May 23, 2004
Columbus, Ohio – Tommy Rowlands, the most decorated wrestler in Ohio State history after winning his second NCAA heavyweight crown in March, moved through the semifinals at the 2004 United States Olympic Trials Saturday at the RCA Dome in Indianapolis, Ind. before falling in overtime in the final round. Fellow 2004 All-American Jeff Ratliff bowed out as well in the consolation bracket at 145 pounds.
In his semifinal match against Jon Trenge of the New York Athletic Club, Rowlands used a first-period takedown and an escape and two second-period takedowns with 3:30 and 3:51 elapsed to record his second straight 4-0 win and claim a spot in the “challenge” finals against Tim Hartung of the Minnesota Storm. In the finals, Rowlands jumped out to a 1-0 lead with a first-period takedown just 21 seconds into the match. The Hilliard, Ohio product carried the one-point advantage into the waning moments of the match before being penalized for stalling. The one-point stalling call moved the bout to overtime at a 1-1 draw. In the extra session, Rowlands again claimed another one-point advantage with a takedown at the 6:08 mark of the match. Less than two minutes later, Hartung retaliated with a takedown of his own at 7:33. The bout ended in a 2-2 stalemate and Hartung was granted the win on criteria because Rowlands was penalized.
Ratliff, an eighth-place finisher at 149 pounds at the 2004 NCAA championships, dropped to the wrestlebacks after a 15-5 technical fall defeat in the first round Friday at 145 pounds. Saturday, he fell out of the tournament via a second technical fall, suffering a 13-2 defeat at the hands of eventual 145 champion Bill Zadick of the Hawkeye Wrestling Club.
Fellow 2004 All-American J.D. Bergman’s run at the Athens games ended Friday night with consecutive losses in the Greco division. Former Buckeyes Nick Preston (1999-2002) and Sean Salmon (1998) also competed in the freestyle division at the 185-pound bracket. Both Preston and Salmon fell to the consolations after losses Friday and were eliminated Saturday with defeats in the wrestleback rounds.
Complete bracket results of the 2004 U.S. Olympic Trials may be viewed at www.themat.com.