IOWA CITY, Iowa – Robby Smith (NYAC) held up his end of the bargain, easily advancing to the 2016 Olympic Trials final. Adam Coon (Cliff Keen WC) blitzed through his side of the bracket as well, setting up one of the most anticipated 130 kg best-of-threes in recent memory.
Smith’s appearance in the tournament final is not a surprise. The 29 year old has staked his claim as the nation’s top heavyweight over the last few years and has two fifth-place appearances at the World Championships to his credit. He also was not seriously tested on Sunday morning. In the quarterfinal, Smith defeated Patrick Casey (Minnesota Storm) by fall only 39 seconds into the match. Jacob Mitchell (NYAC) would last a little longer, but he too fell under the pressure Smith is known for, as a 10-0 tech-fall victory would be the catalyst to set up the bearded wrestler’s appearance against Coon later this evening.
Adam Coon entered Sunday as the number two ranked wrestler at the weight, but it was Toby Erickson (NYAC) who has played the role of Smith’s would-be rival in recent domestic competitions. However, Coon had also defeated Erickson twice in the last year, both times in dominant fashion. The story would not change. Coon set up his meeting with Erickson thanks to a resounding 9-1 tech-fall victory over Last Chance Qualifier champion Donny Longendyke (Minnesota Storm). Erickson got past WCAP representative Matthew Lamb 6-0 in a crisply controlled match-up. Fireworks were waiting in the semifinals.
The former Michigan Wolverine Coon never let Erickson get started. He took it to the NYAC wrestler right away, setting up his scoring with a steady yet relentless attack that saw a swooping takedown and a series of turns. Erickson simply hasn’t found an answer to Coon’s style and a 10-0 tech fall would be the result in what proved to be a sort of coming-out party for the Cliff Keen WC standout.
This sets the table for what should be an interesting and dynamic heavyweight final. Smith stands as the favorite and enjoys a victory over Coon in last year’s Open. But this might be a different Adam Coon. Coon is now training in Greco full-time and has positively starched just about all of his domestic opposition going back over the previous year. If Smith is going to be pressed, Coon might stand as the one with the best chance to do so.