From the Video—Match Two Cormier vs. Morrison7/25/2003 Ted Witulski/USA Wrestling
Remember Gutches vs. Burton and of course Zadick vs Bono, wrestle-offs in Fargo had a history of going a full three bouts. And, this year would be no different. Daniel Cormier of the Gator Wrestling Club tied the series with a dramatic throw with only two seconds remaining in the period.
Similarly to the first match the wrestlers seemed wary to attack. Cormier came to the center of the dome in blue and Morrison in red. A change of pace was warranted for Cormier. The first match he seemed stymied by Morrison’s quick circling and touch-and-go engagements.
For the second match, Cormier with more fire immediately got to his opponent’s head and began working hard snaps. Morrison’s footwork so evident in the first match seemed missing as the snapping and pulling initiated by Cormier dictated the pace earning the first passivity.
Cormier was warned for hesitation in placing his hands, before a fair start was initiated on the second whistle. With a more physical nature than the first match he worked hard on a gut wrench changing sides several times before fully committing to his left. When his left side attempt failed he dropped to a half-hearted crotch lift attempt before action was returned to the feet.
Several half shots followed by half re-shots were attempted. But neither wrestler seemed ready to take on the weight of his opponent’s hips. Cormier controlled a left hand collar tie before he was called for passivity in the evening out process.
Morrison attacked ankles looking to thread left to right and nearly doing so. However, Morrison never seemed to have a strong lock in place so he never fully attacked the lace.
As the two battled towards the close of the first period, it appeared that another clinch was on the horizon. Lunges from the left hand tie by Cormier opened up the action that was followed by Morrison driving his right arm to a deep underhook. Cormier, a natural in a left side overhook, was more than willing to engage in this position.
With time ticking below :10 seconds, Cormier used a similar drive to an inside trip from his success in the first clinch of the day. Morrison, who succeeded with a grapevine in the second clinch of match two, countered with a strong wrap of Cormier’s left leg.
As Cormier teetered perilously, in an oddly familiar scenario from match one, he successfully regripped on to a bodylock. It’s less clear if Cormier started the dramatic back arch or whether he was forced into it from the weight of Morrison. When it appeared that Morrison would score a match breaking three point throw, Cormier confidently popped his hips, arched, and turned to his left taking Morrison straight to his back.
The fall that followed was as close to touché as can be called in international competition. Two seconds remained on the clock as an enlivened Cormier leapt to his feet excitedly expressing victory and perhaps relief.
Morrison came to his feet and shook hands nodding his head in agreement with the fall and victory for his opponent. No doubt Morrison regretted that underhook engagement that ended much like his loss to Cormier in the Challenge Tournament of the 2002 World Team Trials in St. Paul. Overhook—step-in—fall.
The final spot on the World Team remains a third match mystery, like so many series before.
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