Five members of the Wisconsin wrestling team are set to compete at the 2015 Asics U.S. Open Wrestling Championships this weekend in Las Vegas, where they hope to qualify for the 2015 U.S. World Team Trials.At the event, which begins Friday, the top five place winners at each weight class will qualify for the world team trials. This year, the U.S. World Team Trials for Junior and Senior Freestyle will be held together at the Alliant Energy Center from June 12-14 in Madison.Freshmen Ryan Christensen (79 kg) and Jens Lantz (63 kg) are scheduled to join redshirt freshmen Andrew Crone (66 kg) and Gabriel Grahek at the Junior National Championships-UWW Age Group, while junior Connor Medbery competes in the U.S. Senior Open at 125 kg.”We’re excited to be taking five athletes out to Las Vegas,” UW assistant coach Trevor Brandvold said.
“Last year, Ricky Robertson won the tournament out there and it was just really big for him confidence-wise going into his freshman year. We’re hoping that Ryan (Christensen) and Jens (Lantz) can have the same type of success.”
Andrew (Crone) and Gabe (Grahek) have both had a lot of freestyle success in the past, so we’re looking forward to getting them out there, competing hard, getting some confidence and get some wins that way.”In addition, sophomore Jesse Thielke, who earned a first-place finish at the ASICS University National Championships in 2014, will compete in Greco at 59 kilograms. Thielke ran away with the title in 2013 at 138.75 lbs. and was named the Outstanding Wrestler.”There’s some amazing wrestling out there,” Brandvold added.
“It’s some of the best wrestlers in the United States going at it. It should be a great weekend.”Medbery, who finished in fourth place at the 2015 NCAA Championships and picked up his first All-America honor, qualified for the 2015 World Team Trials last weekend at the Northeast Regional Championships in East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania. Medbery took first place after defeating ninth-ranked Justin Grant with an 8-3 decision. He recorded two falls and one technical fall en route to his championship victory.
“It was the goal I set at the beginning of the season to just qualify, and obviously, it being in Madison is really nice,” Medbery said. “Just being able to wrestle with some of those guys is big. Since I’m already qualified there’s less pressure at Vegas.
“You’ll see tougher competition there, so it will be good to see them before trials just to get different feels and see what I need to work on and improve on.”The 2015 Asics Open Wrestling Championships are set for May 7-9 at the South Point Hotel in Las Vegas. Results from Northeast Regional Championships (125 kg):Connor Medbery won by fall over Camal Judo (1:49)Connor Medbery won by tech fall over Ian James, 13-1Connor Medbery won by fall over Raymond O’Donnell (0:35)Connor Medbery won by decision over Justin Grant, 8-3