Randon Miranda delivered a reminder to those who had underestimated his chances this week that he is very much still more than capable of rising to the occasion, and now the California native is one step away from fighting for a World Team spot.
The first session at the 2023 US World Team Trials Challenge Tournament began at 10:30am local time in Colorado Springs, Colorado (12:30pm ET) and streamed live on FLOWrestling.
Miranda, seeded sixth on Saturday due in large part to a down performance at the US Open last month, overcame an early 4-0 deficit to ’22 U20 World Teamer Max Black (NMU/NTS) by running the string for 12 consecutive points to breeze into the semifinal round, where he did more of the same against last year’s U23 Trials champ Phillip Moomey (Spartan RTC). Two victories, both via technical fall, have now escorted Miranda into his second-career Challenge Tournament final (’19), where he will face three-time US World Team representative/two-time Olympian Ildar Hafizov (Army/WCAP). It was Hafizov who Miranda saw in the ’19 best-of-three with both bouts going to the former.
One match, but a big one. ’19 U20 World Team member Zac Braunagel (87 kg, IRTC) for the second tournament in a row defeated ’22 Final X runner-up Timothy Young (Army/WCAP) by way of technical superiority. Braunagel shucked Young’s arm for his first takedown and, following the reset, scampered to his second pair of points. Shortly after the break between periods, Braunagel converted on an arm drag to get behind and close out with a gutwrench.
Top-seeded three-time World Team member Patrick Smith (72 kg) enjoyed a bye to the semifinal, a common occurrence for that bracket position on Saturday. Opposed by Michael Hooker (Army/WCAP), Smith collected a first-period takedown followed by a gutwrench in Period 1, and repeated with a similar sequence in the second frame to down Hooker 8-0.
Rich Carlson (87 kg) secured a crisp VSU at the expense of Jordan Lara (Texas RTC) in the quarterfinal before meeting up with ’20 Olympic/’19 World Team member John Stefanowicz (Navy WC), who had returned to competition last month after a nearly two-year hiatus. The match, as expected, was tight, physical, and low-scoring. Stefanowicz benefited from the first-period passive but was unable to follow with additional offense from par terre. In the second period, Carlson scored two and was then compelled to slug it out the rest of the way, which he did, to take the 2-1 decision.
Christian DuLaney (97 kg) was displeased with how his Open ended three weeks ago, but a nice win today over a tough Brandon Marshall (Big Game WC) has him back on the right track. Marshall made it difficult in the ties, as his positioning was, in spaces, robust whenever DuLaney looked to veer towards different ties. Still, the Stormer chipped his way to a 2-1 edge entering the second, and a body attack that set up a nice throw-by provided two additional points for a 5-1 margin that he would not relinquish.
At heavyweight, ’21 Pan-Am Championships silver Donny Longendyke had fallen behind ’22 Final X runner-up Tanner Farmer (NYAC/IRTC) 5-0 in the first period when, within one action, the entire complexion of the match was altered. As they were careening towards the boundary, Longendyke countered Farmer on the edge; Farmer landed awkwardly; four points were awarded to Longendyke, and Farmer appeared compromised on the lower part of his left leg thereafter.
It was up to Longendyke to take advantage, which was easier said than done due to Farmer’s athleticism. Even with a bad wheel, he is difficult to manipulate. But Longendyke kept pressing the issue, and was able to score a pair of step-out points in the second period to walk away the 6-5 winner. Longendyke will now square off against ’18 World silver Adam Coon (NYAC/Cliff Keen) later this evening.
Wachsmuth, Epps, & Lautt
National Team member Noah Wachsmuth (NYAC) did not give ’19 Junior World rep Jack Ervien (Viking WC) a chance to get going in their 72-kg semifinal. Wachsmuth was immediately looking for a throw, and soon executed for a correct hold; he followed with a cascading side lift and a gutwrench to seal this one up in surprisingly-quick fashion.
’21 Trials runner-up Ryan Epps, who is going over to Army after starting his career with the Minnesota Storm, survived a 1-1 criteria battle with Tommy Brackett (NYAC) but then recorded one of his more impressive Senior wins to-date. In the semifinal, Epps went ahead of ’18 Junior World silver Andrew Berreyesa (NYAC) 3-1 (passive and gutwrench) in the second period and then proceeded to pile on the points en-route to a 9-1 stoppage.
97 kilograms brought one of the day’s most significant upsets as two-time National Champion Nick Boykin (Sunkist) was edged by Cade Lautt (Tar Heel WC). Boykin had owned a 6-1 lead midway through the second period, but Lautt started to increasingly make his presence felt. First, he scored two from a land-on-top (which ended with Boykin favoring his left shoulder area); Lautt would force Boykin out for a point; and the conclusive sequence saw the Kansas native use a throw-by to bring the score to 6-6 but with his owning the criteria advantage. Boykin, whose left arm was tended to by training staff following the maneuver, made an impassioned effort in the bout’s waning seconds — but Lautt held strong to emerge triumphant.
The final round is scheduled for 6:30pm local time (4:30pm ET) and can be viewed live on FLOWrestling.
2023 World Team Trials Challenge Tournament
May 20 — Colorado Springs, CO
55 kg: Dalton Duffield (Army/WCAP) vs. Camden Russell (MWC)
60 kg: Ildar Hafizov (Army/WCAP) vs. Randon Miranda (Unattached)
63 kg: Sammy Jones (Sunkist/CTT) vs. Xavier Johnson (Army/WCAP)
67 kg: Jesse Thielke (Army/WCAP) vs. Alex Sancho (Army/WCAP)
72 kg: Patrick Smith (Minnesota Storm) vs. Noah Wachsmuth (NYAC)
77 kg: Aliaksandr Kikinou (Poway) vs. Payton Jacobson (Sunkist/NTS)
82 kg: Ben Provisor (NYAC/Viking WC) vs. Ryan Epps (Army)
87 kg: Rich Carlson (Minnesota Storm) vs. Zac Braunagel (IRTC)
97 kg: Cade Lautt (Tar Heel WC) vs. Christian DuLaney (Minnesota Storm)
130 kg: Adam Coon (NYAC/Cliff Keen) vs. Donny Longendyke (Minnesota Storm)
Dalton Duffield (Army/WCAP) def. Jonathan Cochran (Army/WCAP) 10-0, TF
Camden Russell (MWC) def. Billy Sullivan (Army/WCAP) 5-5 (criteria)
Ildar Hafizov (Army/WCAP) def. Dylan Koontz (TMWC/Dubuque RTC) 6-0
Randon Miranda (Unattached) def. Phillip Moomey (Spartan RTC) 8-0, TF
Sammy Jones (Sunkist/CTT) def. Corbin Nirschl (MWC) 9-0, TF
Xavier Johnson (Army/WAP) def. Dylan Gregerson (UVRTC) 8-4
Jesse Thielke (Army/WCAP) def. David Stepanyan (NYAC/NTS) 10-0, TF
Alex Sancho (Army/WCAP) def. Chayse LaJoie (California RTC) 9-0, TF
Patrick Smith (Minnesota Storm) def. Michael Hooker (Army/WCAP) 8-0, TF
Noah Wachsmuth (NYAC) def. Jack Ervien (Viking WC) 8-0, TF
Aliaksandr Kikinou (Poway) def. RaVaughn Perkins (NYAC) 7-2
Payton Jacobson (Sunkist/NTS) def. Burke Paddock (NYAC) 7-1
Ben Provisor (NYAC/Viking WC) def. Ty Cunningham (NYAC/MWC) via fall
Ryan Epps (Army) def. Andrew Berreyesa (NYAC) 9-1, TF
Rich Carlson (Minnesota Storm) def. John Stefanowicz (Navy WC) 2-1
Zac Braunagel (IRTC) def. Timothy Young (Army/WCAP) 8-0, TF
Cade Lautt (Tar Heel WC) def. Nick Boykin (Sunkist) 6-6 (criteria)
Christian DuLaney (Minnesota Storm) def. brandon Marshall (Big Game WC) 5-1
Adam Coon (NYAC/Cliff Keen) def. Darryl Aiello (Dubuque RTC) via fall
Donny Longendyke (Minnesota Storm) def. Tanner Farmer (NYAC/IRTC) 6-5
Jacob Cochran (Army/WCAP) def. Tirso Lara (Top Gun) 11-2, TF
Dylan Koontz (TMWC/Dubuque RTC) def. Jonathan Gurule (NMU/NTS) 5-0
Randon Miranda (Unattached) def. Max Black (NMU/NTS) 12-4, TF
Phillip Moomey (Spartan RTC) def. Mike Fuenffinger (Army/WCAP) 8-0, TF
David Stepanyan (NYAC/NTS) def. Joel Adams (TBW) 4-2
Chayse LaJoie (CARTC) def. Nick Leonetti (NMU/NTS) 10-2, TF
Alex Sancho (Army/WCAP) def. Savion Haywood (Iguana WC) 11-2, TF
RaVaughn Perkins (NYAC) def. Jesse Porter (NYAC) 4-0
Ty Cunningham (NYAC/MWC) def. Barrett Stanghill (Minnesota Storm) 4-2
Ryan Epps (Minnesota Storm) def. Tommy Brackett (NYAC) 1-1 (criteria)
Rich Carlson (Minnesota Storm) def. Jordan Lara (Texas RTC) 8-0, TF
Timothy Young (Army/WCAP) def. Mac Kukowski (Minnesota Storm) 12-4, TF
Darryl Aiello (Dubuque RTC) def. Brandon Metz (ND) via fall
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