When Nick Suriano decided to take a redshirt year for the 2019-20 season, he had one goal in mind: the Olympics.
He is one step closer now as he is automatically qualified for the Olympic Trials in April with a 4th place finish in the US Senior Nationals at 57 KG.
57 kg | BOOM! Nick Suriano has secured a spot at the 2020 Olympic Trials after advancing to the bronze medal match via injury default over Nahshon Garrett (Titan Mercury)!#RelentlessPursuit | #GoRU pic.twitter.com/g5kMDnGPJA— Rutgers Wrestling (@RUWrestling) December 22, 2019
Entering as the 2nd seed, Suriano started with 4-1 and 10-0 victories to get to the quarterfinals. He took on Cornell’s Vitali Arujau, who is also taking an Olympic redshirt for the Big Red, but dropped that one 2-2 on criteria.
Suriano vs. Cruz right out of the gate. Wrestle-backs here are ridiculous. pic.twitter.com/HNtzd7rMSf— FloWrestling (@FloWrestling) December 22, 2019
Falling to the consolation bracket, Suriano dispatched Zane Richards 12-0 and former Lehigh National Champion Darian Cruz 10-0 to advance to the consolation semis. He was due to face former Cornell National Champion Nahshon Garrett, but Garrett forfeited due to injury. With that victory, Suriano clinched his spot in the Trials.
Nick Suriano dominates Darian Cruz in a battle of NCAA Champs.— FloWrestling (@FloWrestling) December 22, 2019
With an impeding rematch vs. Arujau on deck, Suriano took a forfeit to finish in 4th place.
The United States Olympic Trials will take place at the Bryce Jordan Center at Penn State University from April 4-5. It remains to be seen in Suriano will wrestle in any other tournaments before the Trials.
In order to earn the 57 KG spot on the Olympic team, Suriano will have to win the Trials outright with a gold medal. He still has one year of college eligibility left, but his plans are currently unknown. He would be able to return for the Spring semester at Rutgers if he wanted to make an attempt at another national title, but based on my observations, it’d likely be wiser to wait until the 2020-21 season to come back at 125 or 133 pounds to try and win a second national title to close out his college career.
In his first official season competing in freestyle, Surinao kicked things off with a victory over former Silver Medalist Joe Colon at the Beat the Streets event at MSG in May.
Last month, Suriano finished 3rd at the Bill Farrell tournament, with his lone loss coming to former South Dakota State National Champion and current No. 2 ranked Wisconsin wrestler Seth Gross.
The current list of qualifiers for 57 KG, according to USA Wrestling and this weekend’s Senior Nationals results are:
As of November 18th
2018 World Team member – Thomas Gilman (Titan Mercury WC/Hawkeye WC)
2019 World Team member – Daton Fix (Titan Mercury WC/Cowboy RTC)
2019 Bill Farrell International champion – Seth Gross (Sunkist Kids)
Qualified at non-Olympic weight (61 kg)
2018 Final X champion – Nahshon Garrett (Sunkist Kids)
2018 World Team member – Joe Colon (Titan Mercury WC/Valley RTC)
2019 World Team member – Tyler Graff (Titan Mercury WC/NJRTC)
Based on US Senior Nationals Results
1st/2nd Place US Senior Nationals - Nathan Tomasello (Titan Mercury WC)
1st/2nd Place US Senior Nationals - Spencer Lee (Titan Mercury WC)
3rd Place US Senior Nationals - Vitali Arujau (Titan Mercury WC)
4th Place US Senior Nationals - Nick Suriano (New York City RTC)
5th Place US Senior Nationals - Zach Sanders (GWC RTC)
As written, this weight class is absolutely loaded. Also, the three to qualify at 61 KG will drop to 57 KG since there are less Olympic weights than there are for World Team competition.
Suriano previously defeated Colon at Beat the Streets as previously noted and defeated Fix in the 2019 NCAA Finals.
Graff is a current member of the New Jersey RTC and serves as an assistant coach at Rutgers.