USA Wrestling Dake, Ramos, Colon s...

Dake, Ramos, Colon score big wins as 10 freestyle champions crowned at Marine Corps U.S. Open

By Gary Abbott, USA Wrestling | April 28, 2018, 8:54 p.m. (ET)

Kyle Dake secures a single leg on Alex Dieringer in the exciting 79 kg final won by Dake, 5-5. Photo by Tony Rotundo, Wrestlers Are Warriors.

LAS VEGAS, Nev. – The fans had a fantastic show, as 10 men’s freestyle national champions were crowned on Saturday afternoon at the Marine Corps U.S. Open at the South Point Arena.

Five of the winners advanced directly to the Final X series, which sets the 2018 U.S. World team, while five of the winners advanced to the finals series at the preliminary qualifier for Final X, the Freestyle World Team Trials Challenge Tournament in Rochester, Minn.

In the final bout on the card, four-time NCAA champion Kyle Dake of the Titan Mercury WC beat three-time NCAA champion Alex Dieringer of the Titan Mercury WC by criteria, 5-5 at 79 kg.

Dake led 2-0 at the break, but Dieringer scored a takedown to tie it at 2-2 which Dake challenged and lost, making it 3-2 Dieringer. Dake forced a pushout to make it 3-3. On a scramble started by a Dake crotchlift, and challenged by Dieringer, officials gave both wrestlers two points. Criteria went to Dake, giving him his second career U.S. Open title and a berth in Final X.

“[Alex] wants to win as bad as anyone else. When I get an opportunity to compete against these guys, I want to go out and put on a show. Final X will be coming up, best two out of three. I am excited for that. The World Championships are in October. That is what I am really focused on now. I am not focusing on any specific wrestler. I am focusing on World gold medal,” said Dake.

Two-time World Team member Tony Ramos of the Sunkist Kids scored a takedown while on the shot clock late in the second period to defeat 2017 Junior World champion Daton Fix of the Titan Mercury WC, 2-2 on criteria at 57 kg. Ramos won with a takedown, while Fix had a point from the shot clock and a stepout point.

“I was really set on going 61 kg. It wasn’t really the results I wanted. [Going down to 57 kg] was more or less because it was the right thing to do. There are a lot of wrongs that I have to make right from the past two years. I want to get back on that team. I want to earn that spot back. This is the best place for me, not just in the U.S. but internationally,” said Ramos.

In the craziest match of the night, with lots of big throws and lead changes, Joe Colon of the Titan Mercury WC emerged with a 20-13 win over Nahshon Garrett of the Sunkist Kids. The first period ended with 19 points on the board, with Garrett in the lead. In the second period, Colon got in the key scramble of the match scoring a number of turns, and after a challenge review, Colon led 15-12. After exchanging stepouts, Colon blocked a Garrett throw attempt for four and the final margin of victory.

Colon was named the Outstanding Wrestler in the men’s freestyle tournament after the major effort.

“It was crazy. There were 33 points scored. I went down early and had to stick to my game plan. I knew points would come and I just can’t force them. I stayed patient, stayed aggressive and stayed where I was good. I let the points come to me,” said Colon. “We’ve wrestled many times, and it’s been fireworks every time we’ve wrestled. I knew there going to be a lot of points scored. He’s a great competitor.”

There were a few bouts which could have been considered mild upsets.

With a significant size difference, Michigan star Adam Coon of the New York AC defeated 2012 Olympic champion Jake Varner of the Nittany Lion WC, 2-0 at 275 pounds. Coon broke a 1-1 tie with a throw-by takedown and held back late Varner attack to win.

Coon won his first U.S. Open freestyle title, but his second overall, after winning a Greco-Roman U.S. Open title in 2016. He has wins over two Olympic champions this year, also beating 2016 Olympic champion Kyle Snyder of Ohio State in a college dual meet earlier this year.

At 97 kg, Austin Schafer of New York AC got his offense going early to beat 2017 U23 medalist Ty Walz of the Titan Mercury WC, 14-7. Schafer had leads of 6-1 and 10-3, but Walz kept coming back with takedowns to close the gap. When a Walz takedown made it 10-7, Schafer hit a hip toss for four to finish off the match. Schafer had never been a U.S. Open placewinner before, winning gold for his first U.S. Open medal.

Many of the top U.S. freestyle stars were able to win matches and move on to the next phase of team qualification.

2016 Olympic bronze medalist J’den Cox of the Titan Mercury WC scored his two points on stepouts, one in each period to edge Hayden Zillmer of the Minnesota Storm, 2-0 at 92 kg. Cox advances to Final X with the victory. He is in a new weight class, after winning Olympic and World medals at 86 kg. With all his international success already, Cox won his first U.S. Open title.

Also going to Final X is David Taylor of the Nittany Lion WC, the champion at 86 kg, who stopped talented Richard Perry of the New York AC, 8-0. It was Taylor’s third U.S. Open title. Taylor was able to score key takedowns in what was an active and physical match.

Four-time NCAA finalist and two-time NCAA champion Isaiah Martinez of the Titan Mercury WC was dominant in a first-period 10-0 technical fall over Dan Vallimont of the New York AC at 74 kg. Martinez had three takedowns and two turns to put the match away and claim his first U.S. Open title.

Junior World and U23 World medalist Joey McKenna of the OSC-unattached led the entire match, to defeat Missouri sophomore Jaydin Eierman of the Missouri Wrestling TC, 7-3 at 65 kg. McKenna led 3-0 at the break on a stepout and a fireman’s carry takedown. In the second period he added another takedown and two stepouts to lead 7-3. Eierman was able to get three late points but it was not enough. McKenna advances to Final X after winning his first U.S. Open title.

Jason Chamberlain of the Titan Mercury WC used a pair of takedowns to defeat NC State freshman Hayden Hidlay of the Wolfpack WC, 4-1 at 70 kg. Chamberlain had a takedown in each period, and only gave up a stepout point. It was his first U.S. Open title.

The Titan Mercury WC won the Div. I team title, with the Sunkist Kids in second place. The New York AC was the Div. II national champion. Winning the RTC Cup was the New York RTC.

Fans can see archived footage of the action on Flowrestling.

The Freestyle World Team Trials Challenge Tournament is in Rochester, Minn., May 18-20. The U.S. team will be determined in the Final X series, with Final X in Lincoln on June 9, Final X in State College on June 16 and Final X at Lehigh on June 23. For tickets to Final X, visit

At Las Vegas, Nev., April 28

Men’s freestyle results

57 kg/125.5 lbs.
1st - Tony Ramos, Chapel Hill, N.C. (Sunkist Kids) dec. Daton Fix, Sand Springs, Okla. (Titan Mercury WC), 2-2
3rd - Zach Sanders, Minneapolis, Minn. (Minnesota Storm) dec. Frank Perrelli, Charlottesville, Va. (TMWC), 4-3
5th - David Terao, Washington, D.C. (DCAC) tech. fall Brent Fleetwood, Smyrna, Del. (Bison WC), 10-0 3:15
7th - Edward Klimara, Joliet, Ill. (Titan Mercury WC) tech. fall Skyler Petry, Minneapolis, Minn. (Minnesota Storm), 10-0 0:19

61 kg/134 lbs.
1st - Joe Colon, Fresno, Calif. (Titan Mercury WC) dec. Nahshon Garrett, Tempe, Ariz. (Sunkist Kids), 20-13
3rd - Nico Megaludis, Murrysville, Pa. (Nittany Lion WC) tech. fall Tyler Graff, Blacksburg, Va. (TMWC), 10-0 5:34
5th - Brandon Wright, Indianapolis, Ind. (New York AC/Indiana WC) inj. dft. Seth Gross, Rosemount, Minn. (Sunkist Kids)
7th - Darrius Little, Bethlehem, Pa. (New York AC/LVWC) dec. Jens Lantz, Ellsworth, Wis. (University of Wisconsin), 5-4

65 kg/143 lbs.
1st - Joseph McKenna, Towaco, N.J. (OSC-unattached) dec. Jaydin Eierman, Columbia, Mo. (Missouri Wrestling RTC), 7-3
3rd - Logan Stieber, Columbus, Ohio (Titan Mercury WC) tech. fall Nicholas Dardanes, Iowa City, Iowa (Titan Mercury WC), 13-2 4:07
5th - Jayson Ness, Minneapolis, Minn. (Minnesota Storm) tech. fall Evan Henderson, Chapel Hill, N.C. (Titan Mercury WC), 10-0 1:44
7th - John Simmons, Williamston, Mich. (New York AC/MWC) tech. fall Robbie Mathers, Phoenix, Ariz. (Sunkist Kids), 10-0 1:02

70 kg/154 lbs.
1st - Jason Chamberlain, Fresno, Calif. (Titan Mercury WC) dec. Hayden Hidlay, Lewistown, Pa. (Wolfpack WC), 4-1
3rd - Alec Pantaleo, Canton, Mich. (Michigan RTC) dec. Dylan Ness, Minneapolis, Minn. (Minnesota Storm), 8-2
5th - Ryan Deakin. Broomfield, Colo. (Northwestern) inj. dft. Frank Molinaro, Blacksburg, Va. (Titan Mercury WC)
7th - Griffin Parriott, Webster, Minn. (Boilermaker RTC) VPO1 Josh Reyes, Corvallis, Ore. (Orange Crush WC), 2-1

74 kg/163 lbs.
1st - Isaiah Martinez, Leemore, Calif. (Titan Mercury WC) tech. fall Dan Vallimont, Philadelphia, Pa. (New York AC/Penn RTC), 10-0
3rd - Jake Sueflohn, Watertown, Wis. (Boilermaker RTC) tech. fall Quinton Godley, Raleigh, N.C. (Wolfpack WC), 11-0
5th - Evan Wick, San Gabriel, Calif. (Titan Mercury WC/ Univ. of Wisconsin) tech. fall Carson Brolsma, Minneapolis, Minn. (Minnesota Storm), 10-0, 1:59
7th -Taleb Rahmani, Marysville, Ohio (Pittsburgh WC) tech. fall Nicholas Bonomo, Downers Grove, Ill. (Warhawk WC), 13-2 3:23

79 kg/174 lbs.
1st - Kyle Dake, Ithaca, N.Y. (Titan Mercury WC) dec. Alex Dieringer, Stillwater, Okla. (Titan Mercury WC), 5-5
3rd - Joshua Asper, Annapolis, Md. (Navy-Marine Corps RTC) dec. Michael Evans, Lillington, N.C. (Buies Creek RTC), 6-1
5th - Nathan Jackson, Princeton, N.J. (NJRTC) tech. fall Ben Harvey West Point, N.Y. (Army West Point), 10-0 4:30
7th - Stacey Davis, Raleigh, N.C. (Wolfpack WC) tech. fall Michael Thelen, Aurora, Colo. (Western Colorado WC), 11-0 1:18

86 kg/189 lbs.
1st - David Taylor, State College, Pa. (Nittany Lion WC) dec. Richard Perry, Philadelphia, Pa. (New York AC/Penn RTC), 8-0
3rd - Nick Reenan, Dallas, Texas (Wolfpack WC) tech. fall Timothy Dudley Columbia, S.C. (Sunkist Kids), 10-0, 1:45
5th - Austin Coburn, Moseley, Va. (Predator) inj. dft. Ryan McWatters, Hesperia, Calif. (Unattached)
7th - Pat Downey, Iowa City, Iowa (Titan Mercury WC) tech. fall Brandon Supernaw, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Western Colorado WC), 10-0 0:26

92 kg/202.5 lbs.
1st - J’den Cox, Columbia, Mo. (Titan Mercury WC) dec. Hayden Zillmer, Minneapolis, Minn. (Minnesota Storm), 2-0
3rd - Enock Francois. Ithaca, N.Y. (New York AC/FLWC) pin Deron Winn, Ames, Iowa (Titan Mercury WC), 1:32
5th - Nikko Reyes, Fresno, Calif. (Valley RTC) inj. dft. Timmy McCall, Raleigh, N.C. (Titan Mercury WC)
7th - Cody Walters, Lattimore, N.C. (Bulldog Elite WC) tech. fall Jeremiah Imonode, West Point, N.Y. (Army West Point), 10-0 2:05

97 kg/213 lbs.
1st - Austin Schafer, Ithaca, N.Y. (New York AC/FLWC) dec. Ty Walz, Blacksburg, Va. (Titan Mercury WC), 14-7
3rd - Kyven Gadson, Ames, Iowa (Sunkist Kids) dec. Nathan Burak, Iowa City, Iowa (Titan Mercury WC), 3-2
5th - Ben Honis, Jamesville, N.Y (Cornell University) dec. Ross Larson, Des Moines, Iowa (Viking WC), 13-11
7th - Braden Atwood, Highland Falls, N.Y. (Sunkist Kids) inj. dft. Blaize Cabell Fresno, Calif. (Valley RTC)

125 kg/275 lbs.
1st - Adam Coon, Fowlerville, Mich. (NYAC/MWC) dec. Jake Varner, State College, Pa. (Nittany Lion WC), 3-1
3rd – Dom Bradley, Lincoln, Neb. (Sunkist Kids) dec. Gable Steveson, Minneapolis, Minn. (Minnesota Storm), 2-2
5th - Anthony Nelson, Minneapolis, Minn. (Minnesota Storm) dec. Tanner Hall, Meridian, Idaho (Arizona State), 6-4
7th - Michael Kosoy, Raleigh, N.C. (Titan Mercury WC) tech. fall Shawn Streck, Merrillville, Ind. (Boilermaker RTC), 10-0 0:59

Outstanding Wrestler – Joe Colon (Titan Mercury WC), 61 kg

Div. I champion – Titan Mercury WC, 147
Div. I runner-up – Sunkist Kids, 54
Div. II champion – New York AC, 34
RTC Cup champion – New York RTC
RTC Cup runner-up – Nittany Lion WC