With the U.S. Olympic Trials less than two weeks away, an intriguing situation is transpiring between Tony Ramos and Dan Dennis of the Hawkeye Wrestling Club: they could easily be the top two seeds at the Trials at 57kg (126 lbs).
It's not just the fact that the teammates could end up wrestling each other for an Olympic berth.
They are at different places in their lives. Their wrestling careers are different. They have different personalities. They have different haircuts.
But they have the same coaches.
Those factors set this particular situation apart from match-ups like Logan Stieber vs. Reece Humphrey. The Brands brothers are two of the most animated coaches in the sport. Can you imagine being Ramos or Dennis and having Tom or Terry coaching against you?
Ramos won three high school state titles in Illinois, an NCAA Championship and made two World Teams in two attempts.
Dennis was an Illinois state runner-up in high school who nearly pulled a huge upset in the NCAA finals, but was denied in the closing seconds. He did not qualify for the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials, and appeared to be retired until he showed up at the U.S. Open last spring at 61kg (134 lbs). He then earned a runner-up finish at the World Team Trials before dropping down to 57kg (126 lbs). In December, he won the U.S. Senior Nationals, which would likely make him the No. 2 seed at the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials.
We recently joined Terry Brands, Dennis and Ramos during their trip to Krasnoyarsk, Russia, for the famed Ivan Yarygin Grand Prix. We documented the journey in our most recent FloFilms Series, Prepared to Fight: The Yarygin.
During the trip to we spoke with Brands, Dennis and Ramos about the situation.
The Elephant in the Room:Ramos gives his take on the dynamic between him and Dennis in Iowa. He notes that it hasn't really been discussed, but it's an elephant in the room.
From the Trailer to the Trials:Dennis talks about his journey over the past couple years. He was in California living in a fifth-wheel trailer, and didn't have any desire to compete. Now, he and Ramos are on different tracks, but chasing the same goals.
And in this Corner:Terry Brands talks about the dynamic between Ramos and Dennis as they train together in the same room, knowing they could be on a collision course for an Olympic berth. Though it hasn't been discussed, he feels he would probably be in Ramos' corner while his brother, Tom Brands, would pull for Dennis.
Could you imagine that happening? What if they do end up meeting in the U.S. Olympic Trials finals, Hawkeye vs. Hawkeye?
How would the Iowa fans react?
We'll have to wait to find out, but until then, you can watch Terry Brands, Ramos and Dennis behind the scenes in episode two of Prepared to Fight: The Yarygin. I have been on many trips during my time at FloSports, but traveling to Siberia in the dead of winter to the toughest tournament on the planet was by far the most unique. Our FloFilms team did a masterful job capturing the look and feel of this remote, frozen region of the world.
Episode three airs tomorrow, and will tell the story of Kyle Snyder, Jake Varner, Brent Metcalf, Logan Stieber and Bobby Telford as they fight the environment, the crowd, the refs and their opponents.
Check out the series trailer:
WATCH- Prepared to Fight: The Yarygin