Aaron Brooks tops David Taylor to seal Olympic wrestling spot

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- Aaron Brooks defeated reigning 86-kilogram gold medalist David Taylor in consecutive matches Saturday night at the U.S. Olympic wrestling trials, claiming a roster spot at the Paris Olympics.

Brooks beat Taylor 4-1 earlier in the day, handing Taylor his first loss to an American wrestler in seven years. It set up an opportunity for Brooks to sweep the Tokyo gold medalist and fellow former Penn State athlete.

Brooks capitalized with a 3-1 victory in the pair's second match, as a stalemate was broken with a Brooks takedown in the first period.

After the match, the two shared a moment in the center of the mat.

"I told him I love him," Brooks said. "He's one of the first guys to make [Penn State wrestling] what it is."

Brooks avenged his losses to Taylor in last year's world championship qualifier, when Brooks dropped two straight matches to get swept. Since the beginning of March, Brooks has won a Big Ten title, his fourth NCAA title, the Hodge Trophy and a spot in the Olympics.

The trials were held at Penn State's basketball arena, the Bryce Jordan Center, where the Nittany Lions powerhouse wrestling team also holds occasional matches.

In total, 18 wrestlers made the U.S. wrestling squad Saturday, with 13 qualifying directly for the Olympic tournament in Paris. The champions in five classes, 57 kilograms and 65 kg in men's freestyle and 60 kg, 67 kg and 77 kg in Greco-Roman, will have to travel to Istanbul for a world qualification tournament for the Olympics in May.