Lots of news to cover this week, friends, as we ramp up to this weekend’s US Open. First, let’s see how our Team USA wrestlers looked at the Pan Am Championships in Buenos Aires.
Pan Am Results
Team USA went 10 for 10, winning gold at every freestyle weight class. If you’re a newcomer to wrestling, you might think, “but the Central and South Americans don’t really wrestle much though, right? How tough could it be?” To which we answer, Cuba. Cuba is good. And another thing is that Team USA’s never gone 10 for 10 before, ever. So there’s that aspect to it. Last, it wasn’t that long ago that USA was losing this thing, or nearly so. The dominance last weekend in Buenos Aires was absolutely stunning.
57KG - Nittany Lion Wrestling Club’s Josh Rodriguez opened with a really impressive 7-2 win over Cuba’s U23 Gold medalist (and super freak wrestler) Reineri Andreu Ortega. After a 10-0 tech in the second round, Josh got surprised by a Canadian, Darthe Capellan, and found himself in a 4-0 hole. But he put on amazing pressure and pace, attacked the rest of the way, and came all the way back for a 6-4 victory in the semis. In the final, Josh smashed his Colombian opponent, 10-0. What a great performance for Josh.
61KG - Joe Colon (Fresno) looked amazing. The 2018 World Bronze medalist (who was an injury substitute for Nahshon Garrett) took out the 2018 World Gold medalist Bonne Rodriguez in the first round, 9-3. Joe’s counter offense is excellent, and once he gets on top, he doesn’t waste the point scoring opportunity. He probably owns the best gut wrench in the States, with apologies to Daton Fix. Past that first hurdle, Joe 10-0 tech’d his way to gold.
65KG - Colton McCrystal (Nebraska). You remember him from dual meets, and some heart breaking losses in the blood round at NCAAs. If Colt had wrestled all his NCAA matches in Buenos Aires, maybe he’s a national champ. Down south, he put on an offensive show: 11-0 tech, 15-6, and 12-1 tech over the Cuban in the final for gold.
70KG - Anthony Ashnault (NJRTC). Shnaulty had four matches, and posted 3 techs and 1 pin. Not too shabby.
74KG - Jordan Burroughs (Nebraska). The 5-time world medalist breezed through the field, right? Nope. He ran into NLWC’s Franklin Gomez (Puerto Rico) in the second round, and came as close to death as possible without actually dying. Jordan surrendered a takedown to Franklin with 10 seconds remaining, that tied the match at 2, but put Franklin ahead on criteria. Then Jordan answered it back with less than 1 second remaining.
I went full Desanto mode at the end. You guys have to forgive me, I was a little fired up! Finals tonight at 4pm eastern! All 8 Americans wrestling for gold! https://t.co/vCpYdO3Gyr— Jordan Burroughs (@alliseeisgold) April 21, 2019
79KG - Chandler Rogers (Okie State) pinned in the final for gold, doing Chandler Rogers things.
86KG - David Taylor (NLWC) went Pin, Pin, Tech, Tech. It’s been almost 2 years since anyone on planet Earth has beaten David Taylor at 86KG, by the way. The bump up appears to have paid off.
92KG - J’Den Cox (MIZZ) got past Jaime Espinal (NLWC - Puerto Rico) in the first round, and pinned in the final for gold.
97KG - Kyle Snyder (Ohio RTC) had the grizzly old Cuban, Salas, in the final, but Salas had to injury default.
125KG - Nick Gwiazdowski (NCST) posted 4 tech falls while allowing only a one point. So...pretty good.
Ten for Ten. Really awesome.
US Open - Greco
Continuing the awesome things, the US Open starts this weekend in Las Vegas. Penn State / Nittany Lion Wrestling Club entered not one, not two, but THREE wrestlers into the Greco pool. Jarod Verkleeren is registered at 67kg (and also at Senior Freestyle 70kg). Mason Manville is at 77kg, and Ben Provisor is back at 87kg. How cool is that? Also, Okie State’s Chandler Rogers registered at 82kg, which is really exciting for America.
US Open - Freestyle
This might be the best US Open field in a long time. There are a ton of outstanding wrestlers registered - and this, despite the 2018 world medalists sitting out. USA Wrestling is really coming on strong. To the individual weight classes.
|Darian Cruz||LEH||Brody Teske||PSU|
|Daton Fix||OKST||Cevion Severado||MIZZ|
|Eddie Klimara||OKST||Jakob Comacho||NCST|
|Frank Perelli||CORN||Joey Melendez||UNC|
|Jarrod Patterson||OU||Julian Tagg||UNC|
|Jesse Delgado||ILL||Luke Werner||LHU|
|Josh Rodriguez||NLWC||Malik Heinselman||OHST|
|Nathan Tomasello||OHST||Pat Glory||PRIN|
|Nick Piccininni||OKST||RayVon Foley||MSU|
|Sebastian Rivera||JNW||Shane Metzler||RUTG|
|Thomas Gilman||IOWA||Studd Morris||OKST|
|Vito Arujau||CORN||Trevor Mastrogiovanni||OKST|
|Zane Richards||ILL||Zurich Storm||NCST|
Seniors: Josh Rodriguez gets the 8-seed (preseed) according to Flo. If you didn’t read the notes above, J-Rod’s been on a long, upward trend. He wrestled extremely well at the Open last year, and just took Pan Am gold. If another weigh-in doesn’t cause issues, Josh looks like a great pick to outperform his seed.
Juniors: for this weekend, at least, Brody Teske plans to wrestle 125 lbs - well, actually, 125.6622 lbs - despite everyone except Brody proclaiming him to be a 133lber. So that’s something to watch. Also note that Okie State has an entrant named Studd Morris. That’s the most Oklahoma sounding name I can think of, with the possible exception of Tuff Hedeman.
|Alan Waters||MIZZ||Anthony Madrigal||OU|
|Tony Ramos||UNC||Colin Valdiviez||JNW|
|Ben Whitford||MICH||Gabe Tagg||UNC|
|Cody Brewer||OU||Jordan Decatur||OHST|
|Cory Clark||IOWA||Josh Saunders||CORN|
|Earl Hall||ISU||Roman Bravo Young||PSU|
Seniors: Nico gets the 1-seed, and would likely see Johnni DiJulius or Shelton Mack in the quarters, and Cory Clark in the semis. Fan favorite Jordan Conaway will also be in the field, but randomly drawn.
Juniors: RBY is back at it, and freestyle fits him pretty well. Decatur and Saunders are both top 10 type recruits, but RBY looks like a solid favorite here.
|BJ Futrell||ILL||Andrew Alirez||NCO|
|Brandon Wright||NYAC||Cole Matthews||PITT|
|Bryce Meredith||WYO||Jaden Abas||STAN|
|Dean Heil||OKST||JoJo Aragona||RUTG|
|Dom Demas||OU||Keegan O'Toole||MIZZ|
|Evan Henderson||UNC||Quinn Kinner||OHST|
|Frank Molinaro||PSU||Yahya Thomas||JNW|
Seniors: Wow. With so many great wrestlers registered, this is going to be a blood bath. Fortunately for PSU fans, we’re cheering for Zain and Frank, who are really exceptional at blood bathing. Zain is the 2-seed, and Frank is the 4, so they won’t butcher each other until the final, which is nice. Nick Lee, we love you, too. But daggone, son. Just come out of this smiling and healthy.
Juniors: probably Andrew Alirez whoops this field. But it’s a chance to see some of the incoming big name recruits, like Ohio State’s Quinn Kinner.
|Alec Pantaleo||MICH||Jacori Teemer||PRIN|
|Anthony Collica||OKST||Quincy Monday||UNC|
Seniors: Jason Nolf’s the 4-seed, on James Green’s side. Jason Chamberlain and Brandon Sorensen are the 2- and 3-seeds - which has been earned, but is not exactly how we’d think of it.
|Alex Marinelli||IOWA||Gerrit Nijenhuis||PURD|
|Anthony Valencia||ASU||Jaden Mattox||OHST|
|Brian Murphy||MICH||Joe Lee||PSU|
|Dan Vallimont||PSU||Julian Ramirez||CORN|
|Evan Wick||WISC||Nelson Brands||IOWA|
|Isaiah Martinez||ILL||Patrick Kennedy||IOWA|
|Jared Frayer||VATECH||Travis Wittlake||OKST|
|Joey Lavallee||MIZZ||Zach Hartman||BUCK|
Seniors: no Cenzo, who is taking a break. I-Mar looks like the guy to beat here. He just posted an outstanding World Cup over in - I dunno where it was. Somewhere in the hinterlands of Eastern Europe. //uses google machine. Yakutsk, Russia - which is Asia. It’s way, way out there.
Juniors: this should be a real hoot. Wittlake, the former PSU commit, has the most freestyle credentials. He’ll battle it out with PSU’s Joe Lee (Nick’s brother), and a pair of Iowa guys.
|Alex Dieringer||OKST||Aaron Brooks||PSU|
|Chance Marsteller||LHU||Dustin Plott||OKST|
Seniors: no Mark Hall. But DuBois’ own Geno Morelli registered.
Juniors: Aaron Brooks. Remember the name. Watch him wrestle. Get excited for things to come in blue and white.
|Cam Caffey||MSU||Abe Assad||IOWA|
|Chris Weiler||LEH||Gavin Hoffman||OHST|
|Hunter Bolen||VATECH||Jack Jessen||JNW|
|Josh Asper||UMD||Kordell Norfleet||ASU|
|Kenny Courts||OHST||Luke McGonigal||LHU|
|Max Dean||CORN||Trent Hidlay||NCST|
Seniors: as a returning gold medalist, David Taylor has a BYE to the Team USA final, and thus, is not entering the Open. Sammy Brooks is the 1-seed. Myles Martin could get a rematch with Max Dean. Kenny Courts is still lacing ‘em up. Good for Kenny.
Juniors: Trent Hidlay put on some weight, it appears.
|Ben Honis||CORN||Brad Wilton||MSU|
|Bo Nickal||PSU||Dakota Howard||VATECH|
|Cody Walters||OHIO||Jake Woodley||OU|
|Jay Aiello||UVA||Lucas Davison||JNW|
|Kollin Moore||OHST||Mark Chaid||UNC|
|Mike Macchiavello||NCST||Michael Beard||PSU|
Seniors: Bo Nickal gets the 2-seed, behind only Hayden Zillmer. NLWC’s Riley Lefever is the 8-seed. Gonna be a lot of fun watching Bo move on this field.
Juniors: say hello to Michael Beard, then watch him take 8 million leg attacks. He’s also a hammer on top, but you won’t get to see that until November.
|Blaize Cabell||FRES||Tanner Sloan||SDSU|
Seniors: did Wynn Michalak lose a bet or something? He was a Central Michigan senior in 2008 - eleven long years ago. Bully for Wynn.
Juniors: you can register for the Open until 1-day prior to it starting, so maybe there’ll be more names coming.
|Adam Coon||MICH||Anthony Cassioppi||IOWA|
|AJ Nevills||FRES||Brendan Furman||CORN|
|Derek White||OKST||Gavin Nye||CSU|
|Dom Bradley||NEB||Jack Heyob||JNW|
|Nick Nevills||PSU||John Borst||VATECH|
|Tanner Hall||ASU||Seth Nevills||PSU|
Seniors: congratulations, Nick Nevills. The newest addition to the NLWC room, Nick’s ready to go to work in freestyle.
Juniors: so his Nick’s brother, Seth. The Nevills-es are relative freestyle newbies, but Big Snacks could do some damage in this field.