IOWA CITY, Iowa–North Dakota State University All-American Hayden Zillmer rebounded from his quarterfinal loss to storm through the Greco-Roman 85 kg/187-pound consolation bracket and place third at the U.S. Olympic Wrestling Trials to land a spot on his first U.S. National Team on Saturday, April 9, before 13,000 fans at the University of Iowa’s Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
Zillmer, a senior from Crosby, Minn. (Crosby-Ironton H.S.) went 4-1 on Saturday. He rallied for a 5-3 decision over Lucas Sheridan of Army (WCAP) before dropping an 8-0 tech fall to third-seeded Jacob Clark in the quarterfinals.
His run through the consolation bracket began with a 7-1 decision over Ryan Hope (NYAC/CKWC). Zillmer then upset three-time World Team member Jordan Holm with a fall one minute into the consolation semifinal match.
Zillmer came back from a 1-0 deficit to record a 2-1 decision over 2015 World Team member Patrick Martinez in the third place match.
“I came in here with a lot of confidence, and my goal was to place in the top three,” Zillmer said. “I had a lot of faith in myself and I was ready to go. It was a great day. I just had a mindset to keep wrestling hard and to push the pace. There wasn’t a lot of pressure on me and I felt real comfortable out there.”
Zillmer won a University Nationals title in Greco-Roman in 2013. He captured a USA Wrestling Cadet Triple Crown in 2007. He won folkstyle, Greco-Roman and freestyle age-group national titles as an 84-pounder.
“I’m real excited about my future in Greco,” Zillmer said. “This gives me a lot more confidence to know I can wrestle with the guys at this level. It was great to have a chance to compete in a big event like this.”
Two former NDSU wrestlers Justin LaValle (2013-14) and Devin Scott (2010-11), representing Minnesota Storm, also competed in Greco-Roman at the U.S. Olympic Trials on Saturday. LaValle went 0-2 in the 59 kg/130-pound weight division, while Scott compiled a 1-2 record at 66 kg/145-pounds. He won a 7-4 decision over Marco Lara of Army (WPAC).
Another ex-Bison, Kallen Kleinschmidt (2011-13), begins competition in the 97 kg/213-pound freestyle weight class at the U.S. Olympic Wrestling Trials on Sunday, April 10.