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World Champs Burroughs, Gray, Snyder Headline Six Wrestlers In Qualifying For Rio Olympics

By Brandon Penny | April 10, 2016, 10:11 p.m. (ET)


IOWA CITY, Iowa – The second and final night of competition at the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Trials was so stacked it was reminiscent of a world championships competition – the 2015 World Wrestling Championships in Las Vegas, to be exact.

Sunday night’s championship action featured four world champions – all of whom won gold at the Vegas worlds – and a total of six world medalists, two of whom are Olympic champions. 

Of the nine weight classes competed, Team USA had already secured Olympic quota spots in six of them – five through last year’s worlds and one through last month’s Pan American Olympic Qualification tournament. The six Olympic Trials winners would join Elena Pirozhkova, Ben Provisor and Tervel Dlagnev, who earned their spots on the 2016 U.S. Olympic Wrestling Team one day prior.

Those who won non-qualified weight classes move on to compete in Mongolia later this month and, if necessary, Turkey in May in order to qualify their weight class for Rio and join the Olympic team.

Learn more about the qualifiers:


Greco-Roman 130 kg. Champion: Robby Smith
Hometown:
San Roman, Calif.
Age: 29
Olympic experience: None
Senior world championships experience: Three-time world team member, two-time fifth-place finisher (2013, 2015)
Olympic Trials journey: Smith entered the Olympic Trials tournament ranked No. 1 at 130 kg. and, having finished fifth at worlds twice, a clear favorite to represent the U.S. in Rio. But since he wasn’t able to reach the podium at worlds, he would have to battle his way through the brackets. Smith had a bye in the first round before taking Patrick Carey in the quarterfinals and Jacob Mitchell by technical fall, 8-0, in the semifinals. Smith faced No. 2-ranked Adam Coon in Sunday night’s final.
How the quota was earned: Smith earned the Olympic quota spot himself by placing in the top-six at the 2015 world championships.


Men's Freestyle 57 kg. Champion: Daniel Dennis
Hometown:
 Ingleside, Ill.
Age: 29
Olympic experience: None
Senior world championships experience: None
Olympic Trials journey: Dennis came into the Olympic Trials ranked No. 3 in his weight class. He started his day with a bye before taking a 9-2 decision over Alan Waters in the quarterfinals. In his semifinal, Dennis faced No. 2 Tyler Graff and won a 6-2 decision. Dennis upset No. 1-ranked Tony Ramos in the Olympic Trials final 10-0 to earn his spot on the Olympic team.
How the quota was earned: Tony Ramos earned the Olympic quota spot for Team USA at the Pan American Olympic Qualification event last month in Dallas.


Women’s Freestyle 75 kg. Champion: Adeline Gray
Hometown:
Denver, Colo.
Age: 25
Olympic experience: None
Senior world championships experience: Three-time world champion (2012, 2014, 2015), two-time world bronze medalist (2011, 2013)
Olympic Trials journey: Gray won the 2015 world title, earning her direct qualification to the best-of-three championship final, where she faced Victoria Francis to earn a spot on her first Olympic team after finishing as runner-up at the 2012 trials.
How the quota was earned: Gray earned Team USA’s women’s 75 kg. Olympic spot herself at the 2015 world championships.


Greco-Roman 75 kg. Champion: Andy Bisek
Hometown:
Chaska, Minn.
Age: 29
Olympic experience: None
Senior world championships experience: Four-time world team member, two-time world bronze medalist (2014, 2015)
Olympic Trials journey: After taking bronze at the 2015 world championships, Bisek went straight to the best-of-three championship match at Olympic Trials, where he faced Geordan Speiller.
How the quota was earned: By finishing in the top-six of his weight class at the 2015 worlds, Bisek earned the U.S. a spot in the 75 kg. event at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.


Men’s Freestyle 74 kg. Champion: Jordan Burroughs
Hometown:
Sicklerville, N.J.
Age: 27
Olympic experience: 2012 Olympic Games, gold
Senior world championships experience: Three-time world champion (2011, 2013, 2015), world bronze medalist (2014)
Olympic Trials journey: By virtue of his 2015 world title, Burroughs had a bye all the way through to Sunday night’s best-of-three championship round, where he faced Andrew Howe.
How the quota was earned: Burroughs earned the men’s freestyle 74 kg. Olympic quota spot for Team USA when he won gold at the 2015 world championships.


Men’s freestyle 97 kg. champion: Kyle Snyder
Hometown:
Woodbine, Md.
Age: 20
Olympic experience: None
Senior world championships experience: 2015 world championships, gold
Olympic Trials journey: When Snyder earned his world championships gold medal at his worlds debut last year, he also earned himself a spot in the finals of the U.S. Olympic Team Trials. In the best-of-three championship format, Snyder faced 2012 Olympic champion Jake Varner in an epic battle of reigning world champion vs. reigning Olympic champion.
How the quota was earned: In 2015, Snyder became the youngest American to win a world title and in doing so he also earned the U.S. a spot in the men’s 97 kg. competition at the Rio Games.