Ohio State is known for, in addition to having an elite collegiate wrestling program, for being home to world-class freestyle talent the likes of Kyle Snyder and Logan Stieber. Fans may not realize that the program is also home to some world-class Greco-Roman talent, too.
Brady Koontz might change that, as the redshirt sophomore secured a spot on his third age-level world team Thursday, besting Indiana's Liam Cronin in a best-of-three series at the U.S. Marine Corps Junior Nationals in Fargo, securing the 55kg position on the U23 World Greco-Roman Team.
Koontz was a member of the 2015 Cadet World Team and wrestled last fall at the Junior World Championships. He wrestled earlier this summer for a shot at the Senior World team, but veteran Max Nowry won the spot in back-to-back matches at Final X Rutgers.
Seeded seventh out of nine competitors at the Senior World Team Trials, Koontz raced to the finals series by blanking his first two opponents by scores of 8-0 and 9-0. He then bested Dalton Duffield in successive bouts to claim first place and the series with Nowry.
As a Final X participant, he held the right to a wrestle-off with Cronin for the U23 spot, and took full advantage of the chance in the FargoDome, beating the Hoosier 5-1 in the first match and 3-1 in the third. Cronin picked up the second match, a 6-6 affair, on criteria.
“Match two didn’t go my way, and obviously, I was pretty mad, mostly at myself, for getting caught in those arm throws in the beginning. I knew I shouldn’t have been reaching," Koontz said. "After the match, I was just focusing on what I had to do. Between the matches, I was thinking about my game plan. I wasn’t planning exactly what I was going to do, but I was planning my attack.”
With the wins in Fargo, Koontz will represent Team USA at the 2019 U23 World Championships in Budapest, Hungary, Oct. 28-Nov. 2.