For the second year in a row, a pair of Buckeyes will represent Team USA at the U23 Freestyle World Championships.
Last year Myles Martin and Kollin Moore earned spots on the world team. This year current heavyweight Chase Singletary and incoming freshman Greg Kerkvliet won their respective weight classes at the U23 Freestyle World Team Trials at the University of Akron Sunday.
Singletary, who dropped down to 97 kg for the trials, upended NC State's Michael Boykin in the best-of-three finals, while Kerkvliet swept former Cadet World Silver medalist Jordan Wood at 125 kg.
Something about that 97 kg spot and Columbus, Ohio......— Mountain Man (@moore_of_kollin) June 2, 2019
The finals presented an interesting look at what the future may hold for Ohio State's line-up should Kerkvliet take a redshirt this season, with Singletary potentially moving down to succeed Moore at 197 pounds.
Although Singletary's spot on the U23 World Team is set, in theory Kerkvliet's fellow Minnesotan and quasi-rival Gable Steveson could still challenge him for the 125 kg spot. Five wrestlers competing in Final X for spots on the Senior Men's Freestyle team could come back and challenge the Trial winner at a later date: Daton Fix at 57 kg, Yianni Diakomihalis at 65 kg, Ryan Deakin at 70 kg, Bo Nickal at 92 kg, and Steveson at 125 kg.
This year's World Team has an added incentive attached, as U23 World Champions will automatically qualify for the Olympic Team Trials in April, 2020.
Fans who aren't already excited about Kerkvliet's arrival in Columbus next week might consider his stat line from the two-day trials: 10-0, 10-0, 10-0, 10-0 en route to the finals, and then sweeping a fellow cadet world medalist 6-5, 6-3.
Singletary did pretty well himself, going 10-0, 12-2, 14-3 (over Cornell's NCAA All American Ben Honis), and then taking Boykin 8-5 and 10-10 on criteria in the best-of-three.
A third Buckeye battled his way to the finals, as Luke Pletcher came up a match short of making the team. He finished second to Missouri standout Jaydin Eierman, who battled both Logan Stieber and Joey McKenna for world team spots at the U.S. Open a year ago.
After dropping the first match 8-5, Pletcher battled back in the second to draw even with a 12-11 victory. The third match went in Eierman's favor, however, 9-6.
Young Bucks Elijah Cleary and Kaleb Romero each finished in fourth place of their respective weight brackets, rounding out a solid weekend for Ohio State-affiliated wrestlers in Akron.