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  • Photo: Tony Rotundo

    Photo: Tony Rotundo

    2024 USAW OTT Last Chance Qualifier MFS Final Results

    The buzz surrounding the men’s freestyle portion of the Last Chance Qualifier focused on the young kids. High school teammates Jax Forrest (57 kg) and Bo Bassett (65 kg) made the finals of the tournament and saw a match away from a berth in the 2024 Olympic Trials. The six finals matches were arranged so that the two high school phenoms would close out the event in back-to-back bouts. 

    One of the two ended up punching his ticket to State College, Pennsylvania in less than two weeks - Forrest at 57 kg. In a clash of styles and body type, Forrest and veteran Nathan Tomasello, a 2015 NCAA champion, squared off for the lightweight berth in the final bout of the afternoon. 

    Less than :30 seconds into the bout, Forrest struck in a major way with a four-point fireman’s carry. Still within the first period, Forrest added to his lead with a takedown off of a throw-by. Later in the period, Tomasello got to a leg attack, but was stopped in a scramble by Forrest. During the flurry, Forrest grabbed a crotch lock and tossed it for four points, which ended the match. Forrest will join a loaded 57 kg weight class that features past world medalists like Thomas Gilman, Vito Arujau, Daton Fix, and many more. 

    Just before Forrest took the mat, Bassett was teched by an experienced opponent of his own, Matt Kolodzik. The Princeton All-American quickly got on the board with a throw-by for a takedown and quickly transitioned into a gut wrench - taking a commanding 4-0 lead. Quickly after the ensuing restart, Kolodzik hit a double leg to Bassett’s back for four points. Kolodzik kept ahold of Bassett’s legs and used a leg lace to end the match in only :46 seconds. Kolodzik will join the fray at a wide-open 65 kg bracket in State College. 

    Speaking of State College, one of Penn State’s favorite sons will come back home as Vincenzo Joseph won the 74 kg weight class. The often high-flying Joseph turned in a workman-like performance in a 2-0 win over Yahya Thomas. Joseph took the lead in the first period after a shot-clock violation from Thomas. In the second stanza, Joseph was on the shot clock, himself, but was able to get a push out on Thomas just before the clock expired. That’s all the offense he’d need. We’ll see if Joseph can bring the Bryce Jordan Center crowd to its feet one more time!

    In one of the most emotional moments of the finals, David McFadden prevailed in a 12-2 tech over former Penn State national runner-up Morgan McIntosh at 86 kg. McFadden had extended hugs for coaches Brandon Slay and Richard Perry after getting his hand raised. In his post-match interview, McFadden explained how he broke his ankle at Senior Nationals in December and questioned whether he’d be healthy enough to compete at this event. 

    With all of the talk surrounding the high school sensations, it might be easy to overlook a college freshman winning the 97 kg bracket. That’s what Oklahoma State’s Christian Carroll did and in dominating fashion. Carroll posted an 11-0 tech fall over former Junior World teammate Camden McDanel to claim his berth in the Trials. It was his third tech in four bouts on Sunday. His only match that went the distance came against 2022 NCAA runner-up Jacob Warner. 

    The final session was opened up by an entertaining bout between Jaron Smith and Jacob Bullock at 125 kg. Smith weathered the storm and came back from an early deficit to secure the winning takedown during the waning seconds of a 6-5 victory. Smith stated in his post-match interview that he was looking to “have fun and compete and it was less than an hour away.” 

    Championship Finals 

    57 kg - Jax Forrest over Nathan Tomasello 10-0

    65 kg - Matt Kolodzik over Bo Bassett 10-0

    74 kg - Vincenzo Joseph over Yahya Thomas 2-0

    86 kg - David McFadden over Morgan McIntosh 12-2

    97 kg - Christian Carroll over Camden McDanel 11-0

    125 kg - Jaron Smith over Jacob Bullock  6-5

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