US men move within 2 spots of full Olympic wrestling roster
The U.S. men's freestyle wrestling team has secured spots in two more weight classes for the Rio Olympics.
Heavyweight Tervel Dlagnev qualified the U.S. for Rio at 275 kilograms by winning gold Saturday at the Pan American Olympic Games Qualifier in Frisco, Texas. Tony Ramos gave the Americans a spot at 57 kilograms with a silver-medal performance. The U.S. has qualified in four of the six weight classes, with a chance to earn spots in the remaining two.
Jordan Holm qualified the U.S. at 85 kilograms in Greco-Roman by reaching the finals Sunday.
Competitors who earn spots in the finals of the Pan-Am Qualifiers qualify their nation, not themselves, to compete in Rio in that weight. American wrestlers will earn trips to this summer's games only by winning gold at the Olympic trials next month in Iowa City.
Jordan Burroughs (74 kilograms) and Kyle Snyder (97 kilograms) earned the U.S. spots for Rio by winning world championships last summer. The Americans will have additional chances to qualify weights for Rio in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, late next month and in Istanbul in early May.
They had hoped to secure a full lineup for Rio before the trials, but Brent Metcalf and Jake Herbert failed to reach the finals this weekend.
''We're going to have to get on the road and take care of business,'' U.S. men's freestyle coach Bruce Burnett said. ''We can make that happen. We have the athletes. We have the coaches. Now we just have to go get it done. We came up a little short here, but we're not going to let it happen again.''
Metcalf appeared poised to earn the U.S. an Olympic spot at 65 kilograms. But a takedown that Burnett believed should have been awarded to Metcalf in the final 15 seconds of his quarterfinal match with Puerto Rico's Franklin Gomez wasn't called.
Metcalf was out of challenges, and he wound up losing 9-7.
''It was an injustice,'' Burnett said. ''Brent showed great character in dealing with it the way he did.''
The U.S. women's team still has some work to do after a disappointing weekend in Texas.
The Americans earned an Olympic spot Friday at just one weight, 63 kilograms, as Erin Clogdo was awarded the gold after Brazil's Lais Nunes de Olivera forfeited. But four other U.S. wrestlers were beaten before the finals.
''We had that big goal of getting all the weights qualified. It didn't happen,'' U.S. assistant women's coach Erin Tomeo. ''It wasn't our best day.''
The U.S. qualified for Rio at 75 kilograms when Adeline Gray won a world title last year in Las Vegas.