The US Open, along with the World Team Trials for Junior and Senior Greco as well as Senior women’s freestyle among other tournaments, is just over a week away. We’ll have full previews coming later, but to whet your appetite, here are the five most intriguing names currently registered to compete in men’s freestyle.
Nathan Tomasello (TMWC/Ohio RTC) – 57 kg
The intrigue surrounding Tomasello is his weight much more than the fact that he is entered. Despite moving up to 133 in NCAA competition, Tomasello remains at 57 kg, which is a little more than 125 pounds. Certainly, the day before weigh-ins help in that regard and the Buckeye will be further helped by the Open going to a two-day format. The 2015 NCAA champion and three-time All-American could be massive by Saturday after weighing in on Thursday. When United World Wrestling implements their two-day format, there will be a second weigh-in with a 2 kg allowance. It will be interesting to see if wrestlers such as Tomasello are forced to move up when that happens.
Mario Mason (Lehigh Valley Wrestling Club) – 65 kg
Though his collegiate career at Minnesota and Rutgers never hit the heights many expected given his remarkable high school resume, Mason continues to compete domestically on the freestyle circuit. He often pops up at the Dave Schultz and will once again compete at the US Open. Mason has been grinding away at this level since his college days. He lost to current Northern Iowa head coach Doug Schwab back in the 2009 World Team Trials. Don’t expect Mason to win the tournament, but there is something noble about continuing to compete year after year just because he loves to do it.
Alec Pantaleo (Michigan RTC) – 70 kg
When last we saw Pantaleo, he was making a junior world team, by beating All-American Matt Kolodzik (Princeton), and competing at the Junior World Championships in late August. Instead of turning right around and competing for the Wolverines this season, he and several others redshirted this season in Ann Arbor. Now we’ll get to see Pantaleo at the Senior level. While few, if any, expect Pantaleo to make the Senior world team this year, this should give us a good gauge of where he stands going forward. It may also remind some folks of how good he is as he prepares to return to the NCAA level next season.
Chance Marsteller (Dark Knights) – 74 kg
Speaking of wrestlers who may return to NCAA competition next season, Marsteller returned to Lock Haven for the spring semester and has designs on returning to the wrestling team in the fall. While we don’t know if that will happen, the four-time Pennsylvania state champion has continued to pop up at freestyle and open tournaments throughout his legal struggles. Marsteller competed at the Bill Farrell and won the Mat-Town Open in November. He also showed up at the Franklin & Marshall Open and the Messiah Open this season. Chance is a rare talent when he has his life and training in order. If both are where they should be, he could be fun to watch here.
Pat Downey (Unattached) – 86 kg
After being dismissed from the Iowa State team, Downey has maintained that he will show up to the US Open with a point to prove. He is registered and there has never been any doubt that a healthy Downey is a dangerous man. He has freestyle wins, at the Senior level, over such talents as Quentin Wright, Robert Hamlin, and Tyler Caldwell. Though his college wrestling future is uncertain and many will be rooting against him when he takes the mat, Downey will be one of the most watched wrestlers every time he competes. A strong performance from him would create a buzz throughout the wrestling world.