By Gary Abbott USA Wrestling
Coleman Scott celebrates after winning the 60 kg berth on the US Olympic Team in Times Square. Larry Slater photo
Coleman Scott (Stillwater, Okla./Sunkist Kids) won two of three matches against Shawn Bunch, Columbus, Ohio (Gator WC) to earn the 60 kg/132 lbs. position in men’s freestyle on the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team.
The best-of-three Championship Series was held on a raised mat in the middle of Times Square in New York City, a beautiful and dramatic setting for such an important competition.
Scott ended the series in dramatic fashion, hitting a five-point throw to end the second period and punch his ticket to London.
After the match, Scott told reporters that he had been thinking about scoring a five-point move during his preparation for the match, something he has rarely done in his Senior-level international career.
In bout one, Scott won the first period. He converted the offensive position in the clinch for a takedown to win the first period, 1-0. Bunch scored the only point in the second period with a stepout. In the deciding third period, Scott hit a takedown early for a 1-0 lead. On a scramble on the edge, Scott scored two points and got an extra point when a Bunch protest was denied. The period ended when Bunch exposed himself for three points trying a flying desperation move late in the period to make it a 7-0 technical fall.
The first period of match two went to Scott, who was trailing 1-0 then scored a takedown with just seconds left in the period to tie it at 1-1 and win on the last point. Bunch got the second period with a takedown from the clinch. The third period went to Bunch on a pushout.
The third match was closed out by Scott in two periods. He won the ball draw and finished a takedown from the clinch to win the first period. In the second, in a wide-open exchange near the edge, Scott took Bunch towards his back as they went out of bounds. When officials went to the video tape to review the call after a protest by Bunch, they decided that Scott had scored a five-point throw, which automatically ends the match. Scott’s coaches rushed the mat to hug Scott to the roar of the large crowd.
It was the first time that Scott had beaten Bunch in Senior-level freestyle wrestling, and he did it twice on the same night to earn the Olympic spot.
This is the final spot on the U.S. Olympic Team to be filled. The USA had not qualified the weight class for the Olympics until late April, after the Olympic Trials were finished. Bunch won a bronze medal at an Olympic Games Qualifier in China to secure the Olympic spot.
Scott earned his position in the Championship Series by winning the U.S. Olympic Team Trials in Iowa City, Iowa, April 21-22. He defeated Reece Humphrey in a preliminary match earlier on Thursday, 1-0, 0-1, 1-0 to reach the finals against Bunch.
Bunch had advanced directly to the best-of-three Championship Series based upon Olympic Trials procedures as the athlete who qualified the USA for the Olympic spot.
The event was held alongside the USA vs. Russia freestyle dual meet, won by the USA 4-3.
U.S. OLYMPIC TEAM WRESTLE-OFF
At Times Square, New York, N.Y., June 7
Coleman Scott (Stillwater, Okla./Sunkist Kids) dec. Shawn Bunch, Columbus, Ohio (Gator WC), 2 matches to 1
Scott dec. Bunch, 1-0, 0-1, 7-0
Bunch dec. Scott, 1-1, 1-0, 1-0
Scott dec. Bunch, 1-0, 5-0
Scott earns position on 2012 U.S. Olympic Team
Coleman Scott, Stillwater, Okla. (Gator WC) dec. Reece Humphrey, Columbus, Ohio (New York AC) , 1-0, 0-1, 1-0