Jordan Burroughs rallied past David Taylor 7-6 in a classic U.S. Open finals battle on Saturday night in Las Vegas. Tony Rotundo photo.
LAS VEGAS – The clock ticked under 30 seconds.
And Jordan Burroughs trailed by three.
But as he’s done countless times in his legendary career, Burroughs delivered for another dramatic, edge-of-your-seat victory.
Burroughs fired in for back-to-back double-leg takedowns, the last coming with 17 seconds left, as he rallied to edge David Taylor for a thrilling 7-6 U.S. Open finals win on Saturday night at the Las Vegas Convention Center.
“It just takes mental toughness, dedication, focus and grit,” Burroughs said. “I knew all I needed to do was score one more point than he did, and I got it done. This is a position I’ve been in multiple times in my career. I’ve gotten to this point in my career by being mentally tough and mentally focused."
Taylor, the two-time Hodge Trophy winner, came out strong and determined. He countered a Burroughs shot and locked up a cradle to score a two-point turn for an early 2-1 lead.
Taylor hit the same move again to take a 6-3 lead with under a minute left in the bout before Burroughs staged his furious match-winning rally.
“David got me a couple of times, but I was finally able to initiate my offense,” Burroughs said. “I saw a little bit of weakness in him. He started getting tired and putting his hands on his knees. When David Taylor puts his hands on his knees, I know I can score.”
Burroughs, an Olympic gold medalist and two-time World champion, raised both arms in victory as the packed house of 2,000 fans stood and cheered after the classic battle came to a close.
Burroughs beat Taylor for the second straight year in the Open finals at 74 kg/163 lbs. Burroughs won his third Open title. He was named Outstanding Wrestler in freestyle. Burroughs is now 81-1 in his fourth season on the Senior level.
Burroughs was one of eight freestyle champions crowned on Saturday.
The top seven finishers in each Olympic weight class qualify for the U.S. World Team Trials on May 31-June 1 in Madison, Wis.
Olympic gold medalist Jake Varner looked superb in his return to the mat in defeating Wynn Michalak 4-0 in the finals at 97 kg/213 lbs. Varner won his third Open crown.
Varner is back wrestling again after taking most of the 2013 season off.
World bronze medalist and Olympian Tervel Dlagnev overpowered Dom Bradley 10-0 in the heavyweight finals. Dlagnev won his third Open title.
Rising young star Jimmy Kennedy came back from an early deficit to defeat 2012 Olympic bronze medalist Coleman Scott 7-2 in the finals at 61 kg/134 lbs. Kennedy continued his momentum after a strong World Cup performance in Los Angeles.
2013 World Team member Keith Gavin overcame an early deficit to defeat Clayton Foster 7-4 in the finals at 86 kg/189 lbs. Gavin halted the momentum of Foster, who was coming off a superb showing at the World Cup. Gavin beat Foster in the World Team Trials finals last year.
Two-time World Team member Brent Metcalf capped a strong weekend with a convincing 9-0 win over 2013 U.S. Open champion Kellen Russell in the finals at 65 kg/143 lbs. Metcalf won his first Open title.
Metcalf defeated Russell in the finals of the 2013 World Team Trials.
2012 Olympian Sam Hazewinkel won his second Open title with an 11-0 win over Andrew Hochstrasser in the finals at 57 kg/125.5 lbs. Hazewinkel has come back strong this season and turned in a dominating performance in this event.
Nick Marable has moved down a weight class and still looked powerful in defeating Moza Fay 5-1 in the finals at 70 kg/154 lbs. Marable, who ended Burroughs’ winning streak at 69 matches earlier this year, won his first Open title.
The Titan Mercury Wrestling Club won the team title.
57 kg/125.5 lbs.
Sam Hazewinkel (Sunkist Kids) dec. Andrew Hochstrasser (Titan Mercury WC), 11-0
61 kg/134 lbs.
Jimmy Kennedy (New York AC) dec. Coleman Scott (Titan Mercury WC), 7-2
65 kg/143 lbs.
Brent Metcalf (New York AC) dec. Kellen Russell (New York AC), 11-0
70 kg/154 lbs.
Nick Marable (Sunkist Kids) dec. Moza Fay (U.S. Army), 5-1
74 kg/163 lbs.
Jordan Burroughs (Sunkist Kids) dec. David Taylor (Nittany Lion WC), 7-6
86 kg/189 lbs.
Keith Gavin (Titan Mercury WC) dec. Clayton Foster (GRIT Athletics), 7-4
97 kg/213 lbs.
Jake Varner (Nittany Lion WC) dec. Wynn Michalak (Titan Mercury WC), 4-0
125 kg/275.5 lbs.
Tervel Dlagnev (Sunkist Kids) dec. Dom Bradley (Sunkist Kids), 10-0