Three NCAA wrestling champs – Tony Ramos, Jake Varner, and Tervel Dlagnev – were among the winners crowned at the 2014 World Team Trials freestyle competition at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison, Wis. Saturday.
Ramos on a roll
Ramos, who won the 133-pound title at the 2014 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships for the University of Iowa less than three months ago, won the 57 kilo/125.5 pound championship in two straight matches in a best-of-three series over freestyle veteran Sam Hazewinkel, 4-0, 5-4.
Incredibly, this event was not even on Ramos’ radar until recently. “I thought I was going to take the year off," Ramos told TheMat.com’s Craig Sesker. "During the Open, my fiancée and I were sitting down and watching it. I thought about doing it. But as soon as she said, ‘you gotta do this,’ I said let’s do it. I thank her a lot. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do yet. Terry (Brands), Tom (Brands) and I sat down. I didn’t know if I wanted to make the drop. But I am a competitor. And if you see people winning that you know you can beat, that drives you even harder.”
Other placers in this weight class with collegiate credentials include two-time NCAA champ for Iowa, Matt McDonough (third place), two-time NCAA finalist Nico Megaludis of Penn State (fourth place), and, in fifth place, Minnesota four-time All-American Zach Sanders.
Varner to wrestle on world stage for third time
Varner, a four-time NCAA finalist and two-time Nationals champ for Iowa State who went on to become one of two U.S. gold freestyle medalists at the 2012 London Olympics, defeated Dustin Kilgore, 2011 NCAA champ for Kent State, in two matches, 7-2, 5-2, to earn the spot at 97 kilos/213 pounds on the U.S. team that will be competing at the 2014 World Championships in Tashkent, Uzbekistan in September.
After winning gold, Varner had taken time away from the mat, telling InterMat, "Once you win something big like the Olympics or Worlds, you kind of hit the pinnacle of wrestling," said Varner, who won a World bronze in 2011 prior to winning his Olympic gold. "You win the biggest thing out there and it's almost like, what's left? So your motivation may wander a little bit. That's why I needed a little time off."
J.D. Bergman, 2008 NCAA heavyweight runner-up for Ohio State and 2012 Olympic alternate, placed third at 97 kilos, while Deron Winn, a National Junior College wrestling champ for St. Louis-Meremac came in fourth, and Central Michigan three-time All-American Winn Michalak placed fifth.
2012 Olympian Dlagnev gets it done
Dlagnev, a two-time NCAA Division II heavyweight titlewinner for the University of Nebraska-Kearney who placed fifth at the 2012 Olympics, beat 2011 NCAA D1 heavyweight champ Zach Rey, shutting out the former Lehigh big man 5-0, 5-0, at 125 kilos/275.5 pounds.
Other placers at 125 kilos include Tyrell Fortune, 2013 NCAA Division II heavyweight champ for Grand Canyon University (third place); 2014 NCAA Div. I heavyweight champ Nick Gwiazdowski of North Carolina State (fourth); and Matt Meuleners, two-time NCAA Div. II champ for Northern State University, fifth place.
Women’s freestyle results for Saturday
Three 2014 U.S. World Team Trials titles were also determined Saturday.
Alyssa Lampe, who won back-to-back bronze medals at the 2012 and 2013 World Championships, defeated Victoria Anthony in the best-of-three series at 48 kilos/105 pounds. In the first match, Lampe beat Anthony, 10-6; however, in the second, Anthony pinned Lampe. In the rubber match, Lampe shut out Anthony, 5-0.
At 58 kilos/127.5 pounds, returning U.S. World Team member Alli Ragan of King University topped 2012 Olympian Kelsey Campbell, 4-2, 10-0, while at 69 kilos/152 pounds, Veronica Carlson defeated Julia Salata in two straight matches, 9-2, 5-0, to earn a second straight trip to the World Championships.