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Former state wrestling coach is No. 1 seed at U.S. Olympic Trials at 77 kg

From left, Joe Uccellini, Jake Fisher, Jack Conroy and Scott Honecker Thursday at the U.S. Olympic Trials in Texas. Fisher will be competing in his third Olympic Trials tournament in Greco-Roman at 77 kilograms.

The 2021 U.S. Olympic wrestling trials begin Friday in Fort Worth, Texas, with 15 spots on the American Olympic team that will compete in the Tokyo Olympics up for grabs.

Jake Fisher, a former assistant coach at Greens Farms Academy in Westport and a former Greco-Roman coach at South Side Wrestling Club, in Bridgeport will be competing at the U.S. Olympic Trials in Greco Roman at 77 kg or 169.7 pounds.

Fisher is the No. 1 seed in his weight class that includes Patrick Smith, a returning World Team member and the 2016 Olympic Trials runnerup at 66 kg. Smith, who is seeded third at the trials, won the 2019 Pan-Am games and was second at the 2020 Senior Nationals.

The weight class also includes two-time Olympian Ben Provisor, who made the 2012 Olympic team at 74 kg and the 2016 team and the 2017 World Team at 85 kg. He seeded fourth and could face Fisher in the semifinals.

Fisher was working and going to school in Connecticut when he finished second at the 2019 U.S. Senior Nationals with victories over Junior World Silver medalist Andrew Berreyesa, National Team member Peyton Walsh and RaVaughn Perkins, who is the No. 2 seed at the Trials. Walsh is seeded fifth.

At that Senior Nationals, Fisher beat Walsh and Perkins by technical fall.

Fisher, who grew up in Missouri and wrestled at Northern Michigan, was a member of the U.S. World Team in 2011. He won the U.S. World Team trials twice and spent six years on Team USA (2009-13 and 2014-16). Fisher captured the U.S. Open title in 2010.

At the age of 37, he is one of the oldest competitors in the tournament. It is Fisher’s third trip to the Olympic Trials. He competed in 2012, when he finished fourth, and in 2016.

“Just getting here is a tremendous feat,” said Jack Conroy, the head coach at Greens Farms Academy and South Side Wrestling Club. “There are NCAA champions that don’t get to wrestle here. For him to be competing with this caliber of wrestlers is a huge deal.”

Conroy and Joe Uccellini, the founder and coach of Curby 3-Style Wrestling club in Troy, N.Y., will be coaching Fisher. “Joe is the head coach. I am the second coach in the circle,” Conroy said.

In reality, Fisher has enough wrestling experience that he could be a coach on the American team. Still, he needs people he can trust to bounce ideas off and help keep him focused on the task at hand. Fisher has worked with Conroy the past few years at GFA and South Side while Uccellini is his brother in law and long-time coach of his club in New York State.

Fisher has a first-round bye before his quarterfinal match against the winner of the match between Brandon Miller and Austin Morrow.

Fisher earned his Doctor of Chiropractic degree from the University of Bridgeport’s School of Chiropractic in 2020 and relocated to Colorado last summer to take a job with a chiropractic firm (Washington Park Chiropractic) in Colorado Springs. He lived in Stamford for three years and spent two years in Fairfield before moving to Colorado.

“He worked with a lot of top kids in Connecticut at South Side,” Conroy said about Fisher’s time with the club.

The matches will be streamed live on NBC’s Peacock streaming service with more than 40 hours of live coverage beginning at 11 a.m. on Friday. A second session begins Friday at 7:30 p.m.

Consolation round matches begin at 1 p.m. on Saturday on Peacock. The finals – which will best-of-3 – begin Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. on NBCSN.

Fisher’s weight class is one of three weight classes not yet guaranteed a trip to the Olympics. Three Olympic Trials winners (men’s freestyle at 65 kilograms [kg] and men’s Greco-Roman at 77 kg and 130 kg) will have to qualify for the Olympics at a world qualifying meet in Bulgaria on May 6-9.

Donations are still being accepted for Fisher’s Go Fund Me account to help Fisher with his expenses to compete in Texas has been established by Conroy.

2020 U.S. Olympic Trials brackets

77 kg seeds (Greco Roman)
1. Jake Fisher (Curby 3 Style WC)
2. RaVaughn Perkins (NYAC)
3. Pat Smith (Minnesota Storm)
4. Ben Provisor (BVRTC)
5. Peyton Walsh (U.S. Marines)
6. Mason Manville (U.S. Army WCAP)
7. Corey Hope (NYAC)
8. Austin Morrow (NYAC)
9. Brandon Mueller (505 WC)
10. Jesse Porter (NYAC)

2020 U.S. Olympic Trials – Wrestling broadcast schedule

Friday, April 2 Challenge Tournament
Men’s & Women’s Freestyle
Greco-Roman
Mats 1, 2, 3 and 4
Peacock 11 a.m.
Challenge Tournament Finals
Men’s & Women’s Freestyle
Greco-Roman
Mat 2
NBCSN
NBCSports.com
NBC Sports app
7:30 p.m.
Challenge Tournament Finals
Men’s & Women’s Freestyle
Greco-Roman
Mats 1, 3 and 4
Peacock 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, April 3 Challenge Tournament Consolations
Men’s & Women’s Freestyle
Greco-Roman
Mats 1, 2 and 3
Peacock 1 p.m.
Championship Series
Men’s & Women’s Freestyle
Greco-Roman
Mat 2
NBCSN 7:30 p.m.
Championship Series
Men’s & Women’s Freestyle
Greco-Roman
Mats 1 and 3
NBCSports.com
NBC Sports app
7:30 p.m.

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 35 years. He was inducted into the New England High School Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2018.

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