Saturday evening marked the culmination of a four-day wrestling extravaganza in Las Vegas, Nevada. The South Point Hotel played host to the 2017 U.S. Open, with some of the best wrestlers in America competing. This evening showcased some highly anticipated matchups, headlined by Olympic and World champion Jordan Burroughs versus four-time NCAA champ Kyle Dake.
The Greco-Roman World Team Trials and the Women’s World Team Trials, which started Friday evening, featured best-of-three finals. The Men’s Freestyle U.S. Open finals ran simultaneously with the World Team Trials.
The Greco-Roman matches were very entertaining as a whole, but one of the best matches occurred between Kamal Bey and Mason Manville.
In the Women’s World Team Trials, number one ranked Sarah Hildebrandt lost to Becka Leathers. Leathers threw Hildebrandt for four points and Hildenbrandt was injured in the process, losing via injury default.
The Senior men’s freestyle was the most entertaining of the evening, living up to the hype. Opening with a tight battle between Anthony Ramos and Nahshon Garett, and eventually concluding with Burroughs and Dake, the Senior men’s freestyle finals offered the fastest paced and most compelling matches. As expected, James Green, Anthony Ramos, and David Taylor all won, while the remaining matches were much closer.
Most Exciting Matches
Jordan Burroughs (Sunkist Kids Wrestling Club) versus Kyle Dake (TMWC)
The Burroughs/Dake saga continued this evening in Sin City. This was the sixth freestyle match between the two, with Burroughs entering holding a 5-0 lead in the series. Burroughs pushed that series lead to 6-0, with a 2-2 win over Dake.
It was a very defensive and methodically paced match for each wrestler, which was indicative of the 2-2 score. Dake scored first on a step out, but Burroughs followed suit to even up the score at 1-1 to end the first period.
The second period offered a little bit more action, but still featured a lot of defensive wrestling from both wrestlers. Dake got another step out point from Burroughs, to take the lead at 2-1. Burroughs put his foot on the gas pedal and forced Dake into a shot clock situation. Dake was unable to score, resulting in a point for Burroughs, and ultimately a victory as well.
Jordan Oliver (Sunkist Kids Wrestling Club) versus Frank Molinaro (NLWC)
Jordan Oliver never ceases to deliver gritty performances and for two days in a row, he had the most thrilling matches. For the second day in a row, Oliver went through an NLWC member, this time former Penn State NCAA champion Frank Molinaro.
Although Oliver trailed 2-0 after the first period, this did nothing to alter his mindset heading into the second period. Oliver really attached to his single leg, as he rattled off multiple shots, and took down Molinaro twice, to claim a 4-2 lead with less than 40 seconds left. Molinaro would get a takedown late in the match, but Oliver managed to thwart any further attacks to win 4-4 on criteria.
Oliver’s demeanor after the match was just as exciting as his victory because of the emotions he exhibited. Jordan was very humble in his post-match interview and displayed tremendous amounts of character. He credited a lot of his current success to “lifestyle changes” such as eating healthier, more focus, but most importantly, “finding his love for the sport again.” It is safe to say Jordan Oliver is a force to be reckoned with at 65 kg, as he sets his eyes on claiming a World Team spot, and a World Title.
Kamal Bey versus Mason Manville
Kamal Bey versus Mason Manville provided a lot of fireworks and had fans on their feet multiple times throughout the back and forth battle. Bey scored first with a takedown, but Manville answered back with six straight points, to take the lead 6-2. Bey responded with another takedown to reduce the deficit to 6-5 going into the second period.
The second period provided just as much action as the first, with Bey getting a takedown and a turn, taking the lead 8-6. Manville came back with a passivity point and takedown, to come away with the 9-8 win in the first match.
The second match between Bey and Manville started off quickly again, with Manville getting a four-point throw fifteen seconds into the match. Neither wrestler would score for the remainder of the period, with Manville leading 4-0 going into the second period.
In the second period, Manville hit a go behind and pushed his lead to 6-0. Manville would hit another go behind, and win 8-0, and a spot on the Greco World Team.
Greco-Roman WTT Team Members
Ildar Hafizov (U.S. Army)
Patrick Smith (Minnesota Storm)
Mason Manville (U.S. Army)
Ben Provisor (NYAC)
Women’s WTT World Team Members
Victoria Anthony (Sunkist Kids Wrestling Club)
Becka Leathers (TMWC)
Helen Maroulis (Sunkist Kids Wrestling Club)
Victoria Francis (TMWC)
Senior Men’s Freestyle Champions
Anthony Ramos (Sunkist Kids Wrestling Club)
Kendric Maple (TMWC)
Jordan Oliver (Sunkist Kids Wrestling Club)
James Green (Sunkist Kids Wrestling Club)
Jordan Burroughs (Sunkist Kids Wrestling Club)
David Taylor (NLWC)
Kyven Gadson (Sunkist Kids Wrestling Club)
Zach Rey (Lehigh Valley Wrestling Club)