Zain Retherford named USA Wrestling Athlete of the Week

By Taylor Miller, USA Wrestling | June 13, 2017, 2:38 p.m. (ET)

Photo: Zain Retherford after taking out 2016 Olympian Frank Molinaro in the World Team Trials finals. Photo by Tony Rotundo, WrestlersAreWarriors.com.

Video: Zain Retherford following his championship performance at the U.S. Freestyle World Team Trials

Zain Retherford (Benton, Pa./Nittany Lion WC) has been selected as TheMat.com Athlete of the Week on June 13, 2017.

Retherford had great weekend at the U.S. Freestyle World Team Trials at the Bob Devaney Sports Center in Lincoln, Neb., emerging from the challenge tournament and coming out on top of the best-of-three championship series at 65 kg/143 lbs., to win a spot on his first U.S. Senior World Team.

Entering the challenge bracket as the top-seed, Retherford opened his tournament with a first-period technical fall over Jaydin Eierman of the Missouri Wrestling Foundation, before shutting out Nick Dardanes and BJ Futrell in the semifinals and finals of the mini tournament.

Retherford tallied an 11-0 tech fall over Dardanes and a 10-0 win against Futrell, ending both matches early in the second period.

Defeating Futrell meant Retherford advanced to the best-of-three championship series, where 2016 Olympian and 2017 U.S. Open champion Frank Molinaro was waiting for him.

Molinaro took the first match, edging out his former training partner, 7-6. Retherford came charging back in the second match with two takedowns en route to a 6-0 shutout, forcing the series to a third match. In the deciding match, the two were tied 2-2 after the first, but Retherford pulled ahead and went on to take the match, 7-4, winning the U.S. World Team spot at 65 kg.

Retherford will represent Team USA at the 2017 World Championships in Paris, France, Aug. 21-26.

Each week USA Wrestling will select an Athlete of the Week based upon performance within wrestling for that week. The selection committee will consider any level of wrestling from youth programs through the Senior level.

To nominate a wrestler for this honor please send the athlete’s name, wrestling program and weekly and career accomplishments to Richard Immel at rimmel@usawrestling.org.