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Former Middletown wrestler Richard Perry at U.S. Olympic Trials 

IOWA CITY, Iowa, April 8 – Middletown High graduate Richard Perry competes Sunday in the U.S. Olympic Trials in freestyle wrestling at 86 kilograms (189 pounds).​

It’s a very competitive weight class. Three wrestlers at 86 kg have represented the United States in various world championship tournaments and nine of the wrestlers having won a combined total of 18 NCAA championships. Wrestling begins Saturday at Carver Hawkeye Arena.​

Perry, who finished fifth at the U.S. Open tournament, is seeded seventh in the field. ​

The top seed at 86 kg freestyle is Jake Hebert of Ann Arbor, Michigan, who wrestled on the 2012 Olympic team in London and finished seventh. He is a three-time U.S. world team member ,who was second in the 2009 World Championships.​

No. 2 seed is Ed Ruth of Tempe, Arizona, who wrestled on the 2014 U.S. world team. He was a three-time NCAA champion at Penn State. The No. 3 seed is former Cornell star Kyle Dake, who won four NCAA championships in four different weight classes.​

Perry qualified for the trials by going 4-2 at the U.S. nationals in Las Vegas last December, finishing fifth. Perry wrestled four years at Bloomsburg University, going 110-30 and qualifying to wrestle in the NCAA Division I tournament three times. In his senior year, he set a school record with a 31-match winning streak.​

Perry graduated from Middletown High in 2008 where he wrestled for two seasons. As a senior, he won the Class L and State Open championship at 215 pounds and finished second in New England. After spending a year at Hyde-Woodstock (where he finished second in New England at 215), he joined Bloomsburg in 2010.​

While winning the 86 kg title earns you a spot on the U.S. Olympic Team, it doesn’t guarantee a trip to Rio and the Olympic Games. The trials champion will travel to Mongolia on April 24 and attempt to qualify the weight class for the Olympic Games at the first of two Olympic world qualifying tournaments. If unsuccessful in Mongolia, the U.S. will have one final chance to qualify 86 kg for the Olympic Games at the second Olympic Games World Qualifying Tournament being held in Istanbul, Turkey on May 8.

Gerry deSimas, Jr., is the editor and founder of Connecticut Wrestling Online. He is an award-winning writer and has been covering sports in Connecticut and New England for more than 40 years. He was inducted into the New England High School Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2018.

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