Jordan Burroughs after winning his fourth U.S. Open title (Photo/Tony Rotundo, WrestlersAreWarriors.com)
LAS VEGAS -- Jordan Burroughs has ruled the 74-kilogram weight class in the United States -- and the entire world at times -- since bursting on the senior level in 2011.
On Saturday night in Las Vegas, the 28-year-old Burroughs topped Kyle Dake to win his fourth U.S. Open title and remain on top.
Trailing 2-1 in the final period against Dake, Burroughs scored the go-ahead point off the shot clock and held on for a 2-2 criteria victory to win his sixth U.S. Open title.
Burroughs, a 2012 Olympic gold medalist and three-time world champion, remains undefeated in his career at the U.S. Open and has not lost to American wrestler in over three years.
Dake, a four-time NCAA champion at Cornell, fell to Burroughs in the finals of the U.S. World Team Trials in 2015, but moved up to 86 kilograms last year and finished runner-up at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials.
Prior to 2016, Burroughs had reached the finals of the World Championships or Olympics every year since 2011. At the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio last summer, Burroughs failed to earn a medal.
"This has obviously been an extremely tough six or seven months for me since Rio," said Burroughs. "A lot of fear, a lot of doubt, a lot of anxiety, so this feels good, but obviously I know I've got to beat Kyle probably two times again in Lincoln in June. So I'm not going to sit on my laurels. This is just a stepping stone to where I want to be, getting back to Paris.
"It's never going to be easy. I commend you, Kyle, for a great match, and I'll see you again twice in June."
Burroughs was the lone 2016 U.S. Olympian to win a U.S. Open title in freestyle. The only other Olympian competing in the tournament, Frank Molinaro, was edged in the finals at 65 kilograms by Jordan Oliver on criteria.
Molinaro led 2-0 after the opening period. He scored a point off the shot clock, which he followed up with a step-out point. Oliver, though, battled back in the second period, scoring a takedown off a low single and gaining two exposure points to go up 4-2. Molinaro responded with a takedown off a go-behind to make the score 4-4, but Oliver held the criteria lead, and was able to hold on for the narrow victory and claim his first U.S. Open title.
"I knew it was going to be a war," Oliver said of wrestling Molinaro. "I went down 2-0 early, but it's nothing I can't come back from. I can score whenever I want, however I want and dictate the pace."
David Taylor, who is ranked No. 6 in the world, was dominant en route to capturing his second U.S. Open title, and first at 86 kilograms. After picking up three technical falls and a fall on Friday, Taylor added a fourth technical fall by defeating Richard Perry 10-0 in the finals. Taylor was named Outstanding Wrestler at the U.S. Open.
"I want to have fun," said Taylor. "Having fun with me is scoring a lot of points, getting back to what I love doing, and that's scoring. I made an assessment after the Olympic Trials last year. I said I'm not going to be tired in my matches anymore. I'm going to press the pace. I'm going wrestle hard. I'm going to make it hell for these guys I'm going to wrestle. I may get beat, but I'm going to wrestle as hard as I possibly can for that six minutes."
James Green, a world bronze medalist in 2015, came through to win his first U.S. Open title at 70 kilograms, topping Nazar Kulchytskyy 4-1 in the finals. Green scored the match's only takedown off a low single in the first period.
Two-time U.S. World Team member Tony Ramos won his second U.S. Open title with a 5-3 victory over Nahshon Garrett at 57 kilograms. The first period ended 1-0 in favor of Garrett after scoring off the shot clock. Garrett extended his lead to 3-0 in the second period after a takedown off a single leg. Ramos battled back, scoring points off the shot clock and from a step out to cut the deficit to 3-2. Then Ramos scored a double leg to grab a 4-3 lead and held on for the victory.
Kendric Maple took the title at 61 kilograms, beating surprise finalist Brandon Wright 10-7 in the finals. Maple jumped out to a 6-0 lead. Wright mounted a late rally but came up short.
Standing in Maple's way for a spot on the U.S. World Team is world champion Logan Stieber, who did not compete in Las Vegas.
"That's who I'm training for," Maple said of Stieber. "He's got the title right now and I want to go get it."
At 97 kilograms, Kvyen Gadson won his first U.S. Open title by blanking Micah Burak 3-0 in the finals.
I've got a little girl who looks up to me, Isabella," said Gadson, an NCAA champion for Iowa State. "I tell her every day she's the hardest working girl in the world. I make her repeat it back to me. I just try to be the hardest working dad in the world. It's different for me, having never felt these type of emotions ever in my life. It feels good to win again."
Olympic champion Kyle Snyder did not compete and has an automatic berth to the finals of the U.S. World Team Trials. Gadson, by winning the U.S. Open, will enter the World Team Trials as the No. 1 seed in the challenge tournament.
Gadson pinned Snyder in the NCAA finals in 2015. However, since then Snyder has gone on to win a world title and Olympic title.
"That [U.S. Open finals] performance isn't going to beat Kyle," said Gadson. "It's that simple."
Nick Gwiazdowski also claimed his first U.S. Open title, beating Zack Rey 3-2 in the finals at 125 kilograms.
1st: Anthony Ramos dec. Nahshon Garrett, 5-3
3rd: Nathan Tomasello dec. Frank Perrelli, 9-7
5th: Zach Sanders forfeit Alan Waters
7th: Jesse Delgado tech. fall Britain Longmire, 11-0
1st: Kendric Maple dec. Brandon Wright, 10-7
3rd: Joshua Kindig dec. Cody Brewer, 16-16
5th: Seth Gross forfeit Joe Colon
7th: Christopher Dardanes dec. Daniel Deshazer, 9-0
1st: Jordan Oliver dec. Frank Molinaro, 4-4
3rd: Zain Retherford dec. Jimmy Kennedy, 4-3
5th: Evan Henderson forfeit Kellen Russell
7th: Nicholas Dardanes dec. Mario Mason, 13-5
1st: James Green dec. Nazar Kulchytskyy, 4-1
3rd: Chase Pami dec. Jason Nolf, 12-6
5th: Alec Pantaleo dec. Jason Chamberlain, 5-1
7th: Thomas Gantt fall Jason Welch, 5:17
1st: Jordan Burroughs dec. Kyle Dake, 2-2
3rd: Alex Dieringer fall Anthony Valencia, 1:01
5th: Chris Perry dec. Kevin LeValley, 3-3
7th: Chance Marsteller dec. Dan Vallimont, 8-1
1st: David Taylor tech. fall Richard Perry, 10-0
3rd: Nicholas Heflin dec. Bo Nickal, 10-6
5th: Patrick Downey III dec. Kyle Crutchmer, 7-3
7th: Gabe Dean dec. T.J. Dudley, 8-8
1st: Kyven Gadson dec. Micah Burak, 3-0
3rd: Nathan Burak dec. Nikko Reyes, 11-2
5th: Ty Walz forfeit Kallen Kleinschmidt
7th: Matt Williams dec. Donald McNeil, 10-5
1st: Nick Gwiazdowski dec. Zack Rey, 3-2
3rd: Dom Bradley dec. Bobby Telford, 2-1
5th: Anthony Nelson dec. Justin Grant, 10-0
7th: Nathan Butler dec. Benjamin Durbin, 5-1