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Team USA Roll Call

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Immediately after the first pitch at Yankee Stadium, the fans in right field (aka the bleacher creatures), salute the Yankees with a roll call chant for each starting player. Well, here's a roll call salute to the best freestyle wrestling team in the United States of America.

 

57kg: Tony Ramos - yet another NCAA champion representing Team USA at Worlds in the same year. Yes, Tony is a rookie here at the big show and could very well go one and done if he's matched up with the wrong guy. But wouldn't be one bit surprised if this student of the Brands brothers goes very deep into the brackets.

 

61kg: Jimmy Kennedy - has had a lot of international success over the past two years, won a few tournaments, and even won a car as the OW overseas. Jimmy also gave FILA # 1 ranked Aliev (AZE) a very tough match (he lost on a heartbreaking 6-6 criteria at the buzzer), so a rematch would be real fun. FILA has Kennedy ranked 15, and armspin has Kennedy ranked at 7.

 

65kg: Brent Metcalf - Holy smoke! Safaryan, Romanov, Dutt, Coskun, Ganzorig, Takatani, Chamizo, Novachkov, Mohammadi, Muslimov, Garcia, and even Frankie Gomez might be in this bracket. Like Brent said himself, any one of these wrestlers (including himself) can win the World title. I have Romanov as the favorite because he comes out and scores points and appears to have a good gas tank. Soslan Romanov was also classy enough to invite Mark Bader and the FLO team to the back warm up room just prior to his Russian National final against Kurbanaliev in 2013. (Pretty sure Romanov has a 1-1 record against Brent.)

 

Metcalf can win this thing, but IMO, Brent has to bring a heart the size of Iowa to each and every match.

 

70kg: Nick Marable - let's see if this star running back in HS football can run the tables at Worlds. Nick already has one asterisk next to his name (he's the first wrestler to defeat the legendary Jordan Burroughs on the international level), so perhaps he'll add the second asterisk by becoming the first wrestler to win a World Championship at the new 70 kilo weight class.

 

74kg: Jordan Burroughs - the rest of the world is going to try to take the Champ's belt away, while at the same time Jordan shoots for a 4peat. Jordan is steadily approaching John Smith's USA record of 6 World Championships, as well as Derek Jeter's 5 World Championships. (BTW, JB is one championship ahead of Jeter after their respective ankle surgeries.)

 

86kg: Ed Ruth - looking forward to Salas and others as well as a rookie match up between Russian star Sadulaev and Ruth. Hopefully we'll see some tight cradles along the way in Ruth's bracket (sorry Mark, I can't get that Billy Joel song out of my head). If Ruth somehow does pull this off and win Gold, people might say that the Gymnastics Palace in Tashkent is the House the other Ruth built.

 

97kg: Jake Varner - the defending Olympic Champ is back, although he will have his hands full in his bracket. I'm guessing Gold will go to either Gadisov, Yaz, Gaz, or Jake. If Jake wrestles Yaz, I really hope Coach Cael and Coach Burnett have Jake ready for the foot stomp. (In the FLO videos, how often do we hear Coach Burnett say "move your feet".)

 

120kg: Tervel Dlagnev - has a World Bronze already and has beat some huge international names in the past. Really hope Tervel brings home some more hardware this time. He has the talent.

 

Head Coach: Bruce Burnett - from Dave Schultz to Jordan Burroughs, Coach Burnett has probably pretty much seen it all when it comes to international wrestling. Seems like our guys like him and respect him. (Perhaps the grass is greener on the other side, but being the Head Coach of Team USA must be one of the coolest jobs in the world.)

 

From New York City to Tashkent, best of luck to all the American teams next week. We'll be cheering you on!

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