USA Wrestling Ramos, Metcalf, Herb...

Ramos, Metcalf, Herbert, Dlagnev receive freestyle draws for Pan American Olympic Qualifier in Texas

By Gary Abbott, USA Wrestling | March 04, 2016, 5:51 p.m. (ET)

Four-time World Team member Brent Metcalf will compete for the USA at the Pan American Olympic Qualifier on Saturday.

FRISCO, Texas – Four U.S. men’s freestyle wrestlers weighed in and received their draws for the Pan American Olympic Games Qualifier, which continues on Saturday at the Dr. Pepper Arena.

This event serves as a major qualifier for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The top two place winners in each of the 18 Olympic weight classes will qualify their nation to compete at the Olympic Games.

To qualify their nation for the Olympics, wrestlers will need to win their morning session semifinal match, moving out of their half-bracket to the evening finals match.

Two-time World bronze medalist and 2012 Olympian Tervel Dlagnev will open against Edguardo Lopez Morell of Puerto Rico in his opener at 125 kg/275 lbs. Lopez, who competes in both styles, was third in the 2013 Pan American Championships. Dlagnev has seven in his weight class.

Dlagnev is a local athlete. He was a two-time Texas state high school medalist for nearby Arlington High School. He won two NCAA Div. II titles for Nebraska-Kearney and has been one of the world’s best heavyweights for many years.

2009 World silver medalist and 2012 Olympian Jake Herbert (Ann Arbor, Mich./New York AC/Cliff Keen WC) opens up at 86 kg/189 lbs. against Pedro Ceballos Fuentes of Venezuela, who has been 10th at the World Championships two times.

Herbert, who won two NCAA titles for Northwestern and was a Hodge Trophy winner, has 10 in his weight class.

In his half-bracket, Herbert could face three-time World medalist Reineris Salas of Cuba. Salas has four career wins over Herbert, including two since Herbert made his comeback to wrestling in 2015.

Four-time U.S. World team member Brent Metcalf (Iowa City, Iowa/New York AC/Hawkeye WC) has a tough opener in the quarterfinals at 65 kg/143 lbs., drawing 2011 World silver medalist Franklin Gomez of Puerto Rico. Gomez was an NCAA champion for Michigan State and trains with the Nittany Lion WC at Penn State.

Metcalf, a two-time NCAA champion and Hodge Trophy winner, has 13 wrestlers in his weight class. Metcalf is in the top half-bracket, which has only five athletes. Metcalf competed in the 2012 Pan Am Olympic Qualifier in Florida and qualified the USA at this weight class for the London Olympic Games with a second place finish there.

Two-time World team member Tony Ramos (Iowa City, Iowa/Titan Mercury WC/Hawkeye WC) opens at 57 kg/125.5 lbs. against Jefferson Mayea Figueroa of Ecuador, who was in 2015 Pan American Championships,

Ramos has been on two U.S. World Teams and was an NCAA champions at the Univ. of Iowa. He is on the opposite bracket of Yowlys Bonne Rodriguez of Cuba, the 2014 World bronze medalist who had two wins over Ramos last year.

“This is a huge event. We have four weight classes to get qualified for the Olympics. It falls at a good time, in regard to periodization and moving into our Trials. We are about six or seven weeks away. Training wise, these guys have been feeling really good. On the winter tour schedule, they have competed well. Now we need to get these weight classes qualified. This is very important. Heading into our Olympic Trials in April, having these four weights qualified simplifies our ability to focus on preparing them for Rio,” said Assistant National Coach Bill Zadick.

On Saturday, 12 men’s freestyle spots in the 2016 Olympic Games will be awarded, with the athletes qualifying their nation, not themselves, for the Olympics. In total, during the three days of the Pan American Olympic Qualifier, 36 spots in the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro are up for grabs.

“To qualify the weight class you have to make the finals. The Pan Americans is the Western hemisphere, so it will be a smaller bracket. It is probably three matches to win the tournament, but in some cases it could be four, depending upon your draw. Cuba is really strong and they have nobody qualified for the Olympic Games. Venezuela is strong. They have several guys on their squad, and Canada is always strong. There is obviously the individuals from other countries. We have to come to wrestle. With the Olympics in Brazil, in the Western hemisphere, everybody is gearing up for this to make a big show in Rio. This is a huge step. We have to come with our A Game, ready to wrestle,” said Zadick.

There will be a 10:00 a.m. session with Qualification Rounds and Repechage, and a 5:00 p.m. session with the Medal Match Finals.

There will be a series of exhibition matches featuring high school and youth wrestlers between sessions on Saturday.

U.S. men’s freestyle draws for Saturday

57 kg/125.5 lbs. - Tony Ramos, Iowa City, Iowa (Titan Mercury WC/Hawkeye WC)
Vs. Jefferson Mayea Figueroa (Ecuador), 3rd in 2015 Pan American Championships, 5th in 2012 and 2016 Pan American Championships

65 kg/143 lbs. - Brent Metcalf, Iowa City, Iowa (New York AC/Hawkeye WC)
Vs. Franklin Gomez (Puerto Rico), 2nd in 2011 World Championships, 2011 Pan American Games champion, 2011 Pan American Championships champion

86 kg/189 lbs. - Jake Herbert, Ann Arbor, Mich. (New York AC/Cliff Keen WC)
Vs. Pedro Ceballos Fuentes (Venezuela), 10th in 2014 and 2016 World Championships, 2007 and 2010 Junior Pan American champion

125 kg/275 lbs. - Tervel Dlagnev, Columbus, Ohio (Sunkist Kids/Ohio RTC)
Vs. Edguardo Lopez Morell (Puerto Rico), 3rd in 2013 Pan American Championships, 5th in 2011 Pan American Games