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ASU wrestler Cohlton Schultz competes at UWW World Championships

The redshirt freshman heavyweight advanced to the competition after earning gold at the USA World Team Trials


Colton Schultz wrestles Adam Coon at the Olympic Team in Fort Worth, Texas on Saturday, April 3, 2021. Coon won by decision.

This past week, redshirt freshman Cohlton Schultz competed at the United World Wrestling Senior World Championships in Oslo, Norway, marking another step in his accolade-filled start in his young career.

He had earned the No. 1 seed at the USA Senior World Team Trials, the competition before the championships, by winning gold in the Greco-Roman 130 kg weight class. 

Schultz lost in the opening round of the World Championships 5-3 against the No. 1 seed and Olympic silver medalist Iakobi Kajaia of Georgia. 

"It was a long time coming, making the World Team,"  Schultz said. "Finally, getting it done was pretty sweet, but I wish it could have gone a little better out in Norway. It was still a good experience."

Schultz trains at Sunkist Kids Wrestling Club in Tempe, which ASU head coach Zeke Jones said is "the number one wrestling club in the world." Schultz trains alongside wrestlers Jordan Burroughs, Helen Maroulis, Kayla Miracle, Forrest Molinari, G'Angelo Hancock and Maya Nelson

Schultz grew up competing in all three wrestling styles: freestyle, folkstyle and Greco-Roman. Schultz wrestled Hancock prior to entering high school, and that experience inspired him to train purely Greco-Roman style.

"Right before my freshman year, I wrestled him (Hancock) in some local tournament and I almost beat him," Schultz said. "After our match, the coaches started talking to me about coming down to train with them and after that, I just fell in love with it."

Schultz was highly recruited as a four-time Colorado state champion and former No. 1 pound-for-pound recruit in the nation.

"The whole recruiting process is a funny thing, but for one reason or another, ASU hadn't really been in my top choices leading up to it,"  Schultz said. "Actually, my high school team camp was at Arizona State and everything made sense. I felt like it was just going to be a place where I could excel not only as a college wrestler, but I could push myself to get to the Olympic level."

Schultz was a decorated wrestler before even competing in a single match at ASU. He was the 2017 Greco Cadet World Champion, 2018 bronze medalist at the Greco Junior World Championships and 2019 Greco-Roman Junior World silver medalist. 

He also won the 2019 Dave Schultz High School Excellence Award, joining former teammate Zahid Valencia as the only other Sun Devil to receive the award. 

And since arriving at ASU, Schultz has continued his excellence. He was a 2021 All-American, finishing with a 17-2 record and claiming his first Pac-12 Championship title at 285 lbs against former Stanford wrestler Nathan Traxler.

"Cohlton is ahead of his time," Jones said. "He's already wrestling at the highest level while still being a college freshman, which is very unusual. I don't think there's more than a couple of kids that are in college that are on the national team."

The combination of world-class coaches and training partners at both ASU and Sunkist Kids Wrestling Club is what led Schultz to ultimately commit to the Sun Devils over other top universities.

"Cohlton doesn't want to be the best in the country, he wants to be the best in the world," Jones said. "He knows he's got a tremendous amount of support in his Olympic effort. And that's the reason why he came here."

From being a top recruit to winning numerous awards and championships, Schultz has proven to be a once-in-a-generation talent. His successes on the mat and charismatic personality have drawn many eyes from fans and competitors all over the world. 

"He's a big Teddy bear," assistant coach Lee Pritts said. "Everybody loves him. He's just cool, calm, and collected all the time. He's a natural leader."

Schultz and the rest of the No. 3 ASU wrestling team will open up the 2021-22 season competing in the Mountaineer Invitational on Nov. 14.

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Aayush Gupta

sports reporter

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