Redshirt sophomore Peyton Omania of the Michigan State wrestling team had to defeat two former Olympians to secure a spot on Team USA at the upcoming World Greco-Roman Championships, but the current Spartan was able to do just that this weekend at the Senior World Team Trials in Lincoln, Nebraska.
Finishing off his pursuit of an automatic selection to the national team on Sunday afternoon in the 67kg weight class, Omania first took care of business on Saturday with two victories. The Concord, Calif., native kicked off the opening session with a victory over Hayden Tuma via a technical fall, 9-0, to advance to the semifinals later that evening.
On Saturday night, Omania kept the momentum going when he drew 2016 Olympian and No. 2 seed Jess Thielke in the semifinal round. The outcome was the same, as Omania won a 9-0 decision via technical fall against Thielke to secure a place in the finals.
Sunday afternoon saw Omania on the mat opposite of 2020 Olympian Alejandro Sancho, where the Spartan took down the top seed. Omania won the first bout via a 6-3 decision, before sweeping the best-of-three match with a 3-2 decision in bout two and claiming his spot on Team USA.
“Best performance of my life,” said Omania when asked to summarize the weekend into one sentence. “The key word this weekend was confidence. My mood going in to each match was confident, which meant getting ready was easy for me. In my first couple years at Michigan State, I didn’t focus on that as much. I got to this point by saying positive stuff to myself, continuing to believe and just going out there and fighting. Being prepared to wrestle six minutes hard. I’ve worked really hard on that the past couple months and just putting myself in a good space mentally.”
“Today is a testament to the work ethic and commitment that Peyton has given to be the best,” said MSU head coach Roger Chandler. “Just four months ago, he competed at the Olympics Trials and he came up short of his goals. He immediately reset himself and got back to work. Peyton is special in so many ways. He is very balanced, confident, goal driven, and, most importantly, he is positive. I believe his positive mindset is what has put him in this position to go win a world championship next month.”
While this will be the first time Omania represents the U.S. at the senior level, he has prior national and international experience. Omania won two-straight U23 national crowns in 2019 and 2020, and claimed a bronze medal at the 2019 Greco-Roman Junior World Championships in Tallinn, Estonia, to become the first Spartan wrestler to earn a world medal since Franklin Gomez’ silver medal at the 2011 Worlds.
“It’s just a blessing to be able to represent the USA,” added Omania. “I’m super thankful and looking forward to it. I can’t wait. It’s my time to bring a medal back to the States.”
The World Greco-Roman Wrestling Championships will take place next month in Oslo, Norway. Omania was one of 22 Team USA members determined at the World Team Trials Championship.
- Redshirt Freshman