2016 U.S. Olympic Team Trials preview for 85 kg in Greco-Roman

By Gary Abbott, USA Wrestling | April 01, 2016, 10:25 a.m. (ET)
Jordan Holm in action at the 2016 Pan American Olympic Games Qualifier, where he qualified the USA for the Rio Games at his weight class. Photo by Tony Rotundo, Wrestlers Are Warriors.

Competition Day: Saturday, April 9

Is Weight Class Qualified Yet for Olympic Games: Yes

Making the last three U.S. World Teams at this weight class has been Jordan Holm of the Minnesota Storm. Holm competed at the 2016 Pan American Olympic Games Qualifier and won the gold medal, qualifying the USA for the Olympic Games at the weight class. Holm also won three straight U.S. Open titles (2013-15). His victory in the 2015 Hungarian Grand Prix, one of the toughest Greco meets each year, shows that he can beat top international competitors. He was second in the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials, and will seek his first Olympic berth in Iowa City.

Pushing Holm hard the last few seasons has been Jon Anderson of the U.S. Army, who was No. 2 at 75 kg early in the Olympic cycle, but made the big move up to 85 kg and has been very competitive. He has been second behind Holm at U.S. Open and World Team Trials the last two years. He had a big performance to win gold at the 2015 Pan American Games, and also won the 2014 Pan American Championships. Although he is often shorter than his opponents, he does not wrestle like he is undersized at the weight, displaying great energy and power.

Another 2015 U.S. World Team member will be in the mix, as Patrick Martinez of the U.S. Army will be moving up from 80 kg, where he wrestled at the World Championships in Las Vegas. Martinez had his best year ever in 2015, and has shown rapid improvement and against international opponents. He lost to Anderson in the Vaanta Cup at this weight this winter, then added bronze medals at the U.S. Open, the Grand Prix Zagreb Open in Croatia and the Pan American Championships.

The big surprise at the 2016 U.S. Open in Las Vegas was the run of veteran Jake Clark to the gold medal, trumpeting his return to elite status in this weight. Clark, now 36, had not competed for more than three seasons but battled through the field to win his second U.S. Open title. Clark competed in the 2006 World Championships, and was among the top placers at his weight for many years.

Moving up in weight to seek a second Olympic berth is 2012 Olympian Ben Provisor, who made the London Olympic team at 74 kg. He wrestled at 80 kg in 2014, where he was second in the Phase II World Team Trials, then missed a season due to injury. Provisor beat Martinez in Open semifinals before losing to Clark in the finals. A Greco specialist since high school, Provisor brings vast experience and an aggressive attack when wrestling well.

The rest of the field is a combination of experienced wrestlers and young talents. Lucas Sheridan, who is a past Junior World Team member and competed in Div. I wrestling for Indiana, has joined the Army WCAP program and was fourth at the U.S. Open. Young Kevin Radford, who wrestled for Arizona State, was sixth in the Open. Mark Stenberg and Ryan Hope of the New York AC are eteran wrestlers who came through the USOEC program at Northern Michigan and have been on the national scene for many years.

Three other military athletes are in the field. Courtney Myers of the U.S. Army, who was second in the World Team Trials in 2015 at 80 kg, qualified by placing second at the Dave Schultz Memorial. Myers was in the Marines before joining the Army team. Marine wrestler Michael Brant qualified by winning a medal at the Paris International. Timothy Bleau was the 2016 Armed Forces champion at 80 kg, and can choose which weight he will wrestle in Iowa City. One other athlete could be added to the field at the Last Chance Olympic Qualifier.

With this weight class already qualified for the Rio Games, the athletes can focus just on winning the Trials and preparing for the Olympics. There is great talent in the field, but they will need to knock off Jordan Holm, who has owned the weight class for the full Olympic cycle.

U.S. OLYMPIC TEAM TRIALS QUALIFIERS as of March 22

Greco-Roman - 85 kg/187 pounds

’15 World Team member – Jordan Holm, Minneapolis, Minn. (Minnesota Storm)
’15 World Team member – Patrick Martinez, Colorado Springs, Colo. (U.S. Army WCAP)
’15 Bill Farrell International champion – Jon Anderson, Colorado Springs, Colo. (U.S. Army WCAP)
’15 Olympic Trials Qualifier champion – Jacob Clark, Honolulu, Hawaii (Minnesota Storm)
’15 Olympic Trials Qualifier runner-up – Ben Provisor, Colorado Springs, Colo. (NYAC/OTC)
’15 Olympic Trials Qualifier fourth place – Lucas Sheridan, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Army WCAP)
’15 Olympic Trials Qualifier fifth place – Kevin Radford, Jr., Fayetteville, N.C. (Sunkist Kids)
’15 Olympic Trials Qualifier sixth place – Mark Stenberg, Colorado Springs, Colo. (NYAC/NMU)
’15 Olympic Trials Qualifier seventh place – Ryan Hope, Colorado Springs, Colo. (NYAC/CKWC)
’16 Dave Schultz Memorial runner-up – Courtney Myers, Colorado Springs, Colo. (U.S. Army WCAP)
Paris International bronze medalist- Michael Brant, Camp LeJeune, N.C. (U.S. Marine Corps)
’16 Interservice champion – Timothy Bleau, Colorado Springs, Colo. (U.S. Army WCAP)
International tour medalist within one year -
’16 Final Olympic Trials Qualifier champion –

Over the next 18 days, leading into the U.S. Olympic Team Trials in Iowa City, Iowa, April 9-10, TheMat.com will post one weight class preview each day. There are six weight classes in each style at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials, and the previews will start with the lightest weight classes and go through the heaviest.