Hodge Trophy winner Bo Nickal has requested a requested a best-of-three special wrestle-off against U23 national freestyle champion Jakob Woodley for the 92-kilogram spot on USA’s U23 team that will compete at the U23 World Championships. He was granted the special wrestle-off because he meets USA Wrestling’s criteria.
According to USA Wrestling’s World Team procedures, “If a U23 age eligible athlete qualifies for Final X at the senior level, they do not have to participate in the U23 World Team Trials and can request a wrestle-off against the U23 World Team Trials champion at a date after Final X.”
After capping his career at Penn State as a three-time NCAA champion in March, Nickal won a U.S. Open title at 92 kilograms in April. The next month, Nickal earned a spot in Final X by winning the World Team Trials Challenge Tournament. He fell to world champion and three-time world-level medalist J’den Cox at Final X: Rutgers.
While Nickal is the first wrestler to request a special wrestle-off for a spot on the U23 team, four other freestyle wrestlers are eligible: Daton Fix at 57 kilograms, Yianni Diakomihalis at 65 kilograms, Ryan Deakin at 70 kilograms and Gable Steveson at 125 kilograms. Three Greco-Roman wrestlers are eligible as well for a special wrestle-off.