Jarod Trice to make a run for an Olympic redshirt next season

The regular wrestling season may be over, but junior Jarod Trice isn’t ready to take a break yet.

The two-time All-American is looking to make his appearance on the biggest stage in the world, the 2012 Olympics, but first needs to qualify for an Olympic redshirt in order to do that.

His first step toward qualifying starts Friday at the two-day freestyle U.S. Senior National Championships at Public Hall in Cleveland, Ohio.

Trice, who comes into the tournament ranked No. 7 among 120-kg wrestlers, needs a top-seven finish to earn a spot at the U.S. Senior World Team Trials on June 9, in Oklahoma City, Okla.

From there, he would need a top-eight finish to be approved for an Olympic redshirt – a process that has gotten tougher this year versus years past.

“(Wrestlers) don’t make the decision — they have to qualify for that, and there’s a new procedure they have to go through,” said head coach Tom Borrelli. “It’s the first year under the new requirements, so it’s a little tougher to get an Olympic waiver. Really, it’s much tougher.”

The NCAA has put a new Olympic redshirt criterion into effect in 2011, giving wrestlers three ways to make the cut.

They must be a past Senior World and Olympic team member, finish in the top eight at the U.S. Senior World Team Trials or finish in the top three at the NCAA Tournament on top of a top-two finish at the University National Championships.

Since no CMU wrestler qualifies for either the first or third options, it will come down to their finishes at the U.S. Senior World Team Trials, granted they earn bids there. Trice is the first Chippewa wrestler to work toward qualifying this season, but Borrelli said he wouldn’t be the only one.

“It’s an opportunity for our guys to wrestle freestyle in the U.S. events and hopefully they’re going to do well,” Borrelli said. “They get to train at the Olympic training center if they qualify, and it opens a lot of doors for them.”

An Olympic redshirt would allow Trice to train to compete in the 2012 Olympics, while keeping his fourth year of eligibility at CMU for the 2012-13 season.

In the event of his absence, redshirt freshman Mike Murray and incoming freshman Devin Pommerenke will be competing for the starting heavyweight job, which Borrelli sees as a great opportunity.

“It gives other guys on the team an outstanding opportunity to be a starter and prove themselves,” he said. “If we go in that direction, it’s going to give some guys in those weight classes great opportunities. When those guys come back, it’s just going to make our team stronger.”

As for returning, Trice made it apparent that it was his plan if he is successful in taking an Olympic redshirt.

“I’m coming back for sure, I want to finish school,” he said.

Rest of the team

Borrelli said other CMU wrestlers will compete at different university national tournaments in April and May, attempting to qualify for the U.S. Senior World Team Trials, though he wouldn’t comment on whom.

In years past, CMU has had a handful of wrestlers qualify for Olympic redshirts. Most recently, Mike Miller, Mark DiSalvo, Jason Borrelli and Luke Smith all took a year off, and their time away paid off.

Borrelli pointed out that Miller and DiSalvo hadn’t been All-Americans prior to their leaves, but that they both earned the honor twice after returning to CMU.