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Last weekend at the U.S. Open, we all witnessed the depth of this weight class and the incredible talent that was on full display. Coming into the tournament, two-time Cadet world champ Yianni Diakomihalis was the name circulating around the arena as the man to beat, with Kanen Storr being the main guy in his way. Well, that all changed very quickly when Northwestern redshirt freshman Ryan Deakin ascended to the top of the bracket, defeating both Yianni D and Storr on the way. Yianni ended up third with a win over Dom Demas.
Deakin had a stellar redshirt season that included a third-place finish at Midlands, where he took out No. 15 Jordan Laster in his first match of the tournament. He also beat NCAA qualifiers Hunter Ladnier, Davion Jeffries, No. 19 Andrew Crone, and No. 20 Joey Delgado, with his lone loss coming against All-American Brandon Sorensen.
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Deakin gets the comeback win over Yianni D.
Deakin is the real deal, and if you didn't know it before, then you surely know it now as he sits in the best-of-three finals awaiting his opponent at the trials.
The monkey wrench in the mix at 66 will be Griffin Parriott, who was also a double Fargo champ last year. Parriott just won the 70kg Junior bracket in Vegas and will be dropping to 66 for the trials. The Purdue redshirt freshman outscored the opposition by a combined score of 58-6 at the trials. With Parriott, Storr, and Diakomihalis slugging it out in the challenge tournament to make it to Deakin in the trials finals, this bracket is going to be a must watch.
Parritott takes the 70kg US Open title.
The final ripple is the possibility of a number of other guys making the move down to 66kg who competed at 70kg this past weekend. To name a few: Joe Lee (runner-up at 70kg to Parriott), Austin Kraisser (third at the Open), and Mike D'Angelo (fourth at the open) as well as David Carr, who would be plenty big enough for the weight. Carr could be a bit of a stretch, but the alternative would be going up to 74kg where Mark Hall is waiting.
Overall the amount of competition that will be in Lincoln next month is insane. Like I said, if you pay attention to one bracket at Junior Trials, it should be this one.
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