USA's Brooks, Hendrickson, O'Toole Win Gold, Cardenas Captures Bronze

By Savannah Asmann
USA Wrestling
TIRANA, Albania - The United States has more than one U23 World Champion in men’s freestyle for the first time in history. Keegan O’Toole, Aaron Brooks and Wyatt Hendrickson are 2023 U23 World Champions. Jacob Cardenas won a bronze medal, and the men’s freestyle team has the opportunity to capture eight World medals in Tirana, Albania.

The second group of men's freestyle athletes saw Isaac Trumble advance to the finals, Doug Zapf earn a spot in the bronze medal match, and Cooper Flynn and Brock Hardy are in repechage.

Keegan O'Toole is a two-time age-group World Champion. In his finals match, O'Toole snagged two first period takedowns to lead 4-1 at the break. He added a takedown in the second period to defeat Imam Ganishov of (Individual Neutral Athlete) in the finals at 74 kg.

At 86 kg, Aaron Brooks was commanding in his finals match, dominating his opponent and winning by 10-0 technical fall. Brooks used three takedowns, one four-point move and tied up a leg lace to end it early. He returns to the top of the podium at an age-group World Championships, a place he knows all too well.

Wyatt Hendrickson became a U23 World Champion after besting Adil Misirci of Turkey in the finals at 125 kg. Hendrickson took a quick lead in the first period before unleashing an explosion on offense in the second period that led to a 13-3 technical fall. Hendrickson medals in just his second trip to an age-group World Championships.

It was a bronze medal for Jacob Cardenas as the United States went four-for-four in medal matches today. Cardenas scored the go-ahead takedown with just 33 seconds left in the contest. He is the second two-time U23 medalist in men’s freestyle for the United States.

Julian Chlebove’s tournament run came to an end in the morning session. Chlebove faced Mezhlum Mezhlumyan of Armenia in his repechage match, falling 11-0. Mezhlumyan is a 2023 U23 European Championships silver medalist.

In group two, Isaac Trumble secured a spot in the finals at 97 kg. Trumble navigated his way through a tough bracket, picking up wins over 2023 European Championships silver medalist Otkay Ciftci of Turkey and six time age-group World Team member Sergey Sargsyan of Armenia. Trumble will face Radu Lefter of Moldova in the finals tomorrow.

Doug Zapf guaranteed himself a spot in the bronze medal match, going 3-1 on the day. Zapf defeated Benedikt Huber of Austria, 2023 U20 European Championships bronze medalist Ion Marcu of Moldova, and Orozobek Toktomambetov of Kyrgyzstan in one of the most thrilling matches of the first session. He fell to Individual Neutral Athlete Inalbek Sheriev in the semifinals and wrestles for a medal tomorrow night.

Two athletes were pulled into repechage: Cooper Flynn (57 kg) and Brock Hardy (65 kg). Flynn picked up a 4-1 decision win in his first match of the day against Poland’s Vasyl Ilnytskyi. In his second match, he fell to two-time age-group World medalist Manvel Khndzrtsyan of Armenia. Khndzrtsyan advanced to the finals, keeping Flynn in the hunt for bronze.

Hardy was strong in his first match against Puerto Rico’s Sammy Alvarez, claiming the win in a fast-paced, high-scoring match. Hardy continued his upward momentum by defeating Ukraine’s Artem Kryvenko by 11-0 technical fall. In the quarterfinals, Hardy dropped a 14-11 decision against Azerbaijan’s Ziraddin Bayramov.

At 79 kg, Dustin Plott fell in a close 2-2 decision to Japan’s Masaki Sato. Sato got on the board early with a takedown, but held strong on defense. Plott was unable to score on an evading Sato, losing the match on criteria.

The United States begins women’s freestyle action tomorrow in Tirana, Albania, at the 2023 U23 World Championships. The first five weights to be contested are 50 kg, 55 kg, 59 kg, 68 kg and 76 kg. Action begins with repechage for men’s freestyle and qualification rounds for women’s freestyle.

2023 U23 World Championships

At Tirana, Albania, October 23-29

U.S. Group One Men's Freestyle Results

61 kg – Julian Chlebove (Northampton, Pa./Sunkist Kids WC)

WIN Antonio Margiotta, tech. fall 11-0

LOSS Bashir Magomedov (AIN), tech. fall 14-3

LOSS Mezhlum Mezhlumyan (Armenia), tech. fall 11-0

74 kg – Keegan O’Toole (Hartland, Wis./Tiger Style WC)

WIN Vadim Kurylenko (Ukraine), tech. fall 10-0

WIN Krisztian Biro (Romania), tech. fall, 12-2

WIN Hikaru Takata (Japan), dec. 10-1

WIN Sonny Santiago (Puerto Rico), pin 3:32

WIN Imam Ganishov (AIN), dec. 6-1

86 kg – Aaron Brooks (Hagerstown, Md./Nittany Lion WC/Titan Mercury WC)

WIN Ismail Kucuksol (Turkey), dec. 7-1

WIN Owen Martin (Canada), tech. fall 10-0

WIN Ivan Ichizli (Moldova), dec. 7-1

WIN Arslan Bagaev (AIN), dec. 5-4

WIN Tatsuya Shirai (Japan), dec. 10-0

92 kg – Jacob Cardenas (Kearny, N.J./Spartan Combat RTC/Titan Mercury WC)

WIN Alan Bagaev (AIN), dec. 4-3

LOSS Muhammed Gimri (Turkey), dec. 10-1

WIN Satoshi Miura (Japan), dec. 6-0

WIN Pruthviraj Patil (UWW), dec. 4-3

125 kg – Wyatt Hendrickson (Newton, Kan./Air Force RTC)

WIN Abdulla Kurbanov (AIN), pin 5:15

WIN Nicolae Stratulat (Moldova), tech. fall 14-1

WIN Azamat Khosonov (Greece), dec. 4-2

WIN Adil Misirci (Turkey), tech. fall 13-3

U.S. Group Two Men's Freestyle Results

57 kg – Cooper Flynn (Seymour, Tenn./Southeast RTC/Titan Mercury WC)

WIN Vasyl Ilnytskyi (Poland), dec. 4-1

LOSS Manvel Khndzrtsyan (Armenia), tech. fall 11-0

65 kg – Brock Hardy (Brigham City, Utah/Nebraska WTC)

WIN Sammy Alvarez (Puerto Rico), dec. 12-7

WIN Artem Kryvenko (Ukraine), tech. fall 11-0

LOSS Ziraddin Bayramov (Azerbaijan), dec. 14-11

In repechage

70 kg – Doug Zapf (Downingtown, Pa., Pennsylvania RTC)

WIN Benedikt Huber (Austria), tech. fall 12-1

WIN Ion Marcu (Moldova), dec. 7-0

WIN Orozobek Toktomambetov (Kyrgyzstan), dec. 3-3

LOSS Inalbek Sheriev (AIN), dec. 9-2

In bronze medal match

79 kg – Dustin Plott (Tuttle, Okla./Cowboy RTC)

LOSS Masaki Sato (Japan), dec. 2-2

97 kg – Isaac Trumble (Springfield, Neb./Wolfpack, WC/Titan Mercury WC)

WIN Ito Hibiki (Japan), dec. 13-4

WIN Oktay Ciftci (Turkey), tech. fall 11-0WIN Sergey Sargsyan (Armenia), tech. fall 11-0

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