Recapping men’s freestyle at the 2015 World Team Trials

Updated: June 17, 2015

The following is a quick look at the men’s freestyle tournament at the 2015 World Team Trials, which were held June 13-14 at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison, Wisc.

Make sure you check out WIN’s upcoming issue — mailed June 29 — where you will find even more comprehensive coverage of the event that determined what wrestles will represent the United States at the World Championships, which will be held Sept. 7-12 in Las Vegas.

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Below are the results and highlights of the Best of 3 Championships Series as well as quotes from all the 2015 World Team Trials champions:

            57 KG/125 Pounds – Tony Ramos (Titan Mercury WC) def. Joe Colon (Titan Mercury WC), 2 matches to 0; Match 1 – Ramos dec. over Colon, 6-0; Match 2 –Ramos dec. over Colon, 3-1tony ramos vs colon

Ramos, the 2014 NCAA champ from Iowa, clinched his second World Team berth when he scored the second match’s only takedown with 1:34 left. In the first match, Ramos blanked the former UNI Panther by scoring two takedowns in the second period; off an ankle pick and later a single leg.

Ramos used one word to describe last year’s World Championships experience, where he went 0-1.

“Miserable,” said Ramos. “You go out there and work your butt off and then you wrestle one match and it’s over. I’m very excited (for the 2015 Worlds in Las Vegas). My family had already booked a trip. I told them to wait until the Trials were over, but now we are going full force to Vegas.”

            61 KG/134 Pounds – Reece Humphrey (New York AC) def. Daniel Dennis, Titan Mercury WC, 2 matches to 0; Match 1 – Humphrey won by tech. fall over Dennis, 12-1; Match 2 – Humphrey dec. over Dennis, 4-1

humphrey vs dennis         Humphrey, the 2011 and ’13 World Team member, dominated the first bout when he used four consecutive leglaces in the second period to build off a 4-1 lead. In the second bout, Humphrey scored the deciding points when Dennis, the former Hawkeye AA, failed to score a takedown when he was put on shot clock with 42 seconds left, then iced the match on a takedown with 10 seconds left.

Humphrey, the former Ohio State AA, decided earlier this spring to cut down to 61 kilos after finishing second in tournaments at 65k in Cuba and Iran this winter.

“I went back down to 61 kilos, which is really a tough cut for me, but I did it with the purpose in mind that I wanted to be a World champion,” said the 28-year-old Humphrey. “I really feel like I can do it. I’m taking this year like it’s my Olympics because there is no 61k in the Olympics.

            65 KG/143 Pounds –Brent Metcalf (New York AC) def. Jordan Oliver (Sunkist Kids), 2 matches to 0; Match 1 – Metcalf dec. over Oliver, 9-4; Match 2 – Metcalf dec. over Oliver, 7-0metcalf action

Metcalf earned a trip to the fourth World Championship when the former Hodge Trophy and NCAA champion from Iowa scored two takedowns and three pushouts in blanking the former NCAA champ from Oklahoma State. In the first bout, Metcalf earned his first two points when Jordan failed to score off twice being put on a shot clock, then added a double and two leglaces to lead 6-0. After Jordan scored on a four-point move, Metcalf iced the match on a takedown with five seconds left.

The 28-year-old Metcalf believes he will finally medal in the 2015 Worlds after failing to place in 2010, ’13 and ’14.

“I can give you a lot of talk but (everyone) knows what I want and what I expect,” Metcalf said. “I dropped a good opportunity last year where I was in great position to do some good things, but it didn’t work out.”

            70 KG/154 Pounds – James Green, Titan Mercury WC def. Dustin Schlatter, Minnesota Storm, 2 matches to 0; Match 1 – Green dec. over Schlatter 5-0; Match 2 – Green dec. over Schlatter, 4-2green vs schlatter

Green, the former four-time NCAA AA from Nebraska, used a low single to score the only takedown from the first bout, then scored off a pair of doubles — one in each period — to win Match 2.

Unfortunately, Green was not guaranteed a trip to Las Vegas and the 2015 Worlds when last year’s World Team member and 2015 U.S. Open champ Nick Marable was unable to wrestle after suffering a concussion the day he was supposed to weigh in. A USA Wrestling committee will determine if the two need to wrestle at a later date.

“I came here and made weight and wrestled the tournament like I was supposed to,” said Green, who also lost a late wrestle-off to Marable last summer in Fargo for the 2014 World Team. “I just have to do what I have to do and control what I have to control. This is just one step towards the way.”

            74 KG/163 Pounds – Jordan Burroughs (Sunkist Kids) def. Kyle Dake (Titan Mercury WC), 2 matches to 0; Match 1 – Burroughs dec. over Dake, 6-3; Match 2 – Burroughs won by tech. fall over Dake, 14-4burrough vs dake

Burroughs, who has represented the U.S. in the last four World/Olympic competitions — claiming gold in 2011, ’12 and ’13 before settling for bronze last fall — had no trouble with Dake in the second match when he immediately scored on an ankle pick and added three straight leglaces to lead 8-0. After Dake rallied to cut the margin to 8-4, Burroughs scored three takedowns — the last coming at the 1:11 mark — for the technical fall.

In the first match, Dake led 2-1 after a first-period takedown before Burroughs scored four points when he countered a lateral drop by Dake.

Burroughs, who sat out the U.S. Open and still earned a spot in the Championship Series, believes he has earned the right to represent the U.S. more than ever in the 2015 Worlds.

“This is my job,” said Burroughs. “I take this seriously. I’m not just trying to sell wrestling shoes. I’m not trying to make money. I’m trying to represent my country at the highest level and I take extreme pride in doing so.

“Whenever someone questions my ability to represent this country at the World and Olympic stage, I take that personally. There were a lot of messages on various social media outlets that Dake would beat me today. It’s the same thing every year where there is new competition coming up but I remain ready every year.”

            86 KG/189 Pounds –Jake Herbert (New York AC) def. Ed Ruth (Sunkist Kids), 2 matches to 0; Match 1 – Herbert won by tech. fall over Ruth, 13-3; Match 2 – Herbert dec. Ruth, 10-2herbert vs ruth

Herbert, the 2009 World silver medalist and 2012 Olympian, made quick work of last year’s World Team member when Herbert scored four takedowns and a two-point nearfall in ending the first match with 24 seconds left, then scored 10 straight points against the former NCAA champ from Penn State in the second match.

Herbert said he first envisioned returning to competition in 2013 while he was mending from two surgeries.

“Halfway through that summer, I said, ‘You only have a short window (to win an Olympic gold medal).’ It’s like a guy who walks on the moon and then says, ‘Now what?’ There are a lot of things I want to do after winning an Olympic medal, which may be one of the least things I’ve accomplished. I also want to get back to helping out sport.”

            97 KG/213 Pounds –Kyle Snyder (Titan Mercury WC) def Jake Varner (Nittany Lion WC), 2 matches to 0; Match 1 – Snyder dec. over Varner, 4-1; Match 2 – Snyder dec. over Varner, 3-0

Snyder, the 2015 NCAA runner-up at Ohio State as a freshman, scored low singles in winning both bouts against the 2012 Olympic gold medalist.

The 19-year-old Snyder, a 2013 Junior World champion and 2014 Junior World Bronze medalist, remembers wrestling against the 29-year-old Varner in the Olympic Training Center wrestling room a year ago when Snyder chose to live and train in Colorado Springs, rather than finish his final year of high school in Maryland

“(Varner) was a really nice guy,” Snyder said. “He helped me technically. Even though he knew we’d be going against each other, he was willing to go with me in practice. I learned a lot from him. A couple years ago, he was whooping me bad, but I made a couple adjustments. I’m a little more mature and little more strong and was able to win today.”

            125 KG/275 Pounds – Tervel Dlagnev (Sunkist Kids) def. Zach Rey (Lehigh Valley AC), 2 matches to 1; Match 1 – Dlagnev dec over Rey, 2-1; Match 2 – Rey dec. over Dlagnev, 4-3; Match 3 – Dlagnev dec over Rey, 3-0

dlagnev vs rey            Dlagnev clinched his sixth World Team berth when the two-time World bronze medalist scored the bout’s only takedown off a low single with 1:52 left in the bout. Rey, the former NCAA champ from Lehigh, forced a third match when he scored a takedown in the second bout to lead 4-1. Dlagnev won the first match by not allowing a takedown when Rey was twice put on a shot clock.

Despite earning two World bronze medals, the second coming last year, injuries have forced Dlagnev to deal with doubt at the Trials.

“It was good to go through that adversity,” said Dlagnev, the native of Arlington, Texas, and two-time NCAA champ from Nebraska-Kearney, who currently trains at the Regional Training Center in Columbus, Ohio. “It’s not that I’m not doing my best wrestling. It’s just been a tough road physically, but I feel like I’m in a good place and the Lord is bringing me out of it.”