Jump to content

  • Photo: Sam Janicki

    Photo: Sam Janicki

    2023 US Open By the Numbers

    2023 US Open 130kg Greco-Roman champion Cohlton Schultz (photo courtesy of Sam Janicki; SJanickiPhoto.com)

    The U.S. Open returned last week with some high stakes on the line. Winners of the tournament advanced directly to Final X even if a returning medalist was already waiting in the finals. As always, the event served as a qualifier for the upcoming World Team Trials as well. Perhaps those stakes brought out the best in the field since there were plenty of impressive performances up and down the Senior level brackets. The following looks at some of the top statistical performers across all three of the Olympic styles.

    Point Differential (Points per Minute minus Points Against per Minute)

    Greco Roman

    Alan Vera was perhaps the most dominant wrestler at the U.S. Open. The Greco-Roman champion at 87kg won all four of his matches via match termination and outscored his opposition 38 to 4.

    On a per-minute basis, he averaged 5.84 points per minute and allowed only 0.61. His +5.22 point differential was by far the highest on the senior level across all three styles. In the finals, Vera scored a 9-0 victory over John Stefanowicz in a little over two minutes. Stefanowicz is one of the few domestic wrestlers to hand Vera a loss since he transferred over, and his win over Vera came in the semifinals of the last Olympic Trials. With this victory, Vera advances to Final X and should be the prohibitive favorite to make another world team.

    Women's Freestyle

    Over in women's freestyle, there was a rather interesting development. As you can see based on the previous paragraphs, point differential is usually a good performance measure. After all, scoring more points than your opponents is almost always the path to winning. "Almost always" is doing a lot of the heavy lifting in this case. Carrieann Randolph (68kg) and Anna Stephens (65kg) both tied for the highest point differential in women's freestyle at +4.23, but neither went very far in the tournament.

    Randolph actually lost both of her matches in the tournament, but she was leading in both before losing by fall. In her first match against Kayani Ayal, she scored 11 points before being pinned. In her bounce-back attempt in the consolation bracket, she managed to score six points in under two minutes, but once lost via fall.

    Stephens was more successful but still bowed out of the tournament after going 2-2. All four of her matches ended via fall, and she spent a total of only 128 seconds on the mat. Her two victories came over Sierra Hartfelder (35 seconds) and Jaylene Martinez (42 seconds).

    Unfortunately for Stephens, her losses against Ella Schmit (33 seconds) and Skylar Hattendorf (18 seconds) were even quicker.

    Men's Freestyle

    The returning heavyweight king had an overly dominant performance on his way to the title. Gable Steveson, who famously left college wrestling with one year of eligibility remaining to join WWE, returned this past week at the Open. He defeated all four of his opponents. In the process, the Olympic gold medalist scored 44 points and allowed only one.

    Those numbers equate to 4.15 points per minute and 0.09 points against per minute. His resulting +4.06 point differential was the highest across the men's freestyle tournament. The only other wrestler in the style who even came close was Spencer Lee (+3.42) who dropped out of the tournament after making the semifinal round.

    Not only did Steveson show zero signs of rust after an extended absence, but he also faced off against some of the toughest available domestic opposition. He defeated Wyatt Hendrickson, who was third at the 2023 NCAA tournament, Mason Parris, the reigning Hodge trophy winner and multiple-time world medalist Nick Gwiazdowski.

    The only wrestler who was able to score a single point against Steveson was Parris. The former Michigan wrestler scored a step-out point late in the first period. Steveson was leading 7-0 prior to that score and finished the bout 19 seconds into the second period with a 12-1 score.

    Points per Minute

    Men's Freestyle

    After qualifying for the 2022 NCAA tournament, Jack Jessen had a tough 2023 for Northwestern. However, he still has one year of eligibility remaining, and he certainly did not have issues putting up points at the open. In the 86kg bracket, Jessen went 5-2 and racked up the points in the consolation bracket. His run came to an end against Maximus Hale who went on to finish eighth in the tournament. Obviously, Jessen would have liked to place in the tournament, but he can take some consolation in the fact that nobody in men's freestyle averaged more than his 6.83 points per minute.

    Women's Freestyle

    The previously outlined odd tournament performances from Radolph and Stephens also had an impact on this measure. Stephens finished with a 7.51 points per minute rate, which was not only tops in the style but also across the entire senior event. Randolph had the second-highest in women's freestyle at 6.54.

    Kennedy Blades finished with the third highest points per minute rate in women's freestyle at 4.76. Her virtuoso performance at 76kg could be a sign of future dominance. Following Blades' tournament-winning performance, BroBible luminary Clay Sauertieg tweeted, "Welcome to the Kennedy Blades Era," and he might be onto something.

    Blades blitzed her first two opponents with 10-0 VSU stoppages. The competition then got tougher, but the champion kept scoring. She put up 11 points against Yelena Makoyed to take an 11-7 victory in what turned out to be her closest match. In the finals, Blades knocked off multiple-time world champion Adeline Gray via match termination with a 12-2 score.

    Greco Roman

    Not only did Vera have the highest point differential in Greco, but he also had the highest scoring rate. His 5.84 points per minute rate was the highest in the style. The next highest-scoring competitor in Greco was heavyweight Cohtlon Schultz at 4.62 points per minute.
    Schultz recently became a three-time All-American at Arizona State with a seventh-place finish at the NCAA tournament. However, he seemed eager to return to his best style. At the Open, the Sun Devil scored match-termination victories in all four of his matches. The highlight of his run was an 11-0 victory over rival Adam Coon. In their previous meetings recorded by USA Wrestling, Coon had outscored Schutlz 36 to 10 across five matches.

    Points Against per Minute

    Greco Roman

    Across all three styles at the senior level, there were only two wrestlers who made it through the entire tournament without surrendering a single point, and they both competed in Greco. Schultz not only finished with the second-highest scoring rate in the style, but also shut out all four of his opponents.

    The only other wrestler to not give up a point was Brady Kootnz who won the Greco title at 55kg. He defeated all three of his opponents by 9-0 scores including Dalton Duffield in the finals. After starting his collegiate career at Ohio State, Koontz moved to Dubuque last season where he was a Division III All-American with a seventh-place finish at 125 pounds. He has previously been a member of both the U23 and Junior world teams, and with this victory he will return to Final X for the third time.

    Women's Freestyle

    Macey Kilty's run at the last Olympic team came to an end due to injury. She has worked her way back into form and showed this past week that she will be a contender for the world team sport. Kilty won the tournament title at 65kg and outscored her opposition 36 to one. The only point she allowed came in the finals against Emma Bruntil. The match went to the break with Kilty leading 1-0. In the second, Bruntil got on the board when Kilty was unable to score on the activity clock. The younger wrestler then busted the match open in the final minute with a pair of exposures in a scramble to take the 5-1 victory.

    By allowing only a single point across four matches, Kilty finished with a 0.09 points against per minute rate, which was by far the highest in women's freestyle. The closest competitor in the style was Joye Levendusky who allowed four points (0.19 per minute) on her way to the title at 72kg.

    Men's Freestyle

    Steveson not only dominated point differential, but he also had the best points against-per-minute rate in men's freestyle. Like Kilty, he allowed only 0.09 points per minute on his way to the championship.

    The second-best defensive performance in the style came from Alex Dierigner. The former Oklahoma State wrestler allowed his opponents only 0.17 points per minute at 79 kg. His run included an impressive 7-1 victory over reigning NCAA champion Carter Starocci in the semifinals. However, Dieringer averaged only 0.88 points per minute on offense and ultimately fell to former college teammate Chance Marsteller in the finals by a 3-2 score.

    User Feedback

    Recommended Comments

    There are no comments to display.

    Create an account or sign in to comment

    You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

    Create an account

    Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

    Register a new account

    Sign in

    Already have an account? Sign in here.

    Sign In Now

  • Create New...