The U.S. Open is held yearly, and determines the seeding and qualifiers for the World Team Trials challenge tournament this summer in the non-Olympic year for the sport.
The winner of this weekend’s U.S. Open can advance to the finals of the best-of-three challenge tournament on June 16 at State College — with that winner then claiming a spot on the World team.
Logan Stieber, a 2010 Monroeville graduate, is the top overall seed in the 12-wrestler field at 65kg (143 pounds). He had been competing at 61kg in past years, but bumped up at the April 7-8 World Cup, where he went 3-1 for Team USA.
With former Penn State star Zain Retherford either moving up a weight or not wrestling at all this weekend, Stieber will be one of the few competitors in the weight with world-level experience. Retherford is one of three career losses for Stieber while he was in college.
One of four four-time NCAA individual champions all-time while at Ohio State with a 119-3 record, he won the non-Olympic weight worlds at 61kg in 2016 and has a Junior world silver (2011).
The weight is stocked with current college standouts, including Joey McKenna, an Ohio State junior who placed third at the NCAAs in Cleveland on March 17.
But despite several challengers with the ability, Logan Stieber will be the heavy favorite in the weight. He’s just two weeks removed from earning a win over three-time world champ Haji Aliyev at the World Cup.
Meanwhile, Hunter Stieber will compete one weight above Logan at 70kg (154 pounds). He is seeded fifth at the weight.
Former Penn State standout Frank Molinaro is the top seed and favored at the weight. He beat Logan Stieber at the last U.S. Olympic Trails to compete at the Summer Games in August 2016 in Brazil.
After two devastating injuries at Ohio State cut short his career with the Buckeyes, the former two-time All-American has been working his way back into the sport in freestyle competitions.
In November 2017, he reached the semifinal round at the 20th annual Dave Schultz Memorial International — held at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs.
There were 28 wrestlers from the U.S. and a total of seven countries in attendance.
Hunter, a former gold medalist at the Pan American championships in Mexico City in July 2014, finished fourth in the event. He recently finished his second year as an assistant coach at the University of Oklahoma.
At Monroeville, Logan Stieber was 184-1 with four state championships, and Hunter was 193-2 with four state titles as well. The two helped the Eagles to the state team championship in Division III in 2010, runners-up in 2009 and third place in 2011.
The U.S. Open action begins with all 10 weights on Friday at noon Eastern time. The 2018 World championships will be held Oct. 20-28 in Budapest, Hungary.