Six Olympic Trials champs to compete in final World Olympics Qualifier in Turkey, May 6-8

Six champions from the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Wrestling will compete in the 2nd World Olympic Games World Qualifying Tournament, set for Istanbul, Turkey, May 6-8.

These athletes will be attempting to qualify their weight class and themselves for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. This is the last opportunity for nations to qualify for the Rio Olympic Games in the 18 Olympic weight classes.

There will be three Greco-Roman wrestlers, two women’s freestyle wrestlers, and one men’s freestyle wrestlers from the United States in this important competition.

USA-Wrestling-Logo So far, there have been three stages of Olympic Qualification. In these phases, the United States qualified for the Rio Olympic Games in 12 weight classes, but did not qualify in six other weight classes. The U.S. delegations in all three styles have already traveled to Europe to prepare for the tournament.

The top two placewinners in each of the 18 weight classes in Istanbul qualify their nations to compete at the Olympic Games. Nations may only enter athletes in this tournament in weight classes which they have not already qualified for Rio.

Greco-Roman will be contested on Friday, May 6, women’s freestyle on Saturday, May 7 and men’s freestyle on Sunday, May 8.

The six U.S. wrestlers competing in Istanbul also competed in the 1st World Olympic Games Qualifier in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia on April 22-24, but fell short of the qualification standards.

On Friday, the U.S. will be represented in Greco-Roman by U.S. Olympic Team Trials champions Jesse Thielke (Germantown, Wis./New York AC/OTC) at 59 kg/130 lbs., RaVaughn Perkins (Omaha, Neb./New York AC/OTC) at 66 kg/145.5 lbs. and Joe Rau (Minneapolis, Minn./Minnesota Storm) at 98 kg/215 lbs.

Thielke, who wrestled at the Univ. of Wisconsin, was a member of the 2013 U.S. World Team, while Rau, an NCAA Div. III champion for Elmhurst College, was on the 2014 U.S. World Team. Perkins was a 2014 U.S. Open champion.

In the Mongolia Qualifier, Perkins had a 4-2 record, winning a bronze medal, but losing in the special Olympic Qualification match to finish fourth. Thielke and Rau lost in their opening match.

On Saturday, the two women competing are Kelsey Campbell (Tempe, Ariz./Sunkist Kids) at 58 kg/128 lbs. and Tamyra Mensah (Katy, Texas/Titan Mercury WC/OTC) at 69 kg/152 lbs.

Campbell was a member of the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team and competed in the 2010 and 2011 World Championships. Mensah is on her first Senior U.S. World-level team. Both are past women’s college national champions, Campbell at Arizona State and Mensah at Wayland Baptist.

In the Mongolia Qualifier, Mensah had a 3-1 record and placed third, while Campbell lost in her opening match.

On Sunday, competing for the USA in men’s freestyle is U.S. Olympic Team Trials champion Frank Molinaro (State College, Pa./Nittany Lion WC) at 65 kg/143 lbs. Molinaro was an NCAA champion for Penn State. In the Mongolia Qualifier, Molinaro had a 1-1 record.

If any of the six U.S. entries fall short of the qualifying standards in Istanbul, the United States will not have an Olympian at that weight class.

United World Wrestling is expected to have a live web stream of the competition from Istanbul, and also live results on its website,

Please note that Istanbul is seven hours ahead of U.S. Eastern time zone. and all of USA Wrestling’s social media platforms will also provide extensive coverage.

In wrestling, nations must qualify participants to compete in the Olympic Games, as the size of the field is restricted. There will be 19 wrestlers in each weight class in the men’s disciplines, and 18 wrestlers in each weight class in the women’s disciplines. There could be some additional athletes included in the field from the host nation Brazil and through the Tripartite Commission invitation process. In total, there will be 344 wrestlers competing in the Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

Phase One was the 2015 World Championships in Las Vegas, Nev., where the top six athletes in each of the 18 Olympic weight classes qualified their nation for the Olympic Games. Phase Two were the continental Olympic Games Qualifiers (Europe, Asia, Pan American, Africa/Oceania). The 2016 Pan American Olympic Games Qualifier was held in Frisco, Texas, March 4-6, as the top two athletes in each of the 18 Olympic weight classes qualified their nation for the Olympic Games. Phase Three was the 1st World Olympic Games Qualifier in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia on April 22-24, where the top three men and top two women in each weight class earned berths in the Rio Games.

At Istanbul, Turkey, May 6-8

U.S. Greco-Roman roster (competes May 6)
59 kg/130 lbs. – Jesse Thielke, Germantown, Wis. (New York AC/OTC)
66 kg/145.5 lbs. – RaVaughn Perkins, Omaha, Neb. (New York AC/OTC)
98 kg/215 lbs. – Joe Rau, Minneapolis, Minn. (Minnesota Storm)
National Greco-Roman Coach – Matt Lindland, Colorado Springs, Colo.
Assistant National Greco-Roman Coach – Momir Petkovic, Colorado Springs, Colo.

U.S. Women’s freestyle roster (competes May 7)
58 kg/128 lbs. – Kelsey Campbell, Tempe, Ariz. (Sunkist Kids)
69 kg/152 lbs. – Tamyra Mensah, Katy, Texas (Titan Mercury WC/OTC)
National Women’s Coach – Terry Steiner, Colorado Springs, Colo.
Assistant National Women’s Coach – Emma Randall, Colorado Springs, Colo.
Coach – Maxim Molonov, Colorado Springs, Colo.

U.S. Men’s freestyle roster (competes May 8)
65 kg/143 lbs. – Frank Molinaro, State College, Pa. (Nittany Lion WC)
National Freestyle Coach – Bruce Burnett, Colorado Springs, Colo.
Coach – Cody Sanderson, State College, Pa.

Referee – Zach Errett, Plainfield, Ind.
Referee – Sam Julian, Schuylkill Haven, Pa.
Medical – Aaron Monseau, Morgantown, W.Va.
Medical – Randy Boswell, Coeur d’Alene, Idaho
Chiropractor – Dr. Fred Roberto, Marietta, Ga.
USA Wrestling Associated Executive Director – Les Gutches, Colorado Springs, Colo.

Event Schedule
(times are in Istanbul, which is seven hours ahead of U.S. Eastern time zone)

Friday, May 6
Greco-Roman (59 kg, 66 kg, 75 kg, 85 kg, 98 kg, 130 kg)
U.S. contestants: Jesse Thielke (59kg), RaVaughn Perkins (66kg), Joe Rau (98 kg)

10:00 a.m. – Qualification rounds and repechage
5:30 p.m. – Opening Ceremony
6:00 p.m. – Finals and Award Ceremonies

Saturday, May 7
Women’s Freestyle (48 kg, 53 kg, 58 kg, 63 kg, 69 kg, 75 kg)
U.S. contestants: Kelsey Campbell (58kg), Tamyra Mensah (69kg)

10:00 a.m. – Qualification rounds and repechage
6:00 p.m. – Finals and Award Ceremonies

Sunday, May 8
Men’s Freestyle (57 kg, 65 kg, 74 kg, 86 kg, 97 kg, 125 kg)
U.S. entries: Frank Molinaro (65 kg)

10:00 a.m. – Qualification rounds and repechage
6:00 p.m. – Finals and Award Ceremonies