The World Team Trials for the 70 kilogram weight class was held today and it was bad ass.
It’s not at all cool that there will only be 6 weight classes at the 2016 Olympics, although 6 is better than zilch, and another side benefit is that USA Wrestling pulled the two non-Olympic weight out of the regular of the qualifying tournament and held them a month or two later, so that people who didn’t make the team at the weights above and below could try making either 61 or 70 kilos. It was a nice little bonus for us fans.
The second phase of the team trials featured a truck load of talented wrestlers at 70 kgs, with Champs and All Americans from at least 4 different NCAA weight classes.
By my count there were 13 wrestlers, representing 5 NCAA championships, 30 AAs and 4 years of eligibility remaining. Here’s a list of the competitors, followed by their NCAA finishes, best as I can figure anyway. I may have made a mistake or two. Such things are known to have happened.
70 kg/154 lbs.
2014 U.S. Open champion – Nick Marable, 3, 7
Trials Tournament Qualifiers
1. Moza Fay, 5, 6
2. Kyle Ruschell, 3, 4
3. Kevin LeValley, 7, 7
4. James Green 7, 7, 3, ?
5. Jason Welch, 6, 4, 2
6. Frank Molinaro 8, 5, 2, 1
7. Kellen Russell, 7, 1, 1
8. Adam Hall 3, 5
9. Dustin Schlatter, 1, 3, 7
10. Dan Vallimont, 3, 2
11. Jason Tsirtsis, 1, ? ? ?
12. Chase Pami, 7, 2
Green won the challenge tournament but wasn’t able to unseat Marable, dropping 2 straight in the best of 3 series for the team spot.
World Team Trials may be my favorite tournament of the year. Nothing but the cream de la cream, wrestling without the suffocating pall of NCAA historical stats and records choking all the fun out of the competition.
And tomorrow is the Golden Grand Prix in Baku, Azerbaijan. 6 Americans competing, including 4 starting team members. Should be gnarly, and a real productive day in the office.