U20 Greco-Roman champion Christian Carroll (photo courtesy of Sam Janicki; SJanickiPhoto.com)
USA Wrestling hosted the U20 and U23 World Team Trials for both Greco Roman and men's freestyle last weekend. While the representative for the upcoming World Championships was only selected in certain weights, many of the top wrestlers in these age groups were in action. The following looks at the competitors who separated themselves from the field statistically.
InterMat's sister site MatScouts has Christian Carroll ranked second in the class of 2023. He certainly backed up that performance at the U20 World Team Trials. He chose to enter the event only in Greco Roman, and he left no doubt he was the best competitor in his division.
There were only three competitors at 97 kg, which meant that Carroll would have to best both in a round-robin bracket in order to advance to the best-of-three final series. The Penn commit scored a pair of 8-0 victories over Gavin White and MacAron Kukowski in a combined time of 91 seconds.
Against White, he scored a quick four-point takedown. After White somehow managed to avoid the fall, it only took two quick gut wrenches to finish the match. Carroll returned against Kukowski. It was a similar script as it took a takedown and three gut wrenches to end things inside the first minute.
Robert Plympton was waiting for Carroll in the final series thanks to his first-place finish at the U20 Open back in late April. In the finals of that event, he scored a 10-0 victory over Jackson Dewald in only 39 seconds. This was a different story.
Carroll won both of the matches to earn a spot on the U20 World team. Once again, it was a pair of 8-0 victories in under two minutes combined. The final match against Plympton took 66 seconds, which was Carroll's longest bout of the tournament.
Across those four matches, Carroll averaged 9.85 points per minute, allowed zero points and therefore finished with a +9.85 differential. That was by far the highest point differential across both styles in the U20 and U23 age groups. No other competitor had a point differential above six.
Defensively Carroll was one of only three wrestlers to make it through the event without surrendering a single point, but he was really the only one with a complete tournament. Chris Cannon picked up a pair of quick 10-0 victories, before defaulting out of the U23 freestyle bracket at 61 kg. Alex Facundo sat in the finals of the 74 kg bracket of U20 freestyle and dispatched Jack Thomsen in two-straight matches without allowing a score.
Even though he finished seventh at 86kg in the U23 freestyle division, Northwestern's Jack Jessen had quite the tournament from an offensive perspective. He finished with a 7.43 points per minute rate, which was the highest rate in freestyle and the third-highest rate overall behind Carroll and Aaron Doobs (GR U20 82kg).
Jessen got off to a blistering start in the tournament. He won his first three matches in a combined 85 seconds and outscored those three opponents 24-0. However, his momentum was stopped in the quarterfinals where he dropped a 14-1 match against NCAA finalist Trent Hidlay. Jessen bounced back on the backside with a fall over Maximus Hale in a match he was leading 12-0 at the time of the fall. He then nearly pulled an upset over Chris Foca in the consolation quarterfinals. Jessen was leading 8-3 before getting pinned about halfway into the first period.
Excluding the Hidlay match, Jessen had a +9.68 differential, which is higher than even the rate Carroll finished with. Last year during the collegiate season, Jessen certainly had a tough time, but he was still able to qualify for his first NCAA tournament. He should have two years of eligibility left for Northwestern and this freestyle performance might be a good omen for his future prospects.
Most Matches/Mat Time
Michial Foy was one of multiple wrestlers to enter the tournament in multiple styles. He competed in both the U23 87 kg Greco tournament as well as the 86 kg freestyle bracket. Foy won the Greco bracket and finished seventh in freestyle. Along the way, he wrestled in a whopping 14 matches, which was the most of any wrestler at the event. His path to the title in Greco saw him wrestle six bouts, while his freestyle campaign took eight bouts.
Despite the 14 matches and multiple styles, Foy did not spend the most time on the mat over the weekend. In those 14 bouts, he racked up a little bit over 40 minutes in wrestling time, which was the 12th most. The title for most time spent wrestling belongs to Sonny Santiago. The North Carolina wrestler spent nearly an entire hour on the mat and finished with 51:04 wrestling. He accomplished this in only nine matches on his way to a fifth-place finish in the U23 74 kg bracket.
Highest Scoring Match
Oftentimes, high-scoring matches in freestyle see both competitors going on scoring streaks until one wrestler finishes the contest. This bout was surprisingly back and forth until Drew Munch finished things off and took a 27-17 VSU1 win over Cain Tyus in the second round of the U23 70 kg bracket.
Tyus started off the scoring with a takedown inside the first 20 seconds of the bout. Munch then went ahead with a takedown of his own in a scramble followed by a gut wrench, which was nearly reversed. Tyus put himself back on top with a four-point throw. The two continued to trade the lead, and Munch went to the break up 14-11.
The two went right back to trading scores in the second period. However, after Tyus hit a four-pointer to pull ahead 17-16, Munch took over. He immediately reversed the position and then added a gut wrench to go ahead 19-17. Munch then scored a four-point takedown and two more gut wrenches to close proceedings.
Interesting enough, Munch would have another high-scoring match on the backside. He was eliminated by Lincoln Heck by an 18-14 score. That 32-point match was tied for the ninth-highest scoring bout of the event.