The Hawkeye Wrestling Club has had a great off season and people are starting to take note. FLO is featuring the club left and right. Take a look at the trailer for their upcoming special, "Black and Gold," focusing on Tony Ramos and Brent Metcalf and their hunt for a gold medal at next month's World Championships. In shocking news, there's a corn field featured in the video. (But it really is a very good video anyway.)
The U.S. Junior World Freestyle Team entered Sunday tied for third in the team standings. What a day it was for the Americans, as they went 16-4 and won four medals. The Junior World Team placed in six of the eight weight classes. Maybe the Americans are figuring out this freestyle thing?
The only wrestler in the finals was Aaron Pico at 66 KG/145.5 lbs. He ended up dropping his finals match to Yazdanicharati of Iran, 9-2. Aaron Pico is the next big star for the U.S. team, but people sometimes forget that this young man has two more years at the junior level. Believe the hype for Aaron Pico. (Just don't ask where he's going to college -- he's bypassing collegiate wrestling to focus exclusively on international wrestling.)
The other three U.S. wrestlers that medaled were out of the championship matches and fighting back for bronze medals. Anyone that has wrestled knows how hard it is to feel that chance at a gold medal slip through their fingers. But the U.S. team set that disappointment aside and Thomas Gilman (55 KG), Gabe Dean (84 KG) and Adam Coon (120 KG) stepped up to bring home three bronze medals for the U.S. (Dean wrestles at 184 lbs in collegiate wrestling and will be a sophomore at Cornell this season, while Coon wrestles at 265 lbs and will be a sophomore at Michigan this year.)
A day earlier, Joey McKenna took home silver for the U.S. at 60 KG, while Kyle Snyder added a bronze medal at 96 KG. McKenna will be wrestling at Stanford in college (likely at 141 lbs), while Snyder will be wrestling at Ohio State (at 197 lbs). Medaling in six out of eight weight classes allowed the U.S. to finish in second place. Take that, Russia!
1. Iran, 64 pts.
2. United States, 58 pts.
3. Russia, 49 pts.
4. Turkey, 42 pts.
5. Azerbaijan, 41 pts.
But enough about the U.S. team, let's talk about our Iowa Hawkeye!
Thomas Gilman started the Junior Worlds out with relentless single leg attacks. He cruised to two 10-0 technical fall victories. Gilman impressed the heck out of me with great quickness and better yet, "Iowa Style" aggressiveness. Taking (and finishing) shot after shot is what propelled him into the quarter finals.
In the quarterfinal round he found himself in a barn burner with Reza Atri of Iran. Gilman's heavy hands and constant movement eventually wore down the Iranian and he was able to win the match by tiebreaker criteria, 4-4.
Michalan Hasan-Zada from Azerbaijan was Gilman's semifinal opponent; he was able to slow down Gilman's attacks and that proved to be the difference maker in Hasan-Zada's 5-2 decision win. Gilman only got one shot off before the break and couldn't get through Hasan-Zada's hands in the second period. He was by far the more aggressive wrestler and deserved to be in the finals. As you can see in the video below, Gilman was very frustrated. Do you blame him?
After that disappointing loss, Gilman headed into the bronze medal match at the FILA Junior World Championships, where he straight dominated Kazakhstan's Vladimir Kurdin en route to an 11-6 decision victory. Gilman finished 8th at this event a year ago, so a bronze-medal finish this year was definitely a tremendous improvement for him -- now we'll see if he can carry over that improvement and success to the college season.
Thomas Gilman talked about his tournament and how the experience helps him prepare for a NCAA title. Gilman looked solid at 55 KG/121 lbs and the entire 125 lb weight class needs to watch out. A confident Hawkeye is always something that needs to be feared and if you add a beard...GAME OVER
Below you can find the match by match videos from Thomas Gilman's performance at the Junior World Championships. Big thanks to USA Wrestling for posting all the videos.
FULL THOMAS GILMAN RESULTS
55 kg/121 lbs. - Thomas Gilman, Council Bluffs, Iowa (Hawkeye WC)
WIN Abdelhak Kherbache (Algeria), tech fall, 10-0, 2:29
WIN Methodli Chadli (Tunisia), tech. fall, 10-0
WIN Reza Atri (Iran), 4-4
LOSS Michalan Hasan-Zada (Azerbaijan), 2-5
WIN Bronze Medal bout vs. Vladimir Kurdin (Kazakhstan) 11-6
Don't forget to check out IAwrestle's excellent coverage of Gilman at the Junior World Championships, either: