Event: 2021 Men’s Freestyle World Team Trials
Where: Lincoln, Nebraska
When: Saturday and Sunday
Two wrestlers representing the Cyclone Regional Training Center will compete at the 2021 Men’s Freestyle World Team Trials this Saturday and Sunday in Lincoln, Nebraska. Kyven Gadson and Joe Colon need to win their weight class this weekend to claim their spot on Team USA at the 2021 World Championships in Norway this October. Only six weight classes will be contested this weekend, as Olympic medalists had the option to bypass trials this year. All did except heavyweight Gable Steveson. Additionally, placing top three at this event makes you a member of the US National team, which translates to more funding to continue chasing the Olympic dream.
Tune in to flowrestling.org to watch. Here’s the schedule:
11 AM Saturday - Preliminary and Quarterfinal Rounds
6:30 PM Saturday - Semifinals
11 AM Sunday - Consolation Finals
4 PM Sunday - Finals (Best of 3)
Now let’s dig in to the path to a world team for these guys.
The man who needs no introduction in Cyclone Country. The Loyal Son Forever True. The 69th NCAA champion in Iowa State wrestling history. Hawkeye antagonist extraordinaire. Clone to the Bone, Kyven. Gadson received the 4 seed at 92 kilograms (203 lbs), but hinted on Twitter he might bump to heavyweight. Our guess is he’ll remain at 92 kg. (Kyle Snyder claimed the 97 kg spot after taking silver in Tokyo.)
This is a tough weight class and arguably the second toughest men’s freestyle weight this weekend. But we’ve seen Kyven come out on top of meatgrinder brackets before. His likely quarterfinals opponent is Myles Martin - NCAA champion for Ohio State, now training at Rutgers. Certainly no gimme, but we like Kyven’s odds.
In April we saw a slow start end Gadson’s Olympic run before it could get going, so starting strong will be critical. That would set up a blockbuster semifinal matchup with J’Den Cox. Cox has dominated this weight class on the world level, winning gold medals in 2018 and 2019, and he will certainly be favored. BUT NOT SO FAST. Cox failed to make weight at 97 kg for the Olympic Team Trials. This summer he competed at 92 kg internationally, but didn’t have his usual results. We’ve seen Gadson at his best in the last year or so, and we certainly wouldn’t write off an upset in favor of the Cyclones.
There are a few hammers that could emerge from the bottom side of this bracket. For starters, NCAA champion Michael Macchiavello (NC State) and Kollin Moore (Ohio State), who has two age group world medals. We fully expect Nate Jackson (Princeton, formerly Indiana) to make the finals, as he’s been on a consistent upward trajectory.
Bottom line: For Gadson to reach the finals, it will take the best wrestling of his life. We expect to see it and wouldn’t pick anyone in the country over him.
Clear Lake native and former UNI panther has been training in Ames since fall of 2020. The 2018 World Bronze medalist received the 2 seed at 61 kilograms (134 lbs). His quarterfinal opponent will be the winner of Zane Richards (Illinois) and Nahshon Garrett (NCAA champion at Cornell, now training at Virginia Tech). Either way Colon will be favored given recent results.
In the semifinals Colon will almost certainly see an NCAA champion in the form of either Nick Suriano (transfer portal, formerly Rutgers) or Nathan Tomasello (Ohio State, training at Oklahoma). Tomasello took third at the Olympic Trials, but he and Colon did not meet up. Suriano missed the Olympic Trials due to Covid, but does have a freestyle win over Colon from the “Beat the Streets” event a few years ago. All that said, we like Colon’s odds to avenge, particularly in light of Suriano’s training situation being unknown while in the transfer portal. Tyler Graff (Princeton, formerly Wisconsin) and Daton Fix (Oklahoma State) are the 1 and 4 seeds respectively, but 5 seed Seth Gross (Wisconsin) also has a lot of chatter picking him for the finals. Colon beat Gross 9-8 to make the 57 kg Olympic Trials semis before falling to Olympic Bronze Thomas Gilman (Nittany Lion Wrestling Club). Bottom line: We’ve seen Colon compete with the world’s best at this weight class. He brings a style of wrestling that is not only must watch, but also makes him one of the most dangerous wrestlers at 61 kg this weekend.
Other Storylines this weekend:
Hawkeye Wrestling Club winless again - HWC sent only one wrestler to the Olympic Trials, who went 0-2. They did not pre-register any wrestlers for this tournament, so it’s looking like back-to-back tournaments with a goose egg for the training center out east.
JB returns to Lincoln - USA Wrestling legend Jordan Burroughs left Nebraska to train at Penn RTC in Philadelphia following the 2021 Olympic trials. He returns to Lincoln in a new weight class, 79 kilograms (174 lbs). We have no doubt the home crowd will rally behind him as he makes his way through a loaded bracket, including NCAA champions Alex Dieringer (Michigan, formerly Oklahoma State), Isaiah Martinez (Oregon State, formerly Illinois) and Jason Nolf (Penn State).
Cyclone RTC Open Practice/Tailgate - The Cyclone RTC will be hosting an open outdoor practice Saturday. This is a great chance to see the Cyclones before the NCAA season starts. It will take place at Lied Rec Center at 11:30 AM.