Gopher alums Tony Nelson and Scott Schiller donned the red, white and blue this weekend as part of Team USA at the Yasar Dogu International in Istanbul and both turned in strong performances, particularly Nelson, who captured the silver medal in freestyle at 125 kilograms.
Nelson picked up three victories on his way to the championship bout, overwhelming his side of the bracket along the way. He began with consecutive 10-0 tech falls, first knocking off Recep Bolme and then Slim Trablsi. In his semifinal match, Nelson pinned Yasin Kilic in just 1:38, putting him into the finals without a point allowed. Nelson found himself fighting for the gold against two-time World champion Taha Akguel, who took the match, 10-0.
Schiller’s trip to Turkey was his first major international competition as a senior-level wrestler. He began his day with a 6-4 win over Yunus Emre Dede, but a 4-0 loss to Fatih Yasarli in the next round threatened to end Schiller’s tournament after just two matches. Yasarli advanced to the finals though – eventually claiming the gold for freestyle at 97 kilograms – which gave Schiller new life in repechage matches. He took advantage of the opportunity, defeating Emer Can Osman 10-0 before falling to Fatih Cakiroglu just one round short of a bronze medal contest.
Nelson and Schiller have hopes of representing the United States at the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil. Both have already clinched invitations to the U.S. Olympic Team Trials in Iowa City this April, a tournament which will decide who wrestles for the U.S. in Rio.
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