April 25, 2018

McKenna, Junior-Level Teammates and Buckeye Alumni to Compete in U.S. Open


COLUMBUS, Ohio — Joey McKenna will be alongside a handful of Ohio State alumni competing in the 2018 U.S. Open Wrestling Championships (Apr. 25-28) in Las Vegas at the South Point Hotel and Casino.

BUCKEYES (past, present and future) IN THE FIELD
61 kg — Johnni DiJulius
65 kg — Joey McKenna, Logan Stieber
70 kg — Lance Palmer, Hunter Stieber
92 kg — Kenny Courts

57 kg — Malik Heinselman, Brakan Mead
74 kg — Elijah Cleary, Kaleb Romero
79 kg — Ryan Ferro, Ethan Smith
86 kg — Gavin Hoffman, Zach Steiner
92 kg — Kevin Snyder
97 kg — Gary Traub

55 kg — Brady Koontz, Dylan Koontz

One notable absence from the list above is Nathan Tomasello, who was originally scheduled to compete in the 57-kg Senior Freestyle but ultimately decided to withdraw from the competition and elect for knee surgery.

From USA Wrestling:
This is the major qualifying event in the process to determine the 2018 U.S. Senior World Team, which will compete in Budapest, Hungary in October. Although the system is different this year in men’s and women’s freestyle, “the Open” will advance more athletes to the next stage of team selection than any event of the year.

This year, men’s and women’s freestyle are part of Final X, the exciting three-event series set for Lincoln, Neb. on June 9, State College, Pa. on June 16 and Bethlehem, Pa on June 23 created by USA Wrestling and Flowrestling. Only the top two athletes in each weight earn the right to advance to Final X. Eight athletes who were 2017 World medalists have already advanced to Final X and are not expected at the Open in Las Vegas this year.

In the weight classes where there were no World medalists, the 2018 U.S. Open champion advances to Final X. Those weight classes include men’s freestyle (57 kg, 70 kg, 74 kg, 97 kg, 130 kg) and women’s freestyle (55 kg, 57 kg, 59 kg).

In the weights where a World medalist has already reached Final X, the U.S. Open champion advances directly to the finals of the Freestyle World Team Trials Challenge Tournament in Rochester, Minn., May 18-20. Those weight classes include men’s freestyle (61 kg, 65 kg, 79 kg, 86 kg, 92 kg) and women’s freestyle (50 kg, 53 kg, 62 kg, 65 kg, 68 kg, 72 kg, 76 kg).

In men’s freestyle, the top seven at each weight class at the U.S. Open advance to the Freestyle World Team Trials Challenge Tournament, while in women’s freestyle, the top five in each weight class advance to the Freestyle World Team Trials Challenge Tournament.

In Greco-Roman, the nation’s best athletes are expected in Las Vegas, as the top seven athletes in each weight class will advance to the Greco-Roman World Team Trials in Tulsa, Okla., June 21-22. The U.S. Open champion in each of the 10 Greco-Roman weight classes advance directly to the best-of-three Championship Series at the Greco-Roman World Team Trials.

The last U.S. Open in men’s freestyle was in April 2017, while the last U.S. Open in Greco-Roman and women’s freestyle was held in December 2016, both also hosted in Las Vegas.

The other events in the Open Championships are very important within wrestling as well.

The 2018 UWW Men’s Junior Nationals in freestyle and Greco-Roman will qualify athletes for the UWW Junior World Team Trials in each style. The UWW Men’s Freestyle World Team Trials are in Rochester, Minn., May 18-20. The UWW Greco-Roman World Team Trials are in Indianapolis, Ind. on June 8.