2021 Olympic Team Trials Recap

After a long year of anticipation and preparation, the Jenna Burkert (WW 57Kg), James Green (MFS 65Kg), Nahshon Garrett (MFS 65Kg), and Ty Walz (MFS 97Kg) put it all on the line at the Olympic Team Team Trials in Fort Worth, TX as they battled against the country’s best for the chance to represent the United States at this summer’s Olympic Games in Tokyo.

One of the heaviest emotionally charged storylines of the Trials was Jenna Burkert’s show of heart throughout the weekend. Burkert – who had just suffered the loss of her mother a week prior – blitzed her way through the challenge tournament. En route to making the finals, Burkert picked up a tech fall in her first match then pinned two-time World silver medalist, Alli Ragan, to find herself against 2016 Olympic champion and 2017 World champion, Helen Maroulis.

Their match-up was only one of two finals series that went the full three matches throughout the Trials, setting the stage of what would be one of the most emotionally filled moments of the event. In the best two-of-three series, Burkert narrowly lost the first match but picked up her aggression and the victory in their second bout to set up the decisive third match – coincidentally, the final match of the series and final match of the Trials. Burkert dropped the third bout but her heart and passion were on full display throughout.

On the Men’s Freestyle side of action, Ty Walz (97Kg) came in as the #5 seed and advanced to the quarterfinals with a win over Cyclone RTC’s Kyven Gadson. He would then drop a tough match to Ohio RTC’s Kollin Moore. Walz picked up a win on the backside against Penn RTC Ben Honis, but would eventually drop his final match to Gadson in their second meeting of the tournament, just missing a spot on the national team.

James Green and Nahshon Garrett both competed at 65Kg dropping their first match. Green squared off against Penn RTC’s Joey McKenna, keeping it a tight match right until the second period. Green would bow out of the remainder of the tournament after his first match. Garrett faced NYAC’s Anthony Ashnault to kick off his Olympic Team Trials campaign but fell just short of advancing in the championship bracket. He would then go on to drop his match on the backside to NLWC’s Nick Lee to conclude his tournament.

We are extremely proud of what our world-class athletes put on display this past cycle, the way they represent the Southeast RTC, and we are excited for the continued growth that is happening in Blacksburg. We are blessed to have such great athletes and even greater individuals be part of our SERTC family.

We give the biggest “Thank You” to all our donors who make this dream possible and through whose generosity, we are able to continuously to strive to be the very best in the world! Words could never express our appreciation, but we are truly grateful for all your support! Go Hokies and Go SERTC!

(Photo by Tony Rotundo/WrestlersAreWarriors.com)

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