On March 26-April 7, 23 American youth wrestlers participated in a three-country wrestling tour and won the largest freestyle/Greco-Roman event in Europe. The boys were coached by 2016 Olympian Jesse Thielke and three-time NCAA Division III champion Nazar Kulchytskyy.
The tour started March 26 with the group flying out of Chicago to Warsaw, Poland. Once there, the team trained at Poland’s satellite Olympic training facility with youth from the area. They then spent the next few days in Helsinki, Finland, where they trained several sessions with Finnish World Team members and national champions.
The group then traveled via ferry across the Baltic Sea to Tallinn, Estonia, where they participated in the Tallin Open, advertised as the largest wrestling event in all of Europe with one day of Greco-Roman competition and one day of freestyle competition. The tournament attracted more than 2,000 competitors representing 27 countries. Because the tournament is also a qualifying event for the popular Nordic and European championships, it attracts top-level wrestlers in the Cadet and Junior age categories.
The U.S. team scored the most points, ranking them as the No. 1 team at the two-day event.
Following the tournament, the wrestlers participated in a four-day wrestling camp with more than 200 wrestlers from 15 countries.
“Our wrestlers were not only ambassadors of our sport but were ambassadors of our nation,” team organizer Jared Lewis said. “In between competition and training the boys were able to experience the culture, language, foods and local sites of three different cultures. This was truly once-in-a-lifetime experience.”
- Ben Skaggs – Granite City, IL – 38 kilos – 17th Greco / 17 Freestyle
- Billy Sullivan – Las Vegas, Nevada – 50 kilos – 4th Greco / 4th Freestyle
- Brandon O’Brien – Cedar Rapids, Iowa – 38 kilos – 3rd Greco / 1st Freestyle
- Brett Bober – Burlington, Kansas – 69 kilos – 21st Greco / 5th Freestyle
- Cade Spilde – Stoughton, Wisconsin – INJURED
- Caden McCrary – Cartersville, Georgia – 50 kilos – 12th Greco / 2nd Freestyle
- Cayden Robson – Spring Green, Wisconsin – 63 Kilos – 13th Greco / 5th Freestyle
- Connor Gaynor – Tinley Park, Illinois – 59 kilos – 15th Greco / 4th Freestyle
- Gavin Model – Stoughton, Wisconsin – 58 Kilos – 8th Greco / 16th Freestyle
- Gabriel Lewis – Denver, Iowa – 63 kilos – 11th Greco / 8th Freestyle
- Greyson Clark – Wrightstown, Wisconsin – 35 Kilos – 1st Greco / 1st Freestyle
- Hunter Lewis – Stoughton, Wisconsin – 50 Kilos – 2nd Greco / 1st Freestyle
- Jack Lecher – St. Charles, Illinois – 47 kilos – 6th Greco / 6th Freestyle
- Jalen Spuhler – Hartford, Wisconsin 54 Kilos – 8th Greco / 5th Freestyle
- Lowell Arnold – Portage, Wisconsin 47 Kilos – 5th Greco / 3rd Freestyle
- Luke Mechler – Stoughton, Wisconsin – 53 Kilos – 2nd Greco / 1st Freestyle
- Maxwell Mayfield – Lincoln, Nebraska – 54 kilos – 11th Greco / Injured
- Noah Tonsor – Slinger, Wisconsin – 38 Kilos – 10th Greco / 9th Freestyle
- Paxton Creese – Shakopee, Minnesota – 46 kilos – 1st Greco / 5th Freestyle
- Phillip Moomey – Kearney, Nebraska – 58 kilos – 3rd Greco / 2nd Freestyle
- Riley Bettich – St Joseph, Michigan – 47 kilos – 9th Greco / 2nd Freestyle
- Trent Carpenter – Stoughton, Wisconsin – 47 Kilos – 17th Greco / 19th Freestyle
- Vincent Zerban – Bethalto, Illinois – 53 kilos – 5th Greco / 4th Freestyle