Reece Humphrey named OW after capturing Greco-Roman title at University Nationals
AKRON, Ohio – Pick a style of wrestling and Reece Humphrey is excelling at it right now.
A 2008 World University silver medalist in freestyle and a 2009 NCAA runner-up in folkstyle, Humphrey tried his hand at Greco-Roman wrestling on Friday.
And his remarkable run of success continued.
Humphrey pulled out two hard-fought matches before rolling to a lopsided finals win in the University Nationals on Friday afternoon at the University of Akron Field House.
Humphrey, who is lethal in the top position, swept Josh Strait 3-0, 7-0 in the finals at 63 kg/138.75 lbs.
“I didn’t even really know what I was doing out there,” Humphrey said.
Humphrey could’ve fooled the fans who watched him turn in a strong performance Friday.
Humphrey entered the Greco-Roman competition along with his Ohio State teammate Nikko Triggas, who won the title at 60 kg/132 lbs. Humphrey was named Outstanding Wrestler of the tournament.
“It was a lot of fun,” Humphrey said. “There was no pressure because I don’t wrestle this style very much. I just had to go out there and pick ‘em up and throw ‘em down. I guess I just have a feel for this style. I never, ever practice Greco. I was shooting double-legs when I was warming up for the Greco finals.”
Humphrey excelled in Greco-Roman in USA Wrestling age-group events, winning a Junior Nationals title in that style in 2005 in Fargo, N.D. He placed third at University Nationals in Greco last year.
Humphrey is scheduled to compete in the University Nationals in freestyle on Saturday and Sunday.
Humphrey said he will bump up to 141 pounds for his senior season at Ohio State. He hopes to keep wrestling internationally at the Olympic weight class of 60 kg/132 lbs., since the weigh-ins at the Senior level are done the day before competition. That allows for more recovery time than the same-day college weigh-ins.
Triggas, who has excelled in Greco-Roman, was impressed with his college teammate.
“Reece is awesome,” Triggas said. “Last year I was coming down here to wrestle Greco and nobody else on my team was doing it and he says, ‘You know what, I’ll do it. I’ll wrestle Greco.’ He came down and took third. It was great to have a teammate do whatever it takes to help me out. He’s an awesome guy.
Triggas said you can see Humphrey’s confidence growing on the mat.
“His roll started last year at the World University Championships,” Triggas said. “He found that confidence and he found that spark. He’s just tearing people up.”
Triggas came back in the finals after losing the first period to David Armstrong 4-0. He won 4-0, 2-0 in the final two periods.
“The highlight for me was seeing Nikko win,” Humphrey said. “I was really proud of him, the way he battled back.”
Even though Greco-Roman and freestyle are distinctly different styles of wrestling, Humphrey said his overall wrestling will improve because of the matches he had Friday.
“Anytime you get on the mat, no matter what style you’re wrestling, you’re going to gain experience and get better,” he said. “And this was a great experience for me. I had a lot of fun out there today.”
The top two finishers from University Nationals, in the seven Olympic weight classes, qualify for the U.S. World Team Trials on May 30-31 in Council Bluffs, Iowa.
Humphrey’s class of 63 kilos is not an Olympic class, but his win was still noteworthy.
"Reece wrestled great," Triggas said. "It was fun to watch him win this."
UNIVERSITY NATIONALS GRECO-ROMAN – FINALS RESULTS
55 kg/121 lbs.
B.J. Futrell (Illini Wrestling Club) dec. Max Nowry (USOEC), 7-0, 4-0
60 kg/132 lbs.
Nikko Triggas (Ohio State) dec. David Armstrong (Underdog WC), 0-4, 4-0, 2-0
63 kg/138.75 lbs.
Reece Humphrey (Ohio State) dec. Josh Strait (Bronco Wrestling Club), 3-0, 7-0
66 kg/145.5 lbs.
Ben Sanchez (USOEC) dec. Alex Fleming (USOEC), 3-0, 1-0
70 kg/154 lbs.
Donnie Vinson (Binghamton/Shamrock) dec. Kirk Landon (Black Knights of the Hudson), 9-3, 6-0
74 kg/163 lbs.
Aaron Briggs (USOEC) dec. Marco Toledo (USOEC), 0-1, 1-0, 1-0
79 kg/174 lbs.
Andrew Bisek (USOEC) won by tech fall over Davon John (NYAC), 7-0,7-0
84 kg/185 lbs.
Chad Hemerson (USOEC) dec. Nathan Schiedel (Binghamton/Shamrock), 7-2, 3-0
96 kg/211.5 lbs.
Robert Smith (USOEC) dec. Zac Nielsen (USOEC), 0-2, 2-0, 2-0
120 kg/264.5 lbs.
Peter Kowalczuk (USOEC) pinned Atticus Disney (MN/Storm), 2-0, 0:18