USA Wrestling Minnesota Storm take...

Minnesota Storm takes four gold medals at Greco-Roman Last Chance Olympic Trials Qualifier

By Richard Immel, USA Wrestling | April 01, 2016, 8:50 p.m. (ET)

 Alec Ortiz (Minnesota Storm) pictured at the 2016 Dave Schultz Memorial
International. Photo: Tony Rotundo,
VIDEO: Last Chance Olympic Trials Qualifier Champion Interviews

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa – Six Greco-Roman athletes secured their places at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials set for Iowa City next weekend by winning the Last Chance Olympic Trials Qualifier at the UNI Dome on Friday night.

The championship finals opened with an intriguing match-up at 59 kg/130 lbs., pitting high school senior Taylor LaMont (Champions WC) against a seasoned opponent in Justin LaValle (Minnesota Storm).

LaValle, a 2012 NCAA qualifier for Old Dominion, was able to take a 4-0 first-period lead over the three-time U.S. Cadet World Team member, LaMont. The two traded second period takedowns creating moments of drama late, but LaValle ultimately secured the win, 6-4.

“It feels awesome. Just been working all year for this,” LaValle said. “I came up one match short, pretty much, at the Open. Lost in the round of 12 to Kalil who’s a great wrestler and one match at Schultz away. I took fourth and needed third, so this is good. It feels good.”

A pair of wrestlers fresh off the college season were able to navigate their ways to U.S. Olympic Team Trials berth.

Trailing by one point late in the second period, 2015 NCAA All-American for North Dakota State Hayden Zillmer (Minnesota Storm) scored a late four-point takedown to claim the 85 kg/187 lbs. gold medal over fourth-place finisher at the 2015 U.S. Open, Khymbakhy Johnson (New York AC/NMU), 6-3.

“Just another match, another tournament, another step to my goal,” Zillmer said. “I haven’t wrestled Greco in three years and we decided on Tuesday I was coming, so we had Tuesday and Wednesday to train and my game plan for the whole tournament was, I just got to get everybody tired. If I’m down I’m going to score at the end and in the finals that’s what happened.”

Zillmer finished just short of a second All-American honor two weeks ago at the NCAA Div. I Championships in New York City, N.Y. as a senior for the Bison.

Also regrouping from a tough NCAA campaign was Div. III heavyweight standout for Augsburg, Donny Longendkye (Minnesota Storm). He was the NCAA champion at 285 pounds in 2015 and finished as a NCAA runner-up this season.

Longendyke separated himself from past U.S. National Team member Pete Gounaridis (U.S. Army WCAP) late in the 130 kg/286 lbs. finals to secure a 7-0 decision.

“I had a little bit of disappointment at the NCAA’s, so I kind of came out here trying to get a little redemption and better myself, so I fell like I accomplished that goal,” said Longendyke.

U.S. Army WCAP veteran Marco Lara grinded out a 4-2 win over Anthonie Linares (New York AC/NMU) in the 66 kg/145.5 lbs. finals to secure his berth in the U.S. Olympic Team Trials. Lara had not placed at a tournament this season prior to today, but he does have a proven history of results with a fourth place finish at the 2014 U.S. World Team Trials and a sixth place finish at the 2015 U.S. Open on his resume.

2011 U.S. World Team Trials runner-up John Lorenz (Unattached) returned to active competition for the first time in over five years to claim the 98 kg/215 lbs. championship. Lorenz downed Ethan Dondliger (NMU-OTS), 1-0, courtesy of a caution point to secure his place in Iowa City next week.

At 75 kg/165lbs., Alec Ortiz (Minnesota Storm) cruised to an 11-4 victory over the eighth place finisher at the U.S. Open, Colin Schubert, 11-4. Ortiz continued to ride the momentum he built for himself at the Dave Schultz Memorial International where he won a bronze medal.

The Minnesota Storm squad led all teams with four wrestlers winning gold medals between the six contested weight classes.

The Last Chance Olympic Trials Qualifier will resume tomorrow morning at 8:30 a.m. (CT) with the men’s freestyle competition. All the action can be viewed live on

April 1-3 at the UNI Dome in Cedar Falls, Iowa

Greco-Roman Results
59 kg/130 lbs.
1st: Justin LaValle (Minnesota Storm) dec. Taylor LaMont (Champions WC), 6-4
3rd: Dalton Roberts (NMU-OTS) dec. Aaron Kalil (Marines), 4-2

66 kg/145.5 lbs.
1st: Marco Lara (U.S. Army WCAP) dec. Anthonie Linares (New York AC/NMU), 4-2
3rd: Austin Morrow (New York AC/NMU) tech. fall Jamal DeArmond (NMU-OTS), 9-0

75 kg/165 lbs.
1st: Alec Ortiz (Minnesota Storm) dec. Colin Schubert (NMU-OTS), 11-4
3rd: Jesse Porter (New York AC/NMU) tech. fall Nick Tarpley (New York AC/OTC), 8-0

85 kg/187 lbs.
1st: Hayden Zillmer (CrosbyHay) dec. Khymbakhy Johnson (New York AC/NMU), 6-3
3rd: Dan Olsen (Thunder Wrestling) fall Wyatt Koelling (Champions WC), 1:29

98 kg/215 lbs.
1st: John Lorenz (Unattached) dec. Ethan Dondlinger (NMU-OTS), 1-0
3rd: Spencer Wilson (NMU-OTS) tech. fall Jorge Hernandez (Air Force WC), 13-2

130 kg/286 lbs.
1st: Donny Longendyke (Minnesota Storm) dec. Pete Gounaridis (U.S. Army WCAP), 7-0
3rd: Jon Scanlan (Iowa State) forfeit West Cathcart (NMU-OTS)