World champion Ruiz, World silver medalist Cross among champions at Grappling No-Gi World Team Trials

By Meagan Templeton-Lynch USA Wrestling | April 19, 2013, 6:42 p.m. (ET)
2011 World champion in No-Gi Grappling Brandon Ruiz defeated Joel Bane at the 2013 World Team Trials in Las Vegas, Nev. Robbert Wijtman photo.

The members of the U.S. Grappling No-Gi World Team were determined at the World Team Trials in Las Vegas, Nev. on Friday. Champions will compete against top Senior grapplers from around the globe at the 2013 World Championships in London, Canada on June 12-15.

Brandon Ruiz of Team EDGE, a 2011 Grappling No-Gi World champion, earned his spot on the 2013 World Team at +100 kg on Friday by winning in a best of three series against Joel Bane of Air Force Wrestling Club.

"I was a little nervous, I've had some back issues, issues us maturing athletes deal with, but it came together" said Ruiz. "I'm very excited. I love going to World Championships, this will be number four for me. I'm hoping to go back and get another gold medal."

The 84 kg bracket was loaded with top grapplers this year. In the semifinal rounds at 84 kg, 2012 World silver medalist Michael Kelly of Old School Wrestling beat fellow 2012 World Team member Jeffrey Funicello of American Pankration, a past Grappling World medalist and also a two-time Beach World medalist.

Another 2012 World silver medalist, Shane Cross of Team EDGE, beat Dennis Hallman of Victory Athletics in the semifinals to move on to the first place match against Kelly. Hallman is a former UFC fighter and is considered a top competitor in the MMA world.

In their intense final match that went into overtime, friends Kelly and Cross battled for a spot on the 2013 U.S. World Team. Cross finally scored the winning point in the remaining seconds, although Kelly got very close to finishing off a number of leg attacks.

"It felt good in the moment, it felt good to get some wins" Cross said after his victory. "It's tiring. I was in the geriatric division with about four other guys over 35, but a bunch of young bucks, too. I don't get to see [Kelly] too often. He's an awesome person. It's fun to wrestle guys like that."

Winning at 92 kg was Eric Brennan of Team EDGE, who defeated 2012 World bronze medalist Daniel Huber of American Pankration in the finals.

Other champions in Men's No-Gi Grappling were Matt Holt of Brazilian Top Team Portland at 62 kg, John Albert of Victory Athletics at 66 kg, Jayson Patino of American Top Team at 71 kg, Will Durkee of Team EDGE at 77 kg and Henry Todd of American Pankration at 100 kg.

Holt was a former U.S. Olympic Training Center resident athlete in Greco-Roman. Durkee was a Div. I wrestler for Virginia and Northwestern.

In the women's division, Veronica Graves of Team EDGE bested Gabriella Foster of American Pankration at 58 kg in a best out of three series with two submissions in less than two minutes to earn a place on the 2013 Grappling No-Gi World Team. Foster was a 2012 World bronze medalist.

"It went well, I got two arm bars and I got a really good throw" said Graves of her two matches against Foster. "I was a little nervous. [Foster] is ripped up, it's not like she's someone that just walked in. It was cool."

Also on the 2013 U.S. Women's World Team will be Bahar Shahidi of Team EDGE, who was uncontested at 53 kg. Shahidi is a former No-Gi Grappling World medalist.

The mood at the Las Vegas Convention Center Friday was of excitement, with Junior and Senior men and women wrestling alongside the Grappling World Team Trials. The U.S. Grappling Gi World Team Trials will take place on Saturday.

"I love wrestling. I love grappling" Ruiz, champion at +100 kg, said. "It's a great atmosphere; it's a good place to be."

2013 GRAPPLING WORLD TEAM TRIALS
At Las Vegas, Nev., April 19, 2013

Men's No-Gi Results


62 KG
1st Place - Matt Holt of Brazilian Top Team Portland
2nd Place - John Cicio of ATT Winter Springs
3rd Place - Jay Rea of EDGE MMA & Fitness (Team EDGE)
Round 1 - John Cicio (ATT Winter Springs) won by decision over Jay Rea (EDGE MMA & Fitness (Team EDGE)) (Dec 1-0)
Round 2 - Matt Holt (Brazilian Top Team Portland) won by submission over Jay Rea (EDGE MMA & Fitness (Team EDGE)) (Sub. 3:46)
Round 3 - Matt Holt (Brazilian Top Team Portland) won by decision over John Cicio (ATT Winter Springs) (Dec 3-0)

66 KG
1st Place - John Albert of victory athletics
2nd Place - Justin Hayes of American Pankration
3rd Place - Nicholas Marr of EDGE MMA & Fitness (Team EDGE)
4th Place - Douglas Elson of American Pankration
1st - John Albert (victory athletics) won by submission over Justin Hayes (American Pankration) (Sub. 3:06)
3rd - Nicholas Marr (EDGE MMA & Fitness (Team EDGE)) won by submission over Douglas Elson (American Pankration) (Sub. 0:00)

71 KG
1st Place - Jayson Patino of American Top Team
2nd Place - Patrick Benson of victory athletics
3rd Place - Stephan Spooner of American Pankration
4th Place - Mitch Peterson of EDGE MMA & Fitness (Team EDGE)
1st - Jayson Patino (American Top Team) won by submission over Patrick Benson (victory athletics) (Sub. 4:53)
3rd - Stephan Spooner (American Pankration) won by decision over Mitch Peterson (EDGE MMA & Fitness (Team EDGE)) (Dec 2-1)

77 KG
1st Place - Will Durkee of EDGE MMA & Fitness (Team EDGE)
2nd Place - Johnny Nunez of Drysdale Jiujitsu
3rd Place - Peter Sutton of Stable Jiu Jitsu
4th Place - Simon Ioane of University of Grappling
1st - Will Durkee (EDGE MMA & Fitness (Team EDGE)) won by decision over Johnny Nunez (Drysdale Jiujitsu) (Dec 1-0)
3rd - Peter Sutton (Stable Jiu Jitsu) won by submission over Simon Ioane (University of Grappling) (Sub. 1:35)

84 KG
1st Place - Shane Cross of EDGE MMA & Fitness (Team EDGE)
2nd Place - Michael Kelly of Old School Wrestling
3rd Place - Tom Eaton of Fight Club Two-Nine
4th Place - Jeffrey Funicello of American Pankration
1st - Shane Cross (EDGE MMA & Fitness (Team EDGE)) won by decision over Michael Kelly (Old School Wrestling) (Dec 1-0)
3rd - Tom Eaton (Fight Club Two-Nine) won by decision over Jeffrey Funicello (American Pankration) (Dec 4-0)

92 KG
1st Place - Eric Brennan of EDGE MMA & Fitness (Team EDGE)
2nd Place - Daniel Huber of American Pankration
3rd Place - Kyle Bracey of TEXAS
4th Place - Brandon Barone of Marinobles Elite
1st - Eric Brennan (EDGE MMA & Fitness (Team EDGE)) won by decision over Daniel Huber (American Pankration) (Dec 3-2)
3rd - Kyle Bracey (TEXAS) won by submission over Brandon Barone (Marinobles Elite) (Sub. 0:28)

100 KG
1st Place - Henry Todd of American Pankration
2nd Place - Aaron Yoches of EDGE MMA & Fitness (Team EDGE)
Round 1 - Henry Todd (American Pankration) won by decision over Aaron Yoches (EDGE MMA & Fitness (Team EDGE)) (Dec 1-0)
Round 2 - Henry Todd (American Pankration) won by decision over Aaron Yoches (EDGE MMA & Fitness (Team EDGE)) (Dec 2-0)

+100 KG
1st Place - Brandon Ruiz of EDGE MMA & Fitness (Team EDGE)
2nd Place - Joel Bane of air force wrestling club
Round 1 - Brandon Ruiz (EDGE MMA & Fitness (Team EDGE)) won by submission over Joel Bane (air force wrestling club) (Sub. 2:30)
Round 2 - Brandon Ruiz (EDGE MMA & Fitness (Team EDGE)) won by submission over Joel Bane (air force wrestling club) (Sub. 0:33)

Women's No-Gi Results

53 KG
1st Place - Bahar Shahidi of EDGE MMA & Fitness (Team EDGE)

58 KG
1st Place - Veronica Graves of EDGE MMA & Fitness (Team EDGE)
2nd Place - Gabriella Foster of American Pankration
Round 1 - Veronica Graves (EDGE MMA & Fitness (Team EDGE)) won by submission over Gabriella Foster (American Pankration) (Sub. 1:52)
Round 2 - Veronica Graves (EDGE MMA & Fitness (Team EDGE)) won by submission over Gabriella Foster (American Pankration) (Sub. 1:55)
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