USA Wrestling Olympic Trials Recap
The USA Wrestling Olympic trials went down this weekend and I got the full recap for you. The men’s freestyle team is set for Tokyo in 2021, but it was a wild weekend of wrestling with some major upsets.
In the 57kg preview I pointed out that Vito Arujau was the x factor because of the rules the Ivy leagues had this year and that he and Cornell were not allowed to compete at the NCAA level this year. For Arujau that meant a folkstyle season was turned into a freestyle season, and Arujau made the finals at 57kg.
The lost to Thomas Gilman in two straight matches and Gilman is going to the Tokyo games for a chance to win a gold medal for USA.
Hand up, I was really wrong about this weight class in the preview. I didn’t even have Jordan Oliver who ended up winning the entire tournament. I thought this was Yianni’s weight to lose, but Oliver took him out in the semifinals. I had Retherford over McKenna and that was wrong too.
Moral of the story is Oliver is a bad man, a great wrestler who has been around for almost a decade and has dealt with tons of adversity in his wrestling career. He took two straight matches over McKenna and earned his spot on the US olympic team.
I was right about this weight in the preview, but this is still a weird recap to write. Jordan Burroughs put USA wrestling back on the map across the world. He won the 2012 Olympic gold at 74kg, and this has been his weight in the United States since 2011, nobody took that spot away from him, until this year.
Kyle Dake did it, in two straight matches when it mattered most he came through and dethroned Burroughs. As much as I love to be right this is the one weight class I was cool being wrong about, but Dake proved me right. Immediately after winning Dake went and consoled JB and that shows the type of legacy Burroughs leaves in the sport.
The story of my preview was all about Penn State wrestling and its dominance over the past decade-plus. Four guys from the NLWC were in this weight, and it ended up being an all Penn State finals for a chance to go to Tokyo. Bo Nickal kind of shocked the bracket by being in the finals, he beat the two-seed Zahid Valencia and squared off against David Taylor in the finals.
Taylor, aka the Magic Man, beat his teammate Nickal in two straight matches.
Before the tournament J’den Cox missed weight, meaning he was not able to compete in the tournament. In my preview, I thought that he was going to make the finals. That sucked for Cox and the fans because we missed out on his matchup with Kyle Snyder. Synder wrestled Kollin Moore in the finals who knocked off Ty Walz and Braxton Amos in his path to the finals.
Snyder is going back to the Olympics and looking to bring back his second gold medal. He beat Moore in two straight matches with a combined score of 15-1.
I don’t know if this was as big of an upset as I initially thought it was, but Gable Steveson is going to the Olympics. He just tears up everyone in his path nowadays, the dude is awesome and scores a ton of points. The 2021 NCAA champion came into the tournament on a roll and Nick Gwiazdowski just happened to be his next victim.
In my preview, I had the right matchup, wrong results, but the changing of the guards during the 2021 USA Wrestling Trials is evident. There is a new age of wrestlers in the country.