The U.S. Open featured a ton of fantastic matchups, of course headlined by a exciting finals match between Olympic Gold medalist Jordan Burroughs and David Taylor’s finals match. If you haven’t seen it yet, I strongly suggest you go to Flowrestling and watch it. It was also nice seeing former Iowa wrestlers (from all three major universities) in the finals, and even more satisfying to see Brent Metcalf and Jake Varner finish on top.
Las Vegas U.S. Open
Matt McDonough entered the U.S. Open as the #4 seed, so seeing a 4th place finish from the former Hawkeye All American was expected. McDonough’s most impressive win on the weekend was a 2:41 pin over #9 ranked, and fellow Iowan Joe Colon. Colon was leading early in the match before he was able to put away the UNI All American. Colon finished 5th. I look forward to seeing how McDonough and Colon learn from this tournament as they head toward the world team trials later this summer. Also worth noting Tyler Graff, who finished 2nd at 57kg could be a factor at this weight, as well as Reece Humphrey (finished 5th at 65kg).
Brent Metcalf’s weekend in Vegas can only be described as dominant. Showing flashes of what Hawkeye fans have come to love and expect from Metcalf, he amassed an astonishing 39 points while blanking his opponents en route to his his title. Metcalf defeated the #5, #1 at 61kg, and #2 ranked American wrestlers and will look to continue his dominance at the World Team Trials.
Former UNI All American and Anamosa, IA prep Moza Fay put together a 2nd place finish, falling to Nick Marable 5-1 in the finals. Marable is quickly becoming a force at the 70kg weight class, and holds the only post-collegiate victory over gold medalist Jordan Burroughs. While it wasn’t the ending Fay was hoping for, he still still outscored his opponents 43-17 and also registered a first round fall.
Iowa State’s Jon Reader finished the weekend 4th, only losing to eventual champion Keith Gavin, and 3rd place finisher Ed Ruth. Reader stormed to the semifinals outscoring his opponents 36-0, before being blanked by Gavin 5-0. He scored a 10-0 TF over Iowa’s Phil Keddy before losing an exciting 12-11 match to Ed Ruth in the consolation finals.
Phil Keddy’s weekend in disappointment as he not only finished 6th in his bracket, but injury defaulted in his 5th place match to end the tournament. Keddy has dealt with some injury issues before, and hopefully he can overcome those issues in time for the World Team Trials at the end of May.
Olympic Gold medalist and former Iowa State Cyclone Jake Varner had a fantasitc weekend finishing 1st at his weight. Varner outscored his opponents 29-2 on his way to a title besting Wynn Michalak 5-0 in the finals. It was an encouraging sign to see Varner back on his game.
Hawkeye Wrestling Club memeber Micah Burak placed 5th over former Iowa State All American David Zabriskie. Burak’s two losses were to eventual champion Varner and 3rd place finisher JD Bergman before he defeated Zabriskie 7-1. Zabriskie lost to Bergman in the quarterfinals and had to win three straight matches to reach the consolation semifinals, before losing to both Deron Wynn and Burak to end his tournament.
FILA Junior Championships
Iowa’s Topher Carton put together the most impressive weekend, finishing 2nd to Standford recruit Joey McKenna in the finals. Carton will look to build off of his performance and challenge for the 141 pound spot in the Hawkeye lineup next season.
Hawkeye Jake Marlin and future Hawkeye Seth Gross both had a disappointing weekend as both failed to reach the podium. Both wrestlers lost to Luke Zilverberg on the consolation side of the bracket. Gross losing 11-0 and Marlin losing by fall. Both should compete at the 141 pound weight class for the Hawkeyes this coming season.
UNI’s Jake Hodges competed at this tournament as well and didn’t have any better luck then his fellow Iowans. Hodges ran into the #1 ranked high school wrestler Zahid Valencia in his first match and then was eliminated in his next match against Tyler Berger.
Brandon Sorensen showed a lot of toughness this weekend after losing a 6-5 match to eventual champion Logan Massa, Sorensen rattled off seven straight victories to finish 3rd. Sorensen figures to be in contention for a starting spot for either 149 or 157 for the Hawkeyes next season.
Logan McQuillen and Logan Thomsen both finished off difficult weekends, as they both failed to place. Thomsen fell to Zahid Valencia’s brother Anthony 14-3. Valencia is also a top five high school prospect, so Thomsen lost a tough matchup. Thomsen then put together a few victories before falling to Penn State’s Garett Hammond. McQuillen failed to register a victory, going 0-2.
Alex Meyer put together a solid tournament, finishing 7th in what was considered a pretty loaded weight class. Meyer’s two losses were to Nebraska’s Tim Dudley 9-5, who finished 2nd, and to 3rd place All American Gabe Dean of Cornell 12-2. While given Meyer’s credentials 7th place may feel a little low for the Hawkeye, he was wrestling up roughly 11 pounds from where he spent most of the season (174) and this particular bracket featured some great talent.
Broc Berge had a rough tournament losing both bouts he competed in. Hopefully Berge can continue to learn and with All American Nathan Burak ahead of him, Berge will be able to continue to be able to develop.
Sam Stoll was the lone (future) Hawkeye competeing this weekend in Vegas, and he did quite well in both the FILA and the U.S. Open. In the FILA Junior division, Stoll placed second to Michigan’s Adam Coon. Coon spent a part of the past season the #1 ranked Division I heavyweight, so Stoll losing that match should come with little disappointment. Stoll then jumped to the senior division, where he finished 5th losing only to the 1st and 3rd place finishers. The future looks bright for Stoll as he will most likely redshirt next season for Iowa.
Also competing in the Greco style was former UNI Panther Jordan Holm at 84kg. Holm, who is the #1 ranked American at 84kg won his bracket with ease, scoring two technical falls and one pin.