Coleman Scott downs Franklin Gomez at University Nationals in battle of NCAA champions
AKRON, Ohio - Coleman Scott wasn't planning on being here this weekend.
But those plans changed when Scott fell short of placing earlier this month at the U.S. Nationals in Las Vegas.
By failing to place in the top seven in Vegas, Scott still hasn't qualified for the U.S. World Team Trials in freestyle wrestling at 60 kg/132 lbs. A top-two finish at the University Nationals will earn him a trip to Council Bluffs, Iowa, for the Trials on May 30-31.
Scott took a huge step toward landing a spot in the Trials when he downed Franklin Gomez, 3-0, 2-1 Saturday afternoon in a battle of the last two NCAA champions at 133 pounds. This tournament is not seeded, so they ended up meeting in the third round.
"I don't think it was unlucky that I drew him - you've got to beat them all anyway," Scott said, flashing a smile. "You've got to be ready, no matter who you're facing. I can beat him today or beat him tomorrow, it doesn't really matter."
Scott now advances to meet Matt Fisk in the quarterfinals. Fisk, an NCAA qualifier for Lehigh, knocked off NCAA runner-up Jayson Ness 5-0, 1-1, 5-0 in the third round.
The freestyle competition for University Nationals and FILA Cadet Nationals is set to finish on Sunday. The University Nationals for women's freestyle also will be held Sunday as the three-day event concludes.
Scott showed promise in freestyle in 2008. He placed second at the 2008 U.S. Nationals before finishing fourth at the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team Trials. He's struggled in 2009.
"It's been an up-and-down season," Scott said. "I've taken quite a few losses this year, and it's been tough on me. Winning a match like this can definitely get me back on track. Gomez is a tough kid who has a good offense. It was a good win for me."
Scott failed to crack the top eight at the 2009 U.S. Nationals just a few weeks ago. He won his first match, but lost his next two.
"After Vegas, that's when I decided I needed to wrestle here," Scott said. "I wrestled the worst I ever have. I just need to refocus and wrestle the way I am capable of."
The first period between Scott and Gomez was scoreless after two minutes and went to the leg clinch. Scott won the flip and quickly finished by taking Gomez to the mat to win the period.
Gomez struck first in the second period, attacking the legs for a one-point takedown just over halfway through the period. But Scott came back in the closing seconds of the period, winning a scramble and powering through Gomez to gain the winning takedown. He added a one-point pushout for the final margin.
A large crowd of wrestlers, coaches and fans crowded around Mat 9 for the highly anticipated Scott-Gomez match late Saturday afternoon at the University of Akron Field House.
"I pushed the pace and went after him," Scott said. "I had to wrestle smart and stay in good position."