The 2022 college wrestling national championships are over … but the great...
World Team Trials welcomes new rules, big battle at 163 pounds
While much of the international wrestling community waits for late September when the International Olympic Committee meets in Buenos Aires, Argentina, to determine the future of the sport in Olympic Games after 2016, there is still business to take place, including the 2013 FILA World Championships in Budapest, Hungary, Sept. 16-22.
But before that happens, the teams representing their countries have to be determined. And for the United States, that will take place this weekend in Stillwater, Okla., at the 2013 World Team Trials.
And the most notable elements to this year’s tournament, where seven men’s freestyle, seven Greco-Roman and four women’s Olympic weight classes will be determined, will be the addition of FILA’s new rules … and the incredibly competitive 163-pound weight class in men’s freestyle.
Regarding the new rules, the modifications concern mainly:
• The time and periods of the bout (two periods of three minutes each)
• Cumulative score instead of the best-of-three-format
• Procedure for passivity (a wrestler who is warned for stalling by the officials has 30 seconds to score a point or will lose a point to his opponent)
• Points for takedowns are two points while push-outs are one point.
Points may become a premium at certain weight classes, especially at 163 pounds where at least three recent college stars — Kyle Dake of Cornell, David Taylor of Penn State and Andrew Howe of Wisconsin/Oklahoma — will try to unseat 2011 World Champion and 2012 Olympic gold medalist Jordan Burroughs.
The following is a weight-by-weight preview of all 18 weight classes which will be contested in Gallagher-Iba Arena on the campus of Oklahoma State University over the two days.
(Only the four Olympic weights in women’s freestyle will be determined. The remaining three weights will be contested at a later date. Also, the Junior World Team Trials will take place on Sunday, June 23, in Stillwater.)
Weights and Styles on Friday, June 21
Challenge Tournament begins at 11 a.m.; winner advances to a best 2-of-3 Championship Series, which begins at 6 p.m.
60k/132 pounds — Reece Humphrey, the former NCAA champion from Ohio State and 2011 World Team member, won the U.S. Open title in April and will wait for the winner of the Challenge tournament.
Among the top candidates to face Humphrey are 2012 Olympic bronze medalist Coleman Scott, the former Oklahoma State national champion who lost to Humphrey in the U.S. Open finals and Logan Stieber, the in-coming college junior and two-time NCAA champion from Ohio State.
74k/163 pounds — By winning the 2011 Worlds and 2012 Olympics, Jordan Burroughs is ranked No. 1 in FILA’s World ratings. Yet, the two-time NCAA champion from Nebraska could receive some stiff competition in the Championship Series.
There are three other highly talented freestylers at this weight class who have all earned national prestige:
• Kyle Dake, the 2013 Hodge Trophy winner and first NCAA wrestler to win four NCAA titles at four different weight classes while competing for Cornell University;
• David Taylor, the 2012 Hodge winner and NCAA champion from Penn State who has reached three NCAA finals and actually scored a takedown before losing to Burroughs in the finals of the U.S. Open;
• Andrew Howe, who is currently wrestling at Oklahoma University (after transferring from Wisconsin where he earned three All-American honors and a 2011 NCAA championship), has not competed on this level in freestyle since injuring his leg in the finals of the Olympic Trials against Burroughs.
96k/211.5 pounds — It was unknown if 2012 Olympic gold medalist Jake Varner would return to the mat for the World Team Trials after not competing in the U.S. Open. If he doesn’t, the favorite appears to be 2013 U.S. Open champion J.D. Bergman, the former All-American from Ohio State, who represented the U.S. in the 2010 World Championships.
Among those who could face Bergman would be former two-time NCAA champion Chris Pendleton of Oklahoma State — who lost to Bergman in the U.S. Open finals — and former Central Michigan All-American Wynn Michalak. Also a pair of former college heavyweights — Brandon Halsey and Les Sigman — have dropped down to compete at this weight class.
55k/121 pounds — Two-time Olympian Spenser Mango should once again be the favorite at this weight especially after the native of St. Louis won another U.S. Open in April. The U.S. Army WCAP program member defeated Max Nowry, a native of Wheeling, Ill., in the U.S. Open finals. Mango also defeated Nowry in the finals of the 2012 Olympic Trials.
66k/145.5 pounds — Two-time World medalist and 2012 Olympian Justin Lester moved up to 163 pounds at the U.S. Open, where he finished sixth. If he does not move back down to this weight, look out for a couple young stars — Ellis Coleman and Kendrick Sanders — to vie for this weight class title.
Those two wrestlers, who both competed at the USOEC in Northern Michigan, met in the U.S. Open finals with Coleman — who gained international notice when he completed a “flying squirrel” move at the 2011 Junior Worlds — winning in three periods.
84k/185 pounds — Former University of Northern Iowa wrestler Jordan Holm just missed qualifying for the 2012 Olympics when he lost to fellow Minnesota Storm teammate Chas Betts in the Trials last year. But he put himself in great position to earn this year’s World Team berth by defeating Zac Nielsen (also of the Minnesota Storm) in the finals of the U.S. Open.
120k/265 pounds — For the first time in many years, 2002 World champion and two-time Olympian Dremiel Byers is not the man to beat … at least on paper after the U.S. Army big man lost twice and finished fourth at the U.S. Open in Las Vegas.
One of the men who defeated him – in the Open semifinals – was Erik Nye … who in turn finished second at the Open to David Arendt, who stepped away from the sport for four years while serving two tours of duty for the U.S. Marines in Iraq and Afghanistan.
(Note: only the four Olympic weights will be contested in Stillwater. The remaining three weights will be determined in early September in Colorado Springs, where wrestlers who failed to make the team at an Olympic weight will have a second chance to make the U.S. World Team.)
55k/121 pounds — An injury also kept 2012 Olympian Kelsey Campbell out of the U.S. Open, where former World medalist and Maryland native Helen Maroulis — second to Campbell at the Olympic Trials — defeated Katherine Fulp-Allen in the Open championship.
Allison Ragan of Illinois is also expected to drop down to 121 pounds after winning the 130-pound title at the U.S. Open.
72k/158 pounds — With two-time Olympian Ali Bernard retiring and former World medalist Adeline Gray out of action because of a shoulder injury, this weight class is wide open.
On paper, Brittney Roberts of Santa Fe, Texas, won the U.S. Open with a victory over Jackie Cataline of Alhambra, Calif. In the 2012 Olympic Trials, Roberts finished third.
Weights and Styles for Saturday, June 22
Challenge Tournament begins at 11 a.m.; winner advances to a best 2-of-3 Championship Series, which begins at 6 p.m.
55k/121 pounds — 2012 Olympian Sam Hazewinkel did not compete in the U.S. Open, so the former All-American from Oklahoma University must compete in the Challenge Tournament if he hopes to upend U.S. Open winner and 2010 World Team member Obe Blanc in the Championships Series. Blanc, the former Lock Haven and Oklahoma State wrestler, trains in Stillwater.
66k/145.5 pounds — Kellen Russell, the former two-time NCAA champion from Michigan, was unseeded when he competed … and won the 2013 U.S. Open in Las Vegas in April when he defeated Jordan Oliver, the two-time NCAA champion from Oklahoma State in the finals. Neither one of these former collegians should forget about Brent Metcalf, the former Hodge Trophy winner and two-time NCAA champion from Iowa who represented the U.S. in the 2010 World Championships. Metcalf lost to Oliver in the U.S. Open semifinals.
84k/185 pounds — 2012 Olympian and 2009 World bronze medalist Jake Herbert was unable to compete in the U.S. Open because of an injury. Stepping up to win the Open and earn a spot in the Championship Series was Keith Gavin, the former NCAA champion from the University of Pittsburgh.
Gavin’s will face a wide-open field which includes former Oklahoma State All-American Clayton Foster (who lost to Gavin in the U.S. Open finals), former NCAA champion Jon Reader of Iowa State and current two-time NCAA champion Ed Ruth from Penn State.
120k/265 pounds — Dom Bradley, the former Junior World champion, knocked off 2012 Olympian and 2011 World bronze medalist Tervel Dlagnev in the finals of the U.S. Open, but then tested positive for an illegal substance and was forced to withdraw from the Trials. That makes Dlagnev, the former NCAA Division II champ from Nebraska-Kearney, the man to beat in Stillwater.
Among those other competitors who could spoil the party for Dlagnev is Tyrell Fortune, the 2013 NCAA Division II Wrestler of the Year after winning an NCAA title for Grand Canyon before finishing third at the U.S. Open.
60k/132 pounds — Joe Betterman, a 2011 World Team member, should once again be the favorite to compete on the World stage after he defeated fellow U.S. Army wrestler Marco Lara in the U.S. Open finals. It also helps that Ellis Coleman, who defeated Betterman in the 2012 Olympic Trials, has moved up to 145.5 pounds.
There are a couple younger collegiate wrestlers to keep an eye on at this weight: Wisconsin’s Jesse Thielke and Stanford’s Ryan Mango, the younger brother of Spenser Mango.
74k/163 pounds — Wisconsin native Ben Provisor will once again be the man to beat at this weight after he qualified for both the 2011 Worlds and 2012 Olympics before capturing another U.S. Open title in April. Provisor’s biggest competition will come from Jake Fisher, who lost to Provisor in the Open final.
96k/211.5 pounds — This was the only Greco weight which Americans failed to qualify in for he 2012 Olympics after Adam Wheeler earned a bronze medal in the 2008 Olympics. There have been several new – or old – faces who have emerged in the past year, especially from U.S. Open champion John Wechter — the former Michigan State wrestler — who stepped away from the sport to focus on medical school.
But since joining the Minnesota Storm – once he arrived in Minneapolis for his medical education — he defeated former Cal Poly wrestler Ryan Halsey in the Open finals.
(Note: only the four Olympic weights will be contested in Stillwater. The remaining three weights will be determined in early September in Colorado Springs, where wrestlers who failed to make the team at an Olympic weight, will have a second chance to make the U.S. World Team.)
48k/105.5 pounds — 2012 Olympic bronze medalist and 2008 World champion Clarissa Chun was unable to compete in the U.S. Open because of an injury. In her absence, Alyssa Lampe — who finished second to Chun (in three matches) at the 2012 Olympic Trials, won the Open with a victory over Victoria Anthony, a native of California who competed collegiately at Canada’s Simon Frasier University.
Also expected to compete at this weight is Jessica Medina, who won the 112.5-pound weight class at the U.S. Open.
63k/138.75 pounds — Elena Pirozkhova, a 2010 World bronze medalist, salvaged a disappointing summer of 2012 when she won a World championship, a few months after losing her one and only match at the 2012 Olympics. (FILA holds a separate World Championship in women’s freestyle since only four of the seven weights are contested in the Olympics.)
The native of Moscow, Russia, should once again be challenged by Open runner-up Erin Clodgo and Veronica Carlson, who won the 147-pound weight class at the Open.