Go ahead an add a U.S. Open title to the list of growing accomplishments for Hawkeye Tony Ramos, as he downed Andrew Hochstrasser 7-3 to claim his first U.S. Open title and an automatic bye to the World Team Trial finals. Despite the how the final score looks lopsided, this match came down to the wire and for a moment it looked like USA’s #1 57 kg wrestler was going to be upset.
The match was tied one point apiece heading toward the end of the match when Ramos took a shot attempt that Hochstrasser was able to counter and score a takedown, putting Ramos down 3-1 with just over forty seconds to go. Ramos was able to get in on another attempt and was behind Hochstrasser, but was unable to get a third contact point down for a takedown and was awarded a pushout. With the score 3-2 and just under 20 seconds, Ramos kept attacking and was able to life Hochstrasser for exposure and plant him for a takedown to win 6-3 as time expired. Hochstrasser’s corner threw out the challenge brick and the call was confirmed, and Ramos was awarded a seventh point for the failed challenge.
Ramos has been wrestling well lately, jumping all the way to the high teens of the latest World Rankings. A year ago he was coming off a NCAA title and planned to sit out from freestyle competition for a year before joining the 57 kg weight. It was this same tournament a year ago that Ramos and his wife, Megan, were watching from their home in Iowa when she urged him to compete ahead of schedule. That decision wound up leading to Ramos being the surprise in Madison, as he won every single match to make his first World Team.
“I wrestled the whole match, he did one thing, one scramble. But, I know how freestyle works they are going to put you on the clock no matter what, so I had to go out there and wrestle” Ramos said in a post match interview. The first point Ramos surrendered in the match was for failing to score on the shot clock.
Three-time World Team member Brent Metcalf also had a tight match at 65 kg, winning 2-1 over last year’s National runner-up Jordan Oliver. Metcalf trailed 0-1 in his match, but tied it on a Oliver shot clock penalty point. Metcalf had the criteria advantage of being the last to score so even with the match 1-1, he technically had a lead. He added a pushout for good measure and won his second straight U.S. Open.
“Dominate probably isn’t the word. You know figure it out, gut it out. When you are in a match where the guy is very stringy and hard to get to, he’s got a strategy and maybe he’s banged up so he doesn’t want to wrestle a certain position. I have to get where I want to be, it’s the same story as last year.” Metcalf said.
The surprise of the night was when 19 year old Kyle Snyder picked up a 2-1 victory over Olympic gold medalist Jake Varner to win the 97 kg title. The win is significant for several reasons, but chief among them was how tough Varner has looked over the past month. Snyder is obviously talented, winning two Junior World medals, including a title in 2013. The other notable fact is that Snyder could have wrestled another year in the Junior division, but with a win last night, he will have a strong advantage heading into the World Team Trials next month.
Several wrestlers with Iowa ties placed in the top five of their respective weight classes, which earned them a spot at the Trials in Madison, Wisconsin. In total eight wrestlers have automatically qualified, with former UNI wrestlers Moza Fay and Ryan Loder just missing out on automatically qualifying by placing sixth. Wrestlers can head to the Northern Plains regional tournament as the final chance to qualify for the Trials, or they will need to apply for a wildcard.