Yesterday in Madison, Wisconsin the Junior World Team Trials took place to determine who among America’s finest Junior athletes would represent our nation in Croatia this August. Several Hawkeye’s were among those competing for a spot in addition to Gilman. Soon to be sophomore Sammy Brooks, who is slotted to try and take over Ethen Lofthouse’s old 184 spot in the Iowa lineup, was looking to make the team for the second time in his career. Soon to be freshman Brandon Sorenson was also competing for a World spot, but was in probably the toughest bracket to break through in. Finally, two incoming recruits were also competing, Minnesota natives Seth Gross and Sam Stoll tried to qualify for the World tournament as well.
55 KGThomas Gilman:
Gilman proved to be the best the USA has to offer as he qualified for his second World Team in this tournament. Gilman earned a bye to the semifinals where he faced a familiar Big Ten opponent, Nebraska’s Tim Lambert. Hawkeye fan’s might remember that Gilman won the meeting between the two this past year, but by a narrow 2-1 victory (with that second point being riding time). Hopefully the Gilman Hawkeye fans see this coming season was the one that was on the mat yesterday, as Gilman stormed out to a 6-0 lead on Lambert before sticking him at a time of 4:01. Gilman then picked up an injury default over Steven Micic, to force a best of three show down with Ohio State’s Nathan Tomesello. The first go around Gilman controlled the match, earning an 8-4 victory. The second match was harder, as Tomasello picked up a force out and took that 1-0 lead early into the last period. Gilman was finally able to score a double leg takedown to take the lead and wound up winning 3-2 to clinch his spot.
66 KG Brandon Sorenson and Seth Gross
This was a rough tournament for the future Hawkeye Seth Gross as he was up 12-8 in his first match, and ended up losing that one 12-12 on criteria. He then lost his second match to Kargbo 17-7. Sorenson on the other hand shinned. As he picked up a first round technical fall over Michigan’s Zac Hall, followed by a pin over Jared Reis, and then another technical fall over Alex Richardson. It was in the finals where Sorenson ran into the true freshman All American for Penn State, Zain Retherford, and got knocked out of contention with an 11-1 defeat. Sorenson followed that with a disappointing 7-2 loss to Minnesota’s Jake Short. This would have been a tough bracket to win as both Retherford’s and Aaron Pico’s (the guy who beat Retherford in the best of three finals) freestyle resumes are about as flawless as it gets.
84 KG Sammy Brooks
If there is one thing you need to learn about Sammy Brooks is that he is relentless on his feet and it is that relentless, high motor mentality that translates over so well to the college wrestling. It also makes Sammy a really good freestyler. Looking to make his second Junior World Team, started his tournament off with a 11-0 technical fall over Mitch Sliga. Sliga had just come off an impressive win over one the nations top high school wrestlers, Mark Hall, and Brooks made it look easy. Brooks continued on to defeat Old Dominion’s All-American Jack Dechow 7-4 to set up a finals against Cornell’s Gabe Dean. Unfortunately Brooks got behind Dean early, and was never able to mount a comeback and lost 9-5. He followed that up with a loss to Minnesota’s Brett Pfarr for true third. While it wasn’t the ending fans wanted to see for Brooks, there were still some positive take aways from his tournament.
120 KG Sam Stoll
Stoll was competing in the Greco style tournament, and he showed off what made him famous in high school by pinning his first opponent in 28 seconds to force a show down with Michigan’s young standout Adam Coon. Coon had an outstanding tournament making the best of three finals in both the Greco and freestyle divisions. Coon started his finals off with a 11-0 technical fall over Brooks Black, a former highly touted heavyweight recruit. Coon then went to the Greco mat to earn a 5-0 victory over Stoll, and then went back to the freestyle mat again and this time pinned Black. Coon was on his fourth match in a very small time frame and unfortunately for Hawkeye fans he pinned Stoll (but as a wrestling fan that performance was outstanding).
While it was fun to see some of the results the Hawkeye wrestlers posted this weekend, fans should keep in mind that freestyle success does not translate directly into folkstyle (college) success. With that in mind there was some really good things to be excited about and Gilman qualifying for the World Team takes the cake.