World Team Trials: Finalists from Ames, U.S. reps, strong Hawkeye showing

Chris Cuellar
Hawk Central

LINCOLN, Neb. — Iowa State has pumped in resources and recruiting time to get the Cyclone Regional Training Center off the ground.

After USA Wrestling’s Senior World Team Trials, the Little Cyclones may consider a center of their own in town. Former ISU head coach Kevin Jackson worked with qualifiers Kyven Gadson and Dom Bradley at Ames High School ahead of the elite freestyle tournament, and both big men advanced as finalists to Saturday night’s best-of-three championship series.

“It’s just been two dudes and KJ,” Gadson said. “We’ve been working our butts off…we’re just trying to figure out ways to sharpen our skills.”

Former Iowa State wrestler Kyven Gadson, left, lost to reigning Olympic champion Kyle Snyder, right, on Saturday night at the Senior World Team Trials in Lincoln, Neb.

Gadson cruised to the 97-kilogram finals with three wins, but was bounced by Olympic gold medalist Kyle Snyder once he got there. The Waterloo native beat Snyder in the 2015 NCAA finals on a stunning pin. There would be no such magic in the freestyle circle on Saturday night, as Snyder swept Gadson via technical superiority, 10-0 and 13-2.

“I just train as hard as I can, listen to my coaches and focus on improving,” Snyder said. “I learn from each mistake and each loss.”

Bradley beat a pair of 125-kilogram foes to reach the series against U.S. Open champion Nick Gwiazdowski. The two grinding matches went to Gwiazdowski, 5-1 and 3-2.

Both former Cyclone Wrestling Club competitors had Jackson in their corner for showdowns on the elevated stage at Devaney Center. Gadson has been extended an offer to stay with new ISU coach Kevin Dresser’s staff at CRTC, but has yet to announce a commitment. Snyder interrupted what was an otherwise dominant day.

“Kyle is the best in the world right now,” Gadson said before the championship series. “I’ve got nothing bad to say about him.”

Snyder has won back-to-back 285-pound NCAA titles since losing to Gadson at 197. He will be a senior at Ohio State next season.

Seeing red in Nebraska

Cornhusker faithful were ready to cheer on their own Saturday night, but more than 5,000 fans at the Devaney Center were treated to an elite senior-level event. Three of the eight weight classes had their best-of-three championship series’ go to the decisive third bout.

Reigning NCAA champion Zain Retherford from Penn State took down a former Nittany Lion in Frank Molinaro in a bloody series at 65 kilograms. J’den Cox, the 2016 Olympic bronze medalist at 86, injured his knee in the second period of the third bout with former Penn State star David Taylor. Cox struggled to take his feet, but scrambled around for a 5-3 win as Taylor showed his frustration with officials.

“I love this sport too much,” Cox said. “I don’t want to waste my time doing something miserable.”

The arena erupted with noise in the weekend finale as Nebraska alum, three-time world champion and 2012 Olympic gold medalist Jordan Burroughs closed out a thrilling series with Kyle Dake at 74 kilograms. Dake took the opener on criteria, but Burroughs battled back with late scores in an 8-4 second bout. Fans in red rose out of their red seats to cheer on a 6-2 Burroughs victory in the decisive match.

"I was incredible,” Burroughs said. "I haven't wrestled here since 2011 ... the crowd was electric."

Hawkeye Wrestling Club checks in

Even with two fewer wrestlers than it qualified, Hawkeye Wrestling Club was busy on Saturday with Thomas Gilman wrestling to the 57-kilogram championship series and four others advancing to the consolation finals. Nick Dardanes (65 kilos) and Bobby Telford (125) both won third-place matches before dropping bouts for true second, combining for 10 matches. Chris Dardanes (61) and Nathan Burak (97) lost their third-place matches. Tack on Gilman’s finals and HWC was in the corner for its Titan Mercury Wrestling Club-sponsored wrestlers 24 times.

“We’ve got Tom and Terry (Brands), (Ryan) Morningstar and all of our coaches are great,” Gilman said when asked about new HWC coach Mark Perry.

“Perry is an addition. Maybe just that extra little oomph.”

Grand View product places at 61 kilos

Brandon Wright earned true second-place at 61 kilograms after entertaining in four challenge tournament shootouts. A two-time NAIA champion while at Grand View, Wright topped NCAA runner-up Seth Gross in a 13-11 opener. After a 10-4 win over Josh Kindig, he dropped the bracket’s final to U.S. Open champion Kendric Maple.

Wright dealt with an upset stomach — vomiting on the mat late in his final match — but closed the event with a 14-4 win.


125 kilograms—Nick Gwiazdowski over Dom Bradley, 5-1, 3-2.

57—Thomas Gilman over Tony Ramos, 4-3, 7-2

61—Logan Stieber over Kendric Maple, 9-8, 10-0

70—James Green over Jimmy Kennedy, 6-0, 8-5

97—Kyle Snyder over Kyven Gadson, 10-0, 13-2

65—Zain Retherford over Frank Molinaro, 6-7, 6-0, 7-4

86—J’den Cox over David Taylor, 3-9, 4-3, 5-3

74—Jordan Burroughs over Kyle Dake, 6-6 (loss, criteria), 8-4, 6-2