Koy Hopke at the U17 World Championships. Photo by United World Wrestling/Kadir Caliskan
Roma, Italy – The American men’s freestyle won five medals today, one gold, three silver and one bronze, at the U17 World Championships in Rome.
Koy Hopke won the 110kg title in dominant fashion after overcoming Levan Lagvilava of France in the final. Lagvilava has two U17 European medals, a gold from 2021 and a bronze from 2022, but was no match for Hopke. After leading 4-3 at the break, the wrestler from Amery, Wis. battled to turn the 11-6 scenario around.
Hopkewho has U17 Pan American gold medals in Freestyle and Greco-Roman, was almost perfect in Rome. He entered the gold medal match after winning a technical fall over 2022 Asian U17 bronze medalist Khikmatullo Kurbonov of Uzbekistan. In the round of 16, he beat Georgian Ramini Gulitashvili 14-3 and beat Poland’s Mateusz Pudlowsk 11-2 in the quarter-finals.
Christian Castillo at 48 kg, Jax Forest at 55 kg and Tyler Kasak to 65 kg finished with silver.
At Castillo’s final with European champion Vasif Baghirov of Azerbaijan tied 1-1 after an exchange of shot clock violations, with Baghirov winning on the norm with less than a minute remaining. Baghirov scored four points to lock up the game. Castle fought until the end and finished on top, losing 5-3.
The Pan American freestyle and Greco-Roman champion had an incredible performance at Worlds. He had two technical crashes and a dramatic quarter-final win with a flying squirrel in the final second.
Forest fell to 2022 Asia U17 champion Daryn Askerbek of Kazakhstan 11-10 for the gold. He was leading 6-0 before getting caught in two headers. Like Castillo, he fought until the final whistle and finished first.
On the way to the medal rounds, Forest broke through his group scoring technical falls over Takuto Osedo of Japan and Sandro Hungerbuehler of Switzerland. In the semi-finals, Forest rallied from 7-4 with two second-period eliminations against 2022 Asian U17 champion Vaibhav Patil of India.
Kasak led 3-3 on criteria against the European champion Ilyas Isayev of Azerbaijan before an exit and a challenge lost, he abandoned the match 5-3 in the final.
Kasak, 2021 USMC 16U National Finalist, was on a roll in Rome. He stopped India’s Ankit 10-3 in the semi-finals, pinned Ukraine’s 2021 U15 silver medalist Bogdan Olinyk of Ukraine in the quarter-finals and beat Asian U17 silver medalist Akobir Rahimov of Ukraine. Uzbekistan 7-6 with a last-second takedown in their opening bout.
The medal crown today for Team USA was the 2021 USMC 16U National Champion Zack Ryder. Ryder moved up to bronze after falling to the eventual silver medalist Reza Soleimanian of Iran in the first round.
In the repechage, he beat Slavi Stamenov of Bulgaria 9-0 and teched Askhab Khajiyev of Kazakhstan. He carried that momentum into the bronze medal match against the 2022 Asian U17 bronze medalist Tajikistan’s Muhammadamin Abduloev, winning 8-0.
U17 World Championships
Rome, Italy | July 25-31
United States Men’s Freestyle Results
48 kg: Christian Castillo (Glendale, Arizona/Thorobred Wrestling Club) – SILVER
VICTORY Ozgur Caglayan (Turkey), 10-0
VICTORY Arshia Haddadi (Iran), 8-6
VICTORY Rassoul Galbouraev (France), 12-1
LOSS Vasif Baghirov (Azerbaijan), 5-3
55kg: Jax Forrest (Johnstown, PA) – SILVER
VICTORY Takuto Osedo (Japan), 12-2
VICTORY Sandro Hungerbuehler (Switzerland), 10-0
VICTORY Zalkarbek Tabaldiev (Kyrgyzstan), 10-6
VICTORY Vaibhav Patil (India), 9-7
LOSS Daryn Askerbek (Kazakhstan),11-10
65kg: Tyler Kasak (Doylestown, PA) – SILVER
VICTORY Akobir Rahimov (Uzbekistan), 7-6
WIN Bogdan Olinyk (Ukraine), autumn
WINS Ankit (India), 10-3
DEFEAT Ilyas Isayev (Azerbaijan), 5-3
80kg: Zack Ryder (Westtown, NY/KD Training Center) – BRONZE
DEFEAT Reza Soleimanian (Iran), 10-0
VICTORY Slavi Stamenov (Bulgaria), 8-0
VICTORY Askhab Khajiyev (Kazakhstan), 10-0
VICTORY Muhammadamin Abduloev (Tajikistan), 8-0
110kg: Koy Hopke (Amery, Wis./Pinnacle Wrestling Club) – GOLD
VICTORY Ramini Gulitashvili (Georgia), 14-3
VICTORY Mateusz Pudlowski (Poland), 11-2
VICTORY Khikmatullo Kurbonov (Uzbekistan), 12-2
VICTORY Levan Lagvilava (France), 11-6
Time (local time, six hours before US ET)
Sunday July 31
4:30 p.m. – Repechage (MFS 45, 51, 60, 71, 92kg)
6 p.m. – Finals (MFS 45, 51, 60, 71, 92kg)