Late in May, both Peyton Robb and Mikey Labriola won U23 Freestyle National Championships and were set to represent Team USA in Belgrade, Serbia this weekend at the Senior U23 World Championships.
Those plans have changed, as Labriola was pulled from the lineup late and replaced by Princeton’s Jake Marsh. Marsh finished eighth at the 2021 U23 Nationals that Labriola won. My only guess would be that Marsh was a training partner along for the trip and is being forced into action at the latest possible time.
I hope there’s nothing serious keeping him out of action this weekend, but with Labriola slated as possibly Nebraska’s best wrestler entering the season, this doesn’t look good for Nebraska.
With no Labriola at 79 kg, Peyton Robb will be Nebraska’s lone entrant at U23 Worlds at 74 kg. In his first age-level world championship of any kind, Robb has a tough road ahead of him. His bracket will be full of cadet and junior world-teamers and medalists.
Robb, who’s set to compete at 157 pounds this year for Nebraska, will first face Hassan Shaya S Alharthi of Saudi Arabia. Mostly a Greco-Roman specialist, Alharthi is a guy that Robb can get a win against here to start the tournament.
A win there would put Robb in the quarterfinals with a likely match against Moldova’s Vasile Diacon. A senior world-teamer this year, Diacon is also a two-time medalist at junior worlds.
If Robb is able to get past Diacon, and I think he can, he’ll face the hardest test remaining in the bracket, as he’ll face the winner between No. 16 in the world Cherman Valiev of the Russian Wrestling Federation and No. 7-ranked (at 70 kg) Turan Bayramov of Azerbaijan.
Either guy would present some considerable challenges for Robb on the international stage.
Let’s not forget, Robb used to serve as Jordan Burroughs’ primary training partner. You think he’s excited?