top of page

Maryland Performs at Olympic Team Trials

On Saturday at the Bryce Jordan Center on the Campus of Penn State, three Maryland legends punched their tickets to the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.

For Helen Maroulis and Kyle Snyder, it will be their third time stepping into the Olympic Arena. Maroulis made history as the first woman to make three Olympic teams after sweeping Jacarra Winchester in the best of three finals at 57KG by fall, 2:41, and 6-0.

Maroulis won a gold at the 2016 games in Rio de Janeiro. She followed that up with a bronze in Tokyo in 2020. In 2015, 2017, and 2021 Maroulis won World Championships. She was second in 2012 and third in 2014.

Like Maroulis, Snyder won gold in 2016 then Bronze in his next Olympic appearance. The three-time NCAA Champ also equals Maroulis in World Championship adding that glory to his resume in 2015, 2017, and 2022. Snyder collected World Silver medals in 2018 and 2021. The former Good Counsel grappler added World Bronzes in 2019 and 2023.

Snyder (97KG) earned this trip by defeating Isaac Trumble 5-0 and 4-0 in his final’s series.

Aaron Brooks is fresh off winning his fourth NCAA Title and hopes to build upon his 2023 U23 World Championship Gold. Brooks had to navigate the challenge tournament on Friday to earn the right to face 2020 Olympic Gold Medalist David Taylor in the 86KG best of three finals.

Brooks opened with an 11-5 win over the No. 1 190lber in the National High School Rankings, Wisconsin’s Connor Mirasola in the quarters. In the semis, the North Hagerstown alum needed to get past three-time NCAA Champ Alex Dieringer and did so with a decisive 8-4 decision.

Brooks’ challenge tournament finals opponent was two-time NCAA Champion Zahid Valencia who had defeated Brooks the first two times they wrestled in big events, falling to his rival at the 2020 Olympic Trials and at the 2019 US Open Nationals.

Brooks beat Valencia at the 2023 US Open and proved that was not a fluke with a 7-6 win in the Challenge Tournament finals. There was a questionable call by the referee, who called a singlet grab on Valencia, but given that Valencia declined a review, it certainly must have happened but not in a manner that most people saw.

The next day, Brooks shocked Taylor, and the majority of the wrestling world, by winning two straight to seal his Olympic bid, 4-1 and 3-1. Taylor beat Brooks two-in-a-row a year ago at the World Team Trials Final X showdown, 6-0 and 5-4.

Three other Marylanders competed and represented us well at the Trials although they did not reach the finals.

Recent NCAA All-American, Meyer Shapiro (74KG) fell in the Round of 16 to Stillwater, Oklahoma’s LaDarion Lockett, 12-1. Lockett, a junior in high school, who won an U17 World Championship in 2023, is currently ranked No. 2 in the nation at 165lbs. Lockett lost to No. 1 Joe Sealey (Wyoming Seminary, PA) at Ironman. Shapiro suffered a second loss to Quincy Monday, 10-0. Quincy also has a connection to Maryland; his father and Olympic Gold Medalist, Kenny Monday is the new Head Coach at Morgan State University in Baltimore.

Jaron Smith (125KG) just won the Last Chance Olympic Trials Tournament to qualify for this gauntlet. Smith won his Round of 16 match with Gary Traub, 6-2, but dropped matches to Nick Gwiazdowski and Trent Hilger after that.

Pat Downey (86KG) lost to Carter Starocci then chose to forfeit his consolation match. Brooks was teched by Downey at the 2020 Olympic Trials, 11-0.

Congratulations to all of you for making Maryland proud this weekend!

53 views0 comments


bottom of page