Seven former World medalists win at U.S. Open, but Snyder upsets Varner

Updated: May 11, 2015

Photo: Kyle Snyder (right) went airborne to hold off 2012 Olympic champion Jake Varner in the 215-pound men’s freestyle final at last weekend’s U.S. Open in Las Vegas. Photo by John Sachs

LAS VEGAS — The wrestlers who competed in the May 8-9 ASICS U.S. Open in the South Point Arena would love to return to this Nevada playground in September for the United World Wrestling World Championships … and 23 of the 24 champions moved one step closer to representing the United States at the 2015 UWW Worlds by claiming national championships last weekend.

That was especially true in Greco-Roman, where the eight U.S. Open championship bouts also served as the first match in the Best of 3 Championship Series of the World Team Trials, which will end June 4 in Ithaca, N.Y.

Among the winners in Greco-Roman were seven wrestlers who competed in the 2014 Worlds, including bronze medalist Andy Bisek (at 75 kilos/165 pounds) and fifth-place finisher Spenser Mango (59k/130), who did not have to compete in earlier rounds of the tournament by finishing in the top 5 of last year’s Worlds.

The 28-year-old Mango, a two-time Olympian who also finished fifth in the 2013 and ‘14 Worlds, earned his seventh U.S. Open championship with a 5-0 victory over University of Wisconsin sophomore Jesse Thielke.

Bisek, 28, needed just 30 seconds to score an 11-0 technical fall over Dillon Cowan, one of seven wrestlers from the Army’s World Class Athlete Program to reach the finals.

Among the other Army WCAP winners were Justin “Harry” Lester, who defeated Patrick Smith of the Minnesota Storm, 7-3, at 71k.156.5 pounds for sixth U.S. Open title. The 31-year-old Lester, a native of Akron, Ohio, appeared in the 2012 Olympics and has competed in six Worlds, including earning bronze medals in both 2006 and ’07.

Overall, seven former World medalists won U.S. Open championships, including two in men’s freestyle, where seven of the eight champions will await the winner of the Challenge Tournament during the upcoming World Team Trials — June 13-14 in Madison, Wisc.— in the Best of 3 Championship Series, which will take place in the Alliant Energy Center in the capitol city of Wisconsin.

The only exception was at 74 kilos/163 pounds, where 2012 Olympic gold medalist and two-time World champion Jordan Burroughs had already earned a spot in the Championship Series after finishing second in the 2014 Worlds. Burroughs will await the winner of the Trial Challenge tournament where David Taylor — a 2-0 victor over Andrew Howe in the Open final — will be seeded No. 1.

Heavyweight Tervel Dlagnev, a two-time World bronze medalist (2009 and ’14) also had earned an automatic spot in the Championship Series by earning a medal in last year’s Worlds. But the 29-year-old native of Arlington, Texas, decided to wrestle in the Open and defeated No. 2 seed Zach Rey of Bethlehem, Pa., 3-1 for his fourth U.S. Open championship.

Speaking of past World and Olympic team members, Jake Herbert, who has not competed at this level since finishing seventh in the 2012 London Olympics, returned to first stun 2014 World Team member Ed Ruth in the semifinals, then defeated fellow Pennsylvania native Keith Gavin, 5-2, in the 86k/189.5 championship match. Herbert, 30, and a four-time U.S. Open champion, won a World silver medal in 2009.

Not every former World/Olympic medalist was not as fortunate in this year’s Open, especially at 97k/215 where Ohio State’s 19-year-old freshman Kyle Snyder upset 2012 Olympic gold medalist Jake Varner, 2-1. Meanwhile, California native Ali Naser upset Coleman Scott, a 2012 Olympic bronze medalist, in the second round of the U.S. Open. Scott, a former NCAA champ from Oklahoma State, came back to finish third in the Open.

In the other four finals, the champions were all former World Team members: Anthony Ramos, who used a last second takedown and back points to defeated Andrew Hochstrasser at 57k/125.5; Reece Humphrey, the former Ohio State All-American, who edged Kendric Maple, the former NCAA champ from Oklahoma, 7-6 at 61k/134; Brent Metcalf, who held off Jordan Oliver, 2-1, for the 65k/143 championship; and Nick Marable, the 2014 World Team member and former Missouri AA, who defeated Dustin Schlatter, the former NCAA champ from Minnesota, 4-2, at 70k/154.

In women’s freestyle, three former World medalists won their championships, including a pair of former World champs: Elena Pirozhkova, who defeated 2008 Olympic bronze medalist Randi Miller, 4-3, at 69k/152, and the World’s top-ranked Adeline Gray, who dominated Jackie Cataline, 15-4, for the 75k/165-pound championship.

Pirozhkova, who collected a World championship in 2012 (the same year she competed in the Olympics) was wrestling up one weight from 63k/138.75 pounds where he native of Russia, also earned two silver medals in 2010 and 2014 and a bronze medal in 2013.

Also wrestling up a weight class was Helen Maroulis, who dominated Kelsey Campbell, 10-0, at 58k/128 pounds. The native of Maryland, had earned both a silver medal (2012) and bronze medal (2014) at 55k/121, where she is ranked No. 2 in the World.

Like in men’s freestyle, the winners of the U.S. Open in women’s freestyle will also await the winner of the Challenge Tournament of the World Team Trials in Madison, Wisc.

U.S. Open Results Championship Matches

 Men’s Freestyle

57k/125.5 pounds — Anthony Ramos (Titan Mercury Wrestling Club) dec. Andrew Hochstrasser (Titan Mercury Wrestling Club), 7-3

61k/134 pounds — Reece Humphrey (NYAC) dec. Kendric Maple (NYAC), 7-6

65k/143 pounds — Brent Metcalf (NYAC) dec. Jordan Oliver (Sunkist Kids Wrestling Club), 2-1

70k/154 pounds — Nick Marable (Sunkist Kids Wrestling Club) dec. Dustin Schlatter (Minnesota Storm), 4-2

74k/163 pounds — David Taylor (NLWC) dec. Andrew Howe (NYAC), 2-0

86k/189.5 pounds — Jake Herbert (NYAC) dec. Keith Gavin (Titan Mercury Wrestling Club), 5-2

97k/215 pounds — Kyle Snyder (Titan Mercury/Ohio RTC) dec. Jake Varner (NLWC), 2-1

125k/275.5 pounds — Tervel Dlagnev (Sunkist Kids Wrestling Club) dec. Zach Rey (Lehigh Valley Athletic Club), 3-1

(U.S. Open men’s freestyle champions earned spots in the June 13-14 World Team Trials Best of 3 Championship Series in Madison, Wisc., and will face the winner of the Trials Challenge Tournament. The only exception is at 74k/163 pounds, where 2014 World medalist Jordan Burroughs, like Dlagnev at 125k, earned automatic berths.)

Women’s Freestyle

48k/105.5 pounds — Victoria Anthony (Titan Mercury Wrestling Club) dec. Alyssa Lampe (Sunkist Kids Wrestling Club), 6-4

53k/116 pounds — Whitney Conder (Army (WCAP) dec. Carlene Sluberski (Titan Mercury Wrestling Club), 5-3

55k/121 pounds — Sharon Jacobson (Army (WCAP)) dec, Jacarra Winchester (Titan Mercury Wrestling Club/Viking Wrestling Club, IA), 12-9

58k/128 pounds — Helen Maroulis (Sunkist Kids Wrestling Club) won by tech fall over Kelsey Campbell (Sunkist Kids Wrestling Club), 10-0

60k/132 pounds — Leigh Jaynes-Provisor (Army (WCAP) dec. Jenna Burkert (NYAC), 6-1

63k/138.75 pounds — Erin Clodgo (Sunkist Kids Wrestling Club) dec. Amanda Hendey (Titan Mercury Wrestling Club), 9-3

69k/152 pounds — Elena Pirozhkova (Titan Mercury Wrestling Club) dec. Randi Miller (Army (WCAP), 4-3

75k/165 pounds — Adeline Gray (NYAC) won by tech fall over Jackie Cataline (Titan Mercury Wrestling Club), 15-4

(U.S. Open women’s freestyle champions earned an automatic spot in the June 13-14 World Team Trials Best of 3 Championship Series in Madison, Wisc., and will face the winner of the Trials Challenge Tournament.


59k/130 pounds — Spenser Mango (Army WCAP) dec. over Jesse Thielke (NYAC), 5-0

66k/145.5 pounds — Bryce Saddoris (Marines) dec. Alejandro Sancho (NYAC), 1-0

71k/156.6 pounds — Justin Lester (Army WCAP) dec. Pat Smith (Minnesota Storm), 7-2

75k/165 pounds — Andrew Bisek (Minnesota Storm) won by tech fall over Dillon Cowan (Army WCAP), 11-0

80k/176 pounds — Patrick Martinez (Army WCAP) dec. Courtney Myers (Army WCAP), 3-1

85k/187.3 pounds — Jordan Holm (Minnesota Storm) pinned Jon Anderson (Army WCAP), 2:35

98k/216 pounds — Caylor Williams (Army WCAP) won by tech fall over Kevin Beazley (Virginia Beach Regional Training), 13-3

130k/286 pounds — Robby Smith (NYAC) won by fall over Toby Erickson (NYAC), 3:24

      (The U.S. Open championship matches in Greco-Roman also served as the first match in the Best of 3 Championship series of the World Team Trials, which will continue in Ithaca, N.Y. on June 4.)