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Shannon Scovel | NCAA.com | September 7, 2023

The college wrestling fan’s guide to the 2023 Senior World Championships

Vito Arujau vs. Roman Bravo-Young - 2023 NCAA Wrestling Championship (133 lbs)

The news is out: Minnesota two-time NCAA champion and Olympic gold medalist Gable Steveson will not be competing in the 2023 World Championships next week. Instead, Team USA will send Michigan alum and 2023 Hodge Trophy winner Mason Parris in his place, giving Parris his first senior world championship experience. 

HODGE TROPHY: Read more about this historic award in NCAA wrestling 

While wrestling fans may be disappointed with the Steveson news, Parris is a strong replacement on an already stellar roster. Parris’ world team peers include Olympic gold medalists Helen Maroulis, David Taylor and Kyle Synder at 57kg, 86kg and 97kg in men’s and women’s freestyle, as well as Olympic silver medalist Adeline Gray who will represent the US in women’s freestyle at 76kg. Olympic bronze medalists Sarah Hildebrandt and Kyle Dake will also wrestle at 50kg and 74kg alongside a slate of other returning and new world team members for the U.S. across all three styles. This is a squad capable of having serious success when the tournament kicks off on September 16. 

The U.S. senior world team also has a number of high-profile collegiate connections, so those who follow NCAA wrestling but may be new to the freestyle or Greco scene will likely recognize some of the names on this year's team. The style of competition may change, but the excitement will not. 

See the table below for a full list of the 2023 senior world team members, as well as their collegiate affiliations. 






Men’s freestyle

Zane Richards



  • 2016 & 2017 All-American 


Vito Arujau



  • 2023 NCAA champion
  • 2019 & 2022 All-American 


Nick Lee


Penn State

  • 2021 & 2022 NCAA champion
  • 2018 & 2019 All-American 


Zain Retherford


Penn State

  • 2017 & 2018 Hodge Trophy winner
  • 2016, 2017 & 2018 NCAA Champion
  • 2014 All-American


Kyle Dake



  • 2013 Hodge Trophy winner
  • 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 NCAA Champion


Chance Marsteller


Lock Haven

  • 2018 & 2019 All-American


David Taylor


Penn State

  • 2014 & 2014 Hodge Trophy Winner
  • 2012 & 2014 NCAA Champion
  • 2011 and 2013 NCAA Runner-Up


Zahid Valencia


Arizona State

  • 2018 & 2019 NCAA Champion
  • 2017 NCAA All-American


Kyle Snyder


Ohio State

  • 2016, 2017 & 2018 NCAA Champion
  • 2015 NCAA Finalist


Mason Parris



  • 2023 Hodge Trophy Winner
  • 2023 NCAA Champion
  • 2021 NCAA Finalist
  • 2022 NCAA All-American

Women’s freestyle

Sarah Hildebrandt



  • 2015 & 2014 WCWA National champion 
  • 2013 & 2012 WCWA Runner-Up 


Dominique Parrish


Simon Fraser 

  • 2019 & 2018 WCWA College National Champion 
  • 2017 WCWA Runner-Up 
  • 2016 WCWA Third-Place Finisher


Jacarra Winchester


Missouri Valley

  • 2015 WCWA National champion 
  • 2013 WCWA Runner-Up


Helen Maroulis


Simon Fraser/ Missouri Baptist

  • 2014, 2013, 2011 and 2010 WCWA National Champion


Jennifer Page


Oklahoma City

  • 2012 WCWA champion


Kayla Miracle



  • 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015 WCWA Nationals Champion


Macey Kilty


DeVry University



Emma Bruntil



  • 2021 & 2020 NCWWC Champion


Amit Elor





Adeline Gray


DeVry Univ./ University of Colorado-Colorado Springs


Men’s Greco Roman

Brady Koontz



Ohio State/ Dubuque

  • 2023 DIII All-American 


Idar Hafizov


Olympic College — Physical and Cultural University



Xavier Johnson


University of Maryland Global Campus



Alejandro Sancho


Northern Michigan



Patrick Smith



  • 2014 Academic All-Big Ten Honoree


Kamal Bey





Spencer Woods


Maryland/Northern Michigan

  • Finished with a 25-25 record at Maryland


Zac Braunagel



  • 2023, 2022, 2021, 2020 NCAA Championship Qualifier


Josef Rau



  • 2013 NCAA Division III Champ
  • 2011 & 2012 NCAA DIII All-American


Cohlton Schultz


Arizona State

  • 2022 NCAA Finalist
  • 2023 & 2021 NCAA All-American

While this is a star-studded team with over a dozen combined total NCAA, WCWA and NCWWC titles, there are a few names on this roster that college wrestling fans should pay particular attention to ahead of the start of competition next week: Vito Arujau, Zac Braunagel and Cohlton Schultz. 

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Arujau, Braunagel and Schultz are the only three active college wrestlers across men’s freestyle, women’s freestyle and men’s Greco participating in the world championships next week. On the women’s side, several athletes, most notably Amit Elor, have collegiate eligibility remaining but are not listed on a college roster at this time, leaving just Arujau, Braunagel and Schultz as senior-level athletes expected to return this fall. 

Arizona State’s Schultz is the only one of these three guys who has been in this position before. As one of the nation’s best heavyweight Greco wrestlers, Schultz made the 2021 senior world team and finished second at the 2021 Olympic Trials to former Michigan heavyweight Adam Coon while competing in college. He’s also earned silver at the 2019 Junior World championships, bronze at the 2018 Junior world championships and gold at the 2017 Cadet World Championships. Add in his three All-American performances in freestyle for the Arizona State Sun Devils in 2021, 2022 and 2023, and Schultz's resume looks more like a never-ending list of accolades than anything else. 

Despite all this success, Schultz is still looking for his first senior-level Greco medal. He went 0-1 at the 2021 World Championships, losing 5-3 to Georgia Olympic silver Iakobi Kajaia, and he’ll come into this year’s championships unseeded. Kajaia, on the other hand, will have a No. 4 seed. Leading the way at the weight this year though is Rıza Kayaalp of Turkey, a 2020 Olympic bronze medalist. 

Schultz's path to the podium will be anything but easy, but the experience competing on this stage will be valuable for the veteran Sun Devil as he looks ahead to possibly make a run toward the 2024 Olympic team. 

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Joining Schultz on a quest for championship glory is another current college athlete and another unseeded Greco World Team member: Illinois’ Braunagel. A 2019 Junior World team member in Greco, Braunagel will make his senior world championship debut on September 23 when he competes in the 87kg bracket. The top seed at the weight this year is Cengiz Arslan though 2020 Olympic gold medalist Zhan Beleniuk will also be in the mix. Like Schultz, Braunagel will have an uphill battle to a medal this year, but following his return from Worlds, regardless of the outcome, Braunagel is expected to return to folkstyle wrestling where he’ll chase All-American honors one last time in his career with the Fighting Illini. 


A post shared by Zac Braunagel (@braunagel)

The U.S.'s likely best chance for a medal at senior worlds (on paper) from an active college wrestler comes from a recent NCAA champion and a U.S. freestyle lightweight world team member, Cornell’s Vito Arujau. The Big Red senior took hold of the 133-pound weight class at last year’s NCAA tournament, topping Daton Fix and two-time Penn State national champion Roman Bravo-Young on his way to his first national title and Outstanding Wrestler Honors. Now Arujau will have a chance to make some noise on the international stage in a weight class where Fix took home silver in 2021. He is unranked heading into the tournament, though his performances this summer, and his wins over athletes like Fix who have won bouts at this level, suggest that he’s capable of pulling off a series of upsets and making a run. 

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Iran’s Reza Atri Nacharchi currently leads the 61kg weight class following his international success and silver medal at the 2022 world championships while 2022 world championship bronze medalist Narankhuu Narmandakh holds down the No. 2 seed. Arujau beat Narmandakh in their last meeting though, offering further evidence that the Cornell senior is ready for this level. 

Just competing on the senior level as an active college athlete is a rare feat. Medaling is even more uncommon. In the last five years, just three active college wrestlers have brought home hardware from the senior world championships, but Schultz, Braunagel and Arujau will all aim to add their names to that short list next.

Beyond these three though, this year’s senior world team is worth watching for any college wrestling fan that wants to see their favorite NCAA champ or All-American represent the United States on the world stage. 

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