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THE WORLD TEAM TRIALS SUNDAY PREVIEW + OPEN THREAD

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More wrestlers try to punch their tickets to Las Vegas for the World Championships.

Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Day one of the World Team Trials got underway yesterday and half the U.S. team at the World Championships in Las Vegas in September is now set after eight champions (four men and four women) were crowned yesterday.  Former Iowa star Tony Ramos was one of them, defeating Joe Colon in two matches in the best-of-three finals at 57 KG to earn the spot there.  Ramos defeated Colon 6-0 and 3-1 and looked in control throughout both matches; the speed at which he's adapted to freestyle is remarkable.  We had hoped to get an all-Iowa final at 57 KG, but Colon took out Matt McDonough earlier in the day in a wild 17-12 win.  McDonough led 10-1 at one point early in the second period and was just one point away from ending the match and locking up a technical fall win; alas, that was when Colon went on absolute tear.  He scored 16 points in the second period off a series of takedowns and exposures; he completely dominated McDonough with his double underhooks and ability in the clinch.  As sad as it was to see McD lose, he did go down in a hell of a match, easily one of the most entertaining of the entire day.  (Less entertaining was his second loss of the day, a 10-0 tech fall defeat to Tyler Graff in the consolation bracket.)

Two other former Iowa wrestlers were in action yesterday as well, with Derek St. John at 70 KG and Phil Keddy at 86 KG.  St. John picked up a 9-7 win over former UNI wrestler Moza Fay in his first match of the day, an entertaining and back-and-forth encounter with plenty of action from both wrestlers.  It all went downhill for DSJ after that, though -- former Minnesota wrestler Dustin Schlatter crushed him via 10-0 technical fall in a little over 30 seconds and Nazar Kulchytsky added another 10-0 technical fall defeat in the consolation bracket.  Keddy went 0-2, losing via 14-3 technical fall to Ed Ruth in his first match in a bout that was closer for most of its length than the final score would suggest -- Ruth turned it on late with a series of exposures.  Keddy then lost to Deron Winn via fall in 0:35 in the consolation bracket.  Suffice to say, this tournament was not one to remember for Keddy.

As for Sunday's action...

SUNDAY

61 KG (134 LBS)

BEST-OF-THREE FINALS QUALIFIER: Reece Humphrey (2015 U.S. Open champion)

TRIALS TOURNAMENT QUALIFIERS
1) Kendric Maple (2015 U.S. Open -- 2nd place)
2) Coleman Scott (2015 U.S. Open -- 3rd place)
3) Daniel Dennis (2015 U.S. Open -- 4th place)
4) Jon Morrison (2015 U.S. Open -- 5th place)
5) Kyle Hutter (wildcard)
6) Joey Lazor (2015 Northeast Senior Regionals champion)

Like 70 KG yesterday, 61 KG is an interesting weight because it's not an Olympic weight -- so for wrestlers at this weight, it's pretty much World Championships or bust.  Dan Dennis is the Iowa representative at this weight.  He draws former UNI wrestler Joey Lazor in the first round.  If he gets past Lazor, he'll see former World Team member (and former Oklahoma State standout) Coleman Scott in the next round.  Kendric Maple, a former NCAA champion from Oklahoma, is the top seed in the other half of the bracket, with former Ohio State star Reece Humphrey waiting in the Best-of-3 finals for whoever emerges from the challenger bracket.  Dennis has made a career -- at Iowa and in the freestyle ranks -- of confounding expectations; let's hope he can do it again today. 

65 KG (143 LBS)

BEST-OF-THREE FINALS QUALIFER: Brent Metcalf (2015 U.S. Open champion)

TRIALS TOURNAMENT QUALIFIERS
1) Jordan Oliver (2015 U.S. Open -- 2nd place)
2) Kellen Russell (2015 U.S. Open -- 3rd place)
3) Logan Stieber (2015 U.S. Open -- 4th place)
4) Jimmy Kennedy (wildcard)
5) Frank Molinaro (2015 U.S. Open -- 5th place)
6) Jason Chamberlain (2015 Northern Plains Senior Regionals champion)
7) Jayson Ness (2015 Northeast Senior Regionals champion)
8) Joey McKenna (wildcard)

This is the big kahuna for Iowa fans, with former Iowa star (and fan-favorite) Brent Metcalf in action.  The good news is that as U.S. Open champion he has an automatic bye into the Best-of-3 finals, which should make it easier to win the spot on the U.S. team at the World Championships (three of four weights yesterday were won by the wrestler who had a bye into the Best-of-3 finals and the one weight where that didn't happen didn't have a wrestler who got a bye into the finals; Nick Marable missed weight at 70 KG and didn't wrestle yesterday). The bad news is that we only get to see him wrestle in the finals.  It should be quite a battle to get that other spot in the finals, though.  This is the most decorated bracket in the field; between them the challengers have 13 NCAA championships.  Logan Stieber, fresh off his 4x NCAA champion collegiate career, is the big new addition at this weight, but Jordan Oliver and Kellen Russell have been the top dogs behind Metcalf at this weight for a while now -- it will be interesting to see how much Stieber has improved in freestyle over the last few months.  Oliver and Russell have been so good at this weight for so long that I still suspect that one of them will be Metcalf's challenger at this weight tonight, but there's so much good talent at this weight that I certainly wouldn't be that surprised to see an upset, either.

74 KG (163 LBS)

BEST-OF-THREE FINALS QUALIFIER: Jordan Burroughs (2014 World bronze medalist)

TRIALS TOURNAMENT QUALIFIERS
1) David Taylor (2015 U.S. Open -- 1st place)
2) Andrew Howe (2015 U.S. Open -- 2nd place)
3) Kyle Dake (2015 Northeast Senior Regionals champion)
4) Anthony Valencia (2015 U.S. Open -- 3rd place)
5) Tyler Caldwell (2015 U.S. Open -- 4th place)
6) Colt Sponseller (2015 U.S. Open -- 5th place)
7) Quinton Godley (2015 Northern Plains Senior Regionals champion)

There are no former Iowa wrestlers at this weight; there are, however, a handful of the best wrestlers in the country all vying for one spot.  Jordan Burroughs has been the standard bearer at this weight for years and become one of the most decorated U.S. wrestlers ever during competition at the World Championships and Olympics, but David Taylor and Kyle Dake are some pretty fierce competition -- they were two of the best college wrestlers in recent memory and they're eager to represent the U.S. in a major international event and show what they can do, too.  Howe and Caldwell are very accomplished wrestlers in their own right and they'll do what they can to stymie a possible Taylor-Dake final in the challenge tournament.  An interesting wildcard is Anthony Valencia, a high school wrestler and the top recruit in the country who's poised to tear things up at Arizona State for the next few years.  Could he be the next Taylor or Dake?  It's too soon to say, but he's incredibly talented and it will be fascinating to see how he matches up against the much more experienced competitors at this weight.

97 KG (213 LBS)

BEST-OF-THREE FINALS QUALIFIER: Kyle Snyder (2015 U.S. Open champion)

TRIALS TOURNAMENT QUALIFIERS
1) Jake Varner (2015 U.S. Open -- 2nd place)
2) J.D. Bergman (2015 U.S. Open -- 3rd place)
3) Cayle Byers (2015 U.S. Open -- 5th place)
4) Micah Burak (2015 Northern Plains Senior Regionals champion)
5) Dustin Kilgore (wildcard)
6) Enock Francois (wildcard)
7) Wynn Michalak (wildcard)
8) David Zabriskie (2015 Northeast Senior Regionals champion)

This weight doesn't have any direct Iowa ties, but it does have some connections -- Micah Burak is the older brother of current Iowa wrestler Nathan Burak and Cayle Byers had intended to transfer from George Mason to Iowa to wrestle his senior year at 197 lbs before some complications sent him to Oklahoma State instead.  Jake Varner and David Zabriskie are former Iowa State wrestlers, too.  Varner has been the man at this weight for a while, but Snyder surprisingly toppled the former World Team member and Olympic medalist at the U.S. Open last month -- can the current Ohio State star do it again today?  We might find out.

Just like yesterday, the event is being streamed live by Flowrestling ($) and I'll keep things updated in the comments as well.