It was nearly impossible to fully process every aspect of the 2017 U.S. Open as it was happening in Las Vegas. There were so many upsets and incredible matches, fascinating storylines playing out, and goals being accomplished.
A week or so later and with a clear head, it's time to glance back at the Open, what it meant for each weight, and also look forward to World Team Trials in Lincoln, Nebraska, on June 10th.
We're now up to 74kg, going over Open results, listing current trials qualifiers, and projecting the seeds. Complete brackets and archived matches for the Open can be found on FloArena.
74kg Trials QualifiersJordan Burroughs - Bye to finals
Alex Dieringer - Bill Farrell Champ
Kevin LeValley - Dave Schultz champ
Kyle Dake - Open runner-up
Anthony Valencia - Open 4th place
Chris Perry - Open 5th place
Chance Marsteller - Open 7th place
Mark Hall - NCAA champ
Vincenzo Joseph - NCAA champ
The title of my preview was "The King Must Fight," and the Dake/Burroughs final provided us with a great deal of controversy. There was the immediate aftermath, with the raw emotion of Kyle Dake and Rob Koll. Then we spent the better part of not one, but two FRL episodes going over hands to the face. Even more ink was spilled comparing the hands to the face calls in the 65kg finals to the 74kg finals.
But, for the seventh year in a row, Jordan Burroughs has a bye to the trials finals. For the seventh year in a row, he gets to represent the United States at Beat the Streets. This Wednesday the 17th will be your last chance to see JB before he wrestles on his home turf in Lincoln, and it will of course be LIVE on Flo.
There has been a precipitous dropoff in Burroughs scoring since July of last year, and to some degree that continued in Vegas. In five matches, he averaged 6.8 points per match, however, he did have two techs and allowed just four points. We did finally see the blast double again, once agains Dan Vallimont and once against Kevin LeValley.
There are no words. Jordan Burroughs double is a thing of beauty. pic.twitter.com/3ZSQva0G3v— FloWrestling (@FloWrestling) April 29, 2017
To perhaps no one's surprise, Kyle Dake stands head and shoulders above the rest of the challenge tourney field. Andrew Howe has retired to coaching, David Taylor is making waves up at 86kg and Alex Dieringer has yet to score a point on Dake. In fact, only one offensive point was scored on Dake the entire tournament, when Burroughs successfully forced a stepout near the end of the first period.
In two previous trials series against Burroughs, Dake was able to keep one match very close but then was teched in the other. Based on every match between the two, Dake will have to keep off a knee, drive through more shots, even if it means getting a stepout instead of a takedown, and continue to fight Burroughs shots with over-unders.
With third place finishes at last year's Olympic Trials and last month at the Open, Alex Dieringer has firmly entrenched himself as the barrier to anyone else at this weight being top three on the national team ladder. And it's not as though he had an easy road to do so in Vegas.
Dieringer started off his tournament against Chance Marsteller before having a war with Anthony Valencia. He then went for broke in the last second to beat fellow Oklahoma State alum Chris Perry on the backside. A similar strong performance in Lincoln, and we'll be see much more of Dieringer competing overseas, at World Cups and even possibly in events like Beat the Streets.
Anthony Valencia should be the three seed in the challenge tournament. He completely blew away three opponents as he continues to show the potential freestyle coaches saw in him years ago. His only losses were to Alex Dieringer, and he once again beat Chance Marsteller, though much quicker this time around.
Chris Perry split with Kevin LeValley, losing in the quarters but winning the fifth place match. LeValley has looked good since moving up from 70kg, but will need to stop his vicious two-on-ones because he may not just be handing opponents free point, but may even get himself thrown out of the trials. Marsteller remains a fascinating character for just about anyone who has followed his career.
Vincenzo Joseph was conspicuously absent among the Penn State NCAA champs. He is no longer junior eligible, so if he does freestyle this year, it will have to be at either the University or senior levels. Mark Hall won a bye to the 74kg trials finals, so it isn't unreasonable to think he may wrestle the next day in seniors.
Looking ahead to the last chance trials qualifier, there is really one name that fans want to see: Isaiah Martinez. We still don't know if IMar will be at 70kg or 74kg, but based on how he looked at NCAAs, it seems more likely he's going to be bigger rather than smaller. While Dan Vallimont and Vlad Dombrovskiy both have much more experience on the senior level, a fully committed Martinez should make a splash in Minnesota and get everyone excited to see him in Lincoln.
WTT Projected SeedsJordan Burroughs - bye to finals
- Kyle Dake
- Alex Dieringer
- Mark Hall
- Anthony Valencia
- Chris Perry
- Isaiah Martinez
- Kevin LeValley
- Chance Marsteller
- Vincenzo Joseph