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Strong start by Walsh beats Fisher at U.S. Olympic Trials

Jake Fisher (red singlet) throws Austin Morrow to the mat during Friday’s U.S. Olympic Trials quarterfinal victory in Texas. (Photo courtesy Tony Rotundo/Wrestlers Are Warriors)

Peyton Walsh remembered the last time he squared off with Jake Fisher and it was in the same venue as Friday night’s semifinal at the 2021 U.S. Olympic Trials.

Fisher got off to a fast start in the 2019 U.S. Senior Open here at Dickies Arena in Fort Worth, Texas, and won by a technical fall on the way to earning a spot here at the Olympic Trials.

“The one thing I remembered was that I never got a chance to establish myself or my tieups and never really got the momentum going on,” Walsh said on Friday night.

It was different for Walsh in Friday night’s semifinals at 77 kilograms (169.7 pounds) at the Olympic Trials. He took an early lead and established control in a 4-1 victory over Fisher in the semifinals of the Greco Roman division.

“This time I was able to control the pace (of the match) and control the tieups and really dominate from the positions where I was most comfortable,” Walsh said.

Walsh, the former Navy wrestler, will face off against No. 10 seed Jesse Potter, who has won three straight bouts and given up just three points in the tournament. The two wrestlers will square off Saturday in a best-of-3 final.

Fisher, who at 37 is one of the oldest wrestlers in the field, will compete in the consolation round and try for his best-ever finish at the trials. He finished fourth in 2012. Fisher will face the winner of No. 2 RaVaughn Perkins of New York Athletic Club and No. 6 Mason Manville of the Army on Saturday in the consolation semifinals.

As the top seed in the weight class, Fisher got a first-round bye before facing No. 8 Austin Morrow of New York Athletic Club in the quarterfinals. With a sharp-looking throw with 1:17 left in the first period, Fisher took a 6-0 lead which was good enough in a 6-5 victory.

Fisher led 2-0 after Morrow was penalized twice. The second penalty put Morrow on the mat with Fisher on top. Fisher took control with a four-point throw for a six-point lead.

Morrow cut the lead to five midway through the second period before he got a four-point move on a throw with 1:15 remaining to cut the lead to one, 6-5. But Fisher was able to hold off Morrow for the remainder of the match to secure the win.

Fisher moved to Colorado Springs 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 was in Connecticut earning a Doctor of Chiropractic degree from the University of Bridgeport’s School of Chiropractic.

While in Connecticut, Fisher was an assistant coach at Greens Farms Academy in Westport and a Greco-Roman coach at South Side Wrestling Club, in Bridgeport.

Jack Conroy, the head coach at Greens Farms Academy and South Side Wrestling Club, is part of Fisher’s team at the Olympic Trials and is one of two coaches in the corner on the mat for Fisher.

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.

For those readers who watch a lot of high school competition, wrestling at this level is two three-minute periods and in Greco-Roman, only moves above the waist are allowed. Wrestlers are penalized one point for stepping out of the ring, even if they step backwards. Wrestlers pick up points for exposing the backs of their opponents.

2021 U.S. Olympic Trials results and brackets

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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