WHAT: US World Team Trials Challenge Tournament
WHERE: Xtream Arena, Coralville, Iowa
WHEN: Saturday 10 AM to 3 PM: All Brackets through Quarterfinals
Saturday 4:30 PM: All Brackets Semifinals except 65 kg, 70 kg, 125 kg
Sunday 10 AM to 1:30 PM: Semifinals for 65 kg, 70 kg, 125 kg & Consolation Finals for All Brackets
Sunday 2:30 PM to 6:30 PM: Best of 3 Finals for All Brackets except 65 kg, 70 kg, 125 kg
BRACKETS: 2022 WTT Challenge
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After carrying the Cyclone RTC on the senior level since his graduation, Kyven Gadson will be joined by five teammates in this tournament. That includes Iowa State alum Ian Parker, returning Cyclones David Carr, Marcus Coleman and Julien Broderson, and Cyclone RTC athlete Duncan Lee. There are three steps for a wrestler to represent USA at this year’s world championships in Serbia.
- Qualify for World Team Trials Challenge Tournament
- World Team Trials Challenge Tournament <———We are here
- Final X
Six Cyclone RTC wrestlers have qualified for the World Team Trials Challenge Tournament via their performances at major events over the last year of competition. The tournament takes place in Coralville on Saturday and Sunday. As you can tell from the schedule above, some weight classes will be run differently than others. That is because the 7 Americans who medaled at the 2021 World Championships advanced directly to the final step in the selection process — Final X. Final X is a best of 3 series where the winning wrestler earns the Team USA spot. If you’re at one of those 7 weight classes the other spot in Final X is given to the World Team Trials Champion. At the other three weight classes, the two World Team Trials finalists will advance to Final X. Clear as mud?
What all that means for the Cyclones is that Ian Parker and Kyven Gadson move on by winning their half of the bracket. David Carr, Marcus Coleman, Julien Broderson and Duncan Lee will need to win the tournament to reach Final X. Let’s take a look at their draws.
65 kg: Ian Parker — 6 seed
It’s really looking like freestyle is where Ian Parker wrestles best. He started his post-collegiate career with a third-place finish at the US Open. 65 kg (or about 145 lbs) with international weigh-in rules also seems like a better fit for him. The recent grad will start his tournament against Penn State’s Beau Bartlett. Bartlett took bronze at Junior Worlds last year in this weight class. That’s a tough 11-seed. In the quarters Parker would likely see Joey McKenna. McKenna has a plethora of freestyle accolades, most recently winning Pan-American gold. Phenom Yianni Diakomihalis of Cornell is also on Parker’s side of the bracket. The other side features NCAA champions Kendric Maple and Nick Lee, but he would only see them at Final X or in consolations. I remember thinking in January how great it would be to see Parker against tougher competition. That time has come. This is a deep bracket in a tough, tough tournament.
74 kg: David Carr — 4 seed
It is great to see David Carr registered for this tournament. While his NCAA run didn’t go as planned, his gritty third-place finish qualified him for this tournament. Carr won junior world freestyle gold in 2019. This is one of the smaller brackets, possibly because of who is waiting in Final X — the legendary Kyle Dake. Carr faces Husker Collin Purington in the quarterfinals, who placed 3rd at the US Open. In the semifinals, Carr is slated to have a rematch with Jason Nolf of Penn State. Top-seeded Nolf won that match last year in Ft. Worth. Potential finals opponents include Arizona State’s Josh Shields and NC State’s Tommy Gantt.
86 kg: Marcus Coleman — 5 seed and Julien Broderson — 9 seed
This weight features two current Cyclones who qualified at the US Open. Coleman was a finalist, while Broderson took 7th. Both had strong freestyle resumes for Team Iowa in high school and will be making their World Team Trials debuts after very different collegiate seasons. Let’s see how Coleman carries the momentum from his strong US Open and NCAA tournament finishes. We only saw Broderson in a few duals, but over his career he’s shown he’s got an exciting skillset that translates especially well to freestyle. Both of these wrestlers are currently seeded one below what I listed, but USA Wrestling has stated 3 seed Pat Downey intends to move up a weight (if he shows up at all). Cyclone fans may remember Downey from his All-American run as a Cyclone in 2016, the tumultuous ending to his time in Ames, or another of the headlines he’s made.
Coleman draws fellow Iowan Drew Foster of UNI in the quarterfinals. The NCAA champion for the Panthers qualified by taking 3rd at last year’s US Open. Waiting for him in the semifinals opponent is another NCAA champion Mark Hall, who defeated him in the US Open finals. On the other side of the bracket are Arizona State NCAA champion Zahid Valencia and NC State’s Trent Hidlay. Broderson will see Campbell’s Caleb Hopkins in the first round. Hopkins is a 2-time national qualifier for the Camels. In the quarterfinals Broderson hits buzzsaw Mark Hall, which is a tall task, but hey this is wrestling. Weird things happen. Olympic Champion David Taylor automatically advanced to Final X.
97 kg: Duncan Lee — 6 seed
Duncan Lee is a Cyclone RTC athlete originally from Newton, Iowa. He was an All-American at Central College, where he is now an assistant on Erik Van Kley’s staff. He qualified for his first world team trials at the US Open. He also draws a former Husker in the first round — NCAA finalist TJ Dudley. Dudley has placed at the US Open in three different weight classes now. Ohio State standout Kollin Moore will be in the semis here and NCAA champion Michael Macchiavello of NC State is on the other side of the bracket. 7-time world medalist Kyle Snyder is waiting in Final X for whoever wins this bracket.
125 kg: Kyven Gadson — 6 seed
Don’t let the 6 seed fool you, Kyven Gadson will be a factor in this bracket. That seed is more a result of Gadson moving up from 97 kg, where he has made Final X twice. His peaks over the last couple of seasons have been the best wrestling of his career in my opinion. Gadson will see Oklahoma State NCAA finalist Derek White in the first round. His quarterfinal opponent will be Iowa’s U23 World Champion Tony Cassioppi. This gives me a chance to share my favorite tweet from this past NCAA wrestling season with you all:
I really love that Cass went on some vision quest to become a jacked monster and lost to Wood who got fatter every year of college.— dozay (@Dozay307) March 18, 2022
If Kyven knocks out Vision Quest Cass he needs only one more win to return to Final X. That will likely be against 2-time world medalist Nick Gwiazdowski. While Gwiz has been a mainstay at heavyweight for America since 2017, his consistency has fallen off a bit in recent outings. He hasn’t medaled since 2018 and he was upset by the Canadian in the Pan-Am finals earlier this month. If Kyven can score a win here, my guess is US Open champ Hayden Zillmer grabs the other Final X spot.
This is the largest contingent from Ames to compete at this tournament in a LONG time. A strong performance would be yet another indicator of the steady progress this program is making. There is so much high-level wrestling at World Team Trials, if you have a chance to watch it go down in Coralville, I highly recommend you take it. Go Cyclones!