Nico Megaludis confident he has the stuff to take over 57 kg

BY TAYLOR MILLER, USA WRESTLING

Megaludis at the 2016 Olympic Team Trials in Iowa City, Iowa. Photo by Tony Rotundo, WrestlersAreWarriors.com

Nico Megaludis looks to end the United States’ medal drought in freestyle’s lightest weight class, 57 kg/125 lbs. But first, he’ll need to make the World Team, something he’s confident he can do.

“No one has really proven themselves,” Megaludis said. “No one has gotten a World or Olympic medal since (Henry) Cejudo and that was nine years ago. No one has really stepped up since then. I know (Tony) Ramos has made a few World Teams, and that’s good for him. But on an international level, no one has really separated themselves and that really needs to happen at 57.”

In just two weeks at the U.S. Open in Las Vegas, he’ll get a taste of what’s to come of the wide-open weight class for the World Team Trials in June.

The Open will serve as freestyle’s biggest qualifier for the World Team Trials, with the top-seven finishers earning a chance to compete for the World Team spot in Lincoln, Neb., in June.

By winning the 2016 Bill Farrell International in November in New York City, Megaludis, an NCAA champion for Penn State, has already punched his ticket to the Trials. But there is still incentive in going to the Open as the winner of the 57 kg bracket will earn a bye to the finals of the Trials.

“The nice thing about it is that I’m already qualified for World Team Trials,” he said. “Even if I wasn’t, I would still go there to win. The main reason I’m going is because I haven’t competed in a while, so I need to get competition, but there’s also that motivation to win and get a bid to the finals. That will end up being a little bit of an advantage because someone will have to deal with three or four matches before that. I’m going mainly for the competition part and being able to compete. That’s what I like to do.”

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