U.S. to send talented young team to Freestyle World Cup in Yakutsk, Russia, March 16-17

By Gary Abbott, USA Wrestling | March 08, 2019, 10:44 a.m. (ET)
Competition portrait of Zain Retherford of the United States from the 2017 World Championships by Tony Rotundo, Wrestlers Are Warriors.

The United States will send a young, talented team to compete at the 2019 Freestyle World Cup, the annual international World dual meet competition, which is set for the Siberian city of Yakutsk, Russia, March 16-17.

The team will feature one past U.S. Senior World Team member, Zain Retherford (State College, Pa./Nittany Lion WC) at 65 kg/143 lbs. Retherford competed at the 2017 World Championships in Paris, France. Retherford, who did not try out for the 2018 U.S. World Team, has returned to competition this winter.

Four of the World Cup team members were 2019 Final X runners-up, which places them No. 2 on the 2018-19 U.S. Freestyle National Team: Jason Chamberlain (Fresno, Calif./Titan Mercury WC/Valley RTC) at 70 kg/154 lbs. , Isaiah Martinez (Champaign, Ill./Titan Mercury WC/Illinois RTC) at 74 kg/163 lbs., Hayden Zillmer (Minneapolis, Minn./Minnesota Storm) at 92 kg/202 lbs. and Kyven Gadson (Ames, Iowa/Sunkist Kids/Cyclone RTC) at 97 kg/213 lbs.

Two other World Cup team athletes are also on the 2018-19 Freestyle National Team, with the No. 3 ranking in their weight class: Nico Megaludis (Pittsburgh, Pa./Titan Mercury WC/Pittsburgh WC) at 61 kg/134 lbs. and Tony Nelson (Minneapolis, Minn./Minnesota Storm) at 125 kg/275 lbs.

Also competing for Team USA are Zach Sanders (Minneapolis, Minn./Minnesota Storm) at 57 kg/125.5 lbs. , Zane Richards (Champaign, Ill./Titan Mercury WC/Illinois RTC) at 57 kg/125.5 lbs., Tommy Gantt (Raleigh, N.C./Titan Mercury WC/Wolfpack RTC) at 79 kg/174 lbs. and Sammy Brooks (Iowa City, Iowa/New York AC/Hawkeye WC) at 86 kg/189 lbs.

Five of the team members are past NCAA champions, with Retherford winning three NCAA titles for Penn State, Martinez claiming two NCAA titles for Illinois, Nelson capturing two NCAA titles for Minnesota, Megaludis winning one for Penn State and Gadson earning an NCAA title for Iowa State.

The annual dual-meet event is a highlight of the international wrestling calendar and features the top eight teams from the 2018 World Championships in Budapest.

Under new provisions for the World Cup, the pools have been split automatically based upon the team placement at the previous World Championships.

The USA, which was second in the 2018 Worlds, draws into Group B, which includes third-place Georgia, sixth-place Iran and seventh-place Mongolia.

Group A will include World Team champion Russia, fourth-place Cuba, fifth-place Japan and eighth-place Turkey.

The United States is the defending Freestyle World Cup team champions, after claiming the title at the 2018 Freestyle World Cup in Iowa City, Iowa. It was the 13th time in history, and the first time since 2003, that the United States was the Freestyle World Cup champions.

Yakutsk is 14 hours ahead of the U.S. Eastern time zone. The event will be streamed live in the United States by Trackwrestling. There will also be a television show produced from the event by NBC. Specific broadcast times will be announced when available.

FREESTYLE WORLD CUP
At Yakutsk, Russia, March 16-17

U.S. roster

57 kg/125.5 lbs. – Zach Sanders, Minneapolis, Minn. (Minnesota Storm)
57 kg/125.5 lbs. – Zane Richards, Champaign, Ill. (Titan Mercury WC/Illinois RTC)
61 kg/134 lbs. – Nico Megaludis, Pittsburgh, Pa. (Titan Mercury WC/Pittsburgh WC)
65 kg/143 lbs. – Zain Retherford, State College, Pa. (Nittany Lion WC)
70 kg/154 lbs. – Jason Chamberlain, Fresno, Calif. (Titan Mercury WC/Valley RTC)
74 kg/163 lbs. – Isaiah Martinez, Champaign, Ill. (Titan Mercury WC/Illinois RTC)
79 kg/174 lbs. – Tommy Gantt, Raleigh, N.C. (Titan Mercury WC/Wolfpack RTC)
86 kg/189 lbs. – Sammy Brooks, Iowa City, Iowa (New York AC/Hawkeye WC)
92 kg/202 lbs. – Hayden Zillmer, Minneapolis, Minn. (Minnesota Storm)
97 kg/213 lbs. – Kyven Gadson, Ames, Iowa (Sunkist Kids/Cyclone RTC)
125 kg/275 lbs. – Tony Nelson, Minneapolis, Minn. (Minnesota Storm)
National Freestyle Coach Bill Zadick, Colorado Springs, Colo.
Assistant National Freestyle Coach Joe Russell, Colorado Springs, Colo.
Coach – Dustin Schlatter, Minneapolis, Minn.
USA Wrestling Executive Director Rich Bender, Colorado Springs, Colo.
USA Wrestling High Performance Manager Cody Bickley, Colorado Springs, Colo.
Team Leader – Paul Kieblesz, Middle Village, N.Y.
Medical – Dr. Jonathan Gelber, Farmington, Conn.
Medical – Bruce Ferratt, Fairfax, Va.
Referee – Jim Speelman, Ashland, Ohio

Event Schedule (+14 hours from U.S. Eastern time zone)

Saturday, March 16
11:00 a.m. – Session I
4:00 p.m. – Opening Ceremony
4:30 p.m. – Session II

Sunday, March 17
11:00 a.m. – Session III
1:30 p.m. – 5th/6th and 7th/8th place medal match duals
3:15 p.m. – 3rd/4th place medal match dual
5:00 p.m. – Championship dual meet