The 2015 World Championships was only a few months ago, yet competitors from USA will begin their path to qualify for the Olympic games in Rio this Saturday in New York at the Bill Farrell International. It is an important tournament for those wrestlers who wish to compete in April’s Olympic Team Trials in Iowa City, as the top American finisher from the Bill Farrell International will qualify for the Trials joining the 2015 World Team members, and any previous Junior or Senior World medalist. Since this is an International tournament it is important to remember that there will be competitors from additional countries in the mix, which is why it is the highest American medalist at the tournament who qualifies.
So far It looks as though Iowa will be sending a rather strong collection of talent to compete for a Bill Farrell title and two of the biggest names might be Daniel Dennis at 57 kg and Kyven Gadson at 97 kg. Dennis will have his first taste of competition at 57 kg after making a comeback in 2015 for the 61 kg spot. In Dennis’s second tournament at 61 kg, the wrestler achieved well above most expectations finishing second to Reece Humphrey in the best of three finals for the World spot.
Gadson, who will be making his International debut, will be competing at a weight which features not only the reigning World Champion, but also features the 2012 Olympic champion. What makes Gadson’s story so compelling is the fact that the former Iowa State wrestler pinned World champion Kyle Snyder in the NCAA finals this past month, which makes him the last American to beat the young phenom.
Cruse Aahrus – Panther Wrestling Club
#9 Dan Dennis – Hawkeye Wrestling Club
Looking at the registration lilts there are already a ton of hammers in the field with former World Team members Obe Blanc (2010), #7 Nick Simmons (2011), Sam Hazewinkel (2012) already registered, and in addition #4 Andrew Hochstrasser and #6 Tyler Graff are also registered making this potentially one of the most loaded fields. This weight also features two promising young guns, as 2015 NCAA champion Nathan Tomasello, and Junior bronze medalist Stevan Micic are also registered. In short you better show up when the lights are on.
Michael Moreno – Cyclone Wrestling Club
Not to downplay this weight by any stretch of the imagination, but this weight has seen it’s depth take a serious hit over the past few months. Earlier this summer fans were giddy that USA’s #3 ranked wrestler at this weight was a World medal contender, but with David Taylor, Kyle Dake, and now even Tyler Caldwell most likely moving up, there is room for new names to emerge. The new #3 – Nick Marable, #9 Anthony Valencia, and #10 Quinton Godley are all registered, so there is some talent head to NYC, but the fact still remains this weight is “easier” in 2016 than it was in 2015.
Moreno has competed at 70 kg internationally after wrapping up his college career at 165 pounds for Iowa State this past March.
Pat Downey – Iowa State
#9 Deron Winn – Cyclone Wrestling Club
Ryan Loder – Panther Wrestling Club
Andrew Sorenson – Panther Wrestling Club
This weight is send a tough group of Iowans with Deron Winn being a top 10 American, Pat Downey a former Junior World medalist, and Ryan Loder who put together a strong 2015 season. Already registered are #2 ranked Ed Ruth, #4 Clayton Foster, and #5 Chris Perry, but realistically any one of the Iowa wrestlers has a realistic shot at being the top American this weekend. Ruth has been susceptible to mental lapses, and we if Winn or Loder are clicking they are tough to beat. This will be a good measuring stick to see where Downey fits into this weight after not having the 2015 season he was hoping for.
We mentioned in the opening that Gadson was an interesting wrestler based on the fact he is the most recent wrestler to hand World champion Kyle Snyder a loss, but this will be Gadson’s entrance to freestyle and there will most likley be a fair amount of expectations on the former Cyclone. The fact that #3-5 are registered for this tournament means that in all honesty Gadson being the fourth American at this weight would be an impressive start to his career, but if he is able to finish higher we may really have a good story brewing for April’s Trials.
Den Durbin – Cyclone Wrestling Club
#8 Eric Thompson – Nittany Lion Wrestling Club (Grand View)
This will be another tough weight for the Iowans this weekend, and while the field lacks the number of former World Team members that 57 kg boasts, #3-6 are registered which meas that at the present time, Thompson will be the fifth seeded American in this bracket. After having a standout career for the Grand View Vikings, Thomspon has struggled to gain footing at the top of this weight class in American, but this could be a good weekend for him to change all of that.