USA Wrestling Nine wrestlers earn ...

Nine wrestlers earn U.S. Olympic Team berths, while nine weights must still be qualified for Rio Games

By Gary Abbott, USA Wrestling | April 10, 2016, 11:35 p.m. (ET)

Daniel Dennis turns Tony Ramos in the second match of the Championship Series at 57 kg at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials. By winning the best-of-three series, Dennis earned a spot on the U.S. Olympic Team. Photo by Robbert Wijtman.

IOWA CITY, Iowa – The results from the U.S. Olympic Team Trials for wrestling, held at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on the University of Iowa campus, April 9-10, included 18 Olympic weight class champions.

For nine of the athletes, their victory earned them a spot on the U.S. Olympic Team and a trip to Rio de Janeiro with Team USA in August. For the other nine athletes, there is still additional work to do in order to earn the right to compete at the Olympic Games.

In wrestling, nations must qualify participants to compete in the Olympic Games, as the size of the field is restricted. There will be 19 wrestlers in each weight class in the men’s disciplines, and 18 wrestlers in each weight class in the women’s disciplines. There could be some additional athletes included in the field from the host nation Brazil and through the Tripartite Commission invitation process. In total, there will be 344 wrestlers competing in the Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

So far, there have been two stages of Olympic Qualification for the nations from the Pan American continent. Phase One was the 2015 World Championships in Las Vegas, Nev., where the top six athletes in each of the 18 Olympic weight classes qualified their nation for the Olympic Games. Phase Two was the 2016 Pan American Olympic Games Qualifier held in Frisco, Texas, in which the top two athletes in each of the 18 Olympic weight classes qualified their nation for the Olympic Games. (The other continents are also conducting their Olympic Games Qualifiers at this time).

The United States was successful in qualifying nine weight classes during the first two stages of qualification. In those weight classes, the winner in Iowa City punched their ticket to Rio. They are:

(These weights have been qualified for the Rio Olympics)

Men’s freestyle
57 kg/125.5 lbs. – Daniel Dennis, Iowa City, Iowa (Titan Mercury WC/Hawkeye WC)
74 kg/163 lbs. – Jordan Burroughs, Lincoln, Neb. (Sunkist Kids/Nebraska WTC)
97 kg/213 lbs.- Kyle Snyder, Woodbine, Md. (Titan Mercury WC/Ohio RTC)
125 kg/275 lbs. – Tervel Dlagnev, Columbus, Ohio (Sunkist Kids/Ohio RTC)

75 kg/165 lbs. – Andy Bisek, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Minnesota Storm)
85 kg/187.25 lbs. – Ben Provisor, Colorado Springs, Colo. (New York AC/OTC)
130 kg/286 lbs. – Robby Smith, Colorado Springs, Colo. (New York AC/OTC)

Women’s freestyle
63 kg/138.75 lbs. – Elena Pirozhkova, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Titan Mercury WC)
75 kg/165 lbs. – Adeline Gray, Colorado Springs, Colo. (New York AC/OTC)

Those who have qualified for the Olympic Games include two-time Olympians Burroughs, Dlagnev, Provisor, and Pirozhkova and first time Olympians Dennis, Snyder, Bisek, Smith and Gray. Of this group, Burroughs is an Olympic champion and three-time World champion. Gray is a three-time World champion. Pirozhkova is a 2012 World champion and Snyder is a 2015 World champion.

In the other nine weight classes, the winner of the U.S. Olympic Team Trials will need to attend the World Olympic Qualifying event in in Ulanbaatar, Mongolia, April 22-24 and second is set for Istanbul, Turkey, May 6-8.

Nations may only enter athletes in these tournaments in weight classes which they have not already qualified. In Mongolia, the top three men in each weight class and top two women in each weight class qualify their nation for Rio. In Istanbul, only the top two in each weight class in all three styles qualify for the Olympics.

The nine athletes who are Olympic Trials champions, but not yet Olympians, are:

(USA must still qualify their weight class for Olympic Games)

Women’s freestyle
48 kg/105.5 lbs. – Haley Augello, Lockport, Ill. (New York AC/OTC)
53 kg/116.5 lbs. – Helen Maroulis, Huntington Beach, Calif. (Sunkist Kids)
58 kg/128 lbs. – Kelsey Campbell, Tempe, Ariz. (Sunkist Kids)
69 kg/152 lbs. – Tamyra Mensah, Katy, Texas (Titan Mercury WC/OTC)

59 kg/130 lbs. – Jesse Thielke, Germantown, Wis. (New York AC/OTC)
66 kg/145.5 lbs. – RaVaughn Perkins, Omaha, Neb. (New York AC/OTC)
98 kg/215 lbs. – Joe Rau, Minneapolis, Minn. (Minnesota Storm)

Men’s freestyle:
65 kg/143 lbs. – Frank Molinaro, State College, Pa. (Nittany Lion WC)
86 kg/189 lbs. – J’Den Cox, Columbia, Mo. (Missouri Wrestling Federation)

Of the group going to Mongolia, Maroulis is a 2015 World Champion and three-time World medalist. Campbell has won her second U.S. Olympic Team Trials event. Theilke and Rau are past Senior World Team members. Augello, Mensah, Perkins, Molinaro and Cox are on their first U.S. Senior level team.

The United States has qualified complete Olympic Teams for the Olympic Games in every Olympics since qualification was instituted, except for 2008 in Beijing, China, when it did not qualify at 74 kg in Greco-Roman and for 2012 in London, England, when it did not qualify at 60 kg in Greco-Roman.