Last Chance Qualifier Preview + Predictions
By: Sean Mael
57kg Registration List:
Thomas Gilman, Hawkeye Wrestling Club
Skyler Petry, Minnesota Storm
Joshua Portillo, Jackrabbit Wrestling Club
Justin Portillo, Jackrabbit Wrestling Club
There are several small brackets in this tournament, but 57kg hosts one of the biggest favorites in any of the brackets in former junior world bronze medalist Gilman. Gilman has a very high paced aggressive style and it will be interesting to see him transition back into freestyle for the first time in a couple of years. Petry and the Portillo brothers are all current college wrestlers, and of the bunch Petry probably has the best chance of knocking off Gilman. Gilman should roll here and will set up several interesting potential match-ups at the World Team Trials at this weight.
61kg Registration List:
Daniel Deshazer, Minnesota Storm
Joey Lazor, Panther Wrestling Club RTC
Darrius Little, Lehigh Valley Wrestling
Shelton Mack, TMCW
Jayson Ness, Minnesota Storm
Fireworks are a possibility in this bracket. Both Ness and Lazor are extreme go for broke type guys and if they meet the match could be sensational and fun to watch. All five guys competed at the US Open. Ness was the #1 seed, but faltered early and actually lost to Andrew Hochstrasser who was then defeated by Deshazer. If Ness is on his game he is the slight favorite here, but this group is collectively very credentialed and it would not be stunning if any of these five win this weekend.
65kg Registration List:
Anthony Abidin, Valley RTC
Jaydin Eierman, Missouri Wrestling Foundation
Mario Mason, Lehigh Valley Wrestling Club
Robbie Mathers, Sunkist Kids Wrestling Club
Henry Pohlmeyer, Jackrabbit Wrestling Club
Yahya Thomas, Chicago RTC
Deondre Wilson, Indiana Pride Wrestling Academy
This is currently the second largest weight class in the last chance qualifiers. Eierman, Abidin, Mason and Wilson all competed at the US Open and finished all bunched around each other (Just a match or so from placing). Mason actually knocked of Wilson 8-6 at the Open. Mathers is a wild card, as he has had a lot of freestyle appearances the past couple seasons. Eierman wrestles the most wide open and aggressive style of this field and while it occasionally leaves him open to counters it also gives him the most upside here. Eierman is a slight favorite, but Abidin and Mason are definitely guys that could win this weight here.
70kg Registration List:
Santiago Martinez, Lehigh Valley Wrestling Club
Dylan Ness, Minnesota Storm
Joshua Nolan, Legends of Gold
Elroy Perkins, Eau Claire
Tony Tolbert, PRTC
Ness is the most credentialed wrestler here. Look for the deciding match to be between Ness and Martinez as they are a cut above the rest of the field here. Martinez is a very strong and solid guy who will be tough to score on and will take crisp shots. Ness has been wrestling Greco some lately, so it will be interesting to see if his transition to freestyle is permanent. With Ness’ high flyers and gator rolls he can put up points in a hurry here and may tech his way to the title in this weight class.
74kg Registration List:
Brett Bye, Jackrabbit Wrestling Club
Colten Carlson, Pennock
Alfred Daniel, Rochester
Quinton Godley, TMWC
Sean Havlovic, Legends of Gold
Michael Schmitz, Stewartville Wrestling Club
Dan Vallimont, NYAC/ Penn RTC
Nick Wanzek, Minnesota Storm
This bracket is the largest one by a solid sum. Of those registered Vallimont, Godley and Wanzek are the notable names. If Martinez registers as expected he is likely the favorite here. Vallimont and Godley have been on the freestyle scene for a while at this weight, while Wanzek was a R12 guy this season at 165. Martinez has shown well at 70kg and with his explosive hips and dominating underhook he should transition well to this weight class.
86kg Registration List:
Nolan Funk, Jackrabbit Wrestling Club
Skyler Gonzalez, Unattached
Robert Jordan, Jackrabbit Wrestling Club
Michael Kelly, Old School Wrestling
These wrestlers are all relative unknowns to me as none of them competed at the US Open. This is a good point in my preview to mention that Coach Bono at South Dakota State seems to be doing a great job getting a freestyle buy in from his guys and it really seemed to help them this past season during the college season. This weight could feature the emergence of guys who will be solid mainstays at this weight or could entice other guys with more credentials to enter late.
97kg Registration List:
Jacob Kasper, Blue Blood Wrestling Club
Joshua Manu, Navy-Marine Corps Mat Club
Timmy McCall, TMWC
Chase O Connor, Minnesota Storm
Hayden Zilmer, Minnesota Storm
This weight should be a lot of fun. Manu is the veteran here and has been wrestling on the circuit for a few years now. Zilmer and Kasper are both D1 All Americans in the past few years (Zilmer at 184 and Kasper at 285), but even more interestingly both have been primarily Greco focused. It is interesting seeing both make a foray into freestyle here. Kasper has a very slick wide-open style, whereas Zilmer picks his spots more on his feet and is a great technician. McCall is a very talented wrestler and if he is on could be a threat to anyone here. Kasper is a slight favorite here, but I am extremely excited to watch this weight class play out.
125kg Registration List:
Braden Atwood, Sunkist Kids Wrestling Club
Blaize Cabell, Valley RTC
Benjamin Durbin, TMWC
Blake Wolters, Jackrabbit Wrestling Club
Cabell and Atwood both had very successful college careers, in which both came up just short of All-American Honors. Both are very athletic smaller heavyweights and they should have an exciting match here at some point. I think Cabell ultimately takes this weight. Durbin and Wolters are unlikely to throw a wrench in this predicted finals match, as Cabell and Atwood seem to be a cut above.