Jordan Burroughs gets in on a double leg against Kyle Dake (Photo/John Sachs, Tech-Fall.com)The World and Olympic champion won in two straight matches over a game Kyle Dake in the best-of-three finals at 74 kilos in men's freestyle. Burroughs cruised to a 7-0 technical fall victory in their opening match. The second match, however, proved to be much more competitive. Burroughs and Dake traded leads throughout the match and the match was sent to overtime tied 6-6. Burroughs then scored the winning takedown a short time into the overtime period.
The 74-kilo weight class was one of the most-anticipated weight classes in recent history because it included the past three Dan Hodge Trophy winners: Burroughs, Dake, and David Taylor, plus Olympic Team Trials runner-up Andrew Howe and past World Team member Trent Paulson, among others. Burroughs, though, believes there may have been a little too much hype surrounding the weight class.
"The hype was huge," said Burroughs. "But for me, I think it was a little overhyped. People said it's the greatest weight class ever. But I remember some weight classes in the late 80s, early 90s ... Dave Schultz, Kenny Monday, Nate Carr. All proven World and Olympic medalists. It was great for the American fans. Kyle Dake is just a national champ. David Taylor is just a national champ. There was only one World Team member in the entire weight class other than myself. So I think it was a little overhyped, but it was good for the fans."
Burroughs will be in search of his third straight World or Olympic title when he competes in the World Championships in September, which would put him halftime to matching John Smith's six World or Olympic titles. But Burroughs is not comfortable with the comparison to Smith.
"Right now I'm focusing on a year at a time," said Burroughs. "What John Smith did was amazing, and for me to compare myself to John Smith is kind of like guys comparing Kyle Dake to me on this trip. I really just want to give John Smith an amazing amount of credit. I applaud him for everything that he's done. He's in a level of his own. I'm just trying to make a level of my own."
Reece Humphrey defeated Jimmy Kennedy in two straight matches (Photo/Jeff Beshey, The Guillotine)The other two men's freestyle champions on Friday train at the Ohio RTC in Columbus, Ohio: Reece Humphrey (60 kilos) and J.D. Bergman (96 kilos). Both were U.S. Open champions in April and both became second-time World Team members. Humphrey finished ninth at the 2011 World Championships. Bergman placed tenth at the 2010 World Championships.
Humphrey topped red-hot Jimmy Kennedy in two straight matches to win the title at 60 kilos. It was Humphrey's first win ever over Kennedy. The former Ohio State Buckeye outscored Kennedy 19-8 in the two matches, finishing with a 13-5 technical fall.
Humphrey believes he will be much more prepared for the World Championships this year than he was in 2011.
"This year this is going to mean everything to me," said Humphrey. "I see what Jordan Burroughs does and what Coleman Scott did, and I want it bad."
Bergman proved to be too much for Chris Pendleton in the finals at 96 kilos, winning by technical fall in the first match and by pin in 18 seconds in the second match.
J.D. Bergman handled Chris Pendleton in the finals at 96 kilos (Photo/Jeff Beshey, The Guillotine)"The best feeling in the world is to see what God can do for somebody," said Bergman. "I have done so many things. But God has blessed the plan."
Bergman has battled injuries over the past few years and changed his diet.
"I've had a laundry list of injuries, more than most people," said Bergman. "The doctors have told me that I need a back surgery, knee surgery, and shoulder surgery before I keep going. But God is bigger than that. My life is Jesus. I don't wrestle for me. I used to."
Greco-Roman veterans Spenser Mango (55 kilos) and Justin Lester (66 kilos), both members of the U.S. Army World Class Athlete program, won their finals matches to earn a spot on the U.S. World Team. For Mango, it marked his sixth straight Trials title. Lester, a two-time World bronze medalist, made his seventh World or Olympic team.
Spenser Mango lifts Nate Engel in their finals match at 55 kilos in Greco-Roman (Photo/Mark Beshey, The Guillotine)The 26-year-old Mango defeated Army teammate Nate Engel in two straight matches. He ended the first match by executing a five-point throw with just over a minute remaining first period. He then closed out the victory with a 7-0 technical fall, scoring with a three-point throw and two turns.
Mango says that he likes new rules implemented by FILA.
"I like the fact that it's a little longer periods," said Mango. "Everybody is strong for the first minute. After that first minute, that's when you really see how tough a guy is. I like these rules. It gives you a little more time to open guys up. It's not so much just playing the par terre game and waiting until the whistle blows."
Lester's victory in the finals came over Ellis Coleman in a battle of 2012 Olympians. Both matches were decided by one point.
"We're going to be battling until these shoes are off," Lester said of Coleman. Until then, I expect him to push me. I'm going to push him to make him a better wrestler. Same thing with Kendrick (Sanders). We've got three of the most exciting wrestlers in the U.S. in Greco, and we're all at the same weight. We're going to push each other."
Jordan Holm came through to win the title at 84 kilos in Greco-Roman (Photo/Mark Beshey, The Guillotine)Jordan Holm broke through to make his first U.S. World team at 84 kilos in Greco-Roman after finishing as a Trials runner-up in 2011 and 2012. His finals victory came over Peter Hicks. The 31-year-old Holm won the first match by executing a five-point throw. He then earned a 7-0 technical fall victory in the second match.
"This is the first year I've had a consistent training situation here in Minnesota at the Minnesota Training Center," said Holm. "I'm really thankful for the support we've had there."
Greco-Roman heavyweight Robbie Smith also became a first-time Trials champion by topping David Arendt in the only finals series that went all three matches. It marked the first time since 2004 that a wrestler other than Dremiel Byers won the Trials in the Greco-Roman heavyweight division. Smith, a former 96-kilo wrestler, was third at the 2010 U.S. World Team Trials and third at the 2012 Olympic Team Trials.
"It was tough," Smith said of the finals. "He came at me like no other. But I just pushed through it."
Helen Maroulis dominated Whitney Condor in the finals (Photo/Jeff Beshey, The Guillotine)In women's freestyle, two returning World medalists, Helen Maroulis (55 kilos) and Adeline Gray (72 kilos), won Trials titles on Friday night. Both were dominant in the finals.
Maroulis, a World silver medalist last year, pinned Whitney Conder in the opening match, then won by technical fall (7-0) to close out the victory.
"I'm super happy," said Maroulis. "I'm very, very thankful. I had a rough eight weeks since nationals. A lot of injuries. I just gave it to God. I'm so thankful for all the doctors and the trainers at the OTC and out here that really helped me to prepare for this because it was a battle. Now that the tournament is done I'm so happy. I can't wait to just go to the World Championships."
Gray, a returning World champion, crushed Brittany Roberts in two straight matches to win the title at 72 kilos. Gray outscored Roberts 17-0 in earning two technical fall victories.
World champ Adeline Gray was dominant at 72 kilos on Friday (Photo/Jeff Beshey, The Guillotine)Even though Gray was dominant against her domestic competition, she expects the World Championships to bring an entirely different challenge at 72 kilos.
"It's definitely a different level," said Gray. "These girls are big. They're strong. They definitely come from a different breed than the U.S. girls come from."
Nine more spots on the 2013 U.S. World Team will be determined on Saturday. Wrestling gets underway at 11 a.m. CT.
Reece Humphrey (New York AC) over Jimmy Kennedy (New York AC), 2 matches to 0
Humphrey dec. Kennedy, 6-3
Humphrey dec. Kennedy, 13-5
Jordan Burroughs (Sunkist Kids) over Kyle Dake (Titan Mercury WC), 2 matches to 0
Burroughs dec. Dake, 7-0
Burroughs dec. Dake, 8-6 OT
J.D. Bergman (New York AC/Titan Mercury WC) over Chris Pendleton (Titan Mercury WC), 2 matches to 0
Bergman dec. Pendleton, 9-2
Bergman pinned Pendleton, 0:18
Spenser Mango (U.S. Army) over Nate Engel (U.S. Army), 2 matches to 0
Mango dec. Engel, 5-0
Mango dec. Engel, 7-0
Justin Lester (U.S. Army) over Ellis Coleman (U.S. Army), 2 matches to 0
Lester dec. Coleman, 1-0
Lester dec. Coleman, 4-3
Jordan Holm (Minnesota Storm) over Peter Hicks (U.S. Army), 2 matches to 0
Holm dec. Hicks, 5-0
Holm dec. Hicks, 7-0
Robbie Smith (New York AC) over David Arendt Jr (U.S. Marines), 2 matches to 1
Arendt dec. Smith, 5-3
Smith pinned Arendt, 1:28
Smith dec. Arendt, 6-1
Helen Maroulis (Sunkist Kids) over Whitney Conder (U.S. Army), 2 matches to 0
Maroulis pinned Conder, 4:41
Maroulis dec. Conder, 7-0
Adeline Gray (New York AC) over Brittney Roberts (Gator Women's RTC), 2 matches to 0
Gray dec. Roberts, 9-0
Gray dec. Roberts, 8-0