USA Greco

Last Chance OTT Qualifier: 87, 97, & 130 KG

christian dulaney, 97 kg, last chance qualifier
Christian DuLaney -- Photo: John Sachs

As explained in the first preview for this coming weekend’s Last Chance Qualifier, the directive is easy to understand: wrestlers who have designs on entering the Olympic Trials must place first. It could not be more clear-cut. For as convoluted as annual US Trials selection procedures tend to be, this one does not require referring to obscure stipulations or prior credentials. Run the table and you’re in.

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Each of the three upper-weight categories boast Greco-Roman athletes who are capable of earning bracket placement in the Olympic Trials — though one field stands apart from the others, which is 87 kilograms. A quick glance at several of the registrants’ names in this weight class is both exciting and vexing. Exciting, because tough, suspenseful match-ups are all but guaranteed; disconcerting, because with more (appropriately) inclusive procedures, these same athletes would already have punched their respective tickets for State College. But the US wants to cap participation in said Trials, and so the result will be, across the board, less-crowded brackets and a host of athletes who will have to dig very deep throughout the summer in order to find an impetus to keep training and stay busy.

The first preview covering 60, 67, and 77 kg can be viewed here.

2024 Last Chance Qualifier: 87, 97, & 130 KG

Registration for the 2024 Last Chance Olympic Trials Qualifier is open until Friday, April 5 — which means that there is still time for athletes to appear in brackets. This preview may be updated to reflect changes accordingly. The Olympic Team Trials are scheduled for April 19-20 in State College, Pennsylvania.

87 KG

Andrew Berreyesa (NYAC) — ’18 Junior World silver, ’19 U23 World Team
Has done nothing other than put together very strong matches ever since returning to Senior competition last year with both the US Open and Bill Farrell Memorial showcasing how much Greco fits Berreyesa’s wrestling sensibilities. Can grind, can “out-athletic” people, and is difficult to turn in par terre. That’s how guys win tournaments like this one.

Tommy Brackett (NYAC) — ’21 U23 World Team
The true “wrestler’s wrestler” for this style, Brackett is a pleasure to watch due to the type of work he puts into jousting for position, an element of the sport far too many Americans take for granted. He doesn’t, and has also pushed most, if not all, of the top names in this division. Brackett has also beaten some of them. A very live threat to walk away the champ.

Matthew 20:18-19 & the Hallway Whiteboard (1)

Casey Recrosio (NMU/NTS)
Still developing is Recrosio, which is just fine and it is a process that has been going quite well so far for him. Reminds you of Ben Provisor. Recrosio is stocky and muscular, but he also punches underhooks in a manner that is reminiscent of “Big Ben” (the two even squared off during the fall). It will be an uphill battle for Recrosio in Fairfax but he definitely shouldn’t be overlooked.

Fritz Schierl (Minnesota Storm) — ’21 World Team Trials runner-up
Schierl is the one entrant who is most capable of stringing together multi-point scores, which does not happen often in this weight class. That makes him dangerous, as well as the assumption that Schierl — who not long ago occupied 77 kg before moving up to 82 and now 87 — has grown increasingly comfortable in a higher weight category. If he is on, will be firmly in the running.

Barrett Stanghill (Minnesota Storm) — ’17 U23 World Team
Stanghill had not competed since the ’20ne Olympic Trials when he walked into the US Open last April. He placed third in Vegas, then fast-forward to June, and there he was at Final X duking it out with Provisor for the National Team spot. Health has been a thing. So too has been the ability to train. A well-prepared and healthy Stanghill would be considered a favorite to make the finals.

Full Entries: 87 kg

Andrew Berreyesa (NYAC)
Zack Bickford (Toro World Club)
Ethan Birth (MD)
Tommy Brackett (NYAC)
Patrick Curran (NMU/NTS)
Michael Gabbard (Cougar WC)
DM Hallet (NMU/NTS)
Alex Hamm (FL)
Noah Harris (Cougar WC)
Arian Khosravy (LAWC)
Christian Louis (Master Statesman WC)
Khalil Mitchell (Cougar WC)
John Parker (SC)
Christian Rouleau (Minnesota Storm)
Casey Recrosio (NMU/NTS)
David Richardson (KY)
Barrett Stanghill (Minnesota Storm)
Fritz Schierl (Minnesota Storm)
Ryan Whittle (PA)

97 KG

Christian DuLaney (Minnesota Storm) — ’23 Final X runner-up, 2X US National Team
The US selection procedures are such that a wrestler who was a finalist for a World Team spot (in an Olympic category, no less) last year does not automatically have a berth in the Olympic Trials. That is the predicament DuLaney has faced this season, and he was not the only one. An arm injury hampered him throughout the fall and into the winter, so it has taken some time for him to round into form. In ’21, DuLaney made the Last Chance final, which that year meant a ticket to the Olympic Trials. This year he needs to win it — which is even more of a doable proposition than it was three years ago.

Orry Elor (NYAC) ’14 University World Team
Everyone knows Elor, who had been a frequent competitor on the National circuit for a long time before going on sporadic hiatuses. He showed flashes of his past in the fall, including in the December Nationals where he managed to pin Johnson. Elor ultimately placed 7th in Fort Worth but wrestled better than his placing. A capable and knowledgeable athlete, he could have an impact on Saturday. One of only several entrants who has appeared in an Olympic Trials previously.

Khymba Johnson (NYAC) — 2X US Open runner-up
Johnson — who has been an Olympic Trials competitor previously in his career — is certainly an attractive candidate to emerge as the champion of this division on Saturday. It says next to his name “2X US Open runner-up”, but that is just for those who might be unfamiliar to the situation. Johnson is even better than his credentials indicate, and absolutely has the experience and skill to make it to State College.

Brandon Marshall (Big Game WC)
Could be seen as a wildcard. Marshall, a very solid competitor who has improved in consistency, can hang in there with most of the top-tier athletes in this bracket. Has an extra gear, it would seem, compared to most 97’s, and knows how to score. He also knows how he wants to score. A little more patience in key scenarios might help open up workable opportunities and his defense from bottom needs to be clutch.

Guy Patron (Dubuque WC)
With whom does he train? That’s a question, not an indictment. Patron is quite obviously an excellent wrestler and exhibits qualities which show that he is not exactly in over his skis when mired in Senior competition. He put some good matches out there during his age-group appearances but the intricacies at Senior are different. If he has been in the lab working on those items, big and small, then he is someone to watch.

Full Entries: 97 kg

Christian DuLaney (Minnesota Storm)
Orry Elor (NYAC)
Carter Erickson (Cougar WC)
Daniel Eubanks (NMU/NTS)
Timothy Eubanks (NMU/NTS)
Eric Gamble (PA)
Erik Hinckley (Chicago WC)
Khymba Johnson (NYAC)
Brandon Marshall (Big Game WC)
Eli Pannell (Dubuque RTC)
Guy Patron (Dubuque WC)

130 kg

Malcolm Allen (Viking WC) — ’21 US National Champion
Has been up and down competitively since winning the Nationals three years ago but has to be taken seriously. Allen first became a presence following the Rio quad and can provide nearly every antagonist with a tough match so long as he has the endurance to remain viable in the second period.

West Cathcart (NYAC) — 2X National runner-up
Injuries have disrupted Cathcart seemingly more often than not over the past few years, though that has not stopped him from delivering solid performances. This season, he had come back from surgery and rehab, only to re-injure his knee in the Nationals. So, as has been a constant theme, it comes down to health. Because when Cathcart is healthy, he can be an extremely-efficient and potent heavyweight.

Jacob Mitchell (CO) — ’19 US Open Champion, ’19 National runner-up
Other than an exhibition against Rulon Gardner nearly a year-and-a-half ago, Mitchell was thought to have all but packed in his career. His registering for this event suggests that he has another run in him. An interesting proposition. Mitchell, who placed third at the Tokyo Trials, had been one of the country’s top 130’s prior to sabbatical. If he is in adequate condition, a very tough hurdle for the field to clear.

Kaleb Reeves (Big Game WC)
Reeves has contended for placings in most domestic events, and if this were a tournament in which one could aim to simply medal, he would assuredly be a candidate. The objective is loftier, of course. Is Reeves up to the task? Some might think that it is still too early, but this is the sort of tournament where those on the come-up can rise to the occasion.

Michael Rogers (NLWC)
Once a resident athlete at the Olympic Training Center, Rogers took a break from Greco for a while, in part due to injury. Before that, he was one of the best upper-weight prospects in the program. He is a full-on heavyweight now and fits into the category well. Showed some solid ability and promise earlier in the season and you’d like to see that continue in Fairfax.

Full Entries: 130 kg

Malcolm Allen (Viking RTC)
Brandon Ballard (Frontier WC)
West Cathcart (NYAC)
Jasiri Dingle (Cougar WC)
Ron Dombkowski (Mad Cow WC)
Daniel Erekson (Air Force RTC)
Braeden Fluke (Cougar WC)
Tom Foote (NYAC)
Jimmy Hustoles (NMU/NTS)
Keith Miley (Arkansas RTC)
Kaleb Reeves (Big Game WC)
Michael Rogers (NLWC)

The 2024 Last Chance Olympic Trials Qualifier takes place on April 6 at the James W. Robinson Secondary School in Fairfax, VA and will stream live on FLOWrestling.

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