IOWA CITY, Iowa — The Cliff Keen Wrestling Club’s Andrew Howe took second place at 75kg/163 pounds after defaulting out of the best-of-three championships series at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials on Saturday evening (April 21) at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Howe was injured in a close first-match loss against 2011 world champion Jordan Burroughs and was unable to return to the mat for the second.
Burroughs took the first match of the championship series, 4-2, 1-2, 1-0. He used an early three-point takedown to take control in the first period before Howe narrowed the gap with a pair of takedowns — a single leg midway through the period and a double leg late. Howe narrowed from an early deficit in the second, responding to Burrough’s quick pushout with a single leg moments later and adding another takedown off a front headlock at the buzzer.
With the periods knotted up to force a third, Burroughs again struck first in the final frame, shooting in on a double leg and driving Howe off the mat for a pushout in the last 35 seconds. Howe got in deep on a single leg but could not convert out of the ensuing scramble as Burroughs stalemated the position to preserve his narrow final advantage.
With his runner-up finish, Howe earned his place on the U.S. Freestyle National Team for the third consecutive year. He previously took second at the 2010 and 2011 World Team Trials.
Howe did not allow a point en route to three wins in the morning challenge tournament, knocking off two NCAA champions and an NCAA finalist by a combined 10-0 margin. After a first-round bye, he defeated David Taylor, 1-0, 5-0, in quarterfinals, scoring on three takedowns and a pair of leg laces to ice the match in the second period.
Howe earned similar 1-0, 1-0 decisions against Tyler Caldwell and Trent Paulson in his next two matches. He won in the clinch in both periods against Caldwell and scored on late takedowns, a double leg and a subsequent single leg, to claim both periods against Paulson. With the wins, he avenged losses to both opponents in their last meetings.
CKWC’s other three first-day competitors — Jimmy Kennedy (60kg/132 pounds), Kellen Russell (60kg/132 pounds) and Mike Poeta (74/163 pounds) — were eliminated from the competition after suffering their second losses in the consolation bracket.
Kennedy and Russell both posted similar 1-2 records at 60kg, claiming their first-round matches before losing in the challenge tournament quarterfinals and wrestlebacks.
Kennedy shut down Justin Pearch in his first bout, winning 1-0, 1-0 on a first-period double leg and a second-period pushout. He lost to eventual runner-up Logan Stieber, the 2012 NCAA 133-pound champ, in his next match, 1-0, 3-1, losing the ball grab and the clinch in the first period and sacrificing an early advantage to give up a pair of late takedowns and a leg lace.
Kennedy was doomed again by the clinch against Drew Headlee in the wrestlebacks, losing both the first period and third period from the defensive position in a 1-0, 0-3, 2-0 defeat. The latter period ended with a little controversy as Kennedy was initially awarded two points for an exposure before Headlee’s corner challenged and the call was reversed.
Russell earned a slick 0-1, 2-1, 5-3 comeback win against Derek Moore to claim his first freestyle match in three years. After losing the first period, the Wolverine wrestler, just six weeks removed from capturing his second straight NCAA 141-pound title, also trailed in each of the final two frames. He evened the score in the second with a double leg in the final 25 seconds before countering to add a late insurance takedown. With the score knotted at 1-1 late in the third period, Russell countered a Moore duck attempt, stepping over and rolling back through for a pair of two-point exposures.
Russell lost to veteran Mike Zadick, a 2008 Olympian, 1-0, 2-1, in the quarterfinals. After getting cautioned out from the offensive position in the first-period clinch, Russell struck first in the second but gave up a pair of scores as Zadick countered for a pushout midway through and countered again for a late takedown. Scrambles hurt Russell in his next match as Andrew Hochstrasser put him on his back in each period en route to a 4-0, 3-0 decision.
Poeta dropped a pair of decisions, falling to Lloyd Rogers, 1-0, 1-0, in the first round before losing to David Taylor, 4-3, 3-1, in the wrestlebacks. In his first bout, Poeta shot in on a low single attempt late in the first period only to have Rogers counter for a takedown; he lost the clinch in the second. Against Taylor, Poeta evened the first-period score with a double leg in the final minute, but Taylor finished on a counter takedown late to take the frame. Taylor scored on a pair of takedowns and a pushout to win the second.
Three more CKWC wrestlers will compete in tomorrow’s challenge tournament. Josh Churella earned the No. 3 seed at 66kg/163 and will face Zack Bailey in the first round. Jake Herbert will have a first-round bye as the top seed at 84kg/185 pounds, while Tyrel Todd will face Travis Paulson first on the bottom half of the same bracket.
CKWC Results – Day 1
Jimmy Kennedy, 60kg/132 pounds
First Round – dec. Justin Pearch (Army), 1-0, 1-0
Quarterfinals – dec. by Logan Stieber (NYAC), 1-0, 3-1
Consolations – dec. by Drew Headlee (Sunkist Kids), 1-0, 0-3, 2-0
Eliminated with a 1-2 record
Kellen Russell, 60kg/132 pounds
First Round – dec. Derek Moore (Army), 0-1, 2-1, 5-3
Quarterfinals – dec. by Mike Zadick (Gator WC), 1-0, 2-1
Consolations – dec. by Andrew Hochstrasser (Bronco WC), 4-0, 3-0
Eliminated with a 1-2 record
Andrew Howe, 74kg/163 pounds
First Round – Bye
Quarterfinals – dec. David Taylor (Nittany Lion WC), 1-0, 5-0
Semifinals – dec. Tyler Caldwell (Sunkist Kids), 1-0, 1-0
Final – dec. Trent Paulson (Sunkist Kids), 1-0, 1-0
First Match – dec. by Jordan Burroughs, 4-2, 1-2, 1-0
Second Match – injury defaulted to Jordan Burroughs
Mike Poeta, 74kg/163 pounds
First Round – dec. by Lloyd Rogers (Hawkeye WC), 1-0, 1-0
Consolations – dec. by David Taylor (Nittany Lion WC), 4-3, 3-1
Eliminated with a 0-2 record