2021 USA Wrestling Olympic Team Trials Watch Party

2021 Olympic Team Trials: Instant Recaps - Day I Session II

2021 Olympic Team Trials: Instant Recaps - Day I Session II

A blog about the USA Wrestling Olympic Team Trials. This one is about the semifinal and finals of the challenge tournaments.

Apr 2, 2021 by Andrew Spey

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We're still really doing it! In Fort Worth, inside Dickie's Arena. Now the second session which is the semifinals and finals of the challenge tournament. This will decide who competes in the best-of-three wrestle-offs tomorrow night. 

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We're still really doing it! In Fort Worth, inside Dickie's Arena. Now the second session which is the semifinals and finals of the challenge tournament. This will decide who competes in the best-of-three wrestle-offs tomorrow night. 

It's kind of a big deal!

Watch the 2021 USA Wrestling Olympic Team Trials Watch Party

LIVE on FloWrestling | Friday & Saturday, April 2-3

Don't forget to tune in to the Watch Party where Kyle Bratke, Ollie Astone, JD Rader and others friends ( possibly you?) discuss the action in real-time and may even throw in a clip or two. 

We can do that now. Show clips of the trials I mean. It's great, we are besties with NBC Sports now and it feels great. 

Anyway, here are the semifinal matchups. 

Men's Freestyle

57: Thomas Gilman (TMWC/ NLWC) vs Joe Colon (TMWC/ Cyclone RTC) 

57: Vitali Arujau (TMWC/ Spartan Combat) vs Daton Fix (TMWC/ Cowboy RTC)

65: Zain Retherford (TMWC/ NLWC) vs Joseph McKenna (TMWC/ PENN RTC)

65: Jordan Oliver (Sunkist Kids Wrestling Club) vs Yianni Diakomihalis (TMWC/ Spartan Combat)

74: Jason Nolf (TMWC/ NLWC) vs David Carr (Cyclone Regional Training Center)

74: Kyle Dake (TMWC/ Spartan Combat) vs Evan Wick (TMWC) 

86: David Taylor (TMWC/ NLWC) vs Gabe Dean (TMWC/ Spartan Combat) 

86: Bo Nickal (TMWC/ NLWC) vs Zahid Valencia (Sunkist Kids Wrestling Club) 

97: Kollin Moore (TMWC/ Ohio RTC) vs 97: Ty Walz (TMWC/ SERTC) 

97: Hayden Zillmer (Gopher Wrestling Club) vs Michael Macchiavello (TMWC/ Wolfpack WC)

125: Nick Gwiazdowski (TMWC/ Wolfpack WC) vs Dominique Bradley (Sunkist Kids Wrestling Club) 

125: Daniel Kerkvliet (TMWC/ NLWC) vs Gable Steveson (Gopher Wrestling Club)

Women's Freestyle

50: Whitney Conder (ARMY (WCAP)) vs Amy Fearnside (TMWC/ USOPTC) 

50: Victoria Anthony (ASU RTC/Sunkist Kids Wrestling Club) vs Alyssa Lampe (Beaver Dam RTC/Sunkist)

53: Dominique Parrish (Sunkist Kids Wrestling Club) vs Ronna Heaton (Sunkist Kids Wrestling Club) 

53: Katherine Shai (TMWC/ NCWC) vs Areana Villaescusa (ARMY (WCAP)) 

57: Jenna Burkert (ARMY (WCAP)) vs Cameron Guerin (TMWC/ BEARCAT WC) 

57: Xochitl Mota-Pettis (RISE RTC) vs Alli Ragan (Sunkist Kids Wrestling Club) 

62: Maya Nelson (Sunkist Kids Wrestling Club) vs Jennifer Page (TMWC/ NLWC) 

62: Macey Kilty (Sunkist Kids Wrestling Club) vs Mallory Velte (TMWC) 

68: Forrest Molinari (Sunkist Kids Wrestling Club) vs Alara Boyd (McKendree Bearcat Wrestling Club)

68: Kennedy Blades (Sunkist Kids Wrestling Club) vs Alexandria Glaude (TMWC/ BEARCAT WC) 

76: Dymond Guilford (TMWC/ USOPTC) vs Kylie Welker (TMWC) 

76: Jackie Cataline (TMWC) vs Victoria Francis (TMWC)


60: Leslie Fuenffinger (ARMY (WCAP)) vs Dalton Roberts (ARMY (WCAP)) 

60: Sam Jones (NYAC - Brunson UVRTC) vs Ryan Mango (ARMY (WCAP))

67: Ellis Coleman (ARMY (WCAP)) vs Xavier Johnson (All-Marine Wrestling Team) 

67: Benjamin Peak (Sunkist Kids Wrestling Club) vs Raymond Bunker (All-Marine Wrestling Team)

77: Jacob Fisher (Curby-3-Style) vs Peyton Walsh (All-Marine Wrestling Team) 

77: Patrick Smith (Minnesota Storm) vs Jesse Porter (New York Athletic Club) 

87: Alan Vera (New York Athletic Club) vs John Stefanowicz (All-Marine Wrestling Team) 

87: Patrick Martinez (New York Athletic Club) vs Jonathan Anderson (West Point Wrestling Club) 

97: Daniel Miller (All-Marine Wrestling Team) vs Nicholas Boykin (Sunkist Kids Wrestling Club) 

97: Braxton Amos (Wisconsin RTC) vs Lucas Sheridan (ARMY (WCAP)) 

130: Adam Coon (NYAC/CKWC) vs West Cathcart (NYAC-IllinoisRTC) 

130: Jacob Mitchell (ARMY (WCAP)) vs Cohlton Schultz (Sunkist Kids Wrestling Club) 

No word yet on if J'den is going to be redrawn into the 97kg bracket. I'm going to guess not, but we'll find out for sure soon enough. 

Here are the mat assignments if you're following along on Peacock, the streaming service NBC just spun up. There's also a very solid (from what I hear!) documentary on Jordan Burroughs. So what are you waiting for, go sign up for a free trial! I will get zero commission, just making a suggestion!

Want to see what kind of arena $540 millios buys you?

I suppose you might as well pull out all the stops if you're going to be hosting the oldest continuously running livestock show and rodeo in the world. And that's not even a joke. You don't joke about livestock in Fort Worth. I'm serious. You better not!

The DJ they got spinning tunes in Dickies is no joke either. Mixing up the Weeknd with Queen and Usher and Flo Rida and a bunch of other artists I'm not hip enough to recognize. Good vibe though. It's a mode in here right now. No cap. 

Semifinal results of which I will make note.

We have a teenager in the finals of the 68kg women's challenge tournament finals. Kennedy Blades defeated Final X competitor Alex Glaude. Kennedy is a junior in high school and not coincidentally still has junior eligibility. 

Here's an instant pic of Kennedy winning that match from Tony Rotundo. 

I suggest getting on the Blades hype train now if you want to find a seat because it's going to get crowded very soon. 

Speaking of hype trains upon which you should hop, Team Welker should be packing in passengers in no time. Also a teenaged wrestling phenome, Kylie beat Dymond Guilford (the hero of Captain's Cup) to advance to the 76kg challenge tournament finals against Victoria Francis.

Benji Peak makes the finals of the 67kg Greco-Roman bracket. He wrestled his heart out at the Last Chance Qualifier and I, for one, and glad to see it. 

Also glad to see an opportunity to post this pic from Sam Janicki.

Bo Nickal vs Zahid Valencia right now. Dickies Arena is enthralled. And they are not disappointed. That match had everything. Bo scored first with a quick takedown and turn. Zahid answered back with a takedown, then a step out. 4-3 into the second. A step out for Bo, followed by a takedown for Zahid to take the lead by criteria. Or was it? Bo's corner threw a challenge cube, but I'm guessing not in time? Tough to tell from halfway up the arena bowl but Coach Sanderson did not appear happy with it. Bo got a takedown with 15 seconds left, though. And then, when Zahid was deep in on a shot with about 7 seconds left, Nickal reached back, grabbed a lat and whipped Valencia over for a match icing feet-to-back. Riveting stuff. 

Oh and then David Taylor beat Gabe dean 4-0 on the neighboring mat. 

So we're getting Bo Nickal vs David Taylor best-of-three for the Olympic spot. 

They don't miss often, but it does happen, and Penn State is allowed to lose matches. Joey McKenna wrestled a nearly perfect match and took out Zain Retherford. It was close until the final seconds. McKenna's scrambles off Retherford's shots and a smooth drag in short time to ice it was the difference.

Rotundo got some excellent shots of that match which he put up on Twitter so I will put them here for you. 

McKenna will face Jordan Oliver, who came up with the clutch step out off of a peak-JO slick ankle pick. Who had JO vs McKenna in the 65kg finals, raise your hand, and I want receipts!

Whoever wins the best-of-three finals tomorrow will have to go to Sofia, Bulgaria in early May to qualify the weight class for Tokyo. 

Now we've got both MFS 57kg matches going at the same time. What a treat. 

It's a sight we all to see. 

Gilman had no trouble against Colon. Perhaps surprisingly little trouble? Not a surprise to some I'm sure. Gilman looked strong in any event, winning 10-0. 

Things were a little closer in the Fix/Vito match. Arujau took the early lead, but Fix pushed the pace in the second and drew to within one. A last-ditch effort by Fix came close but a challenge was denied. 

Now we celebrate with Cotton Eye Joe on the loud speakers. 

At this point, what would you say was the biggest upset of the tournament? Wrong! It was John Stefanowicz over Alan Vera. Stefanowicz took out the guy who's beaten Joe Rau, who's sitting in the beat-of-three wrestle-off tomorrow. Another upset and Stefanowicz is going to wrestle Rau to decide who goes to Tokyo!

Challenge Tourney Finals Chat

If a weight class has someone sitting in the finals tomorrow, which is a bunch, then they'll have their challenge tourney finals now to determine the best-of-three series matchups. 

At WFS 62kg, Kilty over Nelson gives the Tar Heels Wrestling Club two competitors tomorrow. Jordan Oliver is the other. Kayla Miracle awaits tomorrow night.

Ellis Coleman ends Benji Peak's Cinderella run at Greco's 67kg. Coleman vs Sancho tomorrow. 

Jenna Burkert with an emotional win over Alli Ragan to get a crack at the Queen Helen Maroulis at 57kg. Burkert hit an absolutely vicious headlock to get it done. 

Can confirm that Braxton Amos walked out to Country Roads and was singing along the entire time. That segued into Disturbed, a decision which got a big thumbs up from Spey. Amos continues his Cinderella run to make the 97kg finals, with G'Angelo Hancock waiting for him. 

The Hype Train cliche is going to get worn out talking about Kennedy Blades if she keeps winning like this. The 17-year old tech falls Forrest Molinari 11-1. She'll wrestle the current P4P #1 women's wrestler in the country, Tamyra Mensah-Stock. 

Here's a cool story. Kylie Welker, the other teenager wunderkind wrestling in this round, finished second at the Last Chance Tournament. At 68kg, losing to Blades. Welker decides to bump up and wrestles in these Olympic Trails at 76kg, getting the last and 14th seed in the bracket. Anyway, she's wrestled for a ticket to Tokyo against Adeline Gray tomorrow. Cool story, right?

Another cool story, imo:

That means Dake vs Burroughs tomorrow. Hell yeah. 

Need to see a clip of that Dake Bomb from another dimension but until then we have the excellent Tony Rotundo. 

That Stefanowicz guy just keeps winning. Knocks off Pat Martinez and will get his chance at Rau. 

And Ronna Heaton gives the Wisconsin RTC their second finalist by pinning Katherine Shai with a nifty step over. She'll get Jacarra Winchester in the best-of-three. 

The final two matches end in 10-0 tech falls. The first to race to double digits was Victoria Anthony, who secured a series with Sarah Hildebrandt by blanking Amy Fearnside. Kollin Moore closed out the session by zipping past a stout Mike Macchiavello. It'll be Buckeye on Buckeye crime tomorrow, KMo vs KySny. 

Okay well, that will do it for session two. That was rad. Results coming up (they're here!). Brackets are here. Session III blog is here. Party time rolls on.