61 kg is full of dream matches in practice

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The World Team Trials will take place September 11-12 in Lincoln, Nebraska. In this article, we’ll break down the 60lb range, take a deep look at each potential match, and how they determined the seeds.

USA Wrestling has released its presets for all weights at the World Team Trials. To see all the men’s freestyle weights, click here. Check out what the 61kg pre-seeds look like:

61 kg of pre-seeds

  1. Tyler Graff (NJRTC / Titan Mercury WC)
  2. Joe Colon (Cyclone RTC / Titan Mercury WC)
  3. Nick Suriano (Sunkist Kids)
  4. Daton Fix (Cowboy RTC / Titan Mercury WC)
  5. Seth Gross (Wisconsin RTC / Sunkist Kids)
  6. Nathan Tomasello (Oklahoma RTC / Titan Mercury WC)
  7. Nahshon Garrett (South East RTC / Titan Mercury WC)
  8. Shelton Mack (NYCRTC / Titan Mercury WC)
  9. Josh Kramer (Sunkist Kids)
  10. Zane Richards (Illinois RTC / Titan Mercury WC)
  11. Daniel DeShazer (Gopher WC RTC)
  12. Ethan Lizak (Pennsylvania RTC / New York AC)

The biggest seeding surprises

Overall, seeding at 61kg turned out to be close to what we expected. Ahead of the pre-seeds release, we took a look at what they might look like based on recent criteria and results – you can read those predictions here.

The biggest question mark is the order of Joe Colon, Nick Suriano and Seth Gross. All three have hit in the past 2 years and traded wins, but the standings don’t keep up with the most recent results. Colon recently beat Gross at the Olympic Trials. Prior to that, Gross beat Suriano at Bill Farrell 2019 (November 2019). And going even further back, Suriano beat Joe Colon in May 2019 at Beat The Streets. According to the most recent results, Suriano should be behind Gross.

Watch Nick Suriano’s victory over Joe Colon at the Beat The Streets 2019 event:

Other than that, Shelton Mack and Josh Kramer have a case for being Above Nahshon Garrett. Mack won the senior national championships in May and defeated Josh Kramer there in the final. In that same tournament, Kramer knocked out Garrett in a 12-12 shootout. It appears the selection committee chose to honor Garrett’s results at 61kg dating back to 2018 when he won the World Tag Team Trials.

The first matches

From the start, there are incredible duels at 61kg from the pre-quarters. NCAA Champion Seth Gross will face NCAA finalist Ethan Lizak in the round of 16, with the winner ahead of Daton Fix. The other notable round of 16 is Zane Richards against Nahshon Garrett. The latter two met at the 2019 Bill Farrell, where Zane Richards won a close game 5-3.

Watch Zane Richards take down Nahshon Garrett:

The quarter-finals at 61kg will be absolutely exceptional. Starting from the top, Tyler Graff will get the winner from Shelton Mack and Josh Kramer. Mack will be the favorite to win and face Graff as he just beat Kramer in May – 3-2 (senior national championship finals). The Graff-Mack match is intriguing. They haven’t met in freestyle and Graff has only played 2 freestyle tournaments since the 2019 World Championships. Although Graff is the favorite, Mack should present a big challenge.

Daton Fix and Seth Gross are set to meet in the quarterfinals, with the winner getting the winner Graff / Mack. Fix and Gross have never wrestled in folk or freestyle style and in many ways this match is a clash of styles. Will Seth Gross be able to fend off Daton Fix’s best game? Will Fix be able to fall out with Seth Gross? Those questions will be answered over the weekend in the dream fight between Seth Gross and Daton Fix.

Another outstanding game is the pairing of Nathan Tomasello and Nick Suriano in the quarterfinals. If the seeds hold, it will be the first time that Tomasello and Suriano have wrestled freestyle or folkstyle. Both NCAA champions are equally aggressive in their hand fights and able to hold a great defensive position. Although Suriano had the momentum for the Olympic trials, Nathan Tomasello made it to the national team after finishing third in a loaded 57kg group. Will Tomasello be able to maintain this momentum or will Suriano return to his freestyle success?

Joe Colon at the No.2 seed will see the winner of Nahshon Garrett over Zane Richards. Colon vs Garrett would be a rematch of 2018 Final X where Nahshon Garrett won 2 of 3 games to be part of the world squad. After this match, Garrett suffered an injury allowing Colon to go to the world championships where he won a bronze medal. Although Garrett is the No. 7 seed, if he wrestles at his best he can beat any 61kg wrestler in the category.

Watch Nahshon Garrett’s win over Joe Colon to clinch the 2018 World Team spot:

My choice :

If the 61kg bracket was played five different times, chances are we could see 5 different champions. All the seeds have shown their ability to win at the highest level and are dangerous in their own way. However, for the past few weeks I have been choosing Seth Gross and I am not going to stop now. Seth Gross has shown great improvement in his freestyle game and is perfectly sized for 61kg. I think he will beat Daton Fix, Tyler Graff and then Nick Suriano consecutively to make the world squad.

Watch Seth Gross beat Nick Suriano at Bill Farrell 2019:

Complete choices:

Quarter-finals

  • Tyler Graff on Shelton Mack
  • Seth Gross on Daton Fix
  • Nick Suriano vs. Nathan Tomasello
  • Joe Colon vs. Nahshon Garrett

Semi finals

  • Seth Gross vs. Tyler Graff
  • Nick Suriano vs. Joe Colon

Finals

  • Seth Gross vs. Nick Suriano in 2 games


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