Bennett Berge wins U20 86kg World Team spot
GENEVA, Ohio — South Dakota State wrestler Tanner Sloan earned a spot on the U.S. World Team by winning the 97-kilogram title in the senior freestyle division and incoming Jackrabbit Bennett Berge claimed the 86-kilogram championship in the under-20 class during weekend competition at the UWW World Team Trials.
A native of Alburnett, Iowa, Sloan advanced to the championship round by winning his first three matches by a combined 37-4, including shutouts of Matt Micale, Pennsylvania, in the quarterfinals, 13-0, and Tyler Bagody of the Clarion Regional Training Center in the semifinals, 10-0.
That set up a best-of-three series with Nick Stemmet of the California RTC and Stanford. Wrestling as a member of the Jackrabbit Wrestling Club, Sloan punched his ticket by winning by scores of 10-0 and 10-3.
It marks the second time Sloan has qualified for Team USA. He competed at the 2019 UWW Junior World Championships in Tallinn, Estonia, after opening international competition by winning the gold medal at the UWW Pan American Championship in Guatemala City, Guatemala.
Berge, an incoming freshman from Mantorville, Minnesota, went the distance in his best-of-three championship series against Samuel Fisher of the Southeast RTC. After dropping an 11-6 decision in the opening matchup, Berge, a member of the Pinnacle Wrestling Club, claimed the next two matches by scores of 13-3 and 11-0.
Jackrabbit teammate Jack Thomsen also reached the finals in the under-20 division at 74 kilograms. Thomsen was matched up against Alex Facundo of the Nittany Lion Wrestling Club and was upended by scores of 10-0 and 12-0. Thomsen won the Challenge portion of the tournament with a 3-0 record before earning the right to face Facundo.
Other Jackrabbit wrestlers to place in the weekend event were Bowen McConville, Spencer Trenary and Clay Carlson. McConville recorded a third-place finish in the U23 130-kilogram Greco-Roman competition, while Trenary was fifth in the same weight class and division. Carlson placed eighth in the U23 freestyle division at 65 kilos.
The U23 World Championships are slated for Oct. 17-23 in Pontevedra, Spain, while the U20 World Championships are scheduled to be contested in Sofia, Bulgaria, Aug. 15-21.