Mantorville's Bennett Berge wins silver at World Championships
It was a tournament to remember for the former Kasson-Mantorville standout, who was still in high school just five months ago. Now, he is an international name across the sport.
SOFIA, BULGARIA — Bennett Berge will come back home sporting some new hardware.
The former Kasson-Mantorville High School wrestler won a silver medal at the U20 World Championships after falling in a hard fought title match by a 10-5 decision to Rakhim Magamadov of France on Wednesday in Sofia, Bulgaria. Berge also helped Team USA finish second as a team behind Iran.
Berge — competing at 86 kg (190 pounds) — entered Wednesday's title match with a wave of momentum after rallying from an early 5-0 deficit for a 9-7 victory by decision against Ismail Kucuksolak of Turkey in Tuesday's semifinal round.
The South Dakota State University commit kept that momentum going on Wednesday, attacking the legs of Magamadov and holding a 5-3 advantage with just more than two minutes left.
Yet, in the end, the reigning U20 silver medalist from France just had too much strength and too many counters. One of those was worth four points to turn that 5-3 deficit into a 7-5 lead. Magamadov was able to ride it out from there.
It was still a remarkable run for Berge, who just five months ago was still in high school and had just won his fifth consecutive MSHSL individual state championship.
He breezed into Tuesday's semifinals with a dominating showing on Monday, picking up three consecutive wins by technical falls in defeating Gurgen Simonyan of Armenia 10-0, Hungary's Nandor Hajduch 12-2 and Ukraine's Nazar Dod 10-0.
Berge earned a spot on the 10-member Team USA roster after winning the 86-kg title at the United World Wrestling World Team Trials in Geneva, Ohio, in early June. He has been accompanied and coached in Bulgaria by his brother, former Penn State wrestler and current South Dakota State assistant coach Brady Berge.
At the high school level, Bennett Berge totaled 241 career victories, posting a 124-1 record over his final three seasons at Kasson-Mantorville. He won five consecutive individual state titles at five different weight classes (138, 160, 170, 182, 195).