Frank Molinaro's wild finish earns him spot on US national team
The Frank Molinaro that took the mats in the opening round of the World Team Trials in Madison, Wisconsin on Sunday was not the same wrestler who wound up finishing third at 65 kilograms and earning a spot on the US national team.
Molinaro, a former state champion for Southern and NCAA champion for Penn State, was teched in his first bout of the tournament by Coleman Scott.
With the loss went Molinaro's hopes of making this year's World Team and wrestling in the World Championships in Uzbekistan in September.
Meticulously, Molinaro took the the wrestlebacks.
He won, 8-5, over Jason Chamberlain in his first bout in the loser's bracket and knocked off former Blair stud Kellen Russell, 5-4, to reach the consolation final.
There, he defeated Nick Fanthorpe, 6-4 but would have to survive another bout, this one against Reece Humphrey for true third and a spot on the US' national team ladder.
Because Humphrey lost to Chamberlain, who Molinaro beat, and not Milonaro himself, Humphrey was allowed to challenge Molinaro for third place.
Humphrey scored with 22 seconds left to take the lead but with one second left to wrestle, Molinaro hit a match-winning, four-point throw.
"I'm just super grateful to be on the team," Molinaro said. "I just wanted it out there. I don't think I'm ready technically but I never doubted my will to win. I always want to win. I have a lot of people in my corner, a lot of people supporting me and I don't want to let them down."
"To lose that match with 22 seconds left on the clock and not score there is like a dagger in my heart," Molinaro said. "It was the same when I wrestled (Kellen) Russell. I was going to die if I lost the match. That's how I felt."
This past year was Molinaro's first year wrestling freestyle and he feels like he has plenty of room to grow.
"I started from the bottom," Molinaro said. "This is the first year I've wrestled freestyle. No experience, never went to Fargo, never trained freestyle in the summer."
"Now this is my life, this is my full-time job. I've got great training at Penn State and I've been training all over the country, any opportunity to get better, and I'm going to continue to move into Penn State and commit my life and soul to it. Hopefully the results will be a little bit better soon."
You always dream of the buzzer beater...— Frank Molinaro (@Gorillahulk149) June 2, 2014