5. Mark Hall
I saw Hall listed at 79 KG which was kind of surprising. He wrestles at 174 in college, but he is definitely small for the weight class and looks like he could easily make 74 KG. You could say that he doesn't want to go after Jordan Burroughs, but the guy at the top of this weight class is no picnic either. I wouldn't be surprised to see him at a weight class below, but either way, I don't see him being quite ready to be the guy at the senior level.
4. Jon Reader
Jon Reader is a really good wrestler who was just never quite great enough at the freestyle level. He wrestled most of his post-college career at 86 KG, so there is a chance that the drop in weight could help him take the top spot, but I can't quite buy in until I see it. He had been an assistant at South Dakota State before following Chris Bono to Wisconsin. Although coaching keeps guys on the mat, there is a reason you don't see guys who coach represent the United States on the international level; it's too demanding to focus on a team instead of just focusing on improving yourself.
3. Zahid Valencia
The story of Zahid and Anthony Valencia will never cease to amaze me. Anthony was the man in high school, to the point where you could argue he was one of the ten greatest American high school wrestlers in history. He took fifth at the US Open while in high school which is just absolutely insane. Now, Zahid was a top wrestler, but he was nowhere near the level of his brother. Then they went to college and everything changed. Zahid lost just one match in his freshman year, and had an undefeated sophomore season while Anthony has had middling results and has come nowhere near living up to the hype. Zahid is definitely an incredible wrestler, but he's young, and there are two absolute beasts hanging out above him on this list. Even if he can't overcome those top guys, I'm still looking forward to seeing how close he is to the elite level.
2. Alex Dieringer
Dieringer is an absolute beast who can overwhelm just about anyone. Unfortunately, when he switched to freestyle at 74 KG, he ran into Jordan Burroughs, who is one of the greatest American wrestlers ever, and a guy named Kyle Dake. Well, the bump up in weight helps him avoid Burroughs. Unfortunately, there is still that Dake guy waiting for him in the likely Finals matchup.
1. Kyle Dake
At the World Cup, Dake was the star. He was nailing big throws and just overwhelming opponents. After he was done decimating his opponents, he still had the wherewithal to pump up the crowd after his victories. It was awesome. With what I saw from Dake, I cannot see anybody beating him from the United States, and I wouldn't be surprised if nobody in the world could take him out either. The most interesting thing will be in 2020, when Dake likely moves back down to 74 KG to take on Burroughs, and as much as I love Burroughs, I think Dake might be our guy by the time the Olympics rolls around.
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