They are much smaller. I know guys who cut from 150 on Monday 130 on Saturday. They weighed in two hours before matches and wrestled 9- minute matches. Not cutting as much weight is helping the sport. Guys now train year round, whereas 40 years ago it was October thru March.
Obviously, Graff had a great day. There was an asterisk named Micic, though, and it's hard to ignore that match in spite of the dominance displayed otherwise. I thought Graf looked good, not great, and I don't think of him as more of a threat to Ramos after this tournament than before it. The Micic match showed me Graff is still about where he was before: he is an elite TD wrestler but his defense is still not at that level. Micic scored both of his TDs with incredible ease and was able to transition readily to a leg lace. Had he not run out of mat, Micic could've ended the match before Graff pulled an eight-point unanswered salvo of attacks to barely scrape by Micic.
Micic is precocious, but Graff has absolutely no business giving up 10 points to him if he wants to make the Olympic team. Graff's last match against Sanders, while a tech, was a TD plus multiple points off of the same leg lace hold. Maybe Graff would've teched Sanders without that lace, but it was hardly the ass-kicking that it looked to be on the scoreboard alone.
Micic is clearly an outstanding young gun, but he is more of a potential spoiler than a real threat and I don't see that changing anytime soon. Getting to the top at this level is less about the puncher's chance and more about a consistently high level of performance, which Micic is not yet capable of. He is one of the tallest guys at 57 kg, maybe a hair shorter than Nick Simmons, who famously cuts a ton of weight. I wonder if some of Micic's gas issues are related to a big cut or keeping his weight close to competition weight year-round. Micic needs to get stronger and more physical to make an impact at the senior level, and I wonder if that's possible without growing out of the weight class, which would put him in no man's land. Micic looks like the type of guy who could really benefit from adding strength and improving conditioning, but he may be close to maxed out in terms of bodyweight to work with.
Tomasello is going to be very good once he dedicates himself to freestyle. He showed his style and his go-to moves will work well in freestyle. Everyone knew to watch for the lefty hi-c, but he scored on everyone he wrestled and looked like he could definitely do so again in rematches. Tomasello is very raw on the mat and not tight enough positionally to avoid getting hit with big moves (this is still true even in folk to some extent). He reminds me a little of where Metcalf was a few years ago before he tightened up his game. This year or next year won't be his breakout year, but his day in the sun will come. I saw that kind of potential.
Pico might be done growing, at least vertically, so fears of outgrowing 65 kg may be overblown. He has been the same height for at least two years now. I have never seen Pico bigger though, as he has clearly been hitting the weights and has gotten stronger. He is now fully a man, as his matches against Molinaro are testament. I always thought Pico would hit a wall with his physical style as he transitioned to the much stronger seniors, but that doesn't appear to be the case. I was very impressed by his ability to impose his style and will on everyone he wrestled, which included the monstrous Molinaro. If Pico can hold his ground and push the pace against a guy like that, forcing mistakes out of him, he is not losing to anyone at 65 kg because he is not physically ready.
Pico has gotten crisper and a little more varied with his attacks, but I still don't see him setting up his attacks as well as he'll need to beat Metcalf, Oliver, or Stieber. He's still pretty predictable. I was impressed by Pico's mental toughness, which has been a little questionable in the past. Pico showed a newfound ability to keep his cool after losing a frustrating match to Molinaro, who scored one big move and then just shut down and backpedaled. In the rematch, Pico absolutely manhandled Molinaro. Very impressive. Pico showed he belongs at one of the top handful of guys with a legit shot at the top spot.
JO is starting to open up a little more against his top competition, a bad sign for the field at 65 kg if he keeps that up. Still not open enough though. If there's anyone at the weight who can consistently win shootouts, it's JO. He can score on anybody from multiple positions and shots to either side, and nobody else at the weight has that level of variety and technical mastery. Stieber was wrestling as well as I've ever seen him wrestle FS and even he couldn't keep JO from scoring when he needed to. That said, JO still looks like he has two speeds to me: cautious and beast mode. Cautious JO has not gotten it done over the past few years, so why not unleash the beast earlier. Is he really just 4-4 criteria better than Molinaro?
Against Stieber, JO took two shots and scored 2 points each time. Meanwhile, Stieber was in DEEP four times and scored twice, with JO also scoring twice. With that kind of yield on exchanges, it's in JO's best interest to engage more. He will win shootouts 7 or 8 times out of 10, in my opinion. Maybe he is reserving some gas in the tank due to a tough cut, but if it's for strategic reasons, I don't see the logic at all.
Stieber looked awesome. He has clearly added some size and showed up in excellent condition. He dominated everyone until the finals, and even there, he scored on the stingy JO to both sides using shots from both sides, generally controlling the mat. To beat JO, he needs quicker finishes. JO scored four points to Stieber's five off of Stieber's shots: not good. JO scored four points off his two shots to Stieber's zero. If Stieber doesn't learn to finish faster on JO, he will be hard pressed to beat him because JO is so dangerous from every position.
This weekend Pico teched Mario Mason, Filip Novachkov, and Kendrick Maple. He also dismantled Jason Chamberlain and split 2 with Frank Molinaro. He's doing just fine against NCAA champs and all-americans.
Agreed. Way too hyped up. While he is obviously very good, the hype should officially be over at this point. Simply one of the guys in the ladder. Odds for 2016 would be set quite low after this showing.
i thought only a couple of the matches were snooze fests... extremely high level wrestling for the most part...
the rest of your post is spot on...
i will take it a step further, make it a take down tourney... every period start from your feet... this gifting of the point by choosing bottom was horrible to watch... there was not any back points earned last night... at the highest levels of the sport, the competitors are too good to man handled on the bottom... so, why gift a point for a coin toss?
a couple of tweaks and i wouldn't despise folk so much...
I saw pictures like these and noticed ROWS and ROWS of empty seats in the lower bowl for the finals.
When states like Iowa, Minnesota, Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, etc all with class wrestling have near capacity crowds it makes me wonder how the greatest single class event in the WORLD is not better attended.
FYI, our Olympic Trials was a near sellout in 2012.
Pure on the mat wrestling strength. Not weight lifting strength. Haven't we all tossed around non wrestling 600 pound dead lifters that had no idea how to harness their strength against another person.
That's a good one. I really have no idea, but it was impressive to see JB fly up the ropes to the ceiling without using legs, JB's incredible box jump, Andrew Howe pounding out sets of pullups, after practice, and I'd bet the house, that Dake can do incredible physical stuff too.
Not to digress from the OP, but Gedeuv looked strong as a bull when he wrestled JB, and pretty sure someone posted that Tsargush can bench press insane amounts.
Not sure how to rank these 3 (or 5.) Would love to hear from some on the inside.
JB #1. Dude is STRONG. In a recent interview, Dake talked about how surprisingly strong and quick JB was and fully gave him credit for havibg that edge on anyone including himself.
As far as raw strength, I'd put Howe abpve Dake only because he's bigger i.e. cuts from a higher starting weight. Dake is more explosive and much quicker than Howe though but doesn't quite match JB on those attributes either.
Wow just wow.
Episode 1 was crazy enough where Cary had to survive and thrive being raised by a nut job dad.
Without a doubt, a less stout of a boy or less mentally tough of a boy would have crumbled into pieces.
Episode 2 is even crazier as FILA is an assemble of nut jobs where matches could be bought and sold year after year.
Getting screwed multiple years at The Worlds and the Olympics, would have broken a lesser man.
Cary Kolat was the Worlds best for four years in a row despite his Gold Medals being sold to higher bidder.
I hope Cary Kolat will coach National Teams and Olympic Teams in the near future.
Although nothing will replace his stolen World Champion Titles and Olympic Champion Title, he can help many others get to his level of technical and tactical greatness.