Oritz Earns Spot In U.S. Team Trails Field

At the appropriately named Last Chance Olympic Trials qualifier tournament last weekend in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, a championship performance by Gopher wrestling alum Alec Ortiz guaranteed him a spot in the 75-kilogram, Greco-Roman field at next week’s team trials, the event which will decide the U.S. team for this summer’s Olympic Games.

Nine Gophers – past, present and future – were in Cedar Rapids to compete in both Greco and freestyle this weekend. The prize at every weight class in both styles was the last spot at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials next weekend in Iowa City. Only the winners at each weight class advanced to the trials.

Minnesota GophersOrtiz survived a tough opening match, a 5-3 decision over Jesse Porter, to begin his run to the title on Friday. Ortiz won his next two matches convincingly, earning a 9-0 tech fall over Curt Calovecchi in the semifinals before an 11-4 decision against Colin Schubert in the championship bout.

By advancing to the team trials, Ortiz becomes the fifth Gopher alum to qualify for the event. He will join Pat Smith (66 kg) on the Greco side next weekend, as well as Jayson Ness (65 kg), Scott Schiller (97 kg) and Tony Nelson (125 kg) in freestyle.

Three other Gopher alums reached the semifinals of their brackets at the last chance qualifier but were unable to advance past that point. Wrestling freestyle at 65 kg, both Chris Dardanes and Nick Dardanes won consecutive matches to reach the final four at their weight, but fell on opposite sides of the bracket in the semis. Kevin Steinhaus, wrestling competitively for the first time since the 2014 NCAA Championships, opened the event with three straight tech fall victories, defeating his opponents by a combined total of 34-2, before dropping his semifinal contest.

Alums Zach Sanders and Dylan Ness fell in the freestyle quarterfinals, Sanders in an 8-4 decision at 57 kg and Ness in a 13-6 decision at 74 kg. Ness entered the freestyle field on the day after he wrestled in the event’s Greco competition on Friday, where he fell in his opening match.

Current Gophers Tommy Thorn (65 kg) and Bobby Steveson (86 kg), as well as incoming recruit Mitch McKee (65 kg) all competed in freestyle on Saturday. Both Thorn and McKee picked up victories in Cedar Rapids, but none of the three placed in the tournament.

Be sure to stay tuned to GopherSports.com and follow Gopher Wrestling on Twitter to keep tabs on everything happening with Gopher alums at team trials next weekend in Iowa City.

GopherSports.com is your home for updates about Gopher alums on the national and international stage, as well as the latest news about current Gopher wrestlers. To stay up-to-the-minute on everything surrounding the Minnesota program, be sure to follow Gopher Wrestling on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Match-by-Match Results

66 kg Greco

Dylan Ness
Champ Rnd 1: Bye
Champ Rnd 2: Blayne Briceno fall (0:45) Dylan Ness
Cons Rnd 2: Bye
Cons Rnd 3: Sahid Kargbo forfeit Dylan Ness

75 kg Greco

Alec Ortiz
Champ Rnd 1: Bye
Quarters: Alec Ortiz dec Jesse Porter, 5-3
Semis: Alec Oriz tech fall Curt Calovecchi, 9-0
Finals: Alec Ortiz dec Colin Schubert, 11-4

57 kg Freestyle

Zach Sanders
Champ Rnd 1: Bye
Champ Rnd 2: Zach Sanders tech fall Jacob Colon, 12-2
Quarters: Frank Perrelli dec Zach Sanders, 8-4
Round of 12: Zach Sanders fall (2:03) Bradley Pataky
Cons Quarters: Stevan Micic inj (3:32) Zach Sanders

65 kg Freestyle

Chris Dardanes
Champ Rnd 1: Bye
Champ Rnd 2: Chris Dardanes tech fall Marcus Cobbs, 10-0
Quarters: Chris Dardanes dec Josh Kindig, 9-2
Semis: Bernard Futrell tech fall Chris Dardanes, 8-0
Cons Semis: Chance Pami forfeit Chris Dardanes

Nick Dardanes
Champ Rnd 1: Bye
Champ Rnd 2: Nick Dardanes dec James Eggemeyer, 2-1
Quarters: Nick Dardanes dec Chance Pami, 10-4
Semis: Nazar Kulchytskyy dec Nick Dardanes, 4-3
Cons Semis: Brandon Wright forfeit Nick Dardanes

Tommy Thorn
Champ Rnd 1: Bye
Champ Rnd 2: Matthew Kolodzik tech fall Tommy Thorn, 12-1
Cons Rnd 2: Tommy Thorn dec D Little, 5-3
Cons Rnd 3: Isaac Dukes tech fall Tommy Thorn, 14-3

Mitch McKee
Champ Rnd 1: Josh Kindig tech fall Mitch McKee, 10-0
Cons Rnd 1: Bye
Cons Rnd 2: Mitch McKee tech fall James Eggemeyer, 13-3
Cons Rnd 3: Sahid Kargbo fall (0:12) Mitch McKee

74 kg Freestyle

Dylan Ness
Champ Rnd 1: Dylan Ness tech fall Jason Clark, 10-0
Champ Rnd 2: Dylan Ness tech fall Connor Keating, 10-0
Quarters: Andrew Sorenson dec Dylan Ness, 13-6
Round of 12: Thomas Domerese forfeit Dylan Ness

86 kg Freestyle

Kevin Steinhaus
Champ Rnd 1: Kevin Steinhaus tech fall Austin Morehead, 10-0
Champ Rnd 2: Kevin Steinhaus tech fall Riley Lefever, 12-1
Quarters: Kevin Steinhaus tech fall Bo Nickal, 12-1
Semis: Timmy McCall tech fall Kevin Steinhaus, 11-0
Cons Semis: Nick Heflin tech fall Kevin Steinhaus, 8-0

Bobby Steveson
Champ Rnd 1: Bye
Champ Rnd 2: Victor Terrell tech fall Bobby Steveson
Cons Rnd 2: Nick Heflin tech fall Bobby Steveson, 9-1

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