Former Hawkeye Thomas Gilman, Grand View's Ben Provisor make USA Wrestling's Senior world team

Cody Goodwin
Des Moines Register

Friday kicked off what's expected to be a busy wrestling weekend.

In Stillwater, Oklahoma, Gallagher-Iba Arena hosted Final X, the last step of USA Wrestling's Senior world team trials process. A thousand miles away in Ohio, USA Wrestling is also hosting its U20 world team trials and U23 national championships, a three-day competition featuring many of the nation's best up-and-coming wrestlers.

The results were strong:

Thomas Gilman, a former Iowa wrestler, and Ben Provisor, a current Grand View wrestler, both made USA Wrestling's Senior world team — Gilman in men's freestyle, Provisor in Greco-Roman. Iowa State star David Carr also wrestled in Stillwater, and secured a spot on USA Wrestling's Senior national team.

The Greco-Roman competition at both the U20 world team trials and U23 national tournament started and finished Friday. Iowa City West's Hunter Garvin made the U20 finals, and a pack for Grand View wrestlers earned All-American honors at the U23 level, led by Justin McCunn's championship run at 77 kilograms (169 pounds).

Here's how it all went down:

Thomas Gilman, right, defeated Vito Arujau by 12-2 technical fall at Final X in Stillwater on Friday. Gilman was an All-American wrestler for Iowa.

Thomas Gilman makes another Senior men's freestyle world team

Gilman, the 2021 men's freestyle world champ, will get a chance to win another world gold medal after he decisively won his Final X series over Cornell standout Vito Arujau at 57 kilos (125). Gilman won the first match, 12-2, then took the second, 14-2.

Gilman has now made five Senior world or Olympic teams following his stellar career with the Iowa wrestling program, which included three All-American finishes and a Big Ten title.

Gilman, 28, previously made the world team in 2017, 2018 and 2021, and also made the 2020 U.S. Olympic team. He won silver in 2017, bronze at the Tokyo Olympics, and won a world title last September in Norway.

He will be a favorite at the 2022 world championships, set for September 10-18 in Belgrade, Serbia. The last former Hawkeye to win multiple world titles is the only former Hawkeye to win multiple world titles: Terry Brands, in 1993 and 1995.

Grand View's Ben Provisor, red, turns Spencer Woods in a head pinch during their Greco-Roman Final X match in Stillwater on Friday. Provisor won the match, 8-0.

Grand View's Ben Provisor makes Senior Greco-Roman world team

Ben Provisor, a second-year wrestler for Grand View, also swept his Final X series against Spencer Woods. Provisor erupted for an 8-0 technical fall in the first match, then won the second match 5-3 to earn the Greco-Roman world team spot at 82 kilos (180). 

Unlike Gilman, Provisor navigated the entire world team trials process before winning Final X on Friday. He won the U.S. Open in April, then qualified for Final X through the world team trials challenge tournament in Coralville.

But like Gilman, Provisor is also now a five-time world/Olympic team member for USA Wrestling. The 31-year-old actually made both the 2012 and 2016 Olympic rosters, then made the 2017 and 2021 world teams.

That's a heck of a résumé for someone out of the Grand View wrestling program.

Iowa State's David Carr makes USA Wrestling's national team

In addition to deciding half of the 2022 U.S. Senior world team — the other half will be decided next Wednesday in New York — USA Wrestling also held true-third wrestle-offs for spots on the national team.

USA Wrestling's national team consists of the top three wrestlers at each weight as determined through the world team trials process. Being on the national team opens training and competitive opportunities for wrestlers.

Iowa State's David Carr earned the right to wrestle-off for a spot on the national team after his third-place finish at 74 kilos (163) at the Senior world team trials challenge tournament two weeks earlier in Coralville. He wrestled Joey Lavallee, who finished second in Coralville but didn't beat Carr along the way, prompting a wrestle-off.

Carr soundly beat Lavallee, a past NCAA finalist from Missouri, by 16-6 technical fall. Carr led 3-0 after the first period, then they traded 4-point takedowns. Lavallee scored another takedown to come within 7-6, but Carr rolled from there, earning the technical fall in four minutes, 57 seconds, and securing his spot on the national team.

Iowa State wrestler David Carr beat Joey Lavallee, 16-6, to earn a spot on USA Wrestling's National Team at 74 kilograms (163 pounds) in Stillwater on Friday.

Hunter Garvin reaches finals at U20 Greco-Roman world team trials

Iowa City West's Hunter Garvin has his sights set on making the U20 world team this weekend in Ohio. His first opportunity came Friday in the greco competition.

Garvin won his first two matches — by 11-3 technical fall, then by second-period pin — to reach the best-of-three finals at 67 kilos (147). There, he lost, two matches to none, to Robert Perez III. Perez won the first match, 7-0, then won the second, 8-2. He also beat Garvin in the U20 national finals last month.

The good news is that Garvin was set to have Saturday's U20 men's freestyle world team trials as another opportunity to make the U20 world team.

  • Iowa Western's Jakason Burks also wrestled in the best-of-three finals at the U20 greco world team trials at 55 kilos (121). Burks made the finals by virtue of winning the U20 national title last month in Las Vegas. He also lost, two matches to none, to Northern Michigan's Jonathan Gurule.
  • West Delaware's Wyatt Voelker took second in the U20 greco world team trials challenge tournament. He went 2-1 in a round-robin at 87 kilos (191).

Grand View's Justin McCunn wins U23 Greco-Roman national title

Four Grand View wrestlers earned All-American honors at the U23 greco world national championships in Ohio. The Vikings were led by Justin McCunn, a Red Oak native who ended up winning the whole thing at 77 kilos (169).

McCunn won his first three matches by a combined 28-1 to reach the best-of-three finals. There, against Northern Colorado's Cody Eaton, McCunn lost the first match, but rallied to win by fall in the second, then accepted a forfeit in the third to finish first.

Justin McCunn, a Grand View wrestler from Red Oak, won the U23 Greco-Roman national title at 77 kilograms (169 pounds) in Ohio on Friday.

Behind McCunn, Tanner Abbas went 4-2 and took fifth at 72 kilos (158); Jack Ervien Jr. took sixth at 77 kilos; and Ben Lee took seventh at 87 kilos (191). Combine their results with Provisor's world team berth, and Grand View is quickly becoming a greco hub.

One more: Spencer Trenary, a Clarion-Goldfield-Dows graduate who now wrestles at South Dakota State, also earned U23 greco All-American honors. He went 4-2 and took fifth at 130 kilos (286).

Cody Goodwin covers wrestling and high school sports for the Des Moines Register. Follow him on Twitter at @codygoodwin.