Day 2 wrap: Taylor, Arujau, Retherford win gold, Parris gets bronze, Dake qualifies for Monday’s finals

Winning golds were David Taylor, Vito Arujau and Zain Retherford. A bronze went to Mason Parris. Kyle Dake reached Monday’s finals. The USA is in first place, and has earned three Olympic quotas so far.

BELGRADE, Serbia – The second day of the World Wrestling Championships was a big day for the United States.

All that Team USA did was win three individual World gold medals, claimed a World bronze, and placed another star in Monday’s night’s gold-medal finals. They increased the number of weights qualified for the Paris Olympic Games to three and led in the team standings after the first four weight classes.

Individual gold medalists on Sunday night were David Taylor (86 kg), Vitali Arujau (61 kg) and Zain Retherford (70 kg). It was a third career World title for Taylor, while Arujau and Retherford claimed their first.

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Day One Wrap: Taylor, Retherford, Arujau reach World finals, Parris to go for bronze in Belgrade

BELGRADE, Serbia – It was an excellent day for the United States in men’s freestyle, as the 2023 Senior World Championships got started in Stark Arena on Saturday.

Winning their semifinals match and earning a spot in Sunday’s gold-medal finals were 2000 Olympic champion and two-time World champion David Taylor (86 kg), 2022 World silver medalist Zain Retherford (70 kg) and first-time World Team member Vito Arujau (61 kg).

With his victory in the semifinals, Taylor has clinched a berth for the United States at 86 kg in men’s freestyle for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.

Taylor was on fire today, winning two matches by pin and two by technical fall. In the semifinals, he put away Azamat Dauletbekov of Kazakhstan in 3:38. He will face his archrival Hassan Yazdanicharati of Iran in the finals. Taylor has beaten him in two of their three finals matches at either the Olympics or Worlds, including Taylor’s victory at the 2020 Olympic Games.

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Powerful USA team set for World Championships in Serbia, Sept. 16-24, with Olympic berths up for grabs

The United States is sending an experienced and talented team to the 2023 Senior World Wrestling Championships, set for Stark Arena in Belgrade, Serbia, September 16-24.

The United States is coming off one of its best Senior World Championships performances ever in 2022, with a total of 15 Senior World medals, including seven individual gold medalists, six silver medalists and two bronze medalists. The U.S. men’s freestyle team won the World Team Title in 2022 (its fourth ever), and the U.S. women’s freestyle team placed second in the final standings.

This event will serve as the first 2024 Olympic Games qualifying event for Paris, France. The top five athletes in each of the 18 Olympic weight classes will qualify their nation for Paris.

The event kicks off with men’s freestyle competition, which runs September 16-19. The USA team features a pair of Olympic champions, 2016 Olympic gold medalist Kyle Snyder (97 kg) and 2020 Olympic gold medalist David Taylor (86 kg). Snyder also boasts a 2020 Olympic silver medal. Both are also multiple Senior World champions, with Snyder owning three World titles and Taylor winning two World golds.

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Steveson will not wrestle at Senior World Championships; Parris to compete for USA at 125 kg in Belgrade

2020 Olympic champion Gable Steveson (Minneapolis, Minn./Gopher WC RTC) has notified USA Wrestling that he will not be competing in the 2023 Senior World Championships at 125 kg in Belgrade, Serbia in September.

Replacing Steveson in the 125 kg position in men’s freestyle at the World Championships is Final X runner-up Mason Parris (Ann Arbor, Mich./Titan Mercury WC/Cliff Keen WC). Parris, who is No. 2 on the 2023-24 U.S. Senior Men’s Freestyle National Team, will be competing in his first Senior World Championships for Team USA.

Steveson returned to freestyle wrestling for the first time since the Olympic Games in Tokyo when he won the 2023 U.S. Open in Las Vegas in April, then secured his position on the 2023 U.S. Senior World Team with his victory at Final X in Newark, N.J. in June. Continue reading at →

Berge brings home Bronze from U20 Worlds

AMMAN, Jordan – South Dakota State wrestler Bennett Berge earned his second career individual medal at the United World Wrestling U20 World Championships, claiming bronze as competition wrapped up Wednesday.

Competing in the 86-kilogram freestyle division, Berge compiled a 3-1 record over two days of wrestling. He began the tournament Tuesday with back-to-back victories over Ivan Chornohuz, Ukraine (9-5, VPO1) and Slavi Stamenov, Bulgaria (11-0, VSU 1:49), but dropped his semifinal match later in the day to France’s Rakhim Madmadov by a 9-4 (VPO1) score.

In his final match of the competition on Wednesday, Berge wasted little time in posting an 11-0 (VSU 2:09) victory over Shakjir Bislimi of North Macedonia.

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Berge prepares for U20 World Championships

AMMAN, Jordan — South Dakota State wrestler Bennett Berge returns to international competition Tuesday at the United World Wrestling U20 World Championships.

Berge is one of 26 wrestlers entered in the freestyle competition for the 86-kilogram weight class. Matches begin at 2 a.m. Central Time, with the semifinals starting at 8:45 a.m. On Wednesday, repechage matches are slated for 2 a.m., with medal matches beginning at 10 a.m.

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Steveson Set for WWE NXT In-Ring Debut Sunday

MINNEAPOLIS – Golden Gopher Olympic gold medalist and two-time NCAA champion Gable Steveson is set to make his in-ring debut this Sunday at WWE NXT’s Great American Bash.

Taking place at the H-E-B Center at Cedar Park, Texas, the event begins at 7 p.m. CT Sunday with streaming on Peacock and the WWE Network.

On last Tuesday night’s episode of NXT, Steveson made his decision to compete for the brand and challenged Baron Corbin for his first match.

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Gable Steveson says wrestling future will remain in WWE amid speculation of transfer to Iowa

The two-time NCAA champion has been teasing a possible transfer to Hawkeyes.

Gable Steveson leaned into his showmanship style on Tuesday night.

The Apple Valley wrestler announced his wrestling future will remain in WWE during the WWE show NXT on USA Network.

The two-time NCAA heavyweight champion with the Gophers stepped off the collegiate mat after winning the 2022 national title in ceremonious fashion but said in June he wanted to come back to the collegiate ranks for a fifth season this winter.

In the meantime, Steveson’s tweets fed speculation he might enter the NCAA transfer portal and go to arch-rival Iowa Hawkeyes. He has posted pictures of himself in both Gopher and Hawkeye gear, with other posts including emojis representing each school followed by question marks. Continue reading at →