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Olympic Wrestling Trials: Results from Friday's challenge tournament semifinals, finals


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FORT WORTH, Texas — Happy Friday. We are live from Dickies Arena for the first day of USA Wrestling's 2021 Olympic Trials. 

Friday's action consists of two sessions. Session I begins at 10 a.m. CT and will include the challenge tournament preliminary and quarterfinal rounds. Session II begins at 6:30 p.m. and will consist of the challenge tournament semifinals and finals.

Winners of the challenge tournament will advance to Saturday's best-of-three championship finals for a spot on the U.S. Olympic Team. Below is information on how to watch, Iowa wrestlers competing and their matches, and other important information.

US Olympic Wrestling Trials: Live updates from Saturday's best-of-three championship finals

How to watch Friday's U.S. Olympic wrestling trials, schedule, brackets

  • Session I, 10 a.m., challenge tournament preliminary, quarterfinals, Peacock TV

  • Session II, 6:30 p.m., challenge tournament semifinals, finals, NBCSN

The tournament, as well as mat assignments and updated brackets, can be found at Trackwrestling. Individual mat cams can be found on Peacock TV, which is carrying coverage during Session I and II on Friday. They're offering a 7-day free trial. Session II will also be televised on NBC Sports Network.

Here, we will provide updates from both Session I and II with the results of every Iowa wrestler competing, as well as other thoughts, observations and updates throughout the sessions.

Be sure to check back throughout the day, and follow our wrestling writer, Cody Goodwin, on Twitter for more immediate updates.

► MORE WRESTLING COVERAGE FROM THE REGISTER

U.S. Olympic Trials, Championship Finals Series Matchups

Men’s Freestyle

57 kilograms (125 pounds): Thomas Gilman (Nittany Lion WC) vs. Vito Arujau (Spartan Combat)

65 kilograms (143 pounds): Joey McKenna (Penn RTC) vs. Jordan Oliver (Sunkist Kids)

74 kilograms (163 pounds): Jordan Burroughs (Sunkist Kids) vs. Kyle Dake (Spartan Combat)

86 kilograms (189 pounds): David Taylor (Nittany Lion WC) vs. Bo Nickal (Nittany Lion WC)

97 kilograms (213 pounds): Kyle Snyder (Nittany Lion WC) vs. Kollin Moore (Ohio RTC)

125 kilograms (275 pounds): Nick Gwiazdowski (Wolfpack WC) vs. Gable Steveson (Gopher WC)

Women's Freestyle

50 kilograms (110 pounds): Sarah Hildebrandt (NYAC) vs. Victoria Anthony (ASU RTC)

53 kilograms (116 pounds): Jacarra Winchester (USOPTC) vs. Ronna Heaton (Sunkist Kids)

57 kilograms (125 pounds): Helen Maroulis (Nittany Lion WC) vs. Jenna Burkert (Army WCAP)

62 kilograms (136 pounds): Kayla Miracle (Sunkist Kids) vs. Macey Kilty (Sunkist Kids)

68 kilograms (150 pounds): Tamyra Mensah-Stock (USOPTC) vs. Kennedy Blades (Sunkist Kids)

76 kilograms (167 pounds) Adeline Gray (NYAC) vs. Kyle Welker (Titan Mercury)

Greco-Roman

60 kilograms (132 pounds): Ildar Hafizov (Army WCAP) vs. Ryan Mango (Army WCAP)

67 kilograms (147 pounds): Alejandro Sancho (Army WCAP) vs. Ellis Coleman (Army WCAP)

77 kilograms (169 pounds): Peyton Walsh (All-Marine Wrestling) vs. Jesse Porter (NYAC)

87 kilograms (191 pounds): Joe Rau (Titan Mercury) vs. John Stefanowicz (All-Marine Wrestling)

97 kilograms (213 pounds): G'Angelo Hancock (Sunkist Kids) vs. Braxton Amos (Wisconsin RTC)

130 kilograms (286 pounds): Adam Coon (Cliff Keen WC) vs. Cohlton Schultz (Sunkist Kids)

U.S. Olympic Trials, Challenge Tournament Semifinal Matchups

Men’s Freestyle

57 kilograms (125 pounds)

  • Thomas Gilman (Nittany Lion WC) tech fall. Joe Colon (Cyclone RTC), 10-0
  • Vito Arujau (Spartan Combat) dec. Daton Fix (Cowboy RTC), 7-5
    • Gilman took a 3-0 lead after the first period thanks to three step-out points, then broke the match open with a big 4-point takedown to start the second. Arujau led 6-0 early in the second, then Fix stormed back to within 6-5 and nearly won the match in the final seconds, but Arujau held position just enough to win and advance to the best-of-three finals.

65 kilograms (143 pounds)

  • Joey McKenna (Penn RTC) dec. Zain Retherford (Nittany Lion WC), 8-5
  • Jordan Oliver (Sunkist Kids) dec. Yianni Diakomihalis (Spartan Combat), 4-4
    • McKenna wrestled about as perfect as possible in order to knock out Retherford. He matched Retherford's scoring each time, and added a late takedown near the edge to ice it. Oliver rallied from a 3-0 deficit to win on criteria thanks to a step-out point with six seconds left. By the way, the winner of this finals series still has to qualify the weight for Tokyo.

74 kilograms (163 pounds)

  • Jason Nolf (Nittany Lion WC) tech. fall David Carr (Cyclone RTC), 10-0
  • Kyle Dake (Spartan Combat) tech. fall Evan Wick (Titan Mercury), 10-0
    • Identical technical falls sets up a challenge final between two dudes who have a combined 7 NCAA titles between them.
  • Challenge Finals: Kyle Dake (Spartan Combat) tech. fall Jason Nolf (Nittany Lion WC), 10-0
    • Dake's two matches lasted a combined 126 seconds today. Sheesh.
      • Jordan Burroughs is in Saturday’s best-of-three championship finals.

86 kilograms (189 pounds)

  • David Taylor (Nittany Lion WC) dec. Gabe Dean (Spartan Combat), 4-0
  • Bo Nickal (Nittany Lion WC) dec. Zahid Valencia (Sunkist Kids), 12-5
    • An all-Penn State final for the Olympic spot, as Taylor scores a second period takedown to defeat the stingy Gabe Dean, and Nickal takes out Valencia thanks to seven unanswered points in the final 20 seconds of the match. Tremendous.

97 kilograms (213 pounds)

  • Kollin Moore (Ohio RTC) dec. Ty Walz (Southeast RTC), 6-2
  • Michael Macchiavello (Wolfpack WC) dec. Hayden Zillmer (Gopher WC), 2-2
    • Macchiavello's 2-point takedown was greater than Zillmer's two single-point scores, so he advances on criteria. Moore scored all six points in the first period to advance.
  • Challenge Finals: Kollin Moore (Ohio RTC) tech. fall Michael Macchiavello (Wolfpack WC), 10-0
    • Moore was relentless, rolling up Macchiavello by technical fall early in the second period. He outscored his opponents 26-2 on Friday.
      • Kyle Snyder is already in Saturday’s best-of-three championship finals.

125 kilograms (275 pounds)

  • Nick Gwiazdowski (Wolfpack WC) dec. Dom Bradley (Sunkist Kids), 6-0
  • Gable Steveson (Gopher WC) tech. fall Greg Kerkvliet (Nittany Lion WC), 11-0
    • Gwiazdowski scored an exposure off a crotch-lift in the first period, then added a takedown in the second to advance. Steveson outscored his two opponents 22-0 on Friday.

Women’s Freestyle

50 kilograms (110 pounds)

  • Amy Fearnside (USOPTC) pinned Whitney Conder (Army WCAP), 5:25
  • Victoria Anthony (ASU RTC) dec. Alyssa Lampe (Beaver Dam RTC), 7-6
    • A big 4-pointer from Anthony in the first 10 seconds of the match held up as a huge difference here. Fearnside led 4-1 after a takedown in the second that led to a pin.
  • Challenge Finals: Victoria Anthony (ASU RTC) tech. fall Amy Fearnside (USOPTC), 11-0
    • Anthony ended this one in 58 seconds, her third tech-fall win of the day.
      • Sarah Hildebrandt is in Saturday’s best-of-three championship finals.

53 kilograms (116 pounds)

  • Ronna Heaton (Sunkist Kids) pinned Dominique Parrish (Sunkist Kids), 5:58
  • Katherine Shai (Northern Colorado WC) dec. Areana Villascusa (Army WCAP), 2-1
    • Heaton scored a turn to lead 7-3 late, then turned Parrish again for the late pin. Shai scored two points in the first and hung on late to win.
  • Challenge Finals: Ronna Heaton (Sunkist Kids) pinned Katherine Shai (Northern Colorado WC), 2:59
    • Heaton won her first two matches 10-0 and 4-0, then recorded back-to-back pins to reach Saturday's championship series.
      • Jacarra Winchester is in Saturday’s best-of-three championship finals.

57 kilograms (125 pounds)

  • Jenna Burkert (Army WCAP) tech. fall Cameron Guerin (Bearcat WC), 11-0
  • Alli Ragan (Sunkist Kids) dec. Xochitl Mota-Pettis (RISE RTC), 9-2
    • Burkert has beaten her two opponents by a combined 22-0. Ragan scored three second-period takedowns to score a revenge win and reach the challenge finals.
  • Challenge Finals: Jenna Burkert (Army WCAP) pinned Alli Ragan (Sunkist Kids), 2:12
    • Burkert connected on a NASTY headlock for a first-period pin and a spot in Saturday's championship.
      • Helen Maroulis is in Saturday’s best-of-three championship finals.

62 kilograms (136 pounds)

  • Maya Nelson (Sunkist Kids) dec. Jennifer Page (Nittany Lion WC), 6-1
  • Macey Kilty (Sunkist Kids) dec. Mallory Velte (Titan Mercury), 4-2
    • Nelson scored a 4-pointer at the end of the first period, then added another takedown in the second. Kilty scored two second-period takedowns to take out Velte, a previous Senior world bronze medalist.
  • Challenge Finals: Macey Kilty (Sunkist Kids) dec. Maya Nelson (Sunkist Kids, 5-0
    • Kilty was the first of three young women's freestyle stars to reach Saturday, doing so in dominant, workmanlike fashion over a talented Nelson.
      • Kayla Miracle is in Saturday’s best-of-three championship finals.

68 kilograms (150 pounds)

  • Forrest Molinari (Sunkist Kids) dec. Alara Boyd (McKendree Bearcat WC), 4-3
  • Kennedy Blades (Sunkist Kids) dec. Alex Glaude (Bearcat WC), 5-0
    • Molinari led 3-0 after the first and scored a push-out point late to hold off Boyd. Blades continued her impressive run through the tournament with another dominant victory.
  • Challenge Finals: Kennedy Blades (Sunkist Kids) tech. fall Forrest Molinari (Sunkist Kids), 11-1
    • ​​​​​​​Blades was the second, turning a 4-1 first-period lead into an 11-1 technical fall thanks to a trio of takedowns in the second period.
      • Tamyra Mensah-Stock is in Saturday’s best-of-three championship finals.

76 kilograms (167 pounds)

  • Kylie Welker (Titan Mercury) dec. Dymond Guilford (USOPTC), 8-0
  • Victoria Francis (Titan Mercury) dec. Jackie Cataline (Titan Mercury), 9-3
    • Welker, like Blades and Kilty, is among the many young women's freestylers that are making noise today. She's 3-0 so far and now in the challenge finals. Cataline led 3-2 early, then Francis took over to win. Cataline then retired here on Mat 4. Always a cool moment.
  • Challenge Finals: Kylie Welker (Titan Mercury) dec. Victoria Francis (Titan Mercury), 6-3
    • Welker was the third, scoring a 4-pointer in the first minute of the first period to defeat a seasoned and talented Francis.
      • Adeline Gray is in Saturday’s best-of-three championship finals.

Greco-Roman

60 kilograms (132 pounds)

  • Leslie Fuenffinger (Army WCAP) dec. Dalton Roberts (Army WCAP), 5-2
  • Ryan Mango (Army WCAP) dec. Sam Jones (Army WCAP), 4-1
    • Fuenffinger strung together three points in the second to break a 2-2 tie. Mango scored a pair of takedowns in the first period to advance.
  • Challenge Finals: Ryan Mango (Army WCAP) dec. Leslie Fuenffinger (Army WCAP), 3-0
    • ​​​​​​​Mango connected for 2 in the second period to defeat the top-seeded Fuenffinger.
      • Ildar Hafizov is in Saturday’s best-of-three championship finals.

67 kilograms (147 pounds)

  • Ellis Coleman (Army WCAP) tech. fall Xavier Johnson (All-Marine Wrestling), 8-0
  • Benji Peak (Sunkist Kids) tech. fall Raymond Bunker (All-Marine Wrestling), 9-0
    • Peak has beaten the 6-seed, 3-seed and now the 2-seed to reach the challenge tournament finals. Now he'll get top-seeded Coleman, who hasn't allowed allowed a point yet this tournament, either.
  • Challenge Finals: Ellis Coleman (Army WCAP) dec. Benji Peak (Sunkist Kids), 7-3
    • Coleman ended Peak's tremendous run thanks to a handful of turns in the second period.
      • Alejandro Sancho is in Saturday’s best-of-three championship finals.

77 kilograms (169 pounds)

  • Peyton Walsh (All-Marine Wrestling) dec. Jacob Fisher (Curby-3-Style), 4-1
  • Jesse Porter (NYAC) dec. Pat Smith (Minnesota Storm), 5-3
    • Walsh scored a takedown in the first period and a couple of passive points in the second. Porter, the 10-seed, used two second-period exposures to reach the final.

87 kilograms (191 pounds)

  • John Stefanowicz (All-Marine Wrestling) dec. Alan Vera (NYAC), 6-3
  • Patrick Martinez (NYAC) tech. fall Jonathan Anderson (West Point WC), 8-0
    • Stefanowicz scored a late 2 and 4 to storm back and defeat top-seeded Vera. Martinez poured it on late in the second period to secure the technical fall.
  • Challenge Finals: John Stefanowicz (All-Marine Wrestling) dec. Patrick Martinez (NYAC), 1-1
    • Stefanowicz claims this one on criteria by scoring the second passive point.
      • Joe Rau is in Saturday’s best-of-three championship finals.

97 kilograms (213 pounds)

  • Nicholas Boykin (Sunkist Kids) dec. Daniel Miller (All-Marine Wrestling), 7-5
  • Braxton Amos (Wisconsin RTC) dec. Lucas Sheridan (Army WCAP), 8-6
    • Boykin scored a 4-point throw in the second period to turn a 3-2 deficit into a 6-3 lead that he wouldn't relinquish. Amos jumped out to an 8-2 lead and hung on to advance.
  • Challenge Finals: Braxton Amos (Wisconsin RTC) dec. Nicholas Boykin (Sunkist Kids), 8-2
    • Amos scored 8 unanswered in the second period and is now two wins from the Olympics only a year removed from high school.
      • G’Angelo Hancock is in Saturday’s best-of-three championship finals.

130 kilograms (286 pounds)

  • Adam Coon (Cliff Keen WC) pinned West Cathcart (NYAC), 1:23
  • Cohlton Schultz (Sunkist Kids) dec. Jacob Mitchell (Army WCAP), 4-3
    • Coon follows his first-match technical fall with a first-period pin in the semifinals, while Schultz advances thanks to four first-period points. This will be a rematch of the 2019 world team trials finals.

Iowa wrestlers in the consolations

Four wrestlers with Iowa ties are still competing in the consolations. In men's freestyle, Pat Downey (86-kg) and Kyven Gadson (97-kg), and in women's freestyle, Felicity Taylor (53-kg) and Rachel Watters (68-kg). All four will wrestle again Saturday.

Preliminary and quarterfinal match results at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials

Iowa wrestlers

Men's Freestyle

86-kg, round one: Brett Pfarr over Sam Brooks, 9-3

  • Brooks scored a takedown in the first period and a step-out point early in the second to lead 3-1, but then Pfarr scored a takedown and on a leg-lace to lead 5-3, then added another takedown and a couple of step-out points to win.

57-kg, quarterfinals: Thomas Gilman over Zane Richards, 11-0

  • Very tactical match from Gilman. He led 5-0 after the first period, then scored two more takedowns and a turn in the second for the technical fall. He advances to the semifinals.

57-kg, quarterfinals: Joe Colon over Seth Gross, 9-8

  • Wild match here, as is expected between these two. It was 2-2 after the first period, then Gross scored a takedown and two turns to lead 8-2. Colon scored an exposure on a reversal to make it 8-4, then took Gross feet to back near the edge for a 4-point takedown tying the match 8-8. Gross's corner challenged the call, but it stood, giving Colon an additional point. Gross looked to have scored an exposure in the final seconds, but the ref didn't award it. Choose your challenges wisely. Colon advances to the semifinals.

74-kg, quarterfinals: David Carr over Logan Massa, 8-0

  • Mighty impressive win here from Carr, who lost to Massa last fall at the U.S. Senior men's freestyle national championships in Coralville. This time, Carr scored a big 4-point takedown in the first period, then added two more takedowns in the second to seal it and advance to the semifinals.

86-kg, quarterfinals: Bo Nickal over Pat Downey, 13-3

  • Downey, a 2016 All-American for Iowa State, scored the first takedown, but then Nickal poured it on with two takedowns in the first period, then a 4-pointer in the second to lead 9-2. He added two more takedowns to seal the technical fall.

97-kg, quarterfinals: Ty Walz over Kyven Gadson, 2-1

  • Not a very aesthetically-pleasing match. Gadson scored a point for passivity in the first period, then Walz scored two points for passivity in the second to win.

Women's Freestyle

53-kg, round one: Felicity Taylor over Melanie Mendoza, 3-2

  • Mendoza led 2-0 early, but Taylor scored on a step-out in the first period then on a takedown midway through the second to win and advance to the quarterfinals.

53-kg, quarterfinals: Areana Villaescusa over Felicity Taylor, 6-2

  • Villaescusa jumped out to a 6-0 lead in the first period thanks to a big 4-point move on the edge. Taylor got a takedown back in the second period and was working for a turn, but Villaescusa showcased some tough defense. Taylor drops to the wrestlebacks.

68-kg, quarterfinals: Kennedy Blades over Rachel Watters, 10-0

  • Blades is one of the many talented youngsters competing this weekend, and she showed why against Watters, rolling up this technical fall in less than a minute.

Other noteworthy matches and updates

Before the tournament even started Friday morning, USA Wrestling announced J'den Cox would not be competing because he failed to make weight.

Cox, a two-time world champ and 2016 Olympic bronze medalist, was entered at 97 kilograms (213 pounds), and was placed in the semifinals by virtue of winning a 2019 world championship at a non-Olympic weight, 92 kilos (202 pounds). He was removed from the bracket and it has since been updated.

That stinks for wrestling fans. Had Cox won Friday's challenge tournament, he would've faced Kyle Snyder, a two-time world champ and 2016 Olympic gold medalist, in Saturday's best-of-three finals for the right to go to Tokyo.

Cox's removal from the tournament means that two high-profile wrestlers are not competing this weekend. Nick Suriano, who entered at 57 kilos (125 pounds), was removed from the tournament due to a positive COVID-19 test result earlier this week.

Frank Molinaro announced his retirement following his quarterfinal loss to Yianni Diakomihalis at 65 kilos. In standard wrestling fashion, Molinaro, a 2016 Olympian, untied his shoes and left them on the mat. Always a cool moment. The crowd gave him a standing ovation.

Men's Freestyle

65-kg: Nick Lee over Mitch McKee, 14-2

  • Lee scored a couple of big 4-pointers to win by technical superiority and advance to the quarterfinals.

86-kg, round one: Bo Nickal over Carter Starocci, 6-1

  • Two Penn State wrestlers going head-to-head first round — and Nickal scored a big 4-point throw and a gut wrench in the first period to emerge victorious.

86-kg, round one: Aaron Brooks over Nate Jackson, 3-0

  • Brooks, a recent NCAA champ, scored two passivity points and another on a step-out to win and advance.

57-kg, quarterfinals: Vito Arujau vs. Nathan Tomasello

  • Arujau won a Junior world silver in 2019. Tomasello was a four-time All-American for Ohio State. 

74-kg, quarterfinals: Chance Marsteller over Vincenzo Joseph, 3-3

  • Rematch from last week's Last Chance Open. Because why not, right? Marsteller wins again thanks to criteria (he scored the last point).

86-kg, quarterfinals: Gabe Dean over Myles Martin, 2-1

  • This weight is LOADED loaded, you guys. And Dean advances thanks to a couple of passivity points. Kind of a bleh match, to be honest.

97-kg, quarterfinals: Mike Macchiavello over AJ Ferrari, 3-1

  • Ferrari became a wrestling (and online) sensation during the NCAA Championships. But Macchiavello defended well enough and scored points for passivity and step-outs to beat Ferrari and 

125-kg, quarterfinals: Greg Kerkvliet over Mason Parris, 4-4

  • Two weeks ago, these two guys were NCAA All-Americans. Kerkvliet won this match on criteria (last point scored) and advanced to the semifinals.

Women's Freestyle

50-kg, round one: Emily Shilson pinned Sage Mortimer in 2:51

  • The future of USA women's wrestling right out of the gate. Epic. But Shilson came out firing, leading 9-2 at the time of the pin in the first period.

57-kg, round one: Lauren Louive over Shauna Kemp, 12-2

  • Louive used to wrestle for the Hawkeye Wrestling Club. She made quick work of Kemp here and will face Alli Ragan, another former HWC member, in the quarters.

62-kg, round one: Ana Luciano over Michaela Beck, 3-2

  • Beck is another former HWC member, but Luciano jumped out to a 3-0 lead thanks to a passive point and a takedown. That held up as the winner.

Greco-Roman

67-kg, round one: Alston Nutter over Peyton Omania, 12-9

  • First-round matchup between two 2019 Junior world medalists, and it did not disappoint. Omania led 3-0, then Nutter scored two big 4-pointers to lead 10-5 after the first period. Nutter scored another takedown in the second and Omania made a late surge. Excellent stuff.

60-kg, quarterfinals: Dalton Roberts over Taylor LaMont, 5-0

  • LaMont was in the NCAA semifinals two weeks ago, but Roberts got the better of him here.

60-kg, quarterfinals: Ryan Mango over Travis Rice, 7-1

  • Mango's a two-time U.S. Open champ and a 2019 world-teamer. Rice recently won the Last Chance qualifier. Mango took this matchup on a first-period takedown and a big 4-pointer in the second.

97-kg, quarterfinals: Braxton Amos pinned Eric Twohey, 1:59

  • Amos qualified in both styles this weekend at the Last Chance qualifier last weekend. He advanced in Greco with a first-period pin, but lost in freestyle by technical fall.

Cody Goodwin covers wrestling and high school sports for the Des Moines Register. Follow him on Twitter at @codygoodwin.