The Complete 2019 Bill Farrell Men's Freestyle Preview
The Complete 2019 Bill Farrell Men's Freestyle Preview
Preview all six weights in men's freestyle for the 2019 Bill Farrell Memorial, which serves as the first qualifier for the 2020 Olympic Trials.
Senior-level wrestling returns to Flo this week with the Bill Farrell Memorial International in New York City.
November 15-16 | 9:30 AM Eastern
This Friday and Saturday will serve as the first qualifier for the 2020 Olympic Team Trials. All three styles will be competing this weekend at the New York Athletic Club in Manhattan, right across from Central Park.
Men's freestyle kicks off on Saturday, with the finals coming that night. Check out the weight-by-weight preview for all six brackets being contested, along with finals picks. Athletes with a "*" next to their name in registered athletes are already qualified for OTT.
|57kg||Austin Miller||RI||New England RTC/Bears WC|
|57kg||Darian Cruz||PA||New York Athletic Club|
|57kg||Seth Gross||MN||Sunkist Kids Wrestling Club|
|57kg||Guesseppe Rea Villarroel||PA||New York Athletic Club|
|57kg||Nathan Tomasello||OH||Titan Mercury Wrestling Club|
|57kg||Zane Richards||IL||Titan Mercury Wrestling Club|
|57kg||Shelton Mack||VA||Titan Mercury Wrestling Club|
|57kg||*Nahshon Garrett||AZ||Titan Mercury Wrestling Club|
|57kg||Edward Klimara||IL||Titan Mercury Wrestling Club|
|57kg||Frank Perrelli||VA||Titan Mercury Wrestling Club|
|57kg||Cory Clark||IA||Titan Mercury Wrestling Club|
|57kg||Zach Sanders||MN||Gopher Wrestling Club - RTC|
|57kg||Sean Russell||MN||Gopher Wrestling Club - RTC|
|57kg||Daniel DeShazer||KS||Gopher Wrestling Club - RTC|
Commentary: We’re full-throttle right from the first weight, with six NCAA champs headlining the field. Some potential rivalries could be reignited between Nathan Tomasello and Darian Cruz, as well as Seth Gross and Nahshon Garrett. Then there is, of course, the biggest wildcard with the least freestyle experience, Nick Suriano. Plus Cory Clark coming down from 61kg.
There are certainly weight concerns for some of these guys, with Nahshon going 0-2 the last time we saw him make scratch at 57kg, and Gross not being down that low since he won Fargo Cadets in 2012. Clark is also several years removed from making 125 for the Hawkeyes. In favor of them, however, is that this will be a one-day weigh-in, with the tournament being started and finished on Saturday.
Looking to the actual wrestling, though, the potential matchups are excellent. We’ve never seen Gross wrestle Tomasello, or Suriano face Nahshon, or Tomasello against Suriano. Seeding implications will be massive, especially with Nahshon having already qualified. If he makes the finals, the person opposite him on Sunday afternoon will get the qualifying spot.
While Suriano has minimal freestyle experience, there is little doubt with his positioning that he’ll have no trouble adjusting to the stepout rules, and it’s also difficult to see him getting turned often in par terre the few times he might get taken down. In addition to his world-class go behind stuff, I expect to see a little more underhooking, Iranian style out of the Rutgers national champ.
The last time we saw Nahshon wrestle was at Final X: Lehigh in 2018. Although he won the world team spot there, he got hurt and could not compete at the world championships. The injury lingered and impacted his descent down to 57kg, where he wanted to try to get a jump start on the Olympic process by competing there this past year. So we’re expecting a little rust after 17 months, not to mention the effects of being down to weight.
The move to Wisconsin by Gross has made the Badgers a title contender, and now his coaches Chris Bono and Jon Reader will be joining him this weekend in Manhattan, along with Nick Becker at 74kg and several women’s wrestlers on the Wisconsin RTC roster. Gross fell just short of making the national team in 2018 at 61kg but has been on both a Cadet and Junior team at the age level.
Tomasello was battling injuries for the better part of a year, missing World Team Trials in May and not being able to finish Midlands in December because of them. If the 2017 national team member is at full strength, his lefty hi-c is going to keep him in every match.
Cruz has steadily improved his freestyle game, though he was in the University finals back in 2015. He could see Zane Richards in this bracket, who beat Cruz 6-2 in the consi semis in Vegas, but made the national team after beating Jack Mueller 7-5 in Raleigh.
Richards, Perrelli, and Klimara qualified for WTT over the past two years, and Clark and Shelton Mack are dropping down from 61. High school senior Jacob Moran is training at the Olympic & Paralympic Training Center under Kevin Jackson with the EAP. Shelton Mack is coming down from 61kg and Zach Sanders just missed qualifying for WTT last year after making it several years in a row.
Finals Pick: Suriano over Nahshon
|65kg||Joey Lazor||IA||Panther Wrestling Club RTC|
|65kg||Bryce Meredith||WY||New York Athletic Club|
|65kg||Mario Mason||NJ||New York Athletic Club|
|65kg||Matthew Kolodzik||NJ||New York Athletic Club|
|65kg||Ethan Lizak||PA||New York Athletic Club|
|65kg||Jordan Oliver||NC||Sunkist Kids Wrestling Club|
|65kg||Earl Hall||VA||Titan Mercury Wrestling Club|
|65kg||Ben Whitford||MI||Titan Mercury Wrestling Club|
|65kg||Jaydin Eierman||MO||Titan Mercury Wrestling Club|
|65kg||Dean Heil||OK||Titan Mercury Wrestling Club|
|65kg||Frank Molinaro||VA||Titan Mercury Wrestling Club|
|65kg||Evan Henderson||NJ||Titan Mercury Wrestling Club|
|65kg||Rob Mathers||AZ||Sunkist Kids Wrestling Club|
|65kg||Colton McCrystal||IA||Sunkist Kids Wrestling Club|
|65kg||Nicholas Dardanes||IL||Titan Mercury Wrestling Club|
|65kg||Joseph McKenna||NJ||Titan Mercury Wrestling Club|
|65kg||Kamol Begakov||NJ||Scarlet Knights Wrestling Club|
|65kg||Frank Yattoni||ND||Minot MatWrats Wrestling Club|
|65kg||Joshua Saunders||MO||Titan Mercury Wrestling Club|
|65kg||Robert Rehm||MD||Navy-Marine Corps Mat Club|
|65kg||Lukas Richie||PA||Pennsylvania RTC|
|65kg||Tony Tolbert||PA||Pennsylvania RTC|
|65kg||Jayson Ness||MN||Gopher Wrestling Club - RTC|
Commentary: Although the name cache at the top might not be as juicy as the weights directly above and below it, the depth at 65kg means there will be quality matchups from the Round of 16 on. The favorites to meet in the finals will, of course, be familiar foes Frank Molinaro and Jordan Oliver, who met in Raleigh to determine the final spot on the 2019 national team.
Oliver won their first two meetings on the senior level by criteria, including in the semis at this very same tournament four years ago, when it was also the first OTT qualifier. The difference was the former Cowboy's ability to get takedowns, but when they wrestled in May he did not get one until the final seconds of the match. Additionally, Oliver has never made a (senior) world team, while Gorilla Hulk was of course our 2016 Olympian at this weight.
The strongest likelihood to knock off either of the favorites is Jayson Ness, who pinned Molinaro in a highflyer in the third-place match in Vegas but lost the rematch a few weeks later at WTT. Eierman is registered but may not compete. McKenna made Final X in 2018 but then was unable to qualify for the Trials this past year. He has a new home at the Penn RTC, where his club teammate Ethan Lizak is also training.
Heil is training with Molinaro at the Oklahoma RTC and should be your four seed. One of his NCAA finals opponents in Bryce Meredith is now at the NJRTC. Colton McCrystal was last year's U23 world teamer and Robbie Mathers is a former University champ.
While on paper there appears to be a clear separation at the top, this weight will have high-level D1 guys and All-Americans likely meeting as early as round one. If you're a true wrestling nerd, a connoisseur of senior-level wrestling, not only will you watch every match from this weight, you'll also be salivating at the thought that Senior Nationals next month will be even more loaded.
Finals Pick: Oliver over Molinaro
|74 kgs||James Hunsberger||VA||Viking Wrestling Club|
|74 kgs||Dan Vallimont||PA||New York Athletic Club|
|74 kgs||Logan Massa||MI||New York Athletic Club|
|74 kgs||Jake Keating||VA||Cavalier Wrestling Club|
|74 kgs||Tyler Berger||NE||Sunkist Kids Wrestling Club|
|74 kgs||Brandon Sorensen||IA||Titan Mercury Wrestling Club (TMWC)|
|74 kgs||Mekhi Lewis||VA||Titan Mercury Wrestling Club (TMWC)|
|74 kgs||Chance Marsteller||PA||Titan Mercury Wrestling Club (TMWC)|
|74 kgs||Nazar Kulchytskyy||MN||Titan Mercury Wrestling Club (TMWC)|
|74 kgs||Isaiah Martinez||IL||Titan Mercury Wrestling Club (TMWC)|
|74 kgs||Thomas Gantt||NC||Titan Mercury Wrestling Club (TMWC)|
|74 kgs||Nick Becker||WI||Titan Mercury Wrestling Club (TMWC)|
|74 kgs||Quinton Godley||NC||Titan Mercury Wrestling Club (TMWC)|
|74 kgs||Evan Barczak||NY||Pennsylvania RTC|
|74 kgs||Joey Lavallee||MO||Titan Mercury Wrestling Club (TMWC)|
|74 kgs||Tony Raupp||ND||Minot MatWrats Wrestling Club|
|74 kgs||Nick Incontrera||NJ||Pennsylvania RTC|
|74 kgs||Jason Nolf||PA||Nittany Lion Wrestling Club|
|74 kgs||Branson Ashworth||WY|
|74 kgs||Jordan Laster||NY|
|74 kgs||Vincenzo Joseph||PA||Nittany Lion Wrestling Club|
|74 kgs||Elroy Perkin||WI||Gopher Wrestling Club - RTC|
|74 kgs||Dylan Ness||MN||Gopher Wrestling Club - RTC|
|74 kgs||Jaison White||NY||Ascend WC|
Commentary: This is it, the big one. The weight where the potential combinations of quarterfinals and semifinals cannot possibly be anything but fantastic.
Coming in at the top is the man who has made two straight Final X appearances. Isaiah Martinez joined a select group of men to take a match from Jordan Burroughs and had separated himself from the pack a bit. It was at this tournament three years ago where I believed we started to see a shift in Imar's focus and the way he wrestled, leading to the formidable version we now see today.
Chasing right behind him is three-time NCAA finalist Jason Nolf. A folkstyle savant who also dabbles in jii-jitsu, the Nolf/Imar rivalry brings out the best in both men. A hail mary head pinch gave Nolf the win in the middle of their three-match series in Raleigh, and now he's had six months to get full-sized and should no longer be fighting the ankle injury that hampered him a bit at WTT.
Then there is the thorn in Imar's side from college, Vincenzo Joseph. He's still in his senior year at PSU and will likely miss the Black Knight Invitational on Sunday as a result of wrestling here. The last time he wrestled freestyle was the 2016 Junior Trials, where he lost to Nolf in the challenge tournament finals.
Of course, the final headliner is the man who Cenzo'd Cenzo, Junior world champ Mekhi Lewis. The Hokie is on an Olympic Redshirt from Virginia Tech and recently went over to Dagestan to compete in the Intercontinental Cup (Imar was second up at 79kg there). Based on his upside and how difficult he is to score on, my current lean is in favor of Lewis.
The depth doesn't end there, though. Tommy Gantt was in the U.S. Open finals at this weight and Chance Marsteller was in the Open finals at 79kg. Logan Massa beat Gantt and had WTT and has had excellent battles with Cenzo in both college and going back to their Junior freestyle days. Nazar Kulchytshkyy is a former national team member who missed last season with an injury.
After that we've got four-time AAs Jayson Ness, Tyler Berger, and Brandon Sorensen, as well as fellow NCAA finalists in Dan Vallimont and Joey Lavallee.
Finals Pick: Mekhi over Imar
|86kg||Drew Foster||IA||Panther Wrestling Club RTC|
|86kg||Nathan Jackson||NJ||New York Athletic Club|
|86kg||Samuel Brooks||IA||New York Athletic Club|
|86kg||Domenic Abounader||OH||New York Athletic Club|
|86kg||Kevin Radford||AZ||Sunkist Kids Wrestling Club|
|86kg||Leonardo Tarantino||NJ||Boston Regional Training Center|
|86kg||Alex Dieringer||OK||Titan Mercury Wrestling Club|
|86kg||Myles Martin||OH||Titan Mercury Wrestling Club|
|86kg||Stacey Davis||NC||Titan Mercury Wrestling Club|
|86kg||Matthew Finesilver||CO||New York Athletic Club|
|86kg||Kadeem Samuels||PA||New York Athletic Club|
|86kg||Timothy Dudley||SC||Sunkist Kids Wrestling Club|
|86kg||Noel Torres||KS||Titan Mercury Wrestling Club|
|86kg||Joshua Asper||MD||Navy-Marine Corps Mat Club|
|86kg||Ryan Loder||CA||San Francisco Wrestling Club|
|86kg||Brett Pfarr||MN||Gopher Wrestling Club - RTC|
Commentary: The heavy favorite is Alex Dieringer, coming up from 79kg where he was probably the second-best wrestler in the world this year at that weight, behind Kyle Dake. The main questions are whether he'll match up strength-wise, which seems very likely, and if Dake laid out the gameplan for beating Ringer, which the jury is still out on.
Among those most likely to be able to execute a gameplan and beat the Cowboy are Sammy Brooks, Myles Martin, and Tim Dudley. Brooks was fourth on the ladder this year at 86kg and has seemed to have Martin's number over the years, in both folk and free.
Martin is now several months removed from the loss he suffered at NCAAs and has had time to regroup from his performance on the senior level in the weeks that followed. Dudley is coming down from 92kg where he appeared a bit too small, but he'll have a different level of horsepower at this weight.
Nate Jackson started last season down at 79kg and should be fully grown into the weight. He'll be there with his NJRTC teammate in CJ Brucki, and they both also train with world teamer Pat Downey. Matt Finesilver will be doing both styles and is redshirting this year for Duke. Drew Foster is continuing his senior level career after winning UNI's first NCAA title in 19 years.
Pfarr, Asper, Loder, and Davis are all senior-level veterans. Tarantino is a freshman for Harvard. Radford was originally a Greco athlete.
Finals Pick: Dieringer over Brooks
|97kg||Daniel Chaid||CA||California RTC (CRTC)|
|97kg||Kevin Beazley||MI||New York Athletic Club|
|97kg||Enock Francois||FL||New York Athletic Club|
|97kg||Kyven Gadson||IA||Sunkist Kids Wrestling Club|
|97kg||Ty Walz||VA||Titan Mercury Wrestling Club|
|97kg||*Kyle Snyder||MD||Titan Mercury Wrestling Club|
|97kg||Jacob Kasper||OH||Titan Mercury Wrestling Club|
|97kg||Michael Macchiavello||NC||Titan Mercury Wrestling Club|
|97kg||Derek White||OK||Titan Mercury Wrestling Club|
|97kg||Joshua Manu||MD||Navy-Marine Corps Mat Club|
|97kg||Riley Lefever||PA||Nittany Lion Wrestling Club|
|97kg||Hayden Zillmer||MN||Gopher Wrestling Club - RTC|
Commentary: A small field and one that also contains a guy who's already qualified, which means it will be crucial to be on the opposite side of the bracket as Kyle Snyder. It will be his first time competing under the auspices of the Nittany Lion Wrestling Club, so you have to imagine the coaches will be using this to analyze his game and focus less on the wins but the manner in which he achieves them.
Gadson is the obvious choice to make the finals opposite Snyder, as he has been for the past three years. It's not always to go chalk and make the logical prediction, but there's too much data in the Cyclone RTC star's favor. He only gave up one takedown in 12 minutes against Ty Walz at the Trials, and had four shutouts at the Open. That may be hard to believe when seeing how often Snyder gets to his legs, but that's the difference in the tiers of guys at 97kg right now.
You've got national team members Mike Macchiavello and Hayden Zillmer coming up in weight from 92kg, along with Riley Lefever. Kevin Beazley appears to be full-time making the switch to freestyle as this will be his second year in a row doing it; he had previously focused on Greco. Danny Chaid beat Ty Walz at the Open. Derek White is coming down from 125kg.
Finals Pick: Snyder over Gadson
|125kg||Mauro Correnti||NJ||New York Athletic Club|
|125kg||David Tate Orndorff||UT||New York Athletic Club|
|125kg||Youssif Hemida||NY||New York Athletic Club|
|125kg||Dominique Bradley||MO||Sunkist Kids Wrestling Club|
|125kg||Garrett Ryan||AZ||Sunkist Kids Wrestling Club|
|125kg||Ceron Francisco||NE||Titan Mercury Wrestling Club|
|125kg||AJ Nevills||CA||Titan Mercury Wrestling Club|
|125kg||Christopher Campbell||NY||Beat the Streets New York City|
|125kg||Nick Nevills||PA||Nittany Lion Wrestling Club|
Commentary: The status of the two biggest names is up in the air. Gable Steveson is not registered, but all indications are that he is competing. Anthony Cassar is registered but appears to no longer be scheduled to compete.
Steveson made it to Final X: Rutgers last year, losing both matches on criteria to two-time world bronze medalist Nick Gwiazdowski. That was an improvement over the previous year when he fell just short of making the national team. A guy who he reversed results against year-over-year was Dom Bradley, losing to Dom in 2018 but beating him twice in 2019.
A multiple-time national team member, Bradley should be your two seed behind Gable. He beat U23 world silver Youssif Hemida (now at the Cliff Keen WC) twice at WTT, the first time 10-0 and the second 5-5 on criteria. Hemida will likely have to get by one of the Nevills brothers, or new NCAA #3 David Tate Orndorff to get to Bradley.
Finals Pick: Gable over Bradley
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