Freestyle World Team Trials preview at 57 kg/125.5 lbs.

By Gary Abbott, USA Wrestling | May 26, 2017, 2:59 p.m. (ET)
Tony Ramos hits a high single leg on Nahshon Garrett in the 2017 U.S. Open finals at 57 kg. Photo by John Sachs, Tech-Fall.com

Two-time World Team member Tony Ramos won the 2017 U.S. Open and comes into the World Team Trials with a direct advancement to the best-of-three Championship Series. Ramos enters with momentum, but also some extra incentive after placing second at the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Trials to Daniel Dennis. Ramos has a new training situation at North Carolina, preparing under Olympic medalists Coleman Scott and Kenny Monday, and more experience than anybody else who has qualified for the World Team Trials.

Ramos beat 2016 NCAA champion Nahshon Garrett of Cornell in the finals of the U.S. Open in a close match. Garrett is starting to come into his own in freestyle. With only a few major freestyle events under his belt, he is rapidly improving training with the Sunkist Kids at Arizona State. Garrett lost a 3-3 barnburner in the 2016 Olympic Trials to Ramos.

2017 Dave Schultz Memorial champion Tyler Graff did not compete at the Open, but is expected to battle for a spot in the final series. He was third at the 2012 and 2016 Olympic Trials, and also second at the 2016 World Team Trials. An NCAA runner-up for Wisconsin, Graff has been nationally ranked in Senior freestyle going back to his years in high school in Colorado.

Nathan Tomasello, an NCAA champion for Ohio State, moved up to 133 this year for the college season and placed third. His third place at 57 kg at the 2017 U.S. Open and his fifth place finish in the 2016 Open shows he is already ready to challenge at the Senior level. He had a big win over longtime rival Nico Megaludis at the Open in April, as well as wins over a number of other veteran stars.

Megaludis dropped out of the Open after the Tomasello match, but had already qualified for Lincoln by winning the Bill Farrell International this fall. The 2016 NCAA champion for Penn State also added a gold medal at the Paris International in France. Megaludis has been very competitive in past Trials events, and is considered one of the young stars who are rapidly developing in freestyle.

Veteran wrestlers Frank Perrelli and Zach Sanders earned their trip to Lincoln by placing in the U.S. Open. Perrelli, who was fourth at the Open, has been competing on the national level going back to 2011, when he was still competing for Cornell. Sanders, a star for Minnesota, placed fifth at the Open, also has Senior freestyle achievements that go back to 2010. Both are looking to make their first Senior National Team by placing in the top three at the Trials and both are capable of reaching the finals.

Alan Waters, who was a two-time All-American for Missouri, has competed at both 57 kg and 61 kg in recent seasons. His sixth place at the Open was the third time he has placed at the event. He won a gold at the 2016 Dave Schultz Memorial. He was fourth at the 2016 Olympic Trials at this weight class.

Returning to the mat after taking off a few seasons was Jesse Delgado, who won two NCAA titles for Illinois. He was training some MMA before deciding to return to the wrestling mat. Delgado’s seventh at the U.S. Open put him into the World Team Trials. He was a UWW Junior Nationals freestyle champion early in his college career, while still competing for Cal Poly.

NCAA champion Darian Cruz of Lehigh has limited freestyle experience, but has the takedown skills to be a factor if he enters the Trials. Olympian Daniel Dennis has not competed since the Rio Games, and hasn’t officially retired, but he has not wrestled this year and is not expected in Lincoln.

The final spot at 57 kg was set at the Last Chance Qualifier in Minnesota in May, when 2014 Junior World bronze medalist Thomas Gilman won the weight class. A three-time All-American for Iowa, Gilman did not have an easy time earning that final spot. At the Last Chance Qualifier, trailing 6-0 to Daniel DeShazer in the finals, Gilman rallied for seven straight points and a 7-6 win. Gilman does not lack for skill or confidence, but this will be his first chance to test himself against many of the athletes in the World Team Trials field.

Ramos is the only athlete at this weight with past Senior World Championships experience. Until somebody knocks him off, he will maintain an advantage which comes from experience mixed with confidence.

The 2017 Freestyle World Team Trials will be hosted at the Devaney Center at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln, Neb., Saturday, June 10. Tickets can be purchased here

The event will be broadcast by Flowrestling.

World Team Qualifiers at 57 kg/125.5 lbs.
’17 U.S. Open champion advances to Trials finals series – Tony Ramos, Chapel Hill, N.C. (Sunkist Kids)
World Team Trials Tournament qualifiers
’16 Olympian – Daniel Dennis, Iowa City, Iowa (Titan Mercury WC/Hawkeye WC)
’16 Bill Farrell highest U.S. medalist – Nico Megaludis, State College, Pa. (Nittany Lion WC)
’17 Dave Schultz highest U.S. medalist – Tyler Graff, New Brunswick, N.J. (New York AC)
’17 NCAA Division I champion – Darian Cruz, Allentown, Pa. (Lehigh)
’17 U.S. Open runner-up – Nahshon Garrett, Tempe, Ariz. (Sunkist Kids)
’17 U.S. Open third place – Nathan Tomasello, Parma, Ohio (Titan Mercury WC/Ohio RTC)
’17 U.S. Open fourth place – Frank Perrelli, Charlottesville, Va. (Titan Mercury WC)
’17 U.S. Open fifth place – Zach Sanders, Minneapolis, Minn. (Minnesota Storm)
’17 U.S. Open sixth place – Alan Waters, Columbia, Mo. (Titan Mercury WC)
’17 U.S. Open seventh place – Jesse Delgado, Champaign, Ill. (Titan Mercury WC)
’17 Last Chance Trials Qualifier highest placer – Thomas Gilman, Iowa City, Iowa (Hawkeye WC)

2016 U.S. Olympic Team Trials results at 57 kg/125.5 lbs.
1st - Daniel Dennis (Titan Mercury WC) dec Tony Ramos (Titan Mercury WC), two matches to none
Dennis dec Ramos, 2-1
Dennis technical fall Ramos, 10-0
3rd – Tyler Graff, (New York AC) tech. fall Alan Waters (Missouri Wrestling Foundation), 10-0