Below is a summary of what has transpired thus far on Friday at the 2020 US Nationals in Coralville, Iowa. Wrestling began at 10:00am local time (11:00am ET) and is streaming live on FLOWrestling.
Top Two Seeds Go Down
It was down to the wire. Second call. Third and final call. Then final call. Just when it looked like top-seed Taylor LaMont (Sunkist, 5PM #8) was about to default from the tournament due to being late to his round-of-16 bout opposite Jonathan Gurule, LaMont at last appeared. The wait, unfortunately for Gurule, was longer than the bout itself, as LaMont picked up a first-period tech. But in the quarters, former age-group star Alex Thomsen (Nebraska WTC) stole the headlines by opening up a 6-0 gash in the first. LaMont cranked a front headlock for four midway through the second, but Thomsen quickly reversed and remained ahead 8-4, which represented the final score.
Meeting Thomsen in the upper part of the bracket’s semifinal is Cali State-Bakersfield’s Chance Rich (Roadrunner WC), who downed ’19 Cadet World Teamer Conor Knopick (MWC) in an inspired effort that saw Rich need a strong second period in order to come away victorious. In a battle that has taken place on a daily basis for nearly two decades on living room floors and in wrestling rooms throughout their entire lives, the Koontz brothers finally had a showdown in a Senior bout, with Dylan (Ohio RTC) edging ’19 Final X runner-up Brady (TMWC/Ohio RTC, 5PM #12) 5-2. The return of Randon Miranda (NYAC/CYC, 5PM #10) will not end with his first Senior crown. ’16 Cadet World Teamer Mosha Schwartz (CO) stayed in the fight as much as he could during several dicey exchanges early on and came up clutch in the second period to pull out an 8-7 decision. Schwartz will tangle with Dylan Koontz later today.
According to Script
60 kilograms has offered upheaval. 67 kilos has not. Nolan Baker (NYAC, 5PM #7) defeated Morgan Flaharty (NYAC) and Duncan Nelson (NMU/NTS) by tech and pin, respectively. If anything, the bigger story there was Nelson, who clipped Ridge Lovett (Nebraska WTC) in the round-of-16 and looked poised and composed doing so. Next for Baker is old pal “Mr. Fantastic” Benji Peak (Sunkist/NTS). Peak has lost twice via fall to Baker, and has wanted this rematch badly. Now he’s getting it following a defeat of Jessy Williams (NYAC/Spartan RTC). For his part, Williams has wrestled with more confidence today than in some of his recent outings.
’19 National runner-up Calvin Germinaro (Minnesota Storm, 5PM #8) is one match away from a second-straight final. Germinaro began his day in the round-of-16, and in the quarters decisioned Jasiah Williams (CSU-Pueblo) 8-3. Germinaro will go against ’19 U23 World Teamer Lenny Merkin (NYAC/NJRTC), who collected two dominating superiors en-route to the semis.
Pat Again; Ortiz Impresses, Sanders & Epps Surging
Two-time World Team member Patrick Smith (Minnesota Storm, world #18, 5PM #1) has outscored the opposition 27-0 in his first three bouts. Zach Grimes (SWAT) went the distance, falling to Smith 7-0; and then Smith disposed of uber-prospect and fellow Minnesotan Peyton Robb (Nebraska WTC) 11-0. Smith is in the semis. Not a shocker. And he will be facing his main training partner, Alec “The Gunslinger” Ortiz, which isn’t a crazy surprise, either. What is, in a way, is Ortiz’s sharpness. Now fully, fully healed from major knee surgery, Ortiz has uncorked some huge offense, walloped a five at the expense of Michael Napier (Panhandle WC), and rose above Fritz Schierl (TMWC/Ohio RTC), who himself had nailed a pretty five against Ryan Whittle (BTS-Lancaster).
Good vibes have followed Kendrick Sanders (NYAC/NTS, 5PM #12) into this tournament. The two-time Open champ is on fire, racking up three run-’em-over tech’s. In his first-round contest against Timothy Johnson-Thompson (RISE), Sanders closed with a highlight-reel inverted arm throw that is still difficult to forget about. Augsburg monster Ryan Epps (UA) has been a revelation today. It’s not just the wins, but how he has recorded them. Epps — who appears a natural fit for Senior competition — went to the offensive well when he needed to opposite second-seeded Burke Paddock (NYAC); and then did the same against ’19 Junior World Team member Tyler Eischens (California RTC), a bout Epps wound up finishing off in the second period.
Vera & Rau Remain on Collision Course
Alan Vera (NYAC, 5PM #4) had just gotten started against Lelund Weatherspoon (NYAC) when that bout suddenly ended via injury default. Vera will go head-to-head against Trent Munoz (UA) in the semfinals. Munoz is one more wrestler who was not on the radar prior to today but has made a name for himself. In his first bout, Munoz decisioned ’19 Junior World Team rep Zach Braunagel (IRTC), and in the quarters, triumphed over Dane Harter (UA) — who himself has competed quite well, having defeated George Sikes (NMU/NTS) in first-round action.
On the bottom side of the bracket, second-seeded ’19 World Teamer Joe Rau (87 kg, TMWC/IRTC, world #7, 5PM #1) cruised through his first two bouts with tech falls. The man Rau faces in the semis deserves, for the moment, a little more insight. Christian DuLaney (Minnesota Storm), once a solid performer at age-group, earned a pair of very tough victories to make his first Senior semifinal. DuLaney started his day by surviving a back-and-forth battle with ’13 Trials runner-up and third-seed Marcus Finau (NYAC) before defeating former Williams Baptist athlete Conor Linehan (UA) via tech.
Top 4 Seeds Rise to the Occasion
It could have been either/or when it came to who received the top seed at 97 kg. No one would have complained if it were Nick Boykin (Sunkist, 5PM #6), but it went to Chad Porter (Sunkist, 5PM #9). Porter has lived up to that little slice of hype on Friday, grabbing a pair of tech falls. He will stare down West Point’s Jeremiah Imonode (seeded fourth) in the semis. Imonode got past a tough test in John Kent (UA) to earn the semifinal spot, and matches like that one have defined most of the wrestling throughout the day. When they haven’t been one-sided affairs, they have been methodical, almost plodding contests — in this weight and others.
Like Porter, Boykin’s ledger is clean heading into the semis thanks to a pair of tech’s. Young Mr. Braxton Amos (Badger RTC) has actually been the jaw-dropper of the bracket. In the round-of-16, Amos quickly rolled up Tyler Westlund (UA); in the quarters, he blitzed ’19 Cadet World Team/Fargo champ Tyler Hannah (Combat WC). Two Tylers up for Amos, two down.
Schultz Solid; Farmer Wows ‘Em, & Cathcart Efficient
On his own pace and with very little wasted motion, Cohlton Schultz (Sunkist, 5PM #2) showed why the Senior circuit is made for his ability and skill-set. A superior over Conor Karwath (RISE) represented the first order of business; after that Schultz saw a nice test from Nebraksa’s Austin Emerson but still managed to stay far out of harm’s way through the bout en-route to a 5-0 decision. The news at heavyweight is Tanner Farmer (UA). In his Senior debut, former D1 lineman Farmer is 2-0 and nipped Donny Longendyke (Minnesota Storm) 4-2. Schultz and Farmer is the top bracket’s semifinal.
West Cathcart (NYAC/IRTC, 5PM #7) has put up 19 points on Friday for two swift technical superiorities. His second was recorded against ’17 Dave Schultz gold Malcom Allen (LOG), whom Cathcart defeated 8-0 in the the opening period. ’18 Cadet World Team member Luke Luffman (IRTC) had to survive an entertaining fight with Keaton Kleuver (Gopher WC) in the round-of-16 but was extremely dominant against Zach Shrader (UA) in the quarters.
The tournament is scheduled to roll into the semifinals at 4:30pm local time (5:30pm), though that may change. If it does, we will update accordingly. All of the action can be streamed live on FLOWrestling (subscription required).
2020 US Nationals
October 9 — Coralville, Iowa
Alex Thomsen (Nebraska WTC) vs. Chance Rich (Roadrunner WC)
Mosha Schwartz (CO) vs. Dylan Koontz (Ohio RTC)
Nolan Baker (NYAC, 5PM #7) vs. Benji Peak (Sunkist/NTS)
Calvin Germinaro (Minnesota Storm, 5PM #8) vs. Lenny Merkin (NYAC/NJRTC)
Patrick Smith (Minnesota Storm, 5PM #1) vs. Alec Ortiz (Minnesota Storm)
Kendrick Sanders (NYAC/NTS, 5PM #12) vs. Ryan Epps (UA)
Alan Vera (NYAC, 5PM #4) vs. Trent Munoz (UA)
Joe Rau (TMWC/IRTC, 5PM #1) vs. Christian DuLaney (Minnesota Storm)
Chad Porter (Sunkist, 5PM #9) vs. Jeremiah Imonode (West Point)
Nick Boykin (Sunkist, 5PM #6) vs. Braxton Amos (Badger RTC)
Cohlton Schultz (Sunkist, 5PM #2) vs. Tanner Farmer (UA)
West Cathcart (NYAC/IRTC, 5PM #7) vs. Luke Luffman (IRTC)
Thomsen def. LaMont 8-4
Rich def. Knopick 8-5
D. Koontz def. B. Koontz 5-2
Schwartz def. Miranda 8-7
Baker def. Nelson via fall
Peak def. Williams 9-0, TF
Merkin def. Abidin 8-0, TF
Germinaro def. Williams 8-3
Smith def. Robb 11-0, TF
Ortiz def. Schierl 6-0
Sanders def. Riley Briggs 8-0, TF
Epps def. Eischens 11-3, TF
Vera def. Weatherspoon via inj. default
Munoz def. Harter 7-2
DuLaney def. Linehan 9-0, TF
Rau def. Lukas Poloncic 8-0, TF
Porter def. Denzel Mabry 8-0, TF
Imonode def. Kent 6-2
Amos def. Hannah 8-0, TF
Boykin def. Christian Rouleau 10-0, TF
Schultz def. Emerson 5-0
Farmer def. Longendyke 4-2
Luffman def. Schrader 9-0, TF
Cathcart def. Allen 8-0, TF