How Senior Nationals Impacts Olympic Trials Qualification

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Next week, the Senior Nationals - U.S. Olympic Trials Qualifier goes down in Fort Worth, Texas. Five Olympic Trials qualification spots will be on the line at each weight class. Here's how this event fits into the men's freestyle Olympic Trials qualification process

First, take a look at the events where athletes could have already qualified, then read about the qualifying events that are still to come, and finally, get to know how the Senior Nationals - U.S. Olympic Trials Qualifier works.

Watch the Senior Nationals – U.S. Olympic Trials Qualifier LIVE on FloWrestling

Friday-Sunday, December 20-22 | 9:00 AM ET

Previous Qualifying Events

First, it's important to recognize that this is one of a number of Olympic Trials qualifying events. There are a number of past events where athletes could have already qualified for the Olympic Trials. They are:

2017, 2018, or 2019 World Championships: all "World Championships participants and/or Final World Team Trials Champions," have already qualified for the 2020 Olympic Trials.

2019 Junior World Champion: Any gold medalist at this year's Junior Worlds has a spot in State College for the trials.

2019 U23 World Champion: Any gold medalist at this year's U23 world championships has a spot at the trials.

2019 Bill Farrell International Open: The highest U.S. medalist at every weight has qualified. It's important to note that the term "medalist" means this person had to have been top three.

Future Qualifying Events

2020 Pan American Championships: U.S. wrestlers who win gold at the Pan Am Championships are qualified for the trials.

2020 Pan American Olympic Qualifier: U.S. wrestlers who qualify the weight for the Olympics get a well-deserved spot at the trials.

NCAA Division I Championships: Anyone who wins the title in Minneapolis this year gets a spot at the Olympic Trials.

Final US Olympic Trials Qualifer: The top two place finishers at this event qualify, and previously qualified athletes cannot compete.

How the Senior Nationals - US Olympic Trials Qualifier Fits in

OK, so there are a whole bunch of events where athletes could have qualified for the Olympic Trials or still can qualify. This event has the most qualifying spots on the line. Five spots are available at each weight.

According to USA Wrestling's Athlete Selection Procedures, "The Senior Freestyle top five finishers per weight category at the 2019 U.S. Olympic Trials Qualifier will earn a spot in the 2020 U.S. Olympic Team Trials--Wrestling."

That means that athletes must place in the top five to qualify. Simple enough, right? Well, it gets a bit more complicated when you realize that registration is not limited to unqualified athletes. So, for example, at 86kg, Alex Dieringer has registered. Dieringer has already qualified by winning the Bill Farrell. If he places in the top five, he'll eliminate one of the remaining qualifying spots. 

The same scenario is true at 65kg where Bill Farrell champ Joran Oliver has registered. So at next week's event, athletes who have already qualified have the opportunity to whittle down their Olympic Trials field a bit by showing out in Fort Worth. It will be fascinating to see what other previously qualified athletes opt to show up in Texas to keep their competition at bay.

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