Carlson Fares Well at U23 Nationals

LINCOLN, Neb. – For the second time in three months, South Dakota State’s Clay Carlson earned All-America honors at a major wrestling competition. This past weekend, Carlson recorded a fourth-place finish in the 65-kilogram weight class of the freestyle division at the 2021 UWW U23 Nationals.

A native of Willmar, Minnesota, Carlson posted a 7-2 record as a member of the Jackrabbit Wrestling Club. He opened with a 10-2 (VPO-1) victory over Chris Sandoval of the Northern Colorado Wrestling Club, followed by a 5-4 (VFA 1:54) win against Timothy Levine of the New England Regional Training Center.

In the Round of 16, Carlson was upended by Justin Benjamin of Illinois, 6-5 (VPO-1), to drop into the consolation bracket. Carlson then reeled off five consecutive victories in the wrestlebacks, including avenging his earlier loss to Benjamin with a 5-4 (VPO-1) decision to set up a third-place match against Joshua Saunders of the Spartan Combat RTC. Saunders claimed the third-place bout, 10-0 (VSU-1).

Earlier this year, Carlson notched an eighth-place finish in the 141-pound division at the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships in St. Louis to earn All-America recognition.

In other competition at the U23 Nationals, four Jackrabbits placed in Greco-Roman competition, highlighted by a runner-up finish by Spencer Trenary in the 130-kilogram division. Trenary posted a 3-1 record, including a 9-1 (VSU-1) victory over Austin Emerson of the Nebraska Wrestling Training Center, before falling 5-0 (VPO) to Brandon Metz of the Bison Wrestling Club in the finals.

Fellow Jackrabbit Bowen McConville placed fifth in the 130-kilogram class with a 4-2 record.

Also placing for the Jackrabbits in Greco-Roman competition were Caleb Gross (fifth) and Rylee Molitor (sixth) in the 63-kilogram division. Gross went 2-2, including notching a 14-9 (VPO-1) win over Molitor in the fifth-place match.

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