When: Friday and Saturday | Where: Dickies Arena, Fort Worth, Texas
TV: NBCSN, 6:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday
Livestreaming: Peacock will stream the early sessions Friday (10 a.m.) and Saturday (noon), as well as non-televised matches Friday evening (6:30 p.m.). NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app will stream non-televised championship matches Saturday.
What's at stake: U.S. Olympic Team berths in men's freestyle, women's freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling. The winners in the six women's weight classes and nine of the 12 men's classes will secure spots at this summer's Tokyo Olympics. In three other classes — Greco-Roman 77-kilogram and 130 kg, and men's freestyle 65 kg — the U.S. has not yet qualified for Tokyo. The Olympic trials winners at those weights must finish in the top two at the final qualifier in May to compete at the Games.
The format: Athletes will compete in a challenge tournament beginning Friday at 10 a.m. to determine which wrestlers move on to Saturday's best-of-three championship finals (6:30 p.m.). In 12 of the 18 weight classes, one finalist slot already has been filled. Wrestlers who qualified directly to the finals through their performances at the world championships or the 2020 Pan American Olympic qualifier will wrestle the winner of the challenge tournament. In the other six classes, the top two wrestlers in the challenge tournament will meet in the best-of-three finals.
MINNESOTANS AT THE TRIALS
There are 17 Minnesota-connected athletes entered in the trials, with nearly half of those earning a top-five seed in the challenge tournament.
Men's freestyle: Gophers junior Gable Steveson, fresh off his first NCAA title, is the No. 2 seed at heavyweight, with former Gopher and two-time NCAA champ Tony Nelson seeded fifth. Greg Kerkvliet, a four-time state high school champion at Simley and a Penn State freshman, is the No. 6 seed. Hayden Zillmer, a three-time state high school champ for Crosby-Ironton, is the No. 2 seed at 97 kg, a weight that includes Olympic gold medalist Kyle Snyder and Olympic bronze medalist J'Den Cox. Four other former Gophers will compete: Brett Pfarr (86 kg/No. 9 seed), Mitch McKee (65 kg/No. 11), Sean Russell (57 kg/No. 8) and Zach Sanders (57 kg/No. 10).
Women's freestyle: This competition includes two Augsburg wrestlers, Emily Shilson and Marlynne Deede. Shilson, who is 22-0 with three national titles in her first two Auggies seasons, is the No. 6 seed at 50 kg. Deede is seeded 13th at 76 kg.
Greco-Roman: At least one Minnesotan has made the U.S. Greco-Roman team at every Olympics since 1968, and seven men will try to keep that string going. Hibbing native Leslie Fuenffinger, a two-time NCAA champion for Augsburg, is seeded No. 1 at 60 kg; Ildar Hafizov, his teammate in the Army World Class Athlete Program, has a bye to the finals. Former Gopher Pat Smith of Chaska is the No. 3 seed at 77 kg after wrestling in the past two world championships. Stewartville native and medical doctor Eric Twohey is seeded third at 97 kg, and Anoka's Calvin Germinaro, nephew of Olympic silver medalist Brandon Paulson, is seeded fifth at 67 kg. Other Minnesotans in the Greco-Roman division are Barrett Stanghill (87 kg, No. 5), Jake Clark (97 kg, No. 7) and Donny Longendyke (130 kg, No. 7).