Although wrestling is primordial and foundational to the Olympic Games, it was once on the chopping block by the International Olympic Committee. The IOC is trying to add trendy new sports without increasing the number of athletes.
It was under that backdrop that the U.S. Olympic Trials took place at Iowa City, Iowa, last weekend in Greco-Roman and men’s and women’s freestyle. There were eight men’s weight classes as recently as the 2000 Olympics, but that number has been trimmed to six with the addition of women’s freestyle.
That affected Reece Humphrey, 29, a Lawrence North graduate. He made the U.S. team at 134 pounds for last year’s World Championships, which featured eight freestyle classes. He wrestled at 143 for the Olympic Trials and advanced as far as the semifinals before losing to 19-year-old Aaron Pico 12-1 on a technical fall. Humphrey subsequently withdrew because of injury.
The Ohio State graduate is a three-time U.S. Open champion and two-time World University Games medalist. The Olympic Games had long been his goal. Humphrey was asked if he would retire as an active wrestler.
“Honestly, I don’t know the answer to that,” he replied in a text message. “I have some coaching opportunities I need to look into first and weigh my options. I’ll for sure step on the mat again, but I don’t know how serious it’ll be yet.”
Elsewhere, native Hoosier Andrew Howe lost to Olympic gold medalist Jordan Burroughs 9-3, 10-0 in the best-of-three finals at 163 pounds. Howe, 26, was a three-time state champion for Hanover Central, a 2010 NCAA champion at Wisconsin and 2014 NCAA runner-up for Oklahoma.
Angel Escobedo, a 2010 NCAA champion for Indiana University, lost his only match at 125 pounds. Escobedo, 29, posted on Twitter that he competed despite fracturing an ankle six weeks ago.
Thank you everyone for the love and support! pic.twitter.com/P9U50NuRGE— Angel Escobedo (@driven2dominate) April 11, 2016
In Greco-Roman, former IU wrestlers Taylor Walsh and Luke Sheridan were eliminated at 165 and 187, respectively. Sarah Hildebrandt, from Granger, finished fifth in the women’s 117-pound class despite a knee injury.
IU swimmer qualifies for Rio
Indiana University hasn’t placed a swimmer on the U.S. Olympic team since 1976 but continues to send foreign swimmers to the Olympics.
IU sophomore Kennedy Goss qualified by placing fourth in the women’s 200-meter freestyle in last week’s Canadian trials at Toronto. Her time was 1 minute, 58.26 seconds, trailing the Canadian record of 1:56.94 by the University of Georgia’s Brittany MacLean.
Goss made the team in the 800 freestyle relay and became IU’s 15th female Olympian in swimming and diving. Her father, Sandy, was an Olympic silver medalist in the 400 medley relay in 1984 and 1988.
At last month’s NCAA Championships, Goss was third in the 200 backstroke and eighth in the 200 freestyle. At the Canadian trials, she was third in the 400 freestyle and 200 backstroke.
Elsewhere, freshman Adam Destrampe (Franklin) was among IU swimmers qualifying for the U.S. trials at a sectional meet. He made cuts in the 400 freestyle (3:56.96) and 1,500 freestyle (15:45.97).
Sports of all sorts
>> Diving: IU’s Michael Hixon won two bronze medals at the Puerto Rico Grand Prix in San Juan. He andTroy Dumais, bidding for a fifth Olympics, were third in synchronized 3-meter in their first competition together since 2014. …Zach Cooper, Greenwood, and Katrina Young, Shoreline, Wash., won mixed 10-meter in the synchronized nationals at San Antonio. Alexandra Warshaw, Glendale, Calif., and Daryn Wright, Plainfield, won girls 13-and-under 1-meter. Former state runner-up Meme Sharp, Noblesville, and Amanda Burke, Southampton, Pa., were second on 3-meter.
>> Gymnastics: Indianapolis’Alec Yoder will be on the Ohio State team in the men’s NCAA Championships on Friday and Saturday at Columbus, Ohio. Yoder, the Big Ten Freshman of the Year, helped the Buckeyes win their first conference team title since 2007. He finished second to teammate Sean Melton in the all-around and won pommel horse.
>> Running: Butler graduate Thomas Frazer, representing Ireland, finished 41st in last month’s World Half-Marathon at Cardiff, Wales. His time was 1 hour, 5 minutes, 20 seconds.
>> Track and field: Butler graduate Victoria Mitchell made the Australian Olympic team, finishing third in the women’s steeplechase in 9:52.99 in the national trials at Sydney. Mitchell, 33, was NCAA champion in 2005 and ran in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. … Despite bitter cold, Indiana State’s Adarius Washington (Warren Central) won the 110-meter high hurdles in a wind-legal 13.59 in Saturday’s Gibson Invitational at Terre Haute. The time ranks No. 4 in the NCAA. … Butler’s Olivia Pratt set a school record of 33:08.31 in the women’s 10,000 meters April 1, finishing 13th at the Stanford Invitational. Her time ranks No. 4 in the NCAA and earned her recognition as Big East track athlete of the week. … UIndy sophomore Kieran Casey (Perry Meridian) was fifth in the women’s mile in the NCAA Division II meet with a time of 4:51.14.
Call IndyStar reporter David Woods at (317) 444-6195. Follow him on Twitter: @DavidWoods007.