Welcome to Day 1 of an incredible tournament. Win this wrestling tournament, and you can call yourself "Olympian", for the rest of your life. And that's pretty cool.
Today, in Iowa City, Iowa, a bunch of America's best will compete for the chance to make Team USA. Since the tournament is wrestled by America's Best, it necessarily includes Penn Staters and Nittany Lion Wrestling Club members.
SCHEDULE OF EVENTS
Saturday, April 9th beginning at 10am ET, ending around 3:30pm ET
Men's Freestyle: 65kg, 125kg
Men's Greco: 58kg, 63kg, 69kg
Women's Freestyle: 59kg, 66kg, 85kg, 98kg
The finals - win, and you're an Olympian - begin at 7pmET
HOW TO WATCH
Live Video Streaming: NBCSports, for free.
No - really. The peacock will provide free streaming of all 4 mats.
YOUR PSU / NLWC CHEERING GUIDELINE
You'll find two Penn Staters in the bracket - 1) current assistant coach Frank "the Tank" Molinaro, aka, "Gorilla Hulk". You remember him as a 4x All-American for your Nittany Lions, 2x NCAA finalist, and 1x NCAA Champ. He has a world-class left handed high crotch, and has been ranked on the world stage. He's healthy, focused, centered, and ready to make a run. 2) Zain "Pain" Retherford, aka, "thuZainTrain". He just won his first NCAA title by destroying everyone in the college ranks. Zain's a past Cadet World Freestyle Champ - so he's not your average collegian (obviously).
Current World Rankings - 65kg
Chamizo is the defending world champ (2015), Navruzov took Silver, while Ramonov and Mohammadi shared Bronze in Las Vegas. They're all, you know, pretty good.
Brent Metcalf is pushing 30 years old now, and this looks like his last rodeo. He's been on four past Team USAs, but has never made it out of the round of 8 on the world stage. It's now or never for him.
The guys who most figure can make it "never" are Logan Stieber (world #12), Jordan Oliver, and - maybe - Aaron Pico, who beat Zain last year for the coveted spot on the Junior world team.
This weight is must-see interwebs streaming. Gonna be a lot of action.
Cheer for Eric Thompson, the NLWC resident athlete. He came up through Grand View's NAIA wrestling program and is both talented and dedicated. But he'll face an uphill battle from a rapidly improving weight class.
Current World Rankings - 125kg
Akgul's won Gold the last two years straight. Makhov has a bunch of past medals, including a gold. Again - these guys are pretty good.
For 'Merica, Tervel is the old man, repping the USA in 5 of the last 7 years, and bringing home a pair of bronze medals. Missouri's Dom Bradley has clawed his way into the World's top-20 rankings. Zach Rey (Lehigh) was your 2015 World Team member, and will have a say in the proceedings. And we'll also get to see Gwiz - Nick Gwiazdowski, who looks like the future at this weight for Team USA. The question is whether the future is now, or not.