AAU Wrestling Alumni Punch Ticket To Rio
The USA Wrestling Olympic Trials took place April 9-10 in Iowa City, Iowa, with 61 AAU alumni wrestling for a spot on the Olympic team. Of the 61, 21 of them medaled.
Seven of the 12 champions were AAU alumni:
- Jesse Thielke, 59kg Greco
- Frank Molinaro, 65kg Freestyle
- Ben Provisor, 85kg Greco
- Tervel Dlagnev, 125kg Freestyle
- Josef Rau, 98kg Greco
- Daniel Dennis, 57kg Freestyle
- J’Den Cox, 86kg freestyle
Three of the winners, Provisor (now a 2x Olympian), Dlagnev, and Dennis, all automatically punched their tickets to Rio. The other four will still need to qualify the weight.
Frank Molinaro proved determined when he took home the gold as a nine seed after an incredible string of wins in the most talent-laden bracket of the Trials. In the same weight class, Zain Retherford (an AAU Duals All-American) placed 3rd as only a redshirt sophomore at Penn State, an incredible feat in the super stacked bracket.
Tervel Dlagnev also proved his worth, winning his seventh USA Wrestling Trials process in the last eight years, despite doubts over his age and injuries.
2016 AAU Sullivan Award Finalist Jordan Burroughs also came home with a win in 74kg Freestyle and will be headed to his second Olympics. Alex Dieringer, the most recent Hodge Trophy winner, took 3rd in the same division.