U.S. OLYMPIC WRESTLING TRIALS When: Saturday and Sunday Where: Carver-Hawkeye Arena, Iowa City
The competition: Olympic team members will be determined in men's freestyle (seven weight classes), Greco-Roman (seven classes) and women's freestyle (four classes). The winner of each class will represent the U.S. at this summer's London Olympics, pending qualification. The U.S. has not yet qualified for the Olympic tournament at the 60-kilogram weight in men's freestyle or the 96kg weight in Greco-Roman. American wrestlers will compete in the final two qualifying tournaments in the coming weeks; if they succeed in earning Olympic berths at those weights, secondary Olympic trials will be held to determine who will compete in London.
The schedule: Saturday, 9 a.m., preliminary matches in men's freestyle (60 kg, 74kg, 96 kg); Greco-Roman (55 kg, 66 kg, 84 kg, 120 kg); women's freestyle (55 kg, 72 kg); championship matches at 6 p.m. Sunday, 9 a.m., preliminary matches in men's freestyle (55 kg, 66 kg, 84 kg, 120 kg); Greco-Roman (60 kg, 74 kg, 96 kg) and women's freestyle (48 kg, 63 kg); championship matches at 6 p.m.
Television: NBC Sports Network will televise next-day coverage on Sunday (3-6 p.m.) and Monday (2-5 p.m.).
For more information: USA Wrestling will post brackets, results and other information on its website at www.themat.com.
MINNESOTA CONNECTIONS Several wrestlers with area ties will be competing, with some of them among the favorites at their weights.
Ali Bernard (New Ulm) is favored to earn a return trip to the Olympics in the women's 72 kg class. Bernard finished fifth at the Beijing Olympics in 2008 and has since competed in two world championships, winning a bronze medal in 2011. A two-time junior world champion, she will receive a bye into the best-of-three championship series at the Olympic trials.
At least one Minnesotan has made the Olympic team in Greco-Roman wrestling every year since 1968. That string could be kept alive by the state's competitors in the 84 kg class, three of whom swept the medals at that weight at the 2012 U.S. Open. Chas Betts (St. Michael) won the title, with Zac Nielsen (Zimmerman) second and Jordan Holm (Northfield) third.
Former Gopher C.P. Schlatter (Minneapolis) is the reigning U.S. Open champion in the Greco-Roman 66 kg class, while Plymouth native and Armstrong High School graduate R.C. Johnson won the 96 kg class. South St. Paul native and former Gopher Jake Clark placed third at that meet at 96 kg, but he plans to compete at 84 kg at the trials. Andy Bisek (Chaska) placed third at 74 kg at the U.S. Open and competed at the 2011 world championships.
Other competitors with local ties: Greco-Roman: Paul Tellgren, Anoka (55 kg); Mike Fuenffinger, Augsburg/Hibbing (55 kg); Donovan DePatto, Monticello (60 kg); Pat Smith, Gophers/Chaska (66 kg); Travis Rutt, New Prague (84 kg); Nikola Bogojevic, Augsburg (120 kg); Jake Kettler, Gophers/Anoka (120 kg); Nick Severson, Pine Island (120 kg). Men's freestyle: Zach Sanders, Gophers/Wabasha (55 kg); Dustin Schlatter, Gophers/Minneapolis (66 kg); Kevin Levalley, Minneapolis (66 kg).