2021 World Team Trials

World Team Trials Men's Freestyle Bracket Reactions & Best Matchups

World Team Trials Men's Freestyle Bracket Reactions & Best Matchups

The best early round matchups and other reactions from the 2021 World Team Trials in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Sep 11, 2021 by Andrew Spey
World Team Trials Men's Freestyle Bracket Reactions & Best Matchups

We knew it was coming, and now it's here. Brackets for the 2021 World Team Trials are out! CLICK HERE FOR BRACKETS. HERE. DO IT, CLICK. THEY ARE FREE.

Brackets reactions and our most anticipated early-round matchups for the men's freestyle divisions can be found below. 

61 Kilograms

The first Round of 16 attention-grabber is the #8 vs. #9 bout between Shelton Mack and Josh Kramer. It’s a rematch from April’s U.S. Nationals finals. Mack walked away with the title in Coralville after scoring a takedown with 13 seconds left to claim a 3-2 victory. 

There’s another compelling Round of 16 rematch looming on the bottom side with #7 Nahshon Garrett against #10 Zane Richards. They met two years ago in the Bill Farrell quarters, where Richards captured a 5-3 victory. 

Looking ahead, we might finally get a long-awaited battle between Daton Fix and Seth Gross in the quarters. It appeared as if they might tangle three years ago in the Oklahoma State-South Dakota State dual, but Gross missed the match with a back injury that knocked him out for much of the season. 

65 Kilograms

This bracket is a little smaller than expected when registration first opened up, but it’s still packed with serious senior level firepower. 

The quarterfinals lead off action in this division. Make sure you key in on the Dean Heil vs Luke Pletcher matchups. Heil is a two-time NCAA champ while Pletcher was seeded #1 at the canceled 2000 tournament. Both have also fairly recently made RTC moves, with Heil following Cary Kolat to the Navy-Marine Corp RTC and Pletcher hooking up with his hometown to coach at Pitt and wrestle for the Pittsburgh RTC

Winner of that match gets Yianni Diakomihalis in the semis, while Joey McKenna awaits the winner of Henderson v Pohlmeyer in the bottom half of the bracket. 

70 Kilograms

The two middle quarters are can’t miss and will lead to amazing semifinals. On the top half we get Jordan Oliver vs Zain Retherford and the winner most likely getting James Green. The two have beaten each other in the past with Zain winning the last two to make it to Final X in 2019. 

On the top half of the bottom side of the bracket is Ryan Deakin and Tyler Berger with the winner most likely getting Alec Pantaleo. Deakin - Berger is another back and forth rivalry. Berger got the last one at Last Chance Qualifier, 10-0.

79 Kilograms

Perhaps the most fire early-round match of them all will be at the very top of the bracket, with the King Jordan Burroughs taking on a bulked up Hayden Hidlay in the round of 16. 

This bracket is all kinds of fire, as the winner of that matchup will get winner of Marsteller vs Gantt in a battle of two freestyle savvy veterans. That is all just to get the top quarter matchup. 

Jason Nolf is lurking in the second quarter in the top half, who kicks off his tournament with the dangerous NCAA finalist Joey Lavallee. 

Alex Dieringer has the second seed so he’s slotted in at the very bottom of the bracket, looking to barrel his way down to the finals for a potential matchup with Olympic and four-time World champion Jordan Burroughs, assuming the seeds hold. 

Also in the bottom half is a matchup in the round of 16 bout between 2021 NCAA champ and #11 seed Carter Starocci vs the #1 seed at the canceled 2000 tournament and #6 seed Taylor Lujan. 

92 Kilograms

As expected, two-time returning World champion J’den Cox received the top seed while Nathan Jackson is seeded second. Both earned a first round bye but will have interesting tests when they step on the mat for the first time. Cox could face either Northern Iowa NCAA champion Drew Foster — who has competed at 86 kg — or Scottie Boykin. Jackson will likely face seventh seed local favorite TJ Dudley — an All-American for Nebraska.

The prospect of Cox and Gadson in the semifinals is intriguing since Gadson has served as his training partner at the World Championships. 

The top half of the bracket has the best storylines. Former Iowa State NCAA champion Kyven Gadson is seeded fourth and former Ohio State NCAA champion Myles Martin is seeded fifth. The two should meet in the quarterfinals for the right to face, presumably, J’den Cox in the semis. 

Kollin Moore — a 97 kg finalist at the recent Olympic Trials — received the third seed and is on a collision course with Trent Hidlay in the quarters. Hidlay finished second at the 2021 U.S. Open at 86 kg. The winner of that match will likely face Jackson in the semis. 

125 Kilograms

It’s the most incredible early matchup. It’s unbelieve. Its inconceivable. You can neither believe it, nor conceive it. Hayden Zillmer vs Dom Bradley. These two were both Fargo champs the same year. Zillmer at 88 pounds, and Bradley at heavyweight. Now they meet at 125 kilos. That’s just silly. 

Those two maniacs are on the bottom half of the bracket with the 3/6 seed. The young Mason Parris and his recently inked NIL deal with Cliff Keen holds the #2 seed.

In the top half of the bracket is two time World bronze medalist and two-time NCAA champ Nick Gwiazdowski with the top seed. He’s favored to see Parris in a best 2-of-3 re-rematch from the RTC Cup, where they split matches against each other. Gwiz won the first match, whereas Parris battled back to win the second