IOWA CITY, Iowa - Three former Buckeyes took their shots at qualifying for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio on Saturday, with Logan Stieber and Reece Humphrey both falling short in the semifinals and Nikko Triggas dropping a quarterfinal contest at Carver Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City.
A fourth wrestler with local ties - Tervel Dlagnev, who trains at the Ohio Regional Training Center with Stieber, Humphrey and others – successfully qualified for his second trip to the Olympic Games with two wins over Zach Rey in the 125kg finals. Dlagnev won the first match 3-1 and then finished it off with a 5-3 decision in the second match. His path to the final included quarterfinal and semifinal wins by an aggregate score of 15-1.
At the 2012 Olympic Games in London, Dlagnev finished fifth overall. Last fall at the World Championships, he was a bronze medalist after beating Alexei Shemarov of Belarus 2-1.
Logan Stieber | 65kg
Stieber, wrestling in his second Olympic Trials, began his day with a dominant tech fall over BJ Furtrell, 10-0, to punch his ticket to the quarterfinals, where he was slated to face Zain Retherford, the NCAA champion at 149 pounds from Penn State. Retherford was the last collegiate wrestler to hand Stieber a loss (in December of 2013) and wrestled the four-time champion tough, but Stieber was able to secure a 8-6 decision and advance to the semifinals.
Retherford scored early on a single-leg takedown and maintained a 4-2 lead at the end of the first period. Stieber then secured two second period takedowns to go ahead 6-4 and then scored what proved to be the winning points with less than a minute remaining in the match to give himself a 8-4 edge.
In the semis, Stieber dropped a 5-5 match by criteria to Frank Molinaro thanks to a four-point move that put him up 5-3. Stieber countered with two points to tie it at 5-5 with just 24 seconds left, but couldn’t score again to avoid the match being decided on criteria.
REECE HUMPHREY | 65kg
Like Stieber, Humphrey advanced to the semifinals with wins in the preliminary and quarterfinal rounds, respectively, but couldn’t get past seventh-seeded Aaron Pico, falling by tech fall, 11-1.
A tight 6-3 win for Humphrey set up a match for him in the quarters against third-seeded Jimmy Kennedy. There, Humphrey outlasted former Illinois standout 14-10 in a wild, high scoring match. Kennedy and Humphrey had previously met at the Senior Nationals in Las Vegas with Kennedy earning a 9-0 decision.
Another former Buckeye who competed in Greco-Roman was Nikko Triggas, who dropped a 9-0 tech fall to Ryan Mango in the quarterfinals. Triggas, who gained experience at the 2012 Trials, earned a spot in the field by winning a medal at the Vantaa Cup, held in Vaanta, Finland.