2016 Olympic Team Trials -- Challenge Tournament and Best-of-Three Championship Series
Date: Sunday, April 10, 2016
Time: 9 AM CT (Challenge Tournament); 6 PM CT (Best-of-Three Championship Series)
Location: Carver-Hawkeye Arena (Iowa City, IA)
TV/Streaming: NBC Sports Network / NBC Sports Live Extra (more details here)
Twitter: @IowaWRLive, @IAWrestle, @Andy_Hamilton, @JordyHansen, @cbomb12, @kjpilcher
(H/T to @IAWrestle -- go here for a better look at the bracket)
This is the only weight at the Trials where we could see Iowa-on-Iowa action with Tony Ramos and Dan Dennis both at this weight. I had thought for a while that we might see Iowa-on-Iowa action at this weight... only between Ramos and Matt McDonough. Unfortunately, McDonough suffered a serious knee injury during practice last fall that scuttled his Olympic hopes.
I have to be honest: my enthusiasm is at a low ebb after Brent Metcalf's shockingly poor performances yesterday. Hopefully Ramos and Dennis can give us a little joy today. Both men have byes in the first round. Ramos will face the winner of Nahshon Garrett (NCAA champion at 133 lbs this year) and Angel Escobedo, while Dennis will face the winner of Alan Waters and Erzin Tadzhimetov. Ramos and Dennis are on opposite sides of the bracket, so they'll only face each other in the finals (if they make it that far).
Speaking of Dennis, this article by Andy Hamilton on his journey to the Olympic Team Trials is a really, really great read:
The Daniel Dennis journey: From living in his truck to wrestling his way to contender status at the Olympic Trials. https://t.co/An3p7da8Gj— Andy Hamilton (@Andy_Hamilton) April 8, 2016
The winner of this bracket faces Jordan Burroughs in the Best-of-Three championship series later tonight. Burroughs earned a spot in the finals as a medalist at the World Championships last year. This field isn't quite so loaded with Kyle Dake and David Taylor both moving up to 86 KG. Andrew Howe, Alex Dieringer, or Chris Perry figure to be the most likely opponents for Burroughs tonight.
74 KG's loss is 86 KG's gain, though, as Dake and Taylor make a good weight even better. They're both on the bottom half of the bracket, so we could see the next chapter in that long-running rivalry (albeit a very one-sided rivalry, since Dake beats Taylor All. The. Time. when they wrestle...) in the semifinals. Jake Herbert has the been the U.S. guy at this weight for a while, but his time at the top seems to be running out. Ed Ruth is in the top half of the bracket and this could be his last hurrah before focusing full-time on MMA. The most intriguing name in the top half of the bracket might be J'Den Cox; if he can manage the cut down from 197 lbs, he could be a handful at this weight.
The winner of this weight will face Kyle Snyder in the Best-of-Three Championship Series later tonight. Like Burroughs, Snyder earned a spot in the finals thanks to the medal he won at the World Championships. The biggest threat to Snyder in this bracket figures to be former Olympic gold medalist Jake Varner, who appears focused on making the most of one last go-round at the Olympics. An intriguing name in the top half of the bracket is former Iowa State wrestler Kyven Gadson, who memorably pinned Snyder in the NCAA finals in 2015.
Also competing Sunday:
You can still purchase tickets from Iowa here. Single-day tickets (everything Saturday or everything Sunday) cost $45 for adults and $35 for ages 18 and under. Single-session tickets (i.e., just the morning on Saturday or just the evening on Saturday) cost $30 for adults and $25 for ages 18 and under.