On Friday, the first step towards the 2020 Olympics will be taken by dozens of men and women who have visions of gold medals from Tokyo dancing in their heads. The New York Athletic Club will host the Bill Farrell Memorial Invitational in all three styles with the Greco-Roman and women’s freestyle tournaments conducted on Friday, while the men’s freestyle is taking place Saturday. The highest American finisher at each weight, who has not previously qualified, will earn themselves a coveted spot in the Olympic Trials, which will be held April 4th and 5th in State College, Pennsylvania. Since this is a qualifier for the Olympic Trials, only the six Olympic weights will be contested in each style. With such all of our talent condensed into six weight classes, there will be some incredible battles. Here is what to expect at all six of the men’s freestyle weights on Saturday
57 kg - Where to even start? These brackets will be absurd and they are just a preview of what to expect when we get to the Olympic Trials. Minus the two finalists and fourth-place finisher Vito Arujau, all of the placewinners from the 2019 US Open have registered here. That’s Zane Richards (third), Darian Cruz (fifth), Nathan Tomasello (sixth), Frank Perrelli (seventh), and Zach Sanders (eighth). Of this group, Cruz went on to perform the best at the World Team Trials, where he fell in the best-of-three finals to Thomas Gilman. Richards had a great showing on the backside at the Open, where he downed Perrelli and Cruz, while only losing to Gilman. Tomasello has had his moments where it appears like he’s ready to threaten for a spot on the world team. He suffered an injury at the Open and has not competed since to get prepared for this Olympic run.
Some of the active collegiates to watch out for are NCAA champions, Seth Gross and Nick Suriano. While Gross is best known for his freestyle prowess, he was a member of the Junior World Team in 2016. We’ll have to see how the weight cut goes for Gross since he’s wrestled 133 lbs for the last four years and 141 before that. Suriano made himself known as a viable contender on the freestyle circuit after his win over world bronze medalist Joe Colon at the Beat the Streets New York event.
With the Olympic year on the horizon and 61 kg’s not an option, there are quite a few notables that have made the cut, including Cory Clark, Shelton Mack, and Nahshon Garrett. Clark was fifth at the Open with a pair of wins over Tony Ramos before falling to Ramos at the WTT’s. Mack rebounded from a first-round loss at the WTT’s to take fourth in the challenge tournament. Garrett won the world team spot at 61 kg in 2018 over Colon, but had to pull out before Worlds due to injury. If healthy and with a good weight cut, Garrett will be dangerous.
Others that have had moments in the past and could be capable of an upset or two are Daniel DeShazer and Eddie Klimara.
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