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. Continue reading

Taken down, Olympic wrestling is up off the mat

Rule changes led to a revival of a sport that briefly was cut from the Olympics.

When wrestling was dropped from the Olympics in 2013, Dan Chandler knew everyone associated with the sport would fight for a reversal. What the Minneapolis coach and three-time Olympian didn’t expect, though, was the outpouring of support from folks who couldn’t tell Greco-Roman from freestyle.

Everywhere he went, he saw anger and shock that a sport so closely identified with the ancient Olympics could be cut loose from the modern Summer Games. ”Even taxi drivers were talking to me about it,” Chandler said. “We never got so much publicity. And I thought, ‘Oh, my God, this is a blessing in disguise.'” Continue reading at www.startribune.com

Cadet World champion Hall, World Teamer Blanc among men’s freestyle champions at Last Chance Olympic Trials Qualifier

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa – A thrilling second day of competition at the Last Chance Olympic Trials Qualifier concluded at the UNI-Dome on Saturday with six men’s freestyle athletes punching their tickets to the U.S. Olympic Team Trials set for Iowa City, Iowa next weekend.

High school senior Mark Hall (OTC) stole the spotlight in Cedar Falls by capturing the gold medal at 74 kg/163 lbs. with a last second 5-4 victory over Anthony Valencia (Sunkist Kids) in the finals. Continue reading at www.teamusa.org

NDSU All-American Hayden Zillmer Qualifies for U.S. Olympic Greco-Roman Team Trials

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa–North Dakota State University All-American Hayden Zillmer secured a place at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials by winning the Greco-Roman 85 kg/187 pound weight class at a Last Chance Olympic Trials Qualifier at the UNI-Dome on Friday, April 1. The U.S. Olympic Team Trials are set for Iowa City on April 9-10 at Carver-Hawkeye Arena

Trailing by one point late in the second period, Zillmer representing the Minnesota Storm, scored a late four-point takedown to claim the 85 kg/187 pound gold medal over fourth-place finisher at the 2015 U.S. Open, Khymbakhy Johnson (New York AC/NMU), 6-3. Continue reading

Minnesota Storm takes four gold medals at Greco-Roman Last Chance Olympic Trials Qualifier

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa – Six Greco-Roman athletes secured their places at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials set for Iowa City next weekend by winning the Last Chance Olympic Trials Qualifier at the UNI-Dome on Friday night.

The championship finals opened with an intriguing match-up at 59 kg/130 lbs., pitting high school senior Taylor LaMont (Champions WC) against a seasoned opponent in Justin LaValle (Minnesota Storm). Continue reading at www.teamusa.org

Nine Gophers Look to Qualify For Trials

The penultimate event in determining who represents the United States in the 2016 Olympic Games will take place this weekend in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where more than 175 wrestlers will compete for the final spots in next weekend’s U.S. Olympic Team Trials. Minnesota will be well-represented in the field at the Last Chance Olympic Trials Qualifier, with nine past, present and future Gophers looking to take one step closer to their Olympic dreams.

Qualifying for team trials through the last chance tournament demands a wrestler be the best. Each weight class in all three Olympic styles – men’s and women’s freestyle and men’s Greco-Roman – has just one available spot in the Olympic Team Trials bracket. To earn that spot, wrestlers must leave Cedar Rapid’s UNI-Dome as the tournament champion. Continue reading