The Last Chance Qualifier took place this past weekend at Texas Wesleyan University in Fort Worth. The top two finishers in each of the three Olympic wrestling styles qualified to compete this Friday and Saturday in the 2021 Olympic Trials at Dickie’s Arena, also in Forth Worth. A group of former DIII wrestlers participated in both Greco-Roman and Freestyle.
In Greco-Roman, Ryan Epps (77kg, Augsburg), Guy Patron (97kg, Loras), and Tom Foote (130kg, Williams) all finished in the top six. Each bowed out in the consolation semis, and the tournament only wrestled to four places. Eddie Smith (77kg, Loras), fell one round earlier to secure a top eight finish.
67kg – Jaylen York, University of the Ozarks – 0-2
77kg – Eddie Smith, Loras – 2-2, top 8
77kg – Ryan Epps, Augsburg – 2-2, top 6
97kg – Guy Patron, Loras – 1-2, top 6
130kg – Tom Foote, Williams – 3-2, top 6
130kg – Jerhett Lee, University of the Ozarks – 1-2
A slightly larger group competed on Saturday in Freestyle, and and a few guys competed in both tournaments. Current UW-Eau Claire assistant Elroy Perkin was the top DIII wrestler, picking up four wins in the consolation bracket. He defeated 2010 NCAA Division I runner-up Dan Vallimont and 2x Division I All-American Joshua Shields along the way.
57kg – Michael Tortorice, UW-Whitewater – 1-2
57kg – Nathaniel Rankin, University of the Ozarks – 1-2
65kg – Devin Tortorice, UW-Whitewater – 0-2
74kg – Elroy Perkin, UW-Whitewater – 4-2, top 8
74kg – Yo Akiyama, Williams – 0-2
86kg – Jaison White, Ithaca – 0-2
86kg – Ryan Epps, Augsburg – 1-2
125kg – Jerhett Lee, University of the Ozarks – 1-2
There are four former DIII wrestlers qualified for the Olympic Trials this week. All are in Greco-Roman. Leslie (Mike) Fuenffinger (Augsburg) is qualified at 60kg due to his win at the 2019 US Senior Nationals. Joe Rau (Elmhurst) qualified 87kg for the US at the Olympics and will await the champion of the challenge tournament for a best-of-3 series to determine the Olympic rep. In 2016, Rau won the trials, but the US did not qualify his weight. At 97kg, Eric Twohey (UW-La Crosse) qualified with his third place finish at the 2019 senior nationals, while Donny Longendyke (Augsburg) grabbed the fifth and final spot at 130kg at the same event.