Burroughs edges Dake on criteria to highlight riveting men's freestyle finals at U.S. Open Championships

By Richard Immel, USA Wrestling | April 30, 2017, 12 a.m. (ET)
Photo: Jordan Burroughs defeats Kyle Dake on criteria 2-2 in the 74 kg finals of the 2017 U.S. Open. Photo by Tony Rotundo, WrestlersAreWarriors.com.

Video: U.S. Open Men’s Freestyle Champion Interviews

LAS VEGAS – The rematch two years in the making more than lived up to expectations.

Olympic champion and three-time World champion Jordan Burroughs was pushed to the brink by Olympic Trials runner-up Kyle Dake in the 74 kg/163 lbs. U.S. Open final on Saturday night at the South Point Arena, but in the end Burroughs survived another close battle with his long-time rival.

The match opened with Dake and Burroughs trading first period step out points. Dake took over the lead early in the second frame courtesy of an additional step out point. With under one minute remaining, Dake was placed on the 30-second clock and ultimately surrendered a point because of it. Burroughs rode out a dramatic final 12-seconds to get the win on criteria, 2-2.

“This has obviously been an extremely tough six or seven months for me since Rio. You know, a lot of fear, a lot of doubt, a lot of anxiety, so this feels good,” Burroughs said following the victory. “I’m not going to sit on my laurels. This is just a stepping stone to where I want to be, getting back to Paris, and it’s never going to be easy, so commend you Kyle for a great match, and I’ll see you again twice in June.”

Burroughs now holds a 5-0 career record against Dake, who is one of only four men to win four NCAA Division I titles. With the win, Burroughs picked up his fourth U.S. Open title and pushed his career record to 139-4, but more importantly he advanced to the best-of-three championship series at the U.S. World Team Trials taking place on his home turf in Lincoln, Neb., June 9-10.

After being on the doorstep for many years, Jordan Oliver broke through to claim his first U.S. Open title with a thrilling 4-4 criteria win over 2016 Olympian Frank Molinaro.

Molinaro led the 65 kg/143 lbs. final 2-0 after the first period courtesy of a shot clock point and a step out. Oliver took his first lead of the bout midway through the second period after striking with a low-level takedown and tacking on two exposure points. Molinaro scored a go-behind takedown late, but it was Oliver holding criteria, 4-4.

“JO is back baby. I’ve got my spot and next thing I’m going to do is go defend it at World Team Trials and then go win me a World title,” Oliver said.

Two-time World Team member Tony Ramos made a strong statement to the 57 kg/125.5 lbs. field by claiming his second U.S. Open title with a 5-3 victory over Nahshon Garrett to cap off his tournament.

Ramos trailed Garrett 3-0 with under one minute to go in the second period after giving up a shot clock point and takedown. For the third time this tournament, Ramos was in a hole late and was able to battle from behind to get the win. He notched the go-ahead takedown with 46-seconds remaining in the bout.

2015 World bronze medalist James Green got off to a fast start against Nazar Kulchytskyy in the 70 kg/154 lbs. finals, leading 4-0 after the first period. Only one point was scored in the second period, a shot clock point awarded to Kulchytskyy. With the 4-1 victory, Green picked up his first U.S. Open title and is now two matches away from making his third Senior-level World team.

Now a two-time U.S. Open champion, David Taylor left no doubt in his 86 kg/189 lbs. final against Richard Perry, finishing things off early in the second period with a 10-0 technical fall.

Taylor won five matches at the U.S. Open this weekend, four by technical fall and one by pin. He has now won 16-straight matches on the Senior level leading all Americans in this category. Taylor was named outstanding wrestler of the tournament.

Coming up with a breakthrough performance was 125 kg/275 lbs. champion Nick Gwiazdowski who won his first U.S. Open crown with a 3-2 decision over 2015 World Team member Zachery Rey in the championship match.

Also claiming their first U.S. Open titles were Kyven Gadson at 97 kg/213 lbs. and Kendric Maple at 61 kg/134 lbs. Gadson downed top-seed Micah Burak 3-0 in the championship match on the back of a second period takedown. Maple led throughout a wide-open affair against surprise finalist Brandon Wright, and escaped a late charge to win, 10-7.

Five of the eight U.S. Open champions booked a place in the U.S. World Team Trials championship series. Those qualifying for the best-of-three finals are Ramos, Oliver, Green, Burroughs and Gwiazdowski. The automatic berths in the remaining three weight classes go Logan Stieber, J’den Cox and Kyle Snyder on the merit of their respective World and Olympic medals from 2016.

The top seven finishers in each weight class qualified to compete at the U.S. World Team Trials next month.

Complete brackets, match-by-match results and archived video from the U.S. Open can be found on Flowrestling.com.

April 28-29, South Point Arena in Las Vegas, Nev.

Team Results
Div. I champion – Titan Mercury WC

Div. II champion – Sunkist Kids
Div. II runner-up – New York AC

Outstanding Wrestler – David Taylor (Titan Mercury WC), 86 kg champion

Final Results
57 kg/125.5 lbs.

1st – Anthony Ramos (Sunkist Kids) dec. Nahshon Garrett (Sunkist Kids), 5-3
3rd – Nathan Tomasello (Titan Mercury WC) dec. Frank Perrelli (Titan Mercury WC), 9-7
5th – Zach Sanders (Minnesota Storm) forfeit Alan Waters (Titan Mercury WC)
7th – Jesse Delgado (Titan Mercury WC) tech. fall Britain Longmire (Nevada), 11-0

61 kg/134 lbs.
1st – Kendric Maple (Titan Mercury WC) dec. Brandon Wright (RNO/IPWA), 10-7
3rd – Joshua Kindig (Sunkist Kids) dec. Cody Brewer (Titan Mercury WC), 16-16
5th – Seth Gross (Jackrabbit WC) forfeit Joe Colon (Titan Mercury WC)
7th – Christopher Dardanes (Titan Mercury WC) dec. Daniel Deshazer (Minnesota Storm), 9-0

65 kg/143 lbs.
1st – Jordan Oliver (Sunkist Kids) dec. Frank Molinaro (Nittany Lion WC), 4-4
3rd – Zain Retherford (Nittany Lion WC) dec. Jimmy Kennedy (New York AC), 4-3
5th – Evan Henderson (Titan Mercury WC) forfeit Kellen Russell (New York AC)
7th – Nicholas Dardanes (Titan Mercury WC) dec. Mario Mason (Lehigh Valley WC), 13-5

70 kg/154 lbs.
1st – James Green (Titan Mercury WC) dec. Nazar Kulchytskyy (Titan Mercury WC), 4-1
3rd – Chase Pami (Sunkist Kids) dec. Jason Nolf (Nittany Lion WC), 12-6
5th – Alec Pantaleo (Michigan RTC) dec. Jason Chamberlain (Titan Mercury WC), 5-1
7th – Thomas Gantt (Titan Mercury WC) fall Jason Welch (Titan Mercury WC), 5:17

74 kg/163 lbs.
1st – Jordan Burroughs (Sunkist Kids) dec. Kyle Dake (Titan Mercury WC), 2-2
3rd – Alex Dieringer (Titan Mercury WC) fall Anthony Valencia (Arizona State), 1:01
5th – Chris Perry (Titan Mercury WC) dec. Kevin LeValley (Buffalo Valley RTC), 3-3
7th – Chance Marsteller (Dark Knights) dec. Dan Vallimont (New York AC), 8-1

86 kg/189 lbs.
1st – David Taylor (Titan Mercury WC) tech. fall Richard Perry (New York AC), 10-0
3rd – Nicholas Heflin (Princeton WC) dec. Bo Nickal (Nittany Lion WC), 10-6
5th – Patrick Downey III (Unattached) dec. Kyle Crutchmer (Titan Mercury WC), 7-3
7th – Gabe Dean (Titan Mercury WC) dec. Tim Dudley (Nebraska WTC), 8-8

97 kg/213 lbs.
1st – Kyven Gadson (Sunkist Kids) dec. Micah Burak (Titan Mercury WC), 3-0
3rd – Nathan Burak (Titan Mercury WC) dec. Nikko Reyes (Valley RTC), 11-2
5th – Ty Walz (Titan Mercury WC) forfeit Kallen Kleinschmidt (New York AC)
7th – Matt Williams (Road Runner) dec. Donald Mcneil (New England RTC), 10-5

125 kg/275 lbs.
1st – Nick Gwiazdowski (Titan Mercury WC) dec. Zachery Rey (Lehigh Valley WC), 3-2
3rd – Dominique Bradley (Sunkist Kids) dec. Bobby Telford (Titan Mercury WC), 2-1
5th – Anthony Nelson (Minnesota Storm) dec. Justin Grant (New York AC), 10-0
7th – Nathan Butler (Stanford-California RTC) dec. Benjamin Durbin (Titan Mercury WC), 5-1