Just when you thought the action couldn’t get any better, the semifinal round went and blew the roof off the whole tournament. The round was full of upsets aplenty, revenge matches, and for some just another day at the office.
Things got started at 57 kg, where everyone was looking forward to the Tony Ramos and Joe Colon semifinals. At the 2013 Midlands, Colon caught and pinned Ramos early in the match, which at the time was a true stunner. A few months later, Ramos secured his place in Hawkeye history by winning the NCAA title and making a World Team shortly after that. Perhaps the disappointing fact in all of that was fans never got to see the Colon-Ramos rematch, but last night they certainly got it.
Colon jumped out to a 4-0 on Ramos, but Ramos stayed cool and collected to tie the match 4-4. Ramos added another score, which ended up being the final 6-4. After the match conclusion, Ramos had some words for Colon, which you can watch on Flowrestling, but the gist is that Ramos has now beaten all but one person at this weight and he was glad to finally be able to get his revenge.
Brent Metcalf returns to the Open finals and will face a familiar opponent, Jordan Oliver. Last year Metcalf won the Open outscoring his opponents 39-0 on his way to the title, but this year he has looked “human”. He has been taken down in back-to-back matches, but in the end he was able to defeat Frank Molinaro. Oliver, who is opposite him in the finals, has set up a rematch of last year’s World Team Trials. Metcalf swept the matches 2-0 to claim the World spot.
For former NCAA champion Jake Varner he was up to his usual antics of scoring late in the match to win on criteria. Just last month in the World Cup finals, Varner trailed 3-1 in a match against Iran in a match USA needed to win to have a shot at gold. Varner hit a duck under to tie the match at three a piece, but won on criteria on virtue of being the last to score. Varner was in a similar scenario, where he needed a late second takedown to defeat two-time World Team member J.D. Bergman. Up next for Varner is one of USA’s most talented teenage wrestlers Kyle Snyder. At 19 Snyder has already won Junior gold and bronze medals, and made the NCAA finals as a true freshman. This could be a great battle for watching one of USA’s greatest wrestlers at this weight for the last five years, against the possible future of this weight.
There were plenty of other exciting matches last night outside of the Iowa wrestlers. 2012 Olympian Jake Herbert scored the upset of the night when he beat Ed Ruth at 86 kg. The reigning World Team member, Ruth pinned Herbert earlier this year at a FloPremire League match.
High school senior Anthony Valencia also provided excitement, as he took Ivan Yarygin silver medalist Andrew Howe to the wire, but in the end the veteran Howe won 7-4.
57 kg/125.5 lbs.
Tony Ramos (Titan Mercury WC) vs. Andrew Hochstrasser (Titan Mercury WC)
61 kg/134 lbs.
Kendric Maple (Sooner WC) vs. Reece Humphrey (New York AC)
65 kg/143 lbs.
Brent Metcalf (New York AC) vs. Jordan Oliver (Sunkist Kids)
70 kg/154 lbs.
Nick Marable (Sunkist Kids) vs. Dustin Schlatter (Minnesota Storm)
74 kg/163 lbs.
David Taylor (Nittany Lion WC) vs. Andrew Howe (New York AC)
84 kg/185 lbs.
Jake Herbert (New York AC) vs. Keith Gavin (Titan Mercury WC)
97 kg/213 lbs.
Jake Varner (Nittany Lion WC) vs. Kyle Snyder (Titan Mercury)
125 kg/275 lbs.
Tervel Dlagnev (Sunkist Kids) vs. Zach Rey (Lehigh Valley AC)