FORT WORTH, TX — Army’s lightweights, aka “The Ninja Squad”, have surged out of the gate thus far at the 2020 US Olympic Team Trials and will be healthily represented in the semifinals.
At 60 kilograms, three of four semifinalists are from the Army following a morning session that marked the WCAP debut of ’18 World Team member Dalton Roberts (5PM #7). Roberts’ quarterfinal bout came against very familiar opponent (and recent NCAA All-American) Taylor LaMont (Sunkist/UVRTC, 5PM #8). It was a tenuous affair, as is oft the case. Roberts controlled the passives, and in between controlled position, en-route to a 5-0 decision.
Standing across from Roberts in the round-of-four will be now-teammate and rival Mike Fuenffinger (5PM #4). Fuenffinger was lights out against Randon Miranda (NYAC/CYC, 5PM #10) in the quarterfinal, rolling to a 9-0 tech. Elsewhere in the bracket, ’19 World Team member Ryan Mango (5PM #2) looked sharp as a razor in decisioning Last Chance Qualifier champ Travis Rice (NYAC/IRTC, 5PM #9) 7-1.
67 kg: Ellis and Bunker on Collision Course
A battle between Junior World bronze medalists, both from ’19, was an early highlight as Alston Nutter (Sunkist/NTS) overcame Peyton Omania (MSU/CYC) in a 12-9 shootout. But in the quarters, top-seed Ellis Coleman (Army/WCAP, 5PM #1) assumed command and emerged victorious over Nutter 6-0. On the bottom side of the bracket, Nutter’s NMU teammate and ’20 National champ Benji Peak (Sunkist/NTS, 5PM #10) scored two enormous wins — and both via tech. In the round-of-16, “Mr. Fantastic” got past Lenny Merkin (NYAC/NJRTC, 5PM #12) 9-0 one week following their melee from Last Chance; in the quarters, Peak shocked National Teamer Jamel Johnson (Marines, 5PM #4) by drumming up a run that concluded with a 7-0 advantage. On the reset, Peak forced a step-out to end Johnson’s bid for a Tokyo spot.
In the boxscore, it will read that ’19 World Team member Ray Bunker (Marines, 5PM #3) defeated Michael Hooker (5PM #9) 10-2, and he did. But Hooker was the one in the driver’s seat, or so it appeared, until Bunker changed the course of the bout by falling on top of a Hooker throw attempt on the edge. Bunker tacked on from there to grab the win, and he now will face Peak to see who goes to the challenge final.
Ben Provisor‘s (NYAC, 5PM #3) drop to 77 did not start off as he would have hoped, meanwhile Peyton Walsh (Marines, 5PM #8) presented an offensive force that will prove a problem for whomever else he faces the rest of the tournament. Walsh capitalized on the par terre, added more from a scramble, and then piled on for a 12-4 technical fall that shook everyone up a little bit.
Top-seed at 77 Jake Fisher (Curby 3-Style, 5PM #7) was in front of Last Chance winner Austin Morrow (NYAC/NTS, 5PM #13) 6-0 and then Morrow went ahead and lasered a four to close the gap to 6-5. Fisher didn’t panic. He simply swayed and snapped into position to lock down the victory, but it was a match that also demonstrated how viable Morrow is at this weight.
P-Mart In the Mix; Anderson Over Woods
Three-time World Team member Patrick “P-Mart” Martinez (NYAC, 5PM #3) zoomed into the 87-kilogram semifinals by sticking to the playbook that has helped him garner so much success. Squaring off against Terrence Zaleski (Marines, 5PM #12), Martinez bullied to the passive and converted on a gutwrench, the brunt of his scores in the 4-0 shutout.
Popular multi-time National Teamer Jon Anderson (87 kg, West Point WC, 5PM #5) erased a 4-0 deficit to come away victorious over Spencer Woods (Army/WCAP, 5PM #9). Woods was quick and sharp throughout the first but all it took was one four-point throw in the second for Anderson, who will now meet up with old pal Martinez in the semis.
Sheridan, Amos, Cathcart
It wasn’t easy for Luke Sheridan (97 kg, Army/WCAP, 5PM #2), but he solved the Jake Clark (Minnesota Storm) puzzle, using a clutch takedown in the second period that provided the difference in the 4-2 decision.
Sheridan’s opponent in the semifinal will be 19-year-old Braxton Amos (Wisconsin RTC, 5PM #9). Amos — who is wrestling both styles at this Trials event — picked up a pin over third-seed Eric Twohey (Minnesota Storm, 5PM #4), just one more rattling Greco victory for the native West Virginian this season.
’18 World silver Adam Coon (NYAC/Cliff Keen, 5PM #1) cemented his semifinal placement by defeating Tommy Helton (Southern Illinois RTC, 5PM #12) 8-0. Who is his adversary coming up next? West Cathcart (NYAC/IRTC, 5PM #6) — who notched one of the biggest victories of his career by taking out Toby Erickson (Army/WCAP, 5PM #5) 5-1. Cathcart amassed his points early and held off Erickson the rest of the way in that one.
2020 US Olympic Trials
April 2-3 — Fort Worth, TX
Mike Fuenffinger (Army/WCAP) def. Randon Miranda (NYAC/CYC) 9-0, TF
Dalton Roberts (Army/WCAP) def. Taylor LaMont (Sunkist/UVRTC) 5-0
Sammy Jones (NYAC/UVRTC) def. Max Nowry (Army/WCAP) via DQ
Ryan Mango (Army/WCAP) def. Travis Rice (NYAC/IRTC) 7-1
Ellis Coleman (Army/WCAP) def. Alston Nutter (Sunkist/NTS) 6-0
Xavier Johnson (Marines) def. Calvin Germinaro (Minnesota Storm) 10-0, TF
Benji Peak (Sunkist/NTS) def. Jamel Johnson (Marines) 8-0, TF
Ray Bunker (Marines) def. Michael Hooker (Army/WCAP) 10-2, TF
Jake Fisher (Curby 3-Style) def. Austin Morrow (NYAC/NTS) 6-5
Peyton Walsh (Marines) def. Ben Provisor (NYAC) 12-4, TF
Patrick Smith (Minnesota Storm) def. Mason Manville (NLWC) 2-1
Jesse Porter (NYAC/NTS) def. RaVaughn Perkins (NYAC) 10-0, TF
Alan Vera (NYAC) def. Christian DuLaney (Minnesota Storm) 8-0, TF
John Stefanowicz (Marines) def. Barrett Stanghill (Minnesota Storm) 9-3
Patrick Martinez (NYAC) def. Terrence Zaleski (Marines) 4-0
Jon Anderson (West Point WC) def. Spencer Woods (Army/WCAP) 5-4
Daniel Miller (Marines) def. Diante Cooper (505 WC) 8-0, TF
Nick Boykin (Sunkist/Ohio RTC) def. Khymba Johnson (NYAC) 3-1
Braxton Amos (Wisconsin RTC) def. Eric Twohey (Minnesota Storm) via fall
Luke Sheridan (Army/WCAP) def. Jake Clark (Minnesota Storm) 4-2
Adam Coon (NYAC/Cliff Keen) def. Tommy Helton (Southern Illinois RTC) 8-0, TF
West Cathcart (NYAC/IRTC) def. Toby Erickson (Army/WCAP) 5-1
Jacob Mitchell (Army/WCAP) def. Tanner Farmer (NYAC/IRTC) 6-2
Cohlton Schultz (Sunkist) def. Donny Longendyke (Minnesota Storm) 6-2