The 2013 U.S. Wrestling World Team Trials: A Complete Guide

Richard Mackson-US PRESSWIRE

On June 21-22, the very best wrestlers in the United States will gather to determine who will represent Team USA in the FILA World Championships of Wrestling on September 16-22 in Budapest. With this guide, as well as daily updates, Bloody Elbow brings you everything you need to know about the Trials.

Hi guys and gals, thanks for joining me for this guide to everything you wanted to know about this year's U.S. Wrestling World team trials in Stillwater, Oklahoma. I'm Coach Mike Riordan, and my little specialty around these parts is dumping tons of information about the sport of wrestling into your lap. I'm here to answer any questions you might have about this fantastic event.

What are the Wrestling World Team Trials and what should I care?

The World Team Trials stands alone as the single most important domestic wrestling tournament held in the United States on a non-Olympic year. On years with no Olympics, FILA, international wrestling's governing body, holds a World Championships to determine the world's best wrestlers on that given year. The World Team Trials determine the lone wrestler in each weight class who will gain membership on the world team and compete in the World Championships.

How does the Wrestling World Team Trials work?

First off, the Trials features competition in the Olympic wrestling styles: men's and women's freestyle, and men's Greco-Roman (no hand to leg or leg to leg contact is permitted in Greco-Roman wrestling).

Each of the men's styles includes seven weight classes while women's freestyle includes four.

The men's weight classes (in kilograms):55, 60, 66, 74, 84, 96 and 120.

The women's weight classes (also in kilograms) :48, 55, 63 and 72.

For both men's and women's freestyle, the Trials will feature a challenge tournament of a small field of qualified wrestlers (I won't delve into the details of qualifications procedures here), followed by a best of three series of matches between the challenge tournament winner and the champion of the U.S. Open this past spring.

In Greco, the U.S. Open champion earns a top seed in the tournament but is afforded no other protection. The finalists of the Trials tournament wrestle a best of three to determine the world team member.

This event takes place in FILA's Senior age group, Senior means that the best of the best compete because there are no age restrictions.

What is the schedule of the Wrestling World Team Trials, and how do I watch/follow along?

The two days of competition run as follows:

Friday, June 21 - U.S. World Team Trials
11:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. - Session 1: Preliminaries, Quarterfinals, Semifinals, Challenge Finals/Consolations and 3rd Place, Challenge Tournament Finals
- Men's Freestyle: 60 kg, 74 kg and 96 kg
- Greco-Roman: 55 kg, 66 kg, 84 kg and 120 kg
- Women's Freestyle: 55 kg and 72 kg
6:00 - 8:00 p.m. - Session 2: Final World Team Trials and True Second Matches
- Men's Freestyle: 60 kg, 74 kg and 96 kg
- Greco-Roman: 55 kg, 66 kg, 84 kg and 120 kg
- Women's Freestyle: 55 kg and 72 kg

Saturday, June 22 - U.S. World Team Trials
11:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. - Session 1: Preliminaries, Quarterfinals, Semifinals, Challenge Finals/Consolations and 3rd Place, Challenge Tournament Finals
- Men's Freestyle: 55 kg, 66 kg, 84 kg and 120 kg
- Greco-Roman: 60 kg, 74 kg and 96 kg
- Women's Freestyle: 48 kg and 63 kg
6:00 - 8:00 p.m. - Final World Team Trials and True Second Matches
- Men's Freestyle: 55 kg, 66 kg, 84 kg and 120 kg
- Greco-Roman: 60 kg, 74 kg and 96 kg
- Women's Freestyle: 48 kg and 63 kg
Following the conclusion of competition - Presentation of the 2013 World Championship Teams

Flowrestling.org provides a reliable video stream with scores and commentary for the price of a subscription. It's worth it.

Brackets, live updates, mat assignments, and other important information can be obtained from TrackWrestling here.

I hear that new rules are in place in the sport of wrestling.

That wasn't a question, but whatever. Yes, the days of the best of three periods and the asinine ball grab are gone. Back is cumulative scoring over two three minute periods. Passive wrestlers now receive warnings placing them on a thirty second scoring clock. If points are not scored during that thirty seconds, the referee awards a point to the non-passive wrestler.

Takedowns now receive two points, as do all turns. Push-outs, appreciation points, penalties, reversals and the like still earn one point. Sounds great, right?

Well all the new rules aren't so great.

Technical falls (sort of a mercy rule) occur when scores achieve more than a seven point differential. Furthermore, two three point throws, or one five point throw ends a match so long as the throwing wrestler is winning afterward.

But wait there's more.

Even though FILA has not promulgated overtime procedures to break tie scores in wrestling matches, all tied matches at these Trials will head to sudden-death overtime. YAYYYY!.

Who are the wrestlers to watch in Men's Freestyle?

Going by registration lists, I'll mention the wrestlers who, I think, might have a serious chance to win.

55kg -

Obenson Blanc, a past world team member who won the U.S. Open, so he'll lie in wait for the winner of the winner of the challenge tournament. I like Obe, he has a cool name.

Among registered entrants, the favorite to meet Blanc in the best of three is 2012 Olympian Sam Hazewinkel. Sam is a delightful human being, and I have unabashed admiration for him. He also can stake a claim on the title of the greatest college wrestler never to win an NCAA title after a brilliant career at the University of Oklahoma.

Former Indiana University NCAA champ Angel Escobedo will also threaten. Angel has world class talent,and stands to rebound after a disastrous Olympic trials

60kg -

Reece Humprey, he of the sweet dance moves, won the Open and awaits a challenger in the best of three.

This weight class looks pretty competitive domestically, and I see all of the following as contenders:

Coleman Scott - NCAA champ from Oklahoma State and 2012 Olympic Bronze medalist. He hasn't quite shown the same edge this season as he had in his run though London last year.

Logan Steiber- The Monroeville wunderkind. He owns two NCAA titles going into his junior year at Ohio State. Logan has already achieved quite a bit in freestyle, he placed fourth in line for the Olympic Team in 2012 and finished 2nd in Junior worlds in the past, only losing to 2012 Olympic gold medalist Toghrul Asgarov of Azerbaijan.

Tyler Graff - The beastly Wisconsin Badger All American originally from Colorado. A hero of the snowy West sans the sideburns. Graff generally gets forgotten, but he's tough and beat Steiber at the Open.

Nick Simmons - Michigan State four time All American. They call him the East Lansing Strangler (I think it's his Twitter handle). He placed 5th in the world at 55 kg in 2011, and was one flurry away from the Olympic team in 2012. I guess he decided to stop starving himself. He really could be dangerous in this tournament.

66kg -

Kellen Russell - The two time Michigan NCAA champ reigned victorious at the open, he stands ready in the best of three.

Jordan Oliver - Has undergone a Tony Atlas style transformation, going from skeletal pipsqueak, to a bit of a beast after he decided to stop malnourishing himself and jump two collegiate weight classes. He has previously won a freestyle Junior World bronze medal to accompany his two NCAA national titles, three finals appearances, and four All American finishes.

Brent Metcalf - The embodiment of the resurgence of the Iowa style under Coach Tom Brands. His collegiate dominance has not fully carried over into freestyle, but he still has achieved some strong results, domestically and internationally, and still stands a great chance of making this world team.

74kg -

This weight features three generational college wrestling talents not named Jordan Burroughs. David Taylor, Kyle Dake and Andrew Howe will likely end their collective collegiate careers with six national titles, eleven finals appearances and twelve All American finishes between them.

Dake is the greatest college wrestler of all time, Taylor the most exciting of the three and Howe the best freestyle wrestler.

They've all proven their worth in freestyle as well. Howe made a world team after his sophomore year in college. Dake has finished impressively at the last two Olympic/World Trials. Meanwhile Taylor was runner up at this year's U.S. Open and made the 2013 University World team.

Oh, and this weight includes past world team member Trent Paulson.

Unfortunately, none of them will get past Jordan Burroughs, the best wrestler in the world and gold medalist at the Olympics and 2011 World Championships, who now has been made more formidable by the new rule changes.

84kg -

I'm not terribly interested in this weight and will only mention two wrestlers (sorry, Max Askren) -

Keith Gavin - Blue collar native of Factoryville Pennsylvania. The Open winner with the bye to the best of three. The NCAA champ from Pitt should finally make his world team debut.

Ed Ruth - As if Cael Sanderson couldn't acquire enough talent on his own, Ruth was already recruited to Happy Valley before Cael took the job as head coach at Penn State. Ed has the talent to be the best in the world, he's been utterly dominant on the collegiate level, but has shown vulnerability thus far in senior freestyle events. If he puts it together, Ed can beat absolutely anyone in the world, and I think he will, it's just a matter of time, and the time might be now.

96kg -

J.D. Bergman of Ohio State fame will wrestle the challenge tournament winner in the best of three series. Bergman, in his junior year of college, lost to Chris Weidman in the third place match of the NCAA tournament.

His biggest challenges, I feel, come from two wrestlers. One in the form of former Oklahoma State two-time national champ Chris Pendleton, who beat Ben Askren twice in the NCAA finals. Chris has gotten just a bit bigger than in his college days. The second challenge should come from Central Michigan Chippewa Wynn Michalak, a past NCAA finalist (he lost to Phil Davis) who earlier this year beat 2012 Olympic gold medalist Jake Varner.

120kg-

This weight will be won with relative ease by former Nebraska Kearney (The Lopers) standout Tervel Dlagnev. Tervel was our Olympian in 2012 and previously won a world bronze medal.

Mike, who are your picks for Greco, and for the women?

Here's whom I think will take the Greco-Roman competition:

55 kg/121 lbs. - Spenser Mango

60 kg/132 lbs. - Ryan Mango

66 kg/145.5 lbs. - Justin Lester

74 kg/163 lbs.- Ben Provisor

84 kg/185 lbs. - Jordan Holm

96 kg/211.5 lbs. - John Wechter

120 kg/264.5 lbs. - Dremiel Byers

Finally, the women's world team prediction:

48 kg/105.5 lbs. - Alyssa Lampe

55 kg/121 lbs. - Helen Maroulis

63 kg/138.75 lbs. - Elena Pirozhkova

72 kg/158.5 lbs. - Adeline Gray

Questions are now closed, enjoy the World Team Trials

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