Wrestling Assistant Coach Frank Molinaro Wins Olympic Trials
Penn State Wrestling assistant coach Frank Molinaro won his weight class on Saturday at U.S. Olympic wrestling trials.
Molinaro, a 2012 NCAA Champion for the Nittany Lions, made his way through the bracket as a No. 9 seed in the hectic 65 kg weight class. He won three consecutive bouts, including one against the top seed, to make his way to the final. He avoided a championship bout with defending World Championship medalist James Green thanks to Penn State’s Zain Retherford, who knocked off Green earlier in the day.
In the best-of-three final, Molinaro lost in the opening bout to Aaron Pico. He recovered to take the next two bouts and received a shot of being an Olympic qualifier for the United States in the process.
Considering the United States didn’t secure a place in the 65 kg weight class at either last years World Championships or this years Pan American Championships, Molinaro will have to qualify for the Olympics through the last chance qualifiers. He needs a top three finish in Mongolia from April 22-24 or a top two finish in Turkey from May 6-8 to earn a spot in Rio.
Seven Nittany Lions were at the Olympic Trials, but the only other one to qualify for the Championship round was reigning Olympic gold medalist Jake Varner at 97 kg. Varner won the first matchup of the best of three before falling in the next two bouts to reigning World Champion Kyle Snyder.