The Olympic Trials were a good weekend for USA Wrestling on multiple fronts. Medal chances are seemingly improved with the veterans looking in top form. At the 2012 Olympics, USA Wrestling garnered only four medals (two golds for Burroughs & Varner, and two bronzes for Coleman Scott & Clarissa Chun). With four reigning World Champions and many other legitimate medal contenders, 2016 should be a much better medal haul. The other glaring positive from the weekend was the young talent on display boding well for 2020 and beyond.
While I originally thought to just write about the really young wrestlers at the Olympic Trials, it's worth noting that some of our established stars are even on the young side. Of course, Kyle Snyder's age gets talked about as he heads to Rio to defend his World Championship to capture an Olympic Gold medal at the ripe old age of 20. Jordan Burroughs will only turn 28 this summer meaning he probably has another cycle in him. It seems like we forget Adeline Gray is only 25 and has already amassed five world medals including three World Championships. Helen Maroulis won the 2015 World Championship at the non-Olympic weight and heads to Mongolia this weekend to qualify the weight at just 24-years old.
J'Den Cox also heads overseas after winning the trials and an NCAA Championship during just his Junior year of college. Alex Dieringer ended up with the true 3rd behind Burroughs & Howe continuing the embarrassment of riches the US has had at 74 kg. Zain Retherford also took 3rd with some impressive wins considering the Nitany Lion still has two years of college eligibility. Fellow NCAA Champ Nahshon Garrett was in the mix at 57 kg, and from what he has said in interviews he looks to get some international experience to become the man at the weight for the future. All four of these guys have extremely high ceilings.
Kyle Dake & Logan Steiber may not have had the Trials they hoped for, but both are just 25-years old. Heading in to the next quad, it's very possible these are the favorites for their respective weights.
There were several other rising stars on display in Iowa City. Mark Hall and Logan Massa had one of the best matches of the tournament before either has wrestled an official college match. Teshya Alo contended at 58 kg finishing top 6 before she goes to her Senior Prom.
There's a lot of young talent spread out across the weights for USA Wrestling. Fargo numbers are going back up with the new rules since it is more fun to wrestle. Cheers to more World & Olympic medals!