April 21, 2014
LAS VEGAS, Nev. -- Freshman Adam Coon (Fowlerville, Mich./Fowlerville HS) headlined the University of Michigan wrestling team's performance at the Vegas Open last weekend (April 17-19), capturing freestyle and Greco-Roman titles at 120kg/264 pounds in the FILA Junior division.
Coon was one of three current Wolverine wrestlers to automatically qualify for the U.S. World Team Trials, joining sophomore Taylor Massa (St. Johns, Mich./St. Johns HS), who claimed fifth at 74kg/163 pounds in the senior division, and freshman George Fisher (St. Charles, Ill./Marmion Academy), who took third at 60kg/132 pounds in the junior division. With his double victory, Coon automatically advances to the finals in both styles. The U.S. World Team Trials is scheduled for May 30-June 1 in Madison, Wis.
Coon dominated his competition in both styles, posting three falls en route to the Greco-Roman title and five straight technical falls en route to the freestyle crown. Coon repeated as the FILA Junior Greco-Roman champion, countering a first-period throw attempt to pin future Iowa heavyweight Sam Stoll at 1:31. It was his longest match of the Greco tournament; he earned three falls in a combined 2:33.
In the subsequent freestyle competition, Coon outscored his opposition, 55-1, allowing just one point -- a pushout in the quarterfinals -- over five matches. He cruised to an 11-0 technical in the championship matches against Garrett Ryan, scoring on two takedowns, including a late four-point throw, in the first period before adding two more takedowns to end the bout early in the second. It was Coon's second straight year in the FILA Junior freestyle finals; he claimed second place last year.
Fisher posted an impressive 7-1 record, including a pin and four technical falls, en route to a third-place finish in his FILA Junior debut at 60kg/132 pounds. He reeled off six straight wins in the wrestlebacks after dropping his only loss of the tournament to eventual champion Zane Richards of Illinois in the second round. The Wolverine rookie won a wild match in the placing round, using a late comeback to defeat Oregon State's Jack Hathaway, 15-13. Fisher gave three four-point takedowns -- two off of his own attacks -- and trailed by five points with just 30 seconds remaining. He scored a takedown to cut the gap then earned a four-point takedown of his own, using a single leg to send Hathway to his back, to steal the lead with 20 seconds left. The Oregon State coaches unsuccessfully challenged the call to give Fisher another point and the final two-point margin.
Massa posted a 6-2 record en route to fifth place at 74kg/163 pounds in the senior-level U.S. Open. He bounced back from a quarterfinal loss with three straight wins in the wrestlebacks before falling to Oklahoma State's NCAA finalist Tyler Caldwell, 4-1, in the consolation semifinals on four pushouts. Massa closed out the tournament with a 9-6 win over NC State's Tommy Gantt in the fifth-place match, rallying from an early deficit with a four-point takedown late in the first period and another takedown in the second.
Senior/junior Jake Salazar (Midway, Utah/Wasatch HS) and sophomore/freshman Angelo Latora (Portage, Mich./Central HS) also represented Michigan in the senior division. Salazar posted a 3-2 record at 70kg/154 pounds, while Latora went 1-2 at 65kg/143 pounds.
Former Wolverine standout Kellen Russell claimed second place at 65kg/143 pounds, earning a 3-1 record and advancing to the finals for the second straight year. Russell claimed a 4-2 win over Jordan Oliver in the semifinals -- he previously defeated Oliver for the 2013 title -- behind a counter takedown late in the first period and a pair of pushouts. He fell to Brent Metcalf, 9-0, in the championship match, after giving up a takedown and four exposure points in the second period.
The Cliff Keen Wrestling Club's other finalist, Jimmy Kennedy, captured the title at 61kg/134.5 pounds with a decisive 7-2 victory over past Olympic bronze medalist Coleman Scott in the final. Kennedy rallied from an early deficit with a pair of double-leg takedowns and another counter attack in the waning seconds of the match. He went 4-0 in the tournament, earning three straight technical falls en route to the final. Kennedy is currently ranked No. 9 in the world.
In addition to Kennedy and Russell, the CKWC posted three other placewinners. B.J. Futrell and Brandon Precin took third and seventh at 61kg/134.5 pounds, while Kyle Massey claimed eighth at 125kg/275 pounds.
Contact: Leah Howard