finalist for Ohio State. Sasso defeated Alec Pantaleo, 10-0, in the true third match at Final X to make the U.S. Senior National Team and secure his U23 Worlds berth.
Trumble solidified his U.S. Senior National Team spot and U23 Worlds opportunity with a runner-up finish at the U.S. Open where he fell to Olympic bronze medalist and two-time World champion J’den Cox in the 97 kg finals. No Final X true third match was necessary at 97 kg. Trumble competes collegiately for North Carolina State and has qualified for the NCAA tournament the past two seasons.
In weight classes where a U.S. Senior National Team member does not occupy a U23 World Team spot, the U23 Nationals champion will take the honor.
Reigning U23 World silver medalist Jacob Cardenas (92 kg) and 2021 U20 World Team member Wyatt Hendrickson (125 kg) are among the six U23 Nationals champions heading to Finland as members of the men’s freestyle team. Cardenas won his second U23 Nationals title earlier this month and is a NCAA All-American for Cornell. Hendrickson finished in fourth place at both the U.S. Open and World Team Trials Challenge Tournament this summer and is a NCAA All-American for the Air Force Academy.
Additional U23 World Team members who earned U23 Nationals titles in Geneva, Ohio, include Cooper Flynn at 57 kg, Julian Chlebove at 61 kg, Brock Hardy at 65 kg and Dustin Plott at 79 kg. All four are current competitors at the NCAA Div. I level—Flynn at Virginia Tech, Chlebove at Arizona State, Hardy at Nebraska and Plott at Oklahoma State. Hardy and Plott have earned All-America honors at the NCAA tournament.
The U23 World Championships will be held Oct. 23-29 at Tampere Ice Stadium in Tampere, Finland. The men’s freestyle team is scheduled to hit the mats during the first three days of competition.
A live broadcast of the U23 World Championships will be available to U.S. residents on FloWrestling.com. A FloWrestling subscription is required to watch.
USA Wrestling will announce the remaining U23 World Team rosters this week with women’s freestyle coming on Wed. followed by Greco-Roman on Thurs.
2023 U23 World Championships
At Tampere Ice Stadium, Tampere, Finland, Oct. 23-29
U.S. Men’s Freestyle Roster
57 kg – Cooper Flynn (Seymour, Tenn./Southeast RTC/Titan Mercury WC)
61 kg – Julian Chlebove (Northampton, Pa./Sunkist Kids WC)
65 kg – Brock Hardy (Brigham City, Utah/Nebraska WTC)
70 kg – Sammy Sasso (Nazareth, Pa./Ohio RTC/Titan Mercury WC)
74 kg – Keegan O’Toole (Hartland, Wis./Tiger Style WC)
79 kg – Dustin Plott (Tuttle, Okla./Cowboy RTC)
86 kg – Aaron Brooks (Hagerstown, Md./Nittany Lion WC/Titan Mercury WC)
92 kg – Jacob Cardenas (Kearny, N.J./Spartan Combat RTC/Titan Mercury WC)
97 kg – Isaac Trumble (Springfield, Neb./Wolfpack, WC/Titan Mercury WC)
125 kg – Wyatt Hendrickson (Newton, Kan./Air Force RTC)