It's time for the Olympic Trials this week and it's hard to be more excited for a weekend of wrestling than what I currently am. USA Wrestling released its rankings Friday and we are (unfortunately) left to the weekend to see any brackets.
Anyway, here is a look at my potential bracket busters who are looking to break through as the title exclaims. It's a little tough to pick too far off the beaten path here since if you qualified for the Olympic Trials, you are really not coming from nowhere. However, we tend to (when it comes to international) just assume the established guys will defend their position and represent us at Olympic/World's. Time and time again though, guys/girls break through in unexpected spots. In Men's freestyle, we sent three guys to the 2015 Worlds and 2012 Olympics that had never been on a world team previously (3 of those 6 won medals by the way). What I'm probably failing at saying is, while everyone is assuming the favorites, someone is going to break through this weekend in a surprise spot.
Teshya Alo WFS 58 kg
- This Hawaiian star athlete is just 18, but has won many medals in Judo and Freestyle Wrestling including the last US Open and a Cadet World Championship. She took 3rd at the 2015 Trials in two different weight classes, but this year she could very well break through.
Scott Schiller FS 97 kg
- While Minnesota natives seem to prefer Greco, Schiller made a splash in freestyle at the US Open taking 2nd. Schiller has length and seems to be able to lift guys in ways not usually seen at this weight. The 3x All-American is dangerous in this bracket and could seriously be the guy challenging Kyle Snyder in the best 2 of 3 Sunday night.
Ildar Hafisov GR 59 kg
- While Spenser Mango has owned this weight class domestically for 8 straight years, he lost 2-2 to Hafisov this past year. Hafisov was a 2008 Olympian for Uzbekistan but now looks to represent the greatest country in the universe. Mango will have work to do to make another Olympics and finally get that world medal.
Nathan Tomasello FS 57 kg
- Outside of an ill-timed funk roll, we could be talking about a 2-time NCAA & Big Ten champ headed to the Olympic Trials. The RS Sophomore had another fantastic season and has spent a lot of time getting some freestyle matches in. He is a great build for this weight class and very difficult to score on. A lot of people are talking about Nahshon Garrett crashing the party, whom I'm also looking forward to, but don't forget about Tomasello because he lost a scramble in the NCAA semis.
Amanda Hendey WFS 63 kg
- Clogdo qualified the weight with a gold at Pan Am's and Pirozhkova has been a staple on the World Team with four career medals. However, Amanda Hendey was 2nd at the Trials last year and seems to be improving by the day. She seems to be motivated and wrestling at a high level which should give the top two gals a serious run for their money.