A Preview of the 125kg World Team Trial Challenge Tournament

The 125kg division in the men’s freestyle wrestling does not have a returning medalist for Final X. This division will be contested at the World Team Trial Challenge tournament in Colorado Springs. As the Olympics are looming, many quality heavyweights are competing in hopes of earning a starting spot for the USA team. Gable Steveson is already one of the heavyweights who will be competing at Final X of the 2023 World Team Trial Challenge Tournament. He dominated the U.S. Open and won the title by beating his opponents in four straight games.

This blog introduces some of the top players who have signed up for this tournament in hopes of becoming one of the heavyweights in Final X. The seeds are already published and are listed after the wrestler’s name and club. Nick Gwiazdowski is currently the top seed, followed by Mason Parris, Wyatt Hendrickson, Dom Bradley, Ty Waltz, Demetrious Thomas and Anthony Cacioppi.

Gwiazdowski has been active for over a decade and has been named to the world team twice, winning the bronze medal both times. Although he has never been a “full-sized” heavyweight, he has had solid wins over two permanent internationals, Poland’s Robert Varane and Hungary’s Daniel Ligeti. Mason Parris, on the other hand, is a dominating senior from the University of Michigan. He finished his senior season with a bonus percentage of almost 3 and went undefeated, earning himself the Hodge Trophy.

Wyatt Hendrickson is an up-and-coming senior from Kansas, who has had pinfalls in his national team career and led the raucous Tathra crowd to a frenzied America’s Great Chorus. Dom Bradley, a venerable heavyweight, has won many gold medals at the Pan-American and U20 levels. Ty Waltz is a three-time U.S. champion who won the bronze medal at the 2017 U23 World Championships. Demetrious Thomas, who competed at the senior level in freestyle for the University of Pittsburgh, finished second at Bill Farrell in 2022.

Anthony Cacioppi, a three-time NCAA champion, is perhaps the most interesting entry in the Challenge Tournament. He has traveled internationally, winning two consecutive medals at the U23 World Championships.

It is predicted that the contenders will finish in the same order as the U.S. Open, considering the current seeding. The bracket fights according to the choke, with Gwiazdowski defeating Bradley in the semi-finals, and Parris defeating Hendrickson in the semi-finals. However, anything can happen, and only time will tell what will unfold at the end of May 21st.

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