U.S. Olympic Team Trials men’s freestyle preview at 125 kg/275 lbs

By Richard Immel, USA Wrestling | April 08, 2016, 9:36 a.m. (ET)

Two-time World bronze medalist Tervel Dlagnev is the favorite at 125 kg. Photo by John Sachs, Tech-Fall.com.

Date of competition: Saturday, April 9

Weight currently qualified for the Olympic Games?
Yes

Two-time World bronze medalist Tervel Dlagnev (Columbus, Ohio/Sunkist Kids/Ohio RTC) has anchored the top of the 125 kg/275.5 lbs. men’s freestyle weight class for the U.S. the past six seasons. Over that timeframe Dlagnev has competed at four World Championships and the 2012 Olympic Games, placing top five in all of his World and Olympic competitions.

Dlagnev punched through to earn World bronze medals in 2009 and 2014. He finished in fifth place at the 2011 and 2013 World Championships and 2012 London Olympics. In 2008, Dlagnev won a University World Championships while also winning his second NCAA Div. II championship for Nebraska-Kearney.

Last month, Dlagnev qualified the U.S. to compete at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil by winning the Pan American Olympic Games Qualifier in Frisco, Texas.

Dlagnev won the U.S. World Team Trials last year but was forced to pull out of his fifth World Championships bid due to injury. He was replaced by World Team Trials runner-up Zach Rey (Bethlehem, Pa./Lehigh Valley AC) at the World Championships in Las Vegas, Nev.

Rey has posted many impressive international performances himself. Last year, he won both the Pan American Games and Pan American Championships prior to competing in his first World’s where he lost in the first round. He owns two bronze medals from the Alexander Medved International and two gold medals from the Cerro Pelado International this quadrennial.

Rey has finished second at the U.S. World Team Trials to Dlagnev the past two seasons. He was a 2011 NCAA champion for Lehigh, where he currently lives and trains.

U.S. Open champion Dom Bradley (Blue Springs, Mo./Sunkist Kids) will be in contention for the Olympic spot at 125 kg. He finished in third place at the U.S. World Team Trials last year and is a past Junior World champion for the U.S.

Bradley, a two-time NCAA All-American for Missouri, does own a win over Dlagnev from the 2013 U.S. Open. On the senior level, Bradley owns international gold medals from the 2014 Canada Cup, 2012 Dave Schultz Memorial International and 2011 Sunkist Kids International Open.

In the U.S. Open finals Bradley topped the always dangerous Tyrell Fortune (Tempe, Ariz./Titan Mercury WC) in a tight 5-3 match in Las Vegas, Nev.

Fortune has finished as high as second at the U.S. World Team Trials, doing so in 2013. He placed third at the 2014 U.S. World Team Trials prior to not placing one year ago. He won gold at the University World Championships in 2014 and owns gold medals from the 2014 Bill Farrell International, 2014 Dave Schultz Memorial International and 2013 New York AC International.

Collegiately Fortune won two NJCAA championships for Clackamas Community College and a NCAA Div. II championship for Grand Canyon in 2013.

Two-time NCAA champion Nick Gwiazdowski (Delanson, N.Y./New York AC/Wolfpack WC) has finished in fourth place at the U.S. World Team Trials the past three years. He is fresh off his senior season in college where he finished as the NCAA runner-up at heavyweight to World champion Kyle Snyder. He is a four-time NCAA All-American for North Carolina State.

Gwiazdowski qualified for the U.S. Olympic Team Trials by winning the Bill Farrell International last November where he defeated Bradley, 1-0, in the gold medal match. He also won a gold medal at the 2015 Grand Prix of Spain.

Two-time NCAA champion Anthony Nelson (Minneapolis, Minn./Minnesota Storm) has made significant strides in his freestyle development since graduating from Minnesota in 2014. He finished in fourth place at the U.S. Open in December.

Nelson won bronze medals at the Cerro Pelado International and Dave Schultz Memorial International in 2015. He placed fifth at the 2012 University World Championships.

Others qualifying for the U.S. Olympic Team Trials by way of top-seven finishes at the U.S. Open include Justin Grant (Bloomsburg, Pa./New York AC), Connor Medbery (Loveland, Colo./Titan Mercury WC), Bobby Telford (Iowa City, Iowa/Titan Mercury WC) and Eric Thompson (State College, Pa./Nittany Lion WC).

Matt Meuleners (Lincoln, Neb./Titan Mercury WC) qualified for the U.S. Olympic Team Trials by winning the Dave Schultz Memorial International in January.

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

U.S. Olympic Team Trials qualifiers at 125 kg/275 lbs.
’15 World Team member – Zach Rey, Bethlehem, Pa. (Lehigh Valley AC)
2014 World medalist – Tervel Dlagnev, Columbus, Ohio (Sunkist Kids/Ohio RTC)
’15 Bill Farrell International champion – Nick Gwiazdowski, Delanson, N.Y. (New York AC/Wolfpack WC)
’15 Olympic Trials Qualifier champion – Dom Bradley, Blue Springs, Mo. (Sunkist Kids)
’15 Olympic Trials Qualifier runner-up – Tyrell Fortune, Tempe, Ariz. (Titan Mercury WC)
’15 Olympic Trials Qualifier third place – Bobby Telford, Iowa City, Iowa (Titan Mercury WC)
’15 Olympic Trials Qualifier fourth place – Anthony Nelson, Minneapolis, Minn. (Minnesota Storm)
’15 Olympic Trials Qualifier fifth place – Eric Thompson, State College, Pa. (Nittany Lion WC)
’15 Olympic Trials Qualifier sixth place – Connor Medbery, Loveland, Colo. (Titan Mercury WC)
’15 Olympic Trials Qualifier seventh place – Justin Grant, Bloomsburg, Pa. (New York AC)
’16 Dave Schultz Memorial champion– Matt Meuleners, Lincoln, Neb. (Titan Mercury WC)