While the hometown and national press will follow along as Burroughs tussles toward another U.S. World Team, there are a number of other compelling matchups, namely Nebraska's James Green vs. Jason Chamberlain at 70 kilograms and Daton Fix vs. Thomas Gilman at 57 kilograms.
For fans the Fix vs. Gilman matchup is made by their opposing collegiate loyalties and personality differences. But for fans of the international scene it's an important battle that could forecast Team USA's ability to defend their team gold in 2018 and help determine a trajectory for Tokyo 2020.
Gilman, who earned silver at the 2017 World Championships in Paris, is the highest lightweight placewinner since Henry Cejudo in 2008. Before that Sammie Henson took bronze at 55 kilograms and Mike Zadick took silver at 60 kilograms in 2006. That's a solid finish, but after a pair of losses at the World Cup in Iowa City the Gilman style might be exposed to the international community, which could affect future outcomes.
At 57 kilograms that matters. For those who've been tuning into the early season freestyle action across the world, there is a definitive dearth of talent at the lightest freestyle weight class. The world's top talent has either gone up a weight class in response to same day weigh-ins, or simply aged out. That leaves a talent vacuum that the USA -- with a proven track record of same day weigh-ins -- could capitalize upon with their new lightweight talent.
That's not to say nobody remains. Yuki Takahashi of Japan is worthy of praise, but the separation between Takahashi and Fix/Gilman isn't as great as say the separation the USA felt in 2016 when Dan Dennis represented the USA and Vladimer Khinchegashvili won the gold for Georgia.
To that point, Olympic bronze medalists Haji Aliyev (Azerbaijan) and Hassan Rahimi (Iran) have both since vacated the weight and were replaced in 2017 by bronze medalists Andrey Yatsenko (Ukraine) and Bekhbayar Erdenebatyn (Mongolia). Both are talented, but nowhere near the talent pool of 2016 and before.
So it's the opportunity for world gold that really makes the Fix/Gilman match special. Who wins there has a higher chance of placing in Budapest than all but Snyder, Burroughs and Green. The winner will be in the driver's seat leading into the 2018 World Championships and set the trajectory heading into Tokyo 2020.
To your questions …
Adam Coon will attempt to make the World Team in both freestyle and Greco-Roman (Photo/Tony Rotundo, WrestlersAreWarriors.com)
Q: So Adam Coon is wrestling at the Greco World Team Trials in Oklahoma then has to turn around and wrestle in the Final X in Pennsylvania the next night. This seems like a tall task. I love it when wrestlers go ironman. How much will this travel and competition hinder Coon in his match with Nick Gwiazdowski?
-- Robert W.
Foley: Yeesh. It's a short flight, but anytime you are asked to compete two days in a row there would be an expectation that performance would be impacted. Coon is about the most self-confident competitor in the nation and I'm sure Coach Bormet has him primed for the challenge, but you have to expect that time spent traveling to and from airports and jamming into seats made for men half your size will affect the big man's energy level.
Unless Coon's flying private, in which case he's Bruce Wayne and totally fine to pull back-to-back matches for a spot on the national team.
Q: Now that the U23 freestyle team is set, rank the medal chances from most likely to least likely.
-- Mike C.
61 kilograms: Vitali Arujau
92 kilograms: Michael Macchiavello
70 kilograms: Hayden Hidlay
86 kilograms: Myles Martin
97 kilograms: Kollin Moore
65 kilograms: Mitchell McKee
57 kilograms: Jack Mueller
74 kilograms: Alex Smythe
79 kilograms: David McFadden
125 kilograms: Youssif Hemida
I really can't tell how they'll fair overall until I see who else is competing at the U23 World Championships. However, remember that we are still several months away from this tournament and these guys are only going to improve in that time, with most traveling to Colorado Springs and other RTC's for selective training. They'll also have some collegiate training to keep them warm.
Q: What is stopping more Division I guys from going Greco?
Foley: More than 90 percent of current NCAA wrestlers don't train any Greco-Roman throughout the season. It's too far removed from folkstyle, which is where most American wrestlers choose to focus their time and efforts.
For guys to get good at Greco-Roman takes more than just self-determination, too. Training partners, coaching staff and a budget to train with other top-level athletes would also need to be in place should any college athlete want to make the move to Greco. That structure is part of the reason Northern Michigan has a Greco-only program and that USA Wrestling is working hard to get the best Greco prospects tracked from an earlier age.
Q: Do you expect Yoel Romero to get revenge this weekend against Robert Whittaker? Or is Whittaker just a bad matchup for him? Romero is 41 years old, so I'm not sure how many more years he has left.
-- Mike C.
Yoel RomeroFoley: Expect revenge? No. Wishing Yoel wins? Yes
I think Yoel has the opportunity to put Whittaker away early, but that largely comes down to his game plan and willingness to execute. Yoel tends to put people away in the third round. They're exhausted and battered, while he's still peaking. But with Whittaker it won't be as easy since the Kiwi showed a willingness to go the final ten minutes full hearted -- something that affected Yoel's output as much as physical conditioning.
No matter the outcome I will always love Yoel. Incredible wrestler and he did the world a favor when he smacked down wackadoodledoo Tim Kennedy.
Romero vs. Kennedy
Q: What are your thoughts on the growth of wrestling in South Carolina since we found out this week Lander University is adding a men's Division II team and Presbyterian College with the first Division I women's wrestling team added this past year? There were only two in 1998 when I graduated from high school. Now we have seven.
Foley: More wrestling opportunities in South Carolina is wonderful. Good luck to those schools and future wrestlers.
That said, a word of caution ...
While the growth is encouraging we should all recognize that wrestling didn't suddenly become one of the fastest growing sports for Division II, III, NAIA and the community college circuit by the force of the sport's merits. In large part the growth has been driven by enrollment-based schools who offer the sport as an incentive for attendance. With the government ensuring loans for any student looking to attend college, the risk to the college is minimal. In essence the colleges are enticing students to attend, get paid up front and then leave students to carry the debt. Student loan debt in American is now larger than credit card debt.
I don't have an objection to wrestling being part of that model, but we need to look at the issues of student loans and ask ourselves what is and is not the right path forward for our youngsters.
Q: RUDIS keeps teasing their soon-to-be-released shoes on social media. It's exciting to see a new company in the wrestling shoe market. I know Kyle Snyder will have his own shoe. Do you think Isaiah Martinez will too?
-- Mike C.
We Are Coming. The Snyder Caliga. pic.twitter.com/zgSDRRZBK2�" RUDIS (@the_rudis) June 6, 2018
Foley: Designing and producing one shoe (from scratch) is probably enough of a financial risk for RUDIS. Imar represents the brand's desire to work with wrestlers they trust who have a good brand to sell. I think we'll see T-shirts and the rest with some Imar branding, but mostly he'll just be a RUDIS-sponsored wrestler who reps the brand's major gear, maybe even Kyle Snyder's shoe.
Q: How are college volunteer assistants paid and what is the pay range for the job?
Foley: Volunteer assistants are in an interesting spot. As the name implies the school can't pay for their services, so they are usually paid a salary by the adjoining club. For the upper echelon of NCAA programs the volunteer assistant gig could mean $80,000 with the expectation that you are full-time employee who also runs the local club practices.
Most volunteer coaches make far less than $80,000, with many not expected to work a full 40-hour week for the program. They might get extra income from camps, be in school, or even use tuition remission to offset the lack of pay. Overall, not a great source of income, but for young coaches its often the place they need to start if they ever want to take over a program.
As a reference point to the massive pay disparities in the sport, the first assistant coaching job I took was as a second assistant making $14,000 a year (plus housing). I know of one assistant coach in 2018 who makes more than $150,000 a year. That's the most dramatic example possible, but does help illustrate the pay gap.
Overall, most assistant coaches are paid between $40,000 and $70,000 depending on experience, location and the school's funding. For long-term assistants at places like Michigan, Iowa and Virginia Tech you could assume they are making north of $100,000 (including camps, etc.). For a new assistant at a smaller cap school that number will be much more modest.