World Team Trials preview in freestyle wrestling at 125 kg
Heavyweight Tervel Dlagnev has been a fixture atop this weight class over the past five years.
Dlagnev won a World bronze medal in 2009. He was fifth at the 2011 and 2013 Worlds, and fifth at the 2012 Olympics.
Dlagnev looked strong in winning the championship at 125 kg/275 lbs. in April’s U.S. Open finals in Las Vegas.
Dlagnev’s U.S. Open victory clinched him a spot in the final-round series for the U.S. World Team Trials, set for May 31-June 1 in Madison, Wis. He will face the winner of the Challenge Tournament in the best-of-3 match finals.
The champion at the Trials will advance to September’s World Championships in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.
Dlagnev defeated past Junior World champion Dom Bradley by a 10-0 technical fall in the finals in Vegas. Bradley has come back strong this year. He was third in the Yasar Dogo International and the Grand Prix of Paris in 2014.
University World bronze medalist Tyrell Fortune, another top young prospect, continues to wrestled well. He placed third at the Open.
Past NCAA champion Zach Rey, who has placed in numerous international events, was fourth in Vegas. Rey won the Cerro Pelado event in Cuba this year.
Jarod Trice finished fifth, Matthew Meueleners sixth and Justin Grant seventh at the Open.
Trice has also fared well in international competitions. He was second in the Dave Schultz Memorial this year.
2010 World Team member Les Sigman, who has been slowed by injuries, also could be a factor in this division. Sigman is back at heavyweight after dropping down a weight class last year.
University of Wisconsin wrestler Connor Medbery earned a wild card in this class. He is a past Junior Nationals champion in freestyle.
Eric Thompson is another young wrestler to keep an eye on. Thompson won three NAIA titles for Grand View after starting his college career at Iowa State.
Dlagnev will definitely be the favorite at the Trials and will be difficult to beat, but there are a number of other top wrestlers in what is a deep weight class in the United States.
2014 U.S. Open Results
125 kg/275 lbs.
1st – Tervel Dlagnev, Columbus, Ohio (Sunkist Kids WC/Ohio RTC) tech. fall Dom Bradley, Columbia, Mo. (Sunkist Kids/Missouri WF),10-0
3rd – Tyrell Fortune, Portland, Ore. (Titan Mercury WC) dec. Zachery Rey, Bethlehem, Pa. (Lehigh Valley AC), 4-1
5th – Jarod Trice, Ames, Iowa (Titan Mercury WC) dec. Matthew Meuleners, Lincoln, Neb. (Titan Mercury WC), 6-3
7th – Justin Grant, Easton, Pa. (NYAC/BWC) dec. Kyle Massey, Ann Arbor, Mich. (NYAC/MRTC), 5-1
2014 World Team Trials Qualifiers
125 kg/275 lbs.
Final Wrestle-off Qualifier
2014 U.S. Open champion – Tervel Dlagnev, Columbus, Ohio (Sunkist Kids WC/Ohio RTC)
Trials Tournament Qualifiers
2014 U.S. Open second place – Dom Bradley, Columbia, Mo. (Sunkist Kids/Missouri WF)
2014 U.S. Open third place – Tyrell Fortune, Portland, Ore. (Titan Mercury WC)
2014 U.S. Open fourth place – Zachery Rey, Bethlehem, Pa. (Lehigh Valley AC
2014 U.S. Open fifth place – Jarod Trice, Ames, Iowa (Titan Mercury WC)
2014 U.S. Open sixth place – Matthew Meuleners, Lincoln, Neb. (Titan Mercury WC)
2014 U.S. Open seventh place – Justin Grant, Easton, Pa. (NYAC/BWC)
Past World Team member – Les Sigman, State College, Pa. (Nittany Lion WC)
2014 Northeast Senior Regionals champion – Trevor Smith, Ripon, Calif. (West Point WC)
2014 Northern Plains Senior Regionals champion – Eric Thompson, Des Moines, Iowa (Viking Wrestling Club)
2014 NCAA Div. I champion – Nick Gwiazdowski, Delanson, N.Y. (North Carolina State)
Wild-card selection – Connor Medbery, Loveland, Colo. (Badger WC)