April 21, 2012
IOWA CITY, Iowa - Junior Steve Andrus placed second at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials in the 120 kg/264.5 pounds Greco-Roman division on Saturday at Carver-Hawkeye Arena after being selected as a wildcard. Andrus was impressive and notched multiple upsets in the challenge bracket, going 3-0, but fell to 2008 Olympian Dremiel Byers of the U.S. Army in the championship match.
"It demonstrates that he really does have a career ahead of him in Greco-Roman wrestling," head coach Tom Minkel said. "For him, at this age, to finish runner-up in the Olympic Trials demonstrates that he is a legitimate Greco-Roman wrestler with the ability to do great things."
Andrus started off his trials winning his first three matches on Saturday afternoon in front of a sellout crowd and won the challenge bracket of the 120 kg/264.5 pounds Greco-Roman division.
"He truly did a remarkable job," Minkel said. "I couldn't be more proud of him. He certainly passed this test with flying colors. He demonstrated that in the Olympic year, he is a contender with the adults who are in the hunt for an Olympic berth."
In his first match, Andrus defeated Peter Koealczuk of the Sunkist Kids Wrestling Club by decision. Andrus lost the first period, 1-0, but won the second, 1-0, and the third, 2-0. Koealczuk previously placed third at the U.S. Open to qualify for the challenge bracket in the Trials.
Andrus moved on to the semifinals against Nikola Bogojevic of the Minnesota Storm Wrestling Club and continued his upset streak. Andrus dropped the first period, 2-0, but won by decision over Bogojevic, who placed fifth at the U.S. Open to qualify, by winning the second and third periods, 1-0.
In the finals of the challenge bracket, Andrus won his third decision of the day and defeated Timothy Taylor of the U.S. Army, 1-1, 1-0. He moved on to the championship round to face Byers after winning the challenge bracket.
"It demonstrates his growth and he has been able to continue to improve and work on his skills," Minkel said on him winning the challenge bracket. "His style is very suited to the international style. He handled the pressure in front of the largest crowd ever for an Olympic Trial."
In the best-out-of-three series against the 2008 Olympian, Byers, Andrus lost the first match by decision, 1-0 and 1-0 in successive periods.
Byers got the best of Andrus again in the second match winning a 2-0, 2-0 decision, ending Andrus's chance of making the 2012 London Olympic roster. Andrus finished second at the Trials after being invited as a wildcard and proved his talent wrestling Greco-Roman.
Former Spartan and four-time All-American Nick Simmons will wrestle in the Olympic Trials tomorrow in the freestyle division at 55 kg/121 pounds.