U.S. Olympic Team Trials men's freestyle preview at 86 kg/189 lbs.

By Richard Immel, USA Wrestling | April 02, 2016, 11:07 a.m. (ET)
 
 Jake Herbert attacks Ed Ruth at the 2015 U.S. Open in Las Vegas, Nev.
Photo: Tony Rotundo, WrestlersAreWarriors.com.
Date of Competition: Sunday, April 10

Weight currently qualified for the Olympic Games? No

Three past U.S. World Team members will headline a monstrous 86 kg/189 lbs. weight class at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials in Iowa City, Iowa.

Nine wrestlers that have qualified to compete at 86 kg combine to hold a breathtaking 18 NCAA titles between them.

Last year’s U.S. World Team member at 86 kg, Jake Herbert (Ann Arbor, Mich./New York AC/Cliff Keen WC) will look to make his second U.S. Olympic Team next weekend in Iowa City. He represented the U.S. at the 2012 Olympic Games and earned a seventh place finish in London.

Herbert, a three-time U.S. World Team member, emerged with a silver medal in 2009 World Championships in Herning, Denmark. This in the same year that he won his second NCAA championship and the Dan Hodge Trophy for Northwestern.

After competing at the 2012 Olympic Games Herbert took two years off from active competition before returning to the 86 kg fold in 2015. He won both the U.S. Open and U.S. World Team Trials last year on top of earning a silver medal at the Pan American Games.

Last month Herbert represented the U.S. at the Pan American Olympic Games Qualifier, but was unable to place top-two and qualify the U.S. to compete at 86 kg in Rio de Janeiro. He was defeated in the semifinals by two-time World silver medalist Reineris Salas Perez (Cuba), 2-1.

2014 U.S. World Team member Ed Ruth (Tempe, Ariz./Sunkist Kids) is looking to ascend back to the top of 86 kg after falling to Herbert in the U.S. World Team Trials finals last year. Ruth was a three-time NCAA champion and four-time NCAA All-American for Penn State.

Entering the U.S. Open last December, Ruth was the No. 1 seed at 86 kg but found himself in eighth place after dropping matches to former Penn State teammate David Taylor (State College, Pa./Nittany Lion WC) and Clayton Foster (Laramie, Wyo./GRIT Athletics/Wyoming RTC) before forfeiting the seventh place match.

Ruth has earned two international medals this season, gold at the Bill Farrell International champion and silver at the Henri Deglane Challenge.

Kyle Dake (Ithaca, N.Y./Titan Mercury WC), the only man to win four NCAA titles in four different weight classes, is also a favorite to challenge for the 86 kg Olympic spot.

Dake twice finished as the U.S. World Team Trials runner-up to Olympic champion Jordan Burroughs at 74 kg, but has elected to give 86 kg a go in 2016. He won the U.S. Open in December by defeating Taylor in the gold medal match, 11-4.

In his only international competition at 86 kg this season Dake posted a 2-1 record at the Alexander Medved International and did not medal.

In similar fashion to Dake, Taylor has also experienced a runner-up finish at the U.S. World Team Trials at 74 kg by coming in second place to Burroughs in 2014. He has also decided to move up in weight and compete for the 86 kg Olympic berth.

Taylor was a two-time NCAA champion at Penn State and finished in fifth place at the UWW Golden Grand Prix Finals at 86 kg last November. He navigated his way to a second place finish at the U.S. Open.

2013 U.S. World Team member Keith Gavin (Charlottesville, Va./Titan Mercury WC) finished in third place at the U.S. Open behind newcomers to the weight Dake and Taylor. He secured a bronze medal for the U.S. at the Pan American Championships in February.

Gavin will be joined by fellow U.S. Open placers Foster, Tyler Caldwell (Morgantown, W. Va./Sunkist Kids), Richard Perry (Philadelphia, Pa./New York AC/Penn WC) and Jon Reader (Brookings, S.D./Sunkist Kids) in Iowa City.

Two-time NCAA champions Gabe Dean (Lowell, Mich./Cornell/Titan Mercury WC) and J’den Cox (Columbia, Mo. (Missouri/ Missouri Wrestling Foundation) may be comparatively inexperienced on the senior level, but the pair could prove dangerous come tournament time. Dean was the 184-pound NCAA champion this year while Cox won the NCAA championship at 197 pounds.

True freshman NCAA champion for Ohio State Myles Martin (Penns Grove, N.J./Ohio State/Titan Mercury WC) and Dave Schultz Memorial International champion Austin Trotman (San Gabriel, Calif./Titan Mercury WC) round out the list of current qualifiers at 86 kg.

One more athlete will be added to the U.S. Olympic Team Trials field at 86 kg today at the Last Chance Olympic Trials Qualifier in Cedar Falls, Iowa. Only the champion at the Last Chance Olympic Trials Qualifier will qualify for the U.S. Olympic Team Trials.

The 86 kg champion at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials will make a quick turnaround after Iowa City, travel to Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia and attempt to qualify the weight class for the Olympic Games at the first of two Olympic Games World Qualifying Tournaments on April 24.

If unsuccessful in Mongolia, the U.S. will have one final chance to qualify 86 kg for the Olympic Games at the second Olympic Games World Qualifying Tournament being held in Istanbul, Turkey on May 8.

For more information on the U.S. Olympic Team Trials visit the official event website iowacitytorio.com.

U.S. Olympic Team Trials qualifiers as of April 1, 2016

86 kg/189 pounds
’15 World Team member – Jake Herbert, Ann Arbor, Mich. (New York AC/Cliff Keen WC)
’15 Bill Farrell International champion – Ed Ruth, Tempe, Ariz. (Sunkist Kids)
’15 Olympic Trials Qualifier champion – Kyle Dake, Ithaca, N.Y. (Titan Mercury WC)
’15 Olympic Trials Qualifier runner-up – David Taylor, State College, Pa. (Nittany Lion WC)
’15 Olympic Trials Qualifier third place – Keith Gavin, Charlottesville, Va. (Titan Mercury WC)
’15 Olympic Trials Qualifier fourth place – Jon Reader, Brookings, S.D. (Sunkist Kids)
’15 Olympic Trials Qualifier fifth place – Richard Perry, Philadelphia, Pa. (New York AC/Penn WC)
’15 Olympic Trials Qualifier sixth place – Clayton Foster, Laramie, Wyo. (GRIT Athletics /Wyoming RTC)
’15 Olympic Trials Qualifier seventh place – Tyler Caldwell, Morgantown, W. Va. (Sunkist Kids)
’16 Dave Schultz Memorial champion – Austin Trotman, San Gabriel, Calif. (Titan Mercury WC)
’16 NCAA Div. I champion – Myles Martin, Penns Grove, N.J. (Ohio State/Titan Mercury WC)
’16 NCAA Div. I champion – Gabe Dean, Lowell, Mich. (Cornell/Titan Mercury WC)
’16 NCAA Div. I champion – J’den Cox, Columbia, Mo. (Missouri/ Missouri Wrestling Foundation)
’16 Final Olympic Trials Qualifier champion -