Jarod Trice qualifies for World Team Trials, moves a step closer to 2012 Olympics

A top six finish at the U.S. Open: Check.

Up next: World Team Trials.

Junior heavyweight Jarod Trice finished fourth at the U.S. Open Saturday in Cleveland, qualifying him for the World Team Trials in June and bringing him one step closer to gaining eligibility for a 2012 Olympic redshirt.

“I didn’t perform as good as I could, but I qualified, so I’m pretty happy about that right now,” Trice said Saturday evening from Cleveland. “I feel that I performed pretty decent to put myself in the next situation at the world team trials in June.”

Trice began the day with a victory against Jon Schmidt before falling to Tervel Diagnev in back-to-back matches, who went on to finish first among 120-kg wrestlers.

Appearing in the consolation rounds, Trice picked up decisions over Elijah Madison, Dustin Porter and Les Sigman before falling in the third place match to Tommy Rowlands.

“I feel like I wrestled badly in (my second match) and I just didn’t feel like I wrestled as well as I should have,” Trice said. “In my last match, my head just wasn’t in it by the end of the day and I just lost my focus.”

The 285-pounder took the blame for not reaching his potential, saying he shouldn’t have let his body relax.

“I knew that I qualified already, and that played a role a little bit probably,” Trice said. “I probably shouldn’t have taken a nap either, it kind of threw me off. I put myself in that situation.”

Looking to the training he needs to go through leading up to the tournament in June, Trice places importance on getting a solid training partner.

After talking with Duke heavyweight Konrad Dudziak’s father, Trice said working with Dudziak will put them both in good shape for the event.

“I’m going to find the best workout partner possible to workout with the next couple months, and I’m really looking forward to it,” he said. “If I get a training partner, people better watch out.”

The Duke heavyweight graduated in 2010 as a two-time All American with a career 79-18 record. He was a NCAA runner-up in 2009 and took fourth in 2010.

Trice will wrestle in the 120-kg weight class and Dudziak in the 96-kg weight class when the two head to the World Team Trials June 9 in Oklahoma City, Okla.

"To take fourth in that tournament is a pretty good accomplishment," said head coach Tom Borrelli. "The guys he lost two have been on world teams, so I think he wrestled good. He's setting himself up pretty good to have the opportunity to be an Olympian"