Jordan Burroughs (Richard Mackson/USA TODAY Sports)
By Craig Sesker
MADISON, Wis. – Olympic gold medalist Jordan Burroughs is one of the most talented wrestlers this country has ever seen.
He’s also one of the most mentally tough athletes in U.S. history.
That was evident when Burroughs overcame a very determined effort by the talented David Taylor to win the U.S. World Team Trials on Sunday night at the Alliant Energy Center.
Burroughs, now 84-1 in his amazing career, beat Taylor 6-2 and 6-5 in two hard-fought, edge-of-your-seat freestyle battles. The powerful Burroughs used his lethal double-leg attack to defeat Taylor, a two-time Hodge Trophy winner.
The two wrestlers hugged after treating fans to an entertaining display in 12 tough minutes on the mat.
“It’s all about being competitive out on the mat,” Burroughs said. “David and I are great friends and we Tweet each other all the time. We do photo shoots with Flips together. My wife and his girlfriend are good friends. It’s always a bitter rivalry when we’re on the mat. We both want to win. Unfortunately for me to fulfill my dreams I have to kill his.”
Burroughs fought back from a 3-1 deficit in the second match, scoring two takedowns on double-leg shots before holding off Taylor in the closing seconds. Burroughs rallied to beat Taylor 7-6 in the U.S. Open finals.
“I obviously wanted to make it a brawl,” Burroughs said. “It was a lot more physical than it was at the U.S. Open. I wanted to fight and see if he wanted to fight back.”
Burroughs will seek his third straight title at the World Championships after winning the event in 2011 and 2013.
Champions at the Trials advance to September’s World Championships in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.
Brent Metcalf made his second straight World Team and third overall by sweeping past Junior World medalist Jordan Oliver in the freestyle finals at 65 kg/143 lbs.
Metcalf has been on a roll after going unbeaten at the World Cup, winning the U.S. Open and beating World No. 1 ranked Magomed Kurbanaliev of Russia in the Beat the Streets Dual this year.
Metcalf becomes the second 2014 World Team member who wrestled for Iowa, joining Tony Ramos on the squad. Ramos won the Trials on Saturday night at 57 kg/125.5 lbs.
“I’ve got a lot of experience on the international scene,” Metcalf said. “We all know that and I know that, and it’s time to put it all together and get what I want. If I wrestle the way I can wrestle and get to guys early and score early, that will help me to be a World champion. I’m fired up about the future.”
World champion Elena Pirozhkova made her seventh straight World Team by outlasting Erin Clodgo in three matches at 63 kg/138.75 lbs. Pirozhkova has finished first, second and third in the World.
“I always expect myself to dominate,” Pirozhkova said. “I definitely had a tough time this tournament. We have trained together a lot and she knows me well. It’s great to make another World Team. It’s taken me a lot of hard work to get to this point.”
World champion Adeline Gray made her fifth World Team by taking two straight matches from Jackie Cataline in the finals at 75 kg/165 lbs. Gray won by technical fall in the first match before coming back to win 7-5 in the second bout.
Gray has finished first, third, third and fifth in her previous trips to Worlds. She is ranked No. 1 in the World by FILA.
“It’s all about getting the job done and it’s all about focus,” Gray said. “If I keep focused through the World Championships I’m going to be unstoppable.”
Three-time NCAA champion Ed Ruth came back after losing the first bout to take the next two matches over Keith Gavin to make the World Team at 86 kg/189 lbs. Ruth fell behind 4-0 in the third and deciding bout before storming back to win 11-7.
Whitney Conder made her second World Team by taking two straight from Katherine Fulp-Allen in the women’s freestyle finals at 53 kg/116.5 lbs. Conder pitched a pair of shutouts, winning 3-0 and 5-0.
The U.S. World Team Trials in Greco-Roman are coming up in two weeks in Daytona Beach, Fla.
(From USA Wrestling Press Release)
*Watch the U.S. Wrestling World Team Trials on Monday, June 9 at 6 PM ET on Universal Sports Network.*