First and foremost, that was amazing! There are eight weight classes, and we had three of them go to three matches. Almost half of the weights gave us extra innings! The following are some simple thoughts about the results of this exciting venture.
This weight gave us everything we could have asked for from the dramatic perspective. Ramos, the Hawkeye who got all butt hurt when the coaches dared to coach another Hawkeye, and then left to North Carolina. He wins the US Open, setting himself up to win a best two of three against the challenger. Well, he talks all this trash, gets "who he wanted", and gets smoked! Gilman battled through numerous NCAA champs, and accomplished international wrestlers, to get to the finals. I had literally never seen anyone push Ramos around a mat before, but Gilman did it for 12 minutes straight! It looked like it was Gilman's mat, and he was giving Ramos a tour in reverse. Here is the thing, Gilman is a junior world bronze medalist, and had some poorly timed loses in his NCAA career. He is going to be an excellent representative for the US at 57kg's, and is almost certainly our best medal shot since Cejudo in 08.
Logan Stieber, world champion, newly engaged, and our representative at 61kgs. Give credit to Maple, dud came out firing on all cylinders. With that being said, after Kendrick's initial 6 points, Stieber went on a 19-3 run to come from behind, and then tech him. Stieber is going to be on a tear, and lost some international matches after his world championship, so not only is he accomplished, he has something to prove. It's going to be fun to watch him school these fools.
Weird how we've had two matches with two former teammates from staple programs like Iowa and Penn State in our first three weights. Anyway, Zain dominated his way to the finals, then much like Gilman, dominated his way through the matches. He dictated the pace of all three bouts, and controlled the center of the mat. I thought initially that Frank was backing up to set up Zain for his his lefty high crotch, but the second and third match proved that he was tired of being punched in the face. Probably doesn't help that he got his face and eye busted open either. Either way, after losing the first match, Zain proved that he has what it takes to win us a medal in Paris.
Jimmy Kennedy could be the second best 70kg wrestler in the world. He came back to beat Jason Nolf in decisive fashion, beat Dylan Ness 11-0, and Nazar Kultchysky 7-0 just for this chance to face James Green. James proceeded to pick him apart in most impressive fashion. Green is the new Gold is the slogan on his new shirts, and in addition to being a catchy phrase, is very well the case. I'm looking forward to James Green winning this tournament and being generally understood as the best 70kg wrestler on the planet.
Jordan Burroughs does it again. It was easy to think that it was his time to move on into the next chapter of his life. It was too easy for me to forget that less than a year ago I was ready for him to win his second Olympic gold medal. Dake wrestled the first four minutes of their best of three series the way I thought he should, then he changed his mind and approach, and Burroughs won the following 14 minutes of their matches. What was really amazing was their third match when you could tell that Jordan had every ounce of his confidence back, and knew what the outcome was going to be without a shadow of a doubt. Confident Jordan Burroughs is the best Jordan Burroughs, and beating Dake the way he did will only assure he enters the World Championships with the best mindset.
I don't even know what to say. David fought hard to make it to the finals that he thought he already was assured. J'Den decided he was in fact going to compete, and compete he did. Nobody on the planet had taken down J'Den in international competition, and yet DT went to work right away. Even giving up some take downs, and showing that he still has some more to learn after an ill advised head pinch, as well as possibly blowing out his leg, he won. Seems outrageous, but that's what happened. J'Den scored more points on one leg that DT was able to in order to secure what he wanted, that World Team spot. Cox looked great, and I'm looking forward to his battle in Paris.
This picture is what nightmare's are made of. Can you imagine having the daunting task of beating this man? Kyven Gadson is so large that he made Snyder look small, and yet he wasn't able to do much but instill confidence that Snyder will win another gold medal, and hopefully not a defective one this time around. Will Snyder make a run at Baumgardner's 15 world and olympic teams? At this point, it looks like it's up to him.
Gwiz is our guy. It's kind of weird to think that in HS, Cox beat Snyder, then Snyder beat Cox, then Snyder beat Gwiz. Crazy right? Anyway, Gwiz looked outstanding and beat a very accomplished wrestler in Dom Bradley to secure his spot at HWY. I don't know who we are going to find to challenge G-Unit over the next couple years, but right now there is hope because I truly believe that Gwiz will only get better at international wrestling, and his ability to push the pace with international wrestling heavyweights will be fun to watch.
Overall, these World Team Trials were outstanding to watch, and we are sending a truly outrageous team to Paris. If we don't come back with a handful of medals and world champs, I'm going to be shocked! USA ALL THE WAY!!!