60 kilograms was supposed to offer more than its fair share of action at the 2019 US Nationals, and it has lived up to the hype thus far.
Bernadino Gomez (Blue Chip) is a developing story. In his first bout, Gomez persevered through a tough battle with ’19 U23 Trials runner-up Dylan Gregerson (UVRTC); in the round-of-16, Gomez kicked it into gear against Dylan Koontz (TMWC) and never looked back, cruising to a 9-0 tech.
Top-seeded Mike Fuenffinger (Army/WCAP) has looked fresh and vital despite this being his first event of the season. Fuenffinger — the returning National champ and last year’s Final X runner-up to teammate Ildar Hafizov — ran past a pair of 55 kilo prospects in Ibrahim Bunduka (Cougar WC) and Britain Longmire (NV), respectively. Other than Gomez’s advancement, one of the biggest item hitting 60 kilos is LilShawn Coleman (Army/WCAP) taking out National Teamer Taylor LaMont (Sunkist). After getting the first passive, Coleman turned LaMont for two and then banged out four more to end the bout early.
David Stepanian (NMU/OTS) built some momentum in NYC and has continued it in Texas, defeating ’19 U23 World Teamer Brady Koontz (TMWC/Ohiot RTC) to set up a showdown with ’19 World Team member Ryan Mango (Army/WCAP, world no. 6) in the quarters. In his round-of-16 bout, Mango torched Tyler Graff (TMWC) in the first period.
Marine Xavier Johnson did indeed choose to go 67 kilos this weekend, and will meet fellow young star Nolan Baker (NYAC) in the quarterfinals. A lot of the chatter when it came to 67 this week had to do with 2006 World Champion Joe Warren (NYAC), but now the conversation has switched direction and is instead focused on Calvin Germinaro (Minnesota Storm). Following an exciting volley early in the first, Germinaro assumed command against Warren thanks in large part to a front headlock en-route to a wide tech victory.
2017 Junior World Champion Kamal Bey (77 kg, Sunkist) outscored his first two opponents 21-2, and as expected by most, is in the quarters. Standing across from him will be Alex “the Rib Cruncher” Mossing (Air Force), who picked up a very impressive tech at the expense of Vlad Dombrovskiy (Army/WCAP). Another Airman is also in the 77 kg quarters — Brandon Mueller, who himself has performed strongly. Mueller has two techs thus far, with his second coming over Fritz Schierl (TMWC/Ohio RTC), who earlier had defeated three-time U23 World Team member Jesse Porter (NYAC/OTS). Interesting to note, since Porter had defeated Schierl in both ’18 and ’19 U23 Trials finals.
2010 World Team member Jake Fisher (Curby 3-Style) was victorious in his opening bout opposite former WBU athlete Ryan Whittle, and after that, he edged ’18 Junior World silver Andrew Berreyesa (NYAC/FLWC). He now takes on two-time National Team member Peyton Walsh (Marines).
In a battle between a pair of two-time US National champs, RaVaughn Perkins (NYAC) is set to square off against Kendrick Sanders (NYAC) in a bout that has the chance to stand out above the rest on Friday. Perkins, who is back after a long interim of physical rehab, got past Conner Myers (Army/WCAP) and Tommy Brackett (NMU/OTS), while Sanders prevailed over two athletes he sees on a daily basis — Britton Holmes (NMU/OTS) and Colin Schubert (NYAC/OTS).
The semifinals come next and are scheduled to begin at 4:00pm CT. Fans are encouraged to keep a close eye on the consolations as well given the qualifying implications involved with this tournament. Each round of the tournament is available to view live online at FLOWrestling.