2022 World Team Trials Challenge Tournament

Best Early Round Matches At The Trials - Men's Freestyle

Best Early Round Matches At The Trials - Men's Freestyle

A breakdown of the best quarter-final matches at the world team trials in men's freestyle.

May 18, 2022 by Jon Kozak
Best Early Round Matches At The Trials - Men's Freestyle

The World Team Trials start on Saturday, May 21 at 11:00 am (ET) and will feature some of Team USA’s best wrestlers. With smaller brackets at every weight, we’re sure to see some amazing matches go down in the first round of the tournament. Check out a breakdown of the best quarter-final matches in men’s freestyle below. 

Alex Dieringer vs Isaiah Martinez, 79kg

A 2-time NCAA champ taking on a 3-time NCAA champ…in the quarter-finals! This matchup is the perfect illustration of the depth at the world team trials. These two have met 3 times over the past five years with Dieringer coming out on top every time. They first wrestled at the 2017 world team trials where Dieringer won a close, 4-2 victory. They met again in the semi-finals of last year’s world team trials where Dieringer won by a more convincing 6-1 margin. Their most recent match was at the Rudis Super Match event and although Imar closed the gap slightly, Dieringer still came out on top, 4-1. Taking out a competitor like Martinez in four consecutive matches will be challenging, the question now - can Martinez turn the tide this weekend, or will Dieringer come out on top again? 

Dieringer's win over Isaiah Martinez at the 2021 World Team Trials:

null

Unlock this video, live events, and more with a subscription!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In


Carter Starocci vs Chance Marsteller, 79kg

Can Carter Starocci run the gauntlet to make Final X and challenge Jordan Burroughs? The answer to this question begins in the quarter-finals against Chance Marsteller. These two met in the consolations of last year’s trials where Starocci won a controlling, 7-0 bout. That outcome makes Starocci the favorite on Saturday morning but it’s worth noting Marsteller has had a great start to his 2022 season. Though he dropped matches to McFadden and Dieringer at the US Open, Marsteller won silver at the Yasar Dogu where he defeated David McFadden and past world champ Khetik Tsabolov. If Starocci controls Marsteller again, that's a good sign for his chances to roll to the finals.

Starocci's win over Chance Marsteller at the 2021 World Team Trials:

null

Unlock this video, live events, and more with a subscription!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In


Ryan Deakin vs Sammy Sasso, 70kg

A college fan's dream match - the 157-pound NCAA champ vs one of the best at 149! Ryan Deakin should be considered a favorite in this matchup but we know how dangerous Sammy Sasso can be with his scrambling ability and cradles from his shot defense. Look for this match to be a high-scoring, entertaining bout to get things started at one of the best weights at the world team trials. 


Alec Pantaleo vs Tyler Berger, 70kg

Alec Pantaleo may have earned the #1 seed by winning the US Open but he didn’t get any favors with his first-round opponent, a potential match with Tyler Berger. It’s worth noting that Berger will have to get by Anthony Ashnault first, but it’s even more noteworthy that Berger defeated Pantaloe just over a year ago, 6-6 on criteria. 70 kg is one of the deepest weights at the world team trials and this matchup is the toughest match for a #1 seed this early in the tournament. 

Berger's win over Tyler Berger at the 2021 Last Chance Olympic Trials Qualifer:

null

Unlock this video, live events, and more with a subscription!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In


Jesse Mendez vs Seth Gross, 61kg

This is a match we didn’t get to see at the US Open but will assuredly go down in Corallville! As a high school senior, Jesse Mendez is one of Team USA’s brightest prospects on the freestyle scene and proved that by his third-place finish at the US Open. Does the Ohio State commit have the chops to take out an NCAA champion in Seth Gross? We won’t find out the answer to that question until Saturday morning but Mendez did beat Carter Young in 2 straight matches last year just months before Young defeated Seth Gross at the World Team Trials. 

Watch Mendez's journey at the 2022 US Open:

null

Unlock this video, live events, and more with a subscription!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In


Kendric Maple vs Evan Henderson/Pat Lugo, 65kg

Kendric Maple was the talk of Vegas after coming out of retirement and winning the US Open in dominant fashion. Maple pinned both Luke Pletcher and Matt Kolodzik in the quarters and finals but his toughest match of the tournament was against Pat Lugo in the semis. Maple defeated Lugo in a tight, 3-2 match where he used a takedown and incredible defense to secure the victory. If Lugo gets by Henderson in the round of 16, his match with Maple is sure to be a good one.

Maple’s win over Lugo from the 2022 US Open

null

Unlock this video, live events, and more with a subscription!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In


Then there’s the potential Henderson vs Maple match. Evan Henderson was the #1 seed at the US Open but failed to make the finals after losing to Matt Kolodzik in the semi-finals. Henderson is a dangerous wrestler and one of the most underrated guys at 65kg. Henderson has past freestyle wins over the likes of Dom Demas, Matt Kolodzik, Dean Heil, Ian Parker, Jaydin Eierman, Josh Saunders, Luke Pletcher, Pat Lugo, Anthony Ashnault, and Joey McKenna. The point - Henderson has the potential to surprise a lot of people in this bracket and is absolutely capable of upsetting the #1 seeded Maple.

Henderson’s win over Joey McKenna at the 2019 Bill Farrell:

null


Anthony Cassioppi vs Kyven Gadson, 125kg

This is not a match anyone would have predicted seeing - just a year ago Kyven Gadson wrestled 92kg in the same tournament Cassioppi wrestled 125kg. Now up at 125kg, Gadson is one of the biggest mysteries in this bracket. If he’s able to match the strength and size of Cassioppi, Gadson has the potential to blow up this bracket and even challenge Gwiazdowsk in the semis. 


The above are some of the best early-round matches but you can see the full seeds for all three styles at the links below: