On the surface, 85 kilograms currently looks like a one-man show. And it probably isn’t too far from the truth. Thing is though, Greco Roman wrestling doesn’t lend itself very well to hypotheticals. So while any preconceptions and gut feelings might be potentially close to reality, it’s still best to let these men figure it out the old-fashioned way. 85 in the US is in need of athletes who are willing to put it all out there and push the envelope. After all, it’s up to them to deepen the pool. With World Team Trials spots on the line this weekend, the time to do just that has arrived.
US Nationals Preview – 85 kg
Ben Provisor (NYAC) Five matches. Five. 4+1. That is the number of matches Provisor has had thus far in 2016. Of course, four of those bouts took place at the Olympic Trials, with the other at the Olympics in Rio. Not only did Provisor make these matches count for something, the 26-year old looked better than ever in each one of them, including his hard-luck loss to 2015 World silver medalist Rustam Assakalov (UZB). Provisor may not have come away the victor, but he unmercilessly pounded on Assakalov to where it’s probable Assakalov will remember what that felt like for the rest of his life. Assuming Provisor is in the same general type of shape he was in through the summer and can capitalize on any and all scoring opportunities, he is the alpha-male at this weight for the foreseeable future. A frustrating injury history behind him, Provisor’s best is still to come.
Lucas Sheridan (Army/WCAP) Before the days of Indiana and then WCAP, Sheridan was a CYC kid, as in the Community Youth Center in Concord, California, one of very few clubs in the country which offers specialized Greco Roman training for age-group athletes. It should be no surprise then that Sheridan grew into a terror. A Junior Nationals title, a Junior World Team Trials title, and for good measure, a University World Team spot are among his major achievements. As a Senior, Sheridan is starting to get up to speed. He took fourth at last year’s Open with a strong effort and so far in 2016 holds a bronze to his name from the NYAC Open, where on his way to third he defeated Ryan Hope. Credentials aside, Sheridan at times exhibits the “look” of someone who could be standing on top of the heap one day. He has a complete game with the tenacity to back it up and will be standing somewhere on the podium.
Kevin Radford (Sunkist Kids) A guy with a lot of physical tools and a semblance of relevant experience, Radford is just starting to hit that phase where he could be, hopefully, maybe…starting to get it. Starting. He’s not there yet. But more weeks like last could do the trick. Radford competed at the World Wrestling Clubs Cup in Budapest, Hungary and while he didn’t exactly light it up (0-5 over two days), he had the chance to participate in a meaningful international event that undoubtedly left an impression on him. With more training opportunities will come growth and only then can Radford sharpen up enough to where his is a name people grow increasingly fearful of. To be fair, improvement sometimes happens in bounds for certain athletes. If Radford turns in a qualifying performance Sunday (and he should), the right track awaits.
Khymbakhy Johnson (NYAC) Johnson has terrifyingly explosive power, which is his biggest asset. He will get to his throws by chip, chip, chipping inside to the body, but the previous rule-set is really what worked towards his strengths. From par terre, Johnson could dig in for a grip and proceed the launch sequence. That won’t be as readily available for him, so it’ll be interesting to see how he does with the overwhelming majority of the action on the feet. Nevertheless, Johnson has come up of as of late and will see his moments here. In 2015, he earned a fourth-place finish at the Open. 2016 saw Johnson barely miss out on the Olympic Trials by virtue of taking second to Hayden Zillmer at the Last Chance Qualifier. He was also the runner-up to Martinez at the University World Team Trials in June.
Dan Olsen (Unattached) Olsen is currently an assistant coach at Wheaton College under retired US Greco Roman hero Jim Gruewald. He previously wrestled for the school having graduated in 2015, and was a two-time DIII All-American with a third-place finish his senior year. As a Greco guy, he doesn’t have the same wealth of top-level experience as the full-time crew, but that is not a disqualifying factor (especially considering the lack of depth here). Olsen has been training in Greco for a long enough time to where he is certainly familiar with the lay of the land. He even has some prior history with a couple of guys here, most notably Sheridan, who defeated Olsen in the 2013 World Team Trials finals. There is certainly enough going on with Olsen to where it certainly wouldn’t be surprising to see a solid performance out of him.