Pirozkhova and Mensah win Olympic Trials, Pico trails just behind with a close second place.
By: Jason Welch
What a day of wrestling! Tonight Titan Mercury had three athletes in the finals: Arron Pico at 65 kg, Elena Pirozkhova at 63 kg, and Tamyra Mensah at 69 kg. The best-of-three series showcased some of our dominant athletes as well as some talented, younger ones.
One of these consistently dominant wrestlers is Elena Pirozkhova, who beat Erin Clogdo in two matches straight to solidify her trip to Rio. Pirozkhova has represented Team U.S.A. every year since 2008. The weight drop down to 63 kg (from her usual 68 kg) seems to have been a good move for her.
At 69 kg Tamyra Mensah beat Brittney Roberts in the final best-of-three series. Mensah is still enrolled at Wayland Baptist University, and redshirted this year in order to focus on making the Olympic team, training fulltime at the Olympic Training Center. It seems as if her sacrifice has paid off: Mesnah to Rio.
In the best of three series at 65 kg Aaron Pico came out to a strong win over Frank Malinaro. However, Malinaro was able to pick up steam and win two consecutive matches in a row to take the spot. Pico, just 19 years old now, seemed to really control the first match with this snap-downs and his superb conditioning. But, the match action changed a bit as he went into the second and third match, as we saw more underhooks and pass-bys rather than the hand-fighting of the first match.
En route to the finals Pico beat Jason Ness the first round. After going down by 9 points (I mean—that’s almost a tech!) he came back with 20 unanswered points for his own technical fall. Then he had another come-from-behind win against the number two seed, Jordan Oliver. In the semifinals Pico controlled Reece Humphrey with a 12-1 victory.