SCHULTZ FEATURE: Name the style, Fortune is a top young prospect for gold

By Gary Abbott USA Wrestling | Jan. 31, 2014, 4:33 p.m. (ET)

Photos of Tyrell Fortune competing in freestyle at the Dave Schultz Memorial International by Robbert Wijtman.

Pick a style, any style. People think Tyrell Fortune has a tremendous potential to be a World champion.

Tonight, Fortune will be on display in the men’s freestyle finals at the Dave Schultz Memorial International at 125 kg/275 lbs. But, don’t be surprised to see him competing in other disciplines.

“I am getting ready to go to Paris tomorrow, so I am focusing on freestyle now. But when I come back, I will come back (to the Olympic Training Center) and get some Greco camps with Coach Ahad. I am looking forward to also doing Greco at the U.S. Open and the World Team Trials,” said Fortune.

Fortune, who claimed national college titles at the Junior College and NCAA Div. II levels, has moved into the Senior level, and people are excited about his future. Just ask anybody involved in Olympic wrestling, both in freestyle and Greco-Roman, as well as those in Mixed Martial Arts. All see an unbelievable upside.

“He is a great freestyle prospect for us right now. He has a lot of wrestling to learn. He’s coachable. I like his attitude. We need to get him at a training location where he can get constant freestyle workouts. We need him at a Regional Training Center or at the Olympic Training Center. He is a nice kid, also,” said National Freestyle Coach Zeke Jones.

“Tyrell Fortune is a huge, huge Greco-Roman prospect. As many people know, he has done Greco-Roman most of his entire career. He has told me he is interested in doing both styles this year and in the future. He is a superb athlete, strong and fast. He is an ideal Greco-Roman and freetyle wrestler. I truly think this is a guy, if he wanted to, he could win World and Olympic titles in both styles. This is something no American has ever done. His style lends to both styles very well,” said National Greco-Roman Coach Steve Fraser.

Competing in both Olympic styles is no big deal to Fortune, who wrestles for the Titan Mercury WC.

“I feel like you can always use Greco in your freestyle. With Greco, you can’t transition from your freestyle much. As a freestyle wrestler, Greco helps you a lot. I started the same styles at the same time. All through growing up, middle school and high school, even in college, I wrestled both styles. For me, it feels normal to do both,” said Fortune.

Fortune, a Portland native who worked through the USA Wrestling age-group development program, finished his college career a year ago, the Div. II Wrestler of the Year for Grand Canyon University. He has quickly established himself on the Senior level, climbing to the No. 2 national team spot in men’s freestyle last year. He lost to World medalist and Olympian Tervel Dlagnev in the finals series.

Just because he made the national team in freestyle last year, the Greco-Roman community is also interested in keeping Fortune involved. He wrestled both styles at the 2013 World University Games in Russia last year and continues to compete and train in the both styles.

Meanwhile, popular MMA website Bloody Elbow called him the top young Mixed Martial Arts prospect among big men. And Fortune is not doing Mixed Martial Arts yet.

“I went down with the Blackzillians and I worked out with Rashad Evans. I had a great time. I signed with that team and I am family now. Kenny Monday was working with me, helping with my freestyle, getting my techinique right,” he said.

Fortune stresses that MMA will wait for now.

“Until I get done with my wrestling dreams and I am finished as a wrestler, I’ll make that transition at that time. They are supporting me now and keeping me in shape for wrestling. I am going out there and training with them in wrestling and MMA. They are a great support team for me,” said Fortune.

At the Schultz, he opened in the quarterfinals against veteran Canadian heavyweight Korey Jarvis. Fortune opened the scoring with a pushout and the Canadian was able to stay with him for awhile. After Jarvis tried a throw which Fortune blocked and scored exposure points, Fortune got his offense going. He closed it out with a takedown and a turn for a 10-0 technical fall.

In the semifinals, Fortune drew Matt Meuleners, a two-time Div. II national champion who has pursued freestyle for a few years now. Fortune wrestled him in college when at Grand Canyon. Since then, they seem to meet at many of the major freestyle events. Fortune scored first and Mueleners kept after him early. However, as Fortune got his offense going, the lead increased, until he finished with a 9-1 win.

“They were good. For the first time, I was competing at elevation, and had the emotion of competing in the tournament, but I felt good. I teched the first guy and won 9-1, so they were pretty good matches,” said Fortune.

Fortune will face talented Jarod Trice of Titan Mercury WC in the finals, ironically another heavyweight who competes in both styles. Trice wrestled in the Greco-Roman division on Thursday here at the Schultz Memorial.

So how long will it take for Fortune to be a world-class Olympic wrestler?

“Not very long. Going on these tours and getting more international competition, and getting in the rooms with strong heavyweights every day will improve me. It should be just a little time,” he said.